Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Merry Christmas from MRO!

Merry Christmas from all of us at Mad River Outfitters!

Yet another great season under our belts and looking forward to 2020.

We appreciate our friends, customers and subscribers supporting a small, family owned specialty retail shop like ours. We couldn't do this without YOU!

Best to you and yours!

Brian, Andy, Patrick, Linda, Ryan, Justin, Judy, Roger, Dick, Cristina, Josh, Kevin, Joey and Rogue

Mad River Outfitters
813 Bethel Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214



Thursday, December 19, 2019

New Q&A | Cleaning Rod Handles, Hopper Dropper Explained and More!

In this Fly Fishing Q&A video, Brian breaks down how to clean the sweat and grime off of your fly fishing rod handle using Murphy's Oil Soap. A guest chimed in that his rod handle was covered with sweat and grease over the years, so Brian showed him the oil soap and it worked like a charm!

A couple other viewers asked about tippet materials and hopper dropper rigs, Brian gives his opinion on the hopper dropper with additional variations. Breaking down tippet, flies and length. Watch all the way through as this is an informative fly fishing video you're not going to want to miss!

The hopper dropper is highly effective and utilizing it is a must. However, there are plenty of variations, alternatives and things you can change that can greatly impact your effectiveness on the water.

Do you have a fly fishing question that you'd like answered? Send it over to admin@madriveroutfitters.com if we answer your question, we'll send you a free hat and fly box! Big thanks to everyone who submitted questions this time around, this video was a blast to make!

Big thanks to Jimi, Clint and Jared!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Learning to Shoot a Bow with Flip Pallot

We recently ventured down to Florida to meet up with our good friend, Flip Pallot. Well, after an evening of catching up by the fire, we thought it would be a great to have Flip share something he loves with us: Archery.

We shot Flips longbow that he crafted himself from Osage Orange Tree wood and shark skin. With Flips instruction and Brian's hidden natural prowess for shooting a bow led to a pretty great time! Why don't you see for yourself:

Big thanks for Flip for letting us visit him for a time and film awesome stuff. This video was a blast to make! Head over and subscribe to Flip's channel here. Stay tuned, we have a lot more coming at you on our YouTube channel. Be sure to head over there and subscribe for a lot more!

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Tenkara USA Sale #OptTenkara

We've always loved Tenkara. Part of what makes it unique is it's long history, roots and connection with Japan. Tenkara USA is not trying to reinvent the wheel here. They have been fortunate to connect and be taught by the most respected anglers in Japan and also been counting on their support in the development of all Tenkara USA products. That provides insights into tenkara that one could not get otherwise, and helps in the development of our product as well as the instruction we provide. We believe the easiest way to keep tenkara simple is to look at the Japanese tenkara anglers and what they have to teach.

Our guide Ryan Ratliff has been a long time fan of Tenkara, he often takes his children out to fish and tenkara is his go to method with them. Tenkara Fly Fishing, literally meaning "fishing from heaven" is a simple type of fly fishing practiced in Japan. It's simplicity: a rod, line, tippet and fly proves to be very effective in mountain stream trout fishing.

We've currently got a Tenkara USA sale running right now through December 2nd, 2019. Pick up a great Tenkara USA rod as a wonderful holiday gift for the angler in your life.

Click Here For The Sale

Watch Ryan's Review of the Hane Rod from Tenkara USA

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

2 QUICK Nymphing Solutions (Convert ANY Fly Line To EURO)

It's mid-November 2019, and we recently went out on the Mad River to do some fishing and product testing. It's one of our favorite times of the year to fish. The leaves are clearing out and the fish are putting on the feed for the winter season. So we thought it was the perfect time to try out new RIO Euro Nymph Shorty and the Scientific Anglers Euro Nymph Kit that came out this fall.

With how popular the Euro style of nymphing has become, how important it is to us on the Mad River we've found these two products to be especially useful.

Check Out The Video

Rio's Euro Nymph Shorty is an ultra-thin, super-sensitive fly line designed for Euro nymphing. The line is deliberately made short (20 feet) so it can be added to the front end of a regular fly line utilizing the thin welded loop on each end. The idea is that anglers can fish their normal fly fishing style with their regular trout line, and when they come to a run they want to fish Euro nymph style, they simply loop the Shorty on and start nymphing. Quick, easy and no need for an extra rod or reel.

The Scientific Anglers Euro Nymph Kit can convert almost any single hand trout rod quickly to a Euro Nymphing setup. The kit includes a 20′ floating Euro Nymph Tip (0.25″ diameter), our Absolute Euro Nymph leader, and foam storage spool. It's compact and quick to use!

If you want more versatility on the river with more convenience and options, we'd definitely recommend you pick up one of these and try them out. Let us know what you think!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Abel VAYA Series Fly Reels: The Bar is Set!

This year the International Fly Tackle Dealer show happened in October and for the past five or six years, it's been in July and we weren't able to go this year because it coincided with our annual redfish trip down to New Orleans at the Woodland Plantation. This year was unique in the fact that our sales reps came through in July and August to reveal all the new products to be released at the show in October, so we had an early scoop of what was going to be debuted at the dealer show.

This was a great opportunity because this new VAYA Series of fly reels from Abel won the Best New Saltwater Fly Reel award at the show and it was also chosen by Fly Fisherman Magazines Gear Guide as the best new fly reel of 2020. That is exactly what we felt about it here at Mad River Outfitters.

The word "vaya" is Spanish for "Go" and it's Abel's slogan to go along with this reel telling you to go, get out there and fish! First off, looking at this reel technically, it is backed up with outstanding performance. The first thing that jumps out about the VAYA is it's half-ported backside. It gives the reel a unique look, a distinctive weight and a beautiful sound.

The reel has one of the most smooth drag systems we've seen in a saltwater fly reel, which is what we should expect from Abel. The drag is essentially silent, though you can feel it working which is a must. The half-ported backside is the perfect platform for adding some color or one of Abel's many hand painted designs that they're so known for. It has an engagement O-Ring for the spool, which we initially had difficulty removing. But with a simple following of the provided instructions, wiggling the spool back and forth with a gentle pull, we had it off easily. However, it took a little getting used to.

The spool itself features a precision balance dual-pawl drag engagement system that eliminates the need for a counterweight. We've never seen this on a fly reel before, making it totally unique. Though we're not technical guys, we can tell you that the reel is amazingly smooth. The drag system is encased and features a five disc alternating carbon fiber and stainless steel drag system. We just can't get over how smooth it really is.

Another feature we liked was the engraved images on the inside of the reels. Each reel features a different engraving. On the VAYA 4/5 you see a hopper dropper engraving, in the VAYA 5/6 you have a grasshopper and streamer and in the VAYA 7/8 you have a bonefish gotcha and a streamer. Re-attaching the spool to the reel is easy as it simply slides over the reel and clicks, locking it into place. No need to worry about it coming off when you're on the water. All of these reels feature a very large-abor, which we like. The large-arbor in these reels is going to eliminate coils in your line and allow you the highest pickup available in most modern large-arbor saltwater fly reels. The drag knob in the back is large, has a great positive click and since the rear of the reel is concave, it is easy to get your fingers around it.

When we first saw these reels back in July / August everyone in the shop said it's a real winner for Abel. Especially if you're familiar with the quality of Abel reels. We will say, that Abel is not known for being inexpensive. They are traditionally some of the finest machined reels in the world and are made in Colorado. The Abel VAYA comes in three sizes total:

There aren't many cons that come with this incredible reel. The only negative we'd have to say is that the spools can be a bit expensive, we suspect it could be because of the attached pawls. So if you're an angler that likes to have two or three extra spools for additional applications, it might be a little hard on the wallet. The engravings are certainly cool, but we're not sure that they're necessary as you don't see them often and it could've been worth skipping them to save on the $40 or so dollars it cost to have them etched into the reel. We've got the VAYA in stock now, with more colors coming in November and December 2019. Each reel comes in an amazingly handsome black box with a reel case that can fit over the handle, a product registration card with a lifetime warranty, and a vinyl sticker.

These reels are setting the bar and needless to say we are very impressed to see them in action for many years to come.

Watch the video review here:

Purchase your Abel VAYA Series Fly Reel Here

Monday, November 4, 2019

Jim Heilman - J&S Custom Crafted Lures

We love to team up with and support local artists, fly tiers and anglers in Columbus, Ohio to bring you unique gifts, tools, flies and more. We recently had local craftsman Jim Heilman in the shop for a brief interview and video about his unique hand carved, copper cut mayfly figurines. We like to bring attention to the folks that deserve it for the unique things they bring to our industry and over the next month and a half we're going to be bringing you unique gift ideas that are perfect for every angler this holiday season.

Without further ado, we'd like to introduce to you, Jim Heilman.

So, who are you and what do you do?
I grew up on a farm in western Ohio. My love of the outdoors began at an early age. Two of my earliest memories are going fishing with my dad (cane pole and can of worms) and whittling willow wood with my grandfather. Over the years, fishing and wood carving developed into life-long interests that merged together when I retired.

After retirement, my wife, Sue, and I began a small business named J & S Custom Crafted Lures, LLC. My focus is hand making old-fashioned inspired wood fishing lures and also a limited number of decorative fish. I love sitting at my work bench carving and painting my creations.

What did you look to for inspiration for items you produce?
Anything that lives in the water fascinates me. I enjoy the challenge of capturing the beautiful colors of Ohio fish. I marvel at the old time lure makers and fly tiers. I consider them very skilled artists in their own right. My own artistic style is very simple and straight forward.

I have been a customer of Mad River Outfitters for over 20 years. Because of Brian and his staff, my interest in fly fishing, fly tying, and especially mayflies, has grown strong. As a wood carver and fly fisherman I wanted to find a way to celebrate the importance of mayflies in the method of the fishing I enjoy so much. After much deliberation, I came up with a design for a large mayfly sculpture made of wood and copper.

Friday, October 11, 2019

The New Axiom II-X Fly Rod

Flip Pallot & Blane Chocklett fishing the new TFO Axiom II-X series of fly rods.

Temple Fork Outfitters has been hard at work designing the Axiom II-X series of fly rods. A single handed, fast action fly rod designed for the intermediate to advanced fly fishing angler seeking to maximize accuracy and distance.

The Axiom II-X was designed for the intermediate to advanced fly angler seeking to maximize accuracy at distance. Based on the fast action of Temple Fork Outfitters' renowned TiCrX, they used their highest modulus material and Axiom technology to redefine performance in an extremely powerful fly rod. Unlike other “stiff” rods, the Axiom II-X delivers both the energy necessary for long casts and the incredible tracking and recovery which results in accuracy at distance. If it comes down to one cast, one perfect long cast, this is the fishing tool to do the job.

Constructed with the best materials.

TFO’s patented and exclusive Axiom technology embeds a double-helix of Kevlar within the blank. The superior tensile strength of the Kevlar acts to buttress the rod’s carbon fiber matrix in compression. The result is that Axiom series fly rods stabilize faster and smoother, absorb shock better and comfortably tolerate over-loading. The angler benefits because Axiom technology virtually eliminates the ability to over power the rod when casting. Bottom line – whether you carry more line in the air or push the rod to the limit, you won’t feel any mushiness – What you will feel is line ripping out of your hand as it launches.

The Axiom II-X series is constructed with high modulus carbon fiber material and an embedded double-helix of Kevlar within the blank all finished in a satin sky blue. The series features premium quality cork handles with burl accents, anodized aluminum up-locking reel seats with carbon fiber inserts. All eight models feature alignment dots color coded by line weight, RECOIL guides by REC and ultra-lightweight chromium-impregnated stainless-steel snake guides. All Axiom II-X rods are packaged in a labeled rod sock and rod tube.

All Axiom II-X Fly Rods include a case.

The Axiom II-X series is constructed with high modulus carbon fiber material and an embedded double-helix of Kevlar within the blank all finished in a satin sky blue. The series features premium quality cork handles with burl accents, anodized aluminum up-locking reel seats with carbon fiber inserts. All eight models feature alignment dots color coded by line weight, RECOIL guides by REC and ultra-lightweight chromium-impregnated stainless-steel snake guides. All Axiom II-X rods are packaged in a labeled rod sock and rod tube.

See it in action.

The Axiom II-X series delivers exceptional casting performance and efficiency that when combined with TFO’s no-fault lifetime warranty make them the perfect choice when distance and accuracy are the price of a life time trophy. We here at Mad River Outfitters are excited to offer such an exceptional fly fishing rod.


Sunday, October 6, 2019

Sandwich Cricket: Fly Tying Tutorial

We brought in Jerry Darkes on the YouTube Channel to give you a brief tutorial on how to tie the Sandwich Cricket.

Sandwich Beetle by Jerry Darkes

Hook: TMC 5212 size #10
Thread: UTC 70D, black
Underbody: Dry fly dubbing in black
Foam: 2mm foam sheeting, black with a brighter color such as orange or yellow. Glue together as a single sheet using a spray adhesive. Cut into strips between 1/8”–¼” (4mm-5mm) wide.
Legs: Montana Fly Company Barred Sexi Floss- medium size, in olive, tan, or brown.

Tying Steps

1. Start the thread and lay a thread base on the hook shank. Take the thread to the bend of the hook.
2. Lay a length previously prepared foam strip over the top of the hook with the back end extending slightly past the bend of the hook.
3. Make few wraps over the foam, then gradually increase pressure while making more wraps to hook the foam on top of the shank. Be sure to keep the foam strip on top of the shank.
4. Finger dub several inches of body dubbing on to the thread.
5. Dubbing completed.
6. Lift up the foam and start wrapping the body.
7. Wrap the body to just behind the eye of the hook, then pull down the foam strip and secure to the top of the hook with additional thread wraps.
8. Trim off the foam sticking out to the front leaving a short length extending past the hook eye.
9. Completed body.
10. Cut a 2” length of the medium Barred Sexi Floss. Double that over and cut to a 1” length. Tie this in the middle on one side of the body.
11. Tie in the other 1” Barred Sexi Floss on the other side of the body.
12. Trim each side to 4 or 5 barred sections in length.
13. Take the thread to the front of the body, tie off and cut the thread. Restart the thread where the back part of the foam is tied down.
14. Repeat the same procedure for prepping and tying in the rear legs as in front. Tie in one side. 15. Then tie in the opposite side.
16. Trim the legs to length then whip finish and cut the thread.
17. Put a touch of glue at each point where the legs are tied down.
18. The finished Sandwich Cricket. The bright foam on the top allows the fly to be easily seen on the water.

Check out this video from Brian Flechsig last year on using beetles and crickets for trout!

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Mad River- Clean Sweep

Mad River "Clean Sweep"

Saturday, May 11th

10:00 a.m.

Birchbark Canoe Livery

Mad River Clean Sweep STILL SCHEDULED- Change of Plans

Brought to you by TU Madmen, Mad River Outfitters, Central Ohio Fly Fishers (COFF), Miami Valley Fly Fishers (MVFF) and Buckeye United Fly Fishers (BUFF)

Gather at 10 a.m. at Birchbark Canoe Livery- 1455 River Rd, Urbana, Ohio 43078

* Please bring work gloves
* Dress for the weather

BBQ to follow cleanup! Please RSVP Scott Smallwood, supersonicscoot@gmail.com

NEW- Due to river conditions, we will not be using watercraft for the clean up and we are discouraging individuals from using their own boats, rafts and other watercraft. Instead, we will be focusing efforts on cleaning up litter and trash at the bridges and surrounding areas.

Contact Scott Smallwood at 614-257-8044 or supersonicscoot@hotmail.com if you  have questions.

The River needs you! We hope that you can join us!

Mad River Outfitters/Midwest Fly Fishing Schools

Fly Shop, Fly Fishing Guides, Hosted Fly Fishing Travel, Schools, Classes and more!

813 Bethel Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214



Monday, May 6, 2019

New! G. Loomis IMX-Pro M Fly Rods

New! G. Loomis IMX-Pro Musky Fly Rods

You are the lord of the long-odds. Experienced. Focused. Packed with grit to grind.....and the G. Loomis IMX-Pro Musky rod is your weapon of choice. Featured here in the 9' 11wt version which is rated for 400-450 grains. Hottest Musky rods on the market today.

Nothing's easy about coaxing musky with a fly. With massive technical demands, the battle is downright physical. Beacasue your rotator cuff just isn't enough, IMX-PROm feature "all day" actions that ooze shoulder-saving sweetness. Mega-durable cloud cork top/bottom grips keep both hands busy long after everyone else is waming theirs back at the cabin. Partnered with professional guide and Elite Ambassador, Chris Willen, Loomis' motivation to forge the most advanced tools for modern musky angling match your intense drive for success on the water.

Conduit Core

Traditioinally, as the blank diameter increases, so does the total amount used. This was the only way of ensuring strength/durability in the bottom half of the rod. Conduit Core technology removed excess wraps of graphite and replaces them with a proprietary material that's of equal strength, but dramatially lighter in weight. Casters exert less energy to move the rod, increasing the total energy required to manipulate the line when casting, mending and animaing flies.

* High-modulus graphite construction
* Balanced swing weight + incredible durability
* Multi-Taper Design reinforces potential stress points within the blank while reducing unnecessary graphite material


* Chrome single-foot guides
* Chrome stripper guides (3 total for increased durability)
* Cloud Composite "Magnum Grip"
* Custom aluminum up-locking reel seat
* Tube and cloth rod bag
* Handcrafted in Woodland, Washington

The G. Loomis IMX-PRO Musky Fly Rods featured come in the 1190-4 and 1290-4 versions.

The 9' 11wt 4 piece Musky fly rod from G. Loomis is rated for 400-450 grains

The 9' 12wt 4 piece Musky fly rod from G. Loomis is rated for 500-550 grains. 

* Please remember, if you decide to "Make this an Outfit".....simply purchase a reel and a line and tell us which hand your retrieve the reel with. We'll load up the reel properly and the backing will be on us! Click the "Outfit" tab above for more details.

Mad River Outfitters/Midwest Fly Fishing Schools

Full-Line dealer for G. Loomis Fly Rods

Fly Shop, Fly Fishing Guides, Hosted Fly Fishing Travel, Schools, Classes and more!

813 Bethel Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214



Saturday, April 6, 2019

Fly Fishing Film Tour a HUGE Success!

The annual F3t, or Fly Fishing Film Tour was held here in Columbus back on Thursday, March 21st at Studio 35 Cinema here in Columbus.

Not only was it a ton of fun......but it was our best year ever!

Congrats again to the Central Ohio fly fishing community! Together we raised $6,860.00 for True North Veteran Support. We couldn't have done this without you....our friends and loyal supporters. 

Thanks again to the Central Ohio Fly Fishers and Madmen Chapter of TU for co-sponsoring this even with us. We appreciate your help and support.

Also a shout out to Studio 35 Cinema. You all really made us feel welcome and it seems that we have found a new home for the F3t in Columbus.

Be sure to check on our last Blog post for the list of folks and companies who donated raffle prizes as well. They also deserve our thanks and support!

Be sure to check out the great folks and great mission of True North Veteran Support- 

We'll see you next year!

Mad River Outfitters/Midwest Fly Fishing Schools

Fly Shop, Fly Fishing Guides, Hosted Fly Fishing Travel, Schools, Classes and more!

813 Bethel Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214



Monday, March 18, 2019

F3T Raffle Prizes and Donors

Thursday, March 21st 2019
Studio 35 Cinema
3055 Indianola Ave.
Columbus, Ohio 43202

Doors open at 5:00 p.m. and show starts at 7:00


* Bring some extra cash to buy Raffle tickets. Sure to be some great prizes to be had

Brought to you by:

Additional sponsors:

2019 Raffle Prizes/Tickets

Raffle Tickets will be $5.00 each or 5 for $20.00. We will be accepting cash, credit cards or checks. You will be able to place tickets into a seperate container for each Grand Raffle Prize individually. General Raffle will be picked from the table as numbers are called.

Over $5,000.00 worth of Grand Prizes for 2019!

Grand Prizes

1. SAGE Igniter 908-4 9' 8wt 4pc fly rod- $900.00- donated by rep Ben Hunting and Sage fly rods

2. Nautilus Custom XL Fly Reel- "Gold and Key Lime"- $550.00 donated by Nautilus Fly Reels

3. Simms G3 Waders (your size)- $549.95- donated by rep Tony Ferrie and Simms

4. TFO Fly Rod of Choice- up to $399.95- dontated by rep Ray Schmidt and TFO Fly Rods

5. Simms G4 Tactical Hip Pack- $149.95- donated by rep Tony Ferrie and Simms

6. Orvis Recon 7'11" 9wt 4pc fly rod- $449.00- donated by rep Park Burson and Orvis

7. FREE Family Dinner- Once a month for a year - Unlimited nutritional value- donated by Jeff Aufdencamp and Mama Mimis Pizza

8. Fishpond "20th Anniversary" Blue River Chest Pack- $99.95- donated by Fishpond

9. 9'3" 5wt 4pc custom Fly Rod by Semper Fly Rods- $315.00- donated by Tony Makris and Semper Fly Rods

10. $400.00 Gift Certificate from Semper Fly Rods- donated by Tony Makris and Semper Fly Rods

11. Costa Blackfin Sunglasses- Sunrise Silver Mirror-Large fit- $259.00- donated by Costa Sunglasses

12. RAM-CL- Custom Leather Fly Holster- Guide Model- $99.00- donated by Robert Mullenbach and his Custom Leatherworks

13. RAM-CL- Custom Leather Fly Holster- Guide Model- $99.00- donated by Robert Mullenbach and his Custom Leatherworks

14. Hatch Tempest Pliers- Blue- $350.00- donated by Hatch Outdoors

15. G. Loomis IMX Pro Streamer Rod- 9 7wt 4pc- $495.00- donated by Mad River Outfitters

16. $100.00 Mad River Outfitters Gift Certificate- donated by Mad River Outfitters

Standard Raffle Prizes

So far tons of hats, buffs, fly lines, stickers misc. and more. 

* These items will be on a table and picked first-come by the winners
We would like to thank the following for their generous donations:

Central Ohio Fly Fishers
Madmen Chapter of Trout Unlimited
Tony Makris- Semper Fly Rods
Robert Mullenbach- RAM-CL
Jeff Aufdencamp- Mama Mimis Pizza
Tony Ferrie- Hatch, Simms and G. Loomis

Ben Hunting- Sage and Fishpond
Park Burson- Orvis and Scientific Anglers
Ray Schmidt- TFO Fly Rods
Costa Sunglasses

* Add your name or organization to this list? Donations surely accepted

Tickets will be $5.00 each or 5 for $20.00 and we will be able to accept Cash, Check or Credit Cards at the show.

Majority of the  proceeds go to benefit our new friends at True North Veterans Support

True North is a new organization located in Delaware, Ohio that offers support for Veterans, First Responders, EMS, Fire, Dispatchers, their families and their comminities

A big part of what they do is rescue horses and offer an equine assisted PTS Therapy program as well as Greenhouse farming, Agriculture and Aquaculture to assist in healing and growing.

They are also offering fly tying and fly fishing classes which is where we will come in. Our efforts through the F3T should fund their classes for many years to come. It is an honor for us (with your support) to help out those who have helped us.

They will be attending the event and addressing the crowd before the show.

You can visit their website to learn more:

Mad River Outfitters/Midwest Fly Fishing Schools

Fly Shop, Fly Fishing Guides, Hosted Fly Fishing Travel, Schools, Classes and more!

813 Bethel Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214



Thursday, January 31, 2019

Fly Tying- Blane Chocklett's Feather Game Changer

Chocklett's Feather Game Changer

The “Game Changer” whether you are referring to the fly or its creator Blane Chocklett, the name is fitting.

In the world of fly tying, it is not very often something truly game changing comes around. When Blane first introduced the pattern 5-6 years ago, it was tied using a chenille/brush type material called Body Fur. Now the pattern is tied using a number of different natural and synthetic materials. In this step by step we will be tying a variation of the Feather Game Changer.

This particular version lends itself well to flies in the 4-6” range. This variation has become a staple for us over the past few years for Smallmouth, Stripers, Steelhead and even Bowfin. Once you have fished any version of the Game Changer it is hard to go back to any other fly as they are so much fun to tie an fish and they flat out get the job done!

Feather Game Changer Recipe:

Body: Articulated Fish Spines: 10mm and 15mm- Click Here
Middle Hook: Ahrex NS172 Gammerus #4- Click Here
Front Hook: Gamakatsu SL12S Short #1/0- Click Here
Tail: Whiting American American Saddle- white Click Here or Strung Marabou- white- Click Here
Body Material: Whiting American Hen Saddle- Click Here or Whiting Coq De Leon Hen Saddle- Click Here
Head: Contrasting color of the above mentioned feathers (optional)
Prop Material: Chocklett’s Filler Flash- pearl and gray- Click Here
Thread: UTC 140- white or GSP 100 denier- white- Click Here
Cements: SolarEz Bone Dry UV Resin- Click Here and Zap-A-Gap Brush On- Click Here or Hard as Hull- Click Here

Step 1: Insert 10mm Spine into vise. Lay down an even base of thread from the eye to as far back on the shank as possible so that you can maximize the amount of usable space on the already small platform.

Step 2: Tie in Filler Flash and palmer material forward with tight side by side wraps. Bring the material almost all the way forward, leaving roughly one eye width remaining from the actual eye of the shank. Secure and trim excess. 

Step 3: After tying off the Filler Flash tie in four saddle tips in total. You will want to tie these feathers in evenly around the shank. I find its easiest to tie in two feathers at the top each at a 45 degree angle and the same on the bottom. This will give you a tent like appearance or a “V” on both sides of the shank.

Step 4: Attach second 10mm spine to the first and insert into vise. Just as before you will want to start your thread right at the eye and wrap back as far on the shank as possible. You may find it helpful to brush on a little Zap to help give the thread traction. **You will want to bring your thread back far enough to leave just enough room in the loop of the shank to allow the previous shank to swing side to side without hanging up. Doing so will limit the amount of gap you have between sections, giving the fly the illusion of being one piece. 

Step 5: Cut away a few fibers of the Filler Flash exposing the core. This will allow for a very secure and clean tie in point. 

Step 6: Palmer Filler Flash forward to just behind the shanks eye and secure.

Step 7: Select three feathers from the top of the saddle. (The feathers from this part of the skin are the smallest and most narrow.) Marry all three feathers together by laying them evenly one on top of the other. Hold the tips in one hand and preen the fiber downward toward the base of the stem. Trim the excess material at the top of the feathers leaving a small tab. Using that tab tie in feathers with the concave side facing the tail of the fly. This will ensure all the fibers will flow backwards when palmering them forward. Wrap feathers forward covering up the remaining portion of the shank and tie off.

Step 8: Attach third 10mm spine and secure in the vise. At this point you are going to repeat everything in step 7.

Step 9: Secure Ahrex hook into vise. Secure thread just behind the eye of the hook and wrap thread back to about 1/3 the way down the bend of the hook then return thread back up so that it rests between the barb and the point of the hook. At this point attach rear portion of the fly to the hook using a fish spine with the eye cut off or using Senyo’s Intruder wire. If using wire make sure the loop is situated on top of and in line with the hook shank, leaving just enough of an opening so that the fly can swing freely but not be hindered in any way. Lay on a coationg on brush on super glue and lock down with very tight securing wraps up and down the hook shank. 

Step 10: Tie in Filler Flash and palmer forward to the halfway point on the fly and tie off.

Step 11: Just as before we are going to select three hen saddles. This time you will want to select them from a little further down the skin. This will ensure they are a little wider and larger which will help us start to form shape and taper in the fly. Palmer feathers forward all the way to the eye of the hook. Add glue and tie off.              

**From this point on in the fly each group of feathers should come from a little farther down on the skin at each stage of the fly moving forward. As stated above this will be how we form shape, taper and density into the fly, which is crucial to achieve the desired profile and swimming action**  

Step 12: Attach hook to the first 15mm Fish Spine. Secure thread behind the eye and wrap an even thread base to the rear of the shank. Tie in Filler Flash and make very dense side by side wraps up to the halfway point on the shank and tie off. Select the next group of feathers, tie in and palmer forward until you reach the eye of the shank. Whip finish and glue. 

Attach the second 15mm spine and repeat the same steps as with the previous 15mm spine.

Step 13: Attach 15mm spine to the front hook using the same technique used to attach the middle hook. 

Step 14: Tie in Filler Flash and palmer forward to about the half way point on the hook shank. Try to get as many wraps as possible in this step. Use as much tension as possible when wrapping the Flash forward. This will cause the material to stand off the hook shank as straight as possible maximizing its ability to prop the feathers up at a steeper angle as to increase profile and taper. 

Step 15: This next is totally optional but I wanted to include it in the step by step because I forgot to add this in on the video tutorial. In these two images you will see hen saddles or hackle tips being added in as pectoral fins. Although this step is not completely necessary I personally include them on all of my patterns. The most important benefit to this step is that it will be adding to the realism of the fly significantly. Because most all predatory fish view their prey first from below this will further sell your offering by showing the fish one of the more noticeable features on a fish. On a fly like this you are not really increasing the time or difficulty of the pattern by including them on there so why not?

Step 16: After tying in your pectoral fins to either side of the fly you will be ready for your last step. Now to complete the fly you will tie in and palmer feathers just as before but at this stage you will need to use two groups of three feathers in this portion for two reasons. First is to take up the extra space on the hook shank and secondly to add density to the head of the fly. A streamers ability to swim starts with the head of the fly. The diversion of water around the head of the fly is what starts the swimming action of the fly. The denser the head the greater diversion or deflection of water.

Wrapping Things Up: If you have not attempted tying any of the Game Changer style of flies before I highly encourage you to do so. Although it may not be as easy and quick to tie as a Clouser Minnow it’s effectiveness and durability combined with the fact that it is downright fun to fish should make for a compelling argument. There is a reason why this style of fly has taken the tying industry by storm it flat gets it done. 

If you think of the Game Changer as a platform and not just one specific way to tie a fly and with only one material the possibilities are endless. With all of the materials now available to us as fly tyers you are only limited to what you can conjure up in your head. In the coming months I will be doing a series of videos and step by steps highlighting just some of the many ways you can tie a Game Changer. If there is variation you would like to see done let us know and we will do our best to make it happen.

As always if you have any questions on this tutorial do not hesitate to call or email the shop. 

-Pat Kelly- January 2019

Watch the Video:

Mad River Outfitters/Midwest Fly Fishing Schools

Fly Shop, Fly Fishing Guides, Hosted Fly Fishing Travel, Schools, Classes and more!

813 Bethel Rd.
Columbus, Ohio 43214