Every year or so a new fly invades the fly fishing world, busting our notions of fly tying with new, controversial materials. Generally, if someone discovers a new pattern that uses synthetic material, requires only a few simple steps to tie, and out-fishes other flies, the fly fishing world will erupt with controversy calling the new creation a gimmick, a cheat, a condescending curse on the pristine culture of fly fishing… whatever, you close-minded fly freaks! Fly fishing means different things to different people; we don’t all have to care about imitating delicate insects and sticking to traditional methods. Some people just want to feel the fight of a fish on a fly rod. I’m not afraid to tie and fish flies that the traditionalist snobs scoff at, and sometimes I try to improve on these simple patterns, which is what I did when I created the Stoned Mop Jig. The San Juan Worm, Green Weenie, Glo Bug, The Squirmy Wormy, and of course the Mop Fly – all these flies hit the scene with an uproar from the fly fishing community.
Personally, I have tied and used the mop in chartreuse, tan, and dark brown, and this fly is definitely a fish catcher! All you have to do is find some of the material from a mop, bath rug, dry board eraser, or car buffer that uses this wiggly material. Cut off a piece of material, tie it on a hook, and fish it deep with some weight. The fat, squishy, wiggly mop comes alive in the water and is the easiest, most effective cranefly larva imitation I have ever tied!
Clearly, the mop fly owes its success to this awesome mop material. There’s really no other materials used, so the magic must be in the mop! I just had to find a way to incorporate this stuff in a different, more interesting pattern – one that imitates something more than a fat lazy larva, one that the fly-fishermen can use free of shame. At the time, I was working on some big Jiggy Bugs for steelhead and had a request for some articulated stonefly nymphs. I don’t really like the look of these articulated nymphs with the big gap between the 2 segments, so I decided not to tie any. Then a light bulb when off; this mop material would make an awesome extended body with the same wiggle that you get from articulation. So, by adding some buggy dubbing, rubber legs, and tails, I came up with the Stoned Mop Jig. It’s still a mop, but a mop that has been “stoned” – turned into a stonefly.
Recipe for the black Stoned Mop Jig:
Hook: Size 10 competition jig hook. I like the hooks from Rip Lips Fishing.
Bead: 4.0 mm or 4.5 mm black slotted tungsten bead
Thread: 6/0 black
Underbody: .015 lead wire
Abdomen: Black mop material. If you can’t find black, use a black sharpie.
Tails: Black goose biots attached with UV flex resin.
Thorax: Black UV2 nymph dubbing from Spirit River
Legs: 2 pairs of black Daddy Log Legs on each side of the thorax.
Antenae: Black goose biots
Here’s how I tie it:
Step1: Slide a tungsten slotted bead onto a size 10 wide gap jig hook. Wrap .015 lead wire up the shank then back down tot he hook point.
Step 2: Build a thread dam behind the lead wire to hold it tight to the bead. Then cover the lead with thread. Bring the thread to the bend.
Step 3: Secure the mop at the bend by unraveling about a 1/2” of the cut end of the mop. The mop is made from 2 pieces of material twisted tightly together. When you unravel the mop, you can attach it to the hook by securing the 2 unraveled sections to the sides of the shank. This adds width to the body, which needs to be built up to match the fat girth of the mop material used for the extended body. Notice how far down the bend the mop material is tied in.
Step 4: Use a black sharpie to color the mop material black. If you have a source for black mops, let me know!
Step 5: Build up the body and thorax on the hook shank with lots of buggy dubbing. You really need to load on the dubbing so that this portion of the fly matches the girth of the mop.
Step 5: Tie in 2 sets of legs on each side. Tie the first set in right at the bend where you tied in the mop. Tie the second set of legs in about 1/4” behind the bead. Cover the thread wraps that hold the legs in place with more dubbing. Bring your thread to behind the bead head.
Step 6: (optional wing case): If you’ve been reading my articles, you know that I’m skeptical about the need for a wing case. In fact, I have evidence that flies might be more effective without them. Still, wing cases look nice. First, cut down as much dubbing and bulk away from the top of the fly between the hook point and the fly’s thorax. Remember, the fly rides upside down, so the top of the fly is the underside of the hook. Cutting away the bulk is an important step for maintaining sufficient hook gap.
Step 7: Cut 2 black goose biots from the stem. These will be the antennae. Bring the thread to behind the bead. Tie 1 to each side of the fly right behind the bead. Cover thread with more dubbing.
Step 8: Cut 2 black goose boits to the appropriate tail length. Dab the butt ends in UV flex resin, push them in place as stonefly tails, then hit them with a UV light. Now that the tails are glued in place, use a bodkin to apply more resin to make sure they won’t rip off. That’s it – The Stoned Mop Jig!