The Versatile Lefty's Deceiver
by Captain Gene Quigley
Shore Catch Guide Service
or the saltwater fly fisherman, choosing a fly can sometimes become a challenging
task. Whether it's your first cast ever into the suds, or your thousandth,
an uncontrollable rush takes over as you begin to wonder what lies in the
deep blue waters ahead. The drag has been set, your knots tied and checked,
and you anxiously move to the oceans edge hoping to feel that o' so familiar
rip as the line quickly moves through your hands. The most important decision
the "long rodder" now faces is what fly to put on the end of the line?
Many times we are faced with deciding which pattern will get "the nod".
Unless we can clearly see what the prevalent bait is in the water at that
specific time, we are forced to choose a pattern in hopes that it will
match the prevalent forage.
During the saltwater fly fishing season in
the Northeast, we will most likely encounter more than one type of baitfish
in the suds. It is then when we must quickly determine the type and size
of the baits that are being fed upon by larger predators. Using a process
of elimination with a specific fly design should determine what the correct
size would be.
As the sport of saltwater fly-fishing continues to evolve,
more and more innovative fly patterns are being introduced to specifically
match one particular baitfish. Very few, however, can emulate a great number
of baitfish by using one basic design. The Deceiver, or "Lefty Deceiver",
is one of the few fly design's that can emulate many baitfish when tied
in three different sizes. I refer to the Deceiver as a "design" rather
than a "fly pattern" because of its great versatility in matching the baitfish
of the Northeast. Its originator, Lefty Kreh, is the forefather of saltwater
fly-fishing and one of the greatest authorities to date on the sport. He
has spent a lifetime traveling around the globe to fish, promote, and educating
people on our great sport.
Tying the Lefty Deceiver is fairly
easy. The first step is to tie a small amount of bucktail to the back portion
of the hook shank. Make sure you only secure the bucktail to the end of
the strait portion of the hook. This will help keep the fly from "fouling"
once completed. Next, tie on both sides of the hook, (again toward the
end of the strait portion on the hook shank) approximately two to four
saddle hackle feathers. Strip the feathers to your specific desired length.
This will depend on the particular baitfish category in which you intend
Smaller Deceivers, in the two to three inch range will best
resemble sand eel's, spearing (silversides), rainfish, and bay anchovies.
Medium sized Deceivers, in the four to six inch range, will best match
peanut bunker, mullet, and immature herring. Your "monster" Deceivers should
be tied seven to twelve inches long to resemble adult bunker and blue back
The next tying step in our process will be to wrap the remaining
portion of the hook shank with some type of pearl or silver flash material
like Bills Body Braid. This will give the center of the fly's body a deep,
flashy appearance. The under collar should be tied with bucktail
on the bottom side of the hook shank, just behind the hook eye. Use you
own judgment as to how thick and long you want the material to be. This
will depend on the size of the Deceiver and baitfish category you wish
Next (on top of the hook shank just behind the hook eye) tie
in a top collar of bucktail, then flashaboo, and finish with a few strands
of peacock hearl. Again, it is important to use your own judgment as to
the amount of materials you wish to use in order to match one of the three
different baitfish categories.
Finally, apply stick on eyes and epoxy head.
Color choices for the Lefty Deceiver are endless, however the most effective
choices I have found are all white, chartreuse over white, olive or blue
over white, yellow, and at night black.
When it comes time to hit the surf
it is essential that your fly box contain these three Lefty Deceivers.
By doing this, the smart angler will be able
to literally match all of the possible baitfish that may be present in
the water with just three flies.
first Deceiver should be approximately two
to three inches long and tied sparse. As discussed earlier, by tying this
fly small and sparse, it will resemble
the sand eel, spearing, rainfish, or bay
anchovy. The sand eel and spearing (silverside), are present in our waters
from April until December, and remain
the prevalent food of choice for feeding game
fish such as Stripers, Blue's, and False Albacore. Therefore, I always
start with the smaller version of the
Deceiver first, since these two baits are
the most regularly fed upon. Make sure you sufficiently cover all of the
possible water being fished by performing
a series of "fan" casts starting directly
in front of you, then, extending outward before changing to a bigger
Remember to always approach
the water you will be fishing carefully. On
many instances Stripers and other game fish will be feeding in the wash
and along the jetties
edge. If you have not seen any results with the smaller Deceiver
after fully covering the area, it is time to switch to a larger
The next pattern of choice is a Deceiver
tied in the four to six inch range,
and dressed thicker and broader. Should the fish be feeding on peanut
bunker, mullet, immature herring, or
baby snapper blues, this fly will do the trick.
Again, perform a series of outward "fan" casts covering the water
thoroughly. Finicky fish could very
well have passed up the smaller Deceiver if
they are targeting a larger baitfish.
When it comes time to switch
to the "monster" Deceiver
I strongly recommend using a sinking line like the Teeny TS
250 or Teeny XD 300. These Teeny lines
are very effective in loading the rod quickly
and can cast larger flies with ease. The will also get the fly down
deep where larger fish generally hold.
Most likely, larger fish in the fifteen-pound
plus range will be the only ones with enough "shoulders" to take
a fly of this proportion.
A word to
the wise however, don't be fooled by the "large
fly, large fish" ideology. I've seen many instances where larger
Bass and Blues were taken
on small patterns. Last June, while fishing on Martha's Vineyard, my good
friend and fishing companion; Tom McGinely,
hooked and landed a forty-inch striper on a one and a half inch
black sand eel pattern.
important to remember that fish target specific baitfish
depending on what is the most prevalent at that particular time of
year. "Matching the hatch" and
presentation are the keys to success. If you cover
the water effectively with these three fly designs and are still not
rewarded with a strike, chances are
there are no fish in that area and it is a good
time to try a new location. Always remember to fish your fly with
confidence, try a different retrieval
or technique! You never know what will work
until you try. I'm sure my friend Tom did not expect to land a forty inch
cow when he tied on a fly the size of
a toothpick! Happy Tying!
Lefty's Deceiver Pattern
Hook: Teimpco 800S Size 4 to 4/0
Thread: Danville's Clear Monocord
Tail: White Saddle Hackles over White
Body: Pearl Bills Body Braid
Top Collar: Peacock Hearl over Pearl
Flashaboo over White Bucktail
Bottom Collar: White Bucktail
Copyright © 1999 - 2013 Gene Quigley, All Rights Reserved