The Atomic Poodle – a night fly

In the dark

Fly fishing at night produces fish. It always has and always will. However I have found that, for me anyway, that as far as fly fishing goes it is without consistency.

In an effort to tie a fly that ups catch numbers I firstly looked at all those triggers that weren’t visually based – what helps make a fly more ‘edible’ in low light or murky water? Bulk – its ability to ‘push water’ was at the top of the list, and sound (a rattle or similar) were the only two I could think of that didn’t rely in some way on what the fish sees.

A fly being used at night is mainly reliant on a single trigger – the vibrations it sends through the water via bulk and rattle. I wanted to bring back vision to picture.

So how to increase the visual stimulation on the fly? In comes the rock and surf community. It has been standard practice for a long time for the guys to put a glow stick into their baits when fishing at night. They seem to make a real cocktail of a glow stick and pilchard wrapped in squid. A bit messy for me but a lesson was asking to be learned. Plus the guys I’ve spoken to really feel that the baits that had the glow sticks had a definitely higher hookup percentage.

So it was to the drawing board. First challenge was to find a way in which to not have the glow stick as permanent fixture – it seemed a waste tying a big fly for it to last only one night. Eventually some creative thought and tying using a glowstick clip or light holder and I had a means to replace spent glow sticks.  The rest was simple; a standard brush fly tied around the clip and we were A-for-away.

The mount for the glow stick also doubles as a mount for a rattle for those extra vibrations during day light fishing. Unfortunately glass rattles break fairly easily but I have just heard that brass and plastic models are available at some fly shops.

TESTING: The first outing was brief and more to test the castablity of the fly. It was a little heavy  but I was still throwing almost a whole line on my #9.

The next night I waited until the tide turned and walked to a deep area know simply as the “big hole” and got fishing. It was slow going and I was on the verge of heading back to the boathouse for a beer when a solid hit got my blood up. A few minutes later another good knock removed the the second glow stick from the fly. I had doubled up on the sticks using a tight fitting piece of plastic tube provided with the glow sticks. I flogged the water for another full hour but no more joy. The weather didn’t play ball for the rest of the week and I found that a whisky in a dry boat house held more appeal than casting in the middle of the night in the rain.

I am confident that with more time, tweeking and flogging of the brine I’ll see some results.

The next test site will be on Farquhar Island during the first week of March.  🙂

Cheap and simple light holders, available at all good (and not so good) tackle shops.
Cheap and simple light holders, available at all good (and not so good) tackle shops.
After some chopping and trimming they're ready for application.
After some chopping and trimming they’re ready for application.
Lots of superglue and some silk gets it going. It can be left at this point and the actual fly tying can begin.
Lots of superglue and some silk gets it going. It can be left at this point and the actual fly tying can begin.
However a "cap" keeps the bottom light holder open and makes insertion of the glow far easier.
However a “cap” keeps the bottom light holder open and makes insertion of the glow far easier.
With glow stick. Note: the more silk you use, the less light eminates from it. Colour also influences the light.
With glow stick. Note: the more silk you use, the less light eminates from it. Colour also influences the light.
Upskirts, the light holders after the fly has been tied.
Upskirts, the light holders after the fly has been tied.
The Black Atomic Poodle
The Black Atomic Poodle
In the dark
In the dark
The Atomic Poodle
The Atomic Poodle
All lit up.
All lit up.

2 thoughts on “The Atomic Poodle – a night fly”

  1. David says:

    Fred, did you ever continue with this experiment and if so what was the verdict? Worth pursuing?

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