FoTM July 2019

Reece’s Masked Bandit

Hook:  Size #4 Gamakatsu Octopus hook.Tying thread:   6/0 to match color of squirrel. Flash:  Hairline Gold Ripple Ice Fiber.Tail/Wing:  Pine Squirrel Zonker (Olive, Black, Orange & Natural).Collar:  Pine Squirrel Zonker.Head:  4mm Flymen Fish Mask, 4mm Living Eyes.
In the age of big and gaudy articulated streamers, this pattern is an alternative to try and represent smaller forage fish in rivers & streams.  It was developed by Mr. Bob Reece of Wyoming.  He believes that this pattern is very effective because of its tapered head and large eyes.  These are predominant features of shiners, chubs, & dace.  I love fishing small streamers.  This is one of my go to patterns that I’ve found to be very productive.  You can tie it in a variety of colors.  Olive is my preferred color. 
Begin by laying a base of thread from the hook eye to where it hangs evenly with the hook point.  Add a few drops of adhesive and tie in a clump of Gold Ripple Ice Fiber.  After is it is tied in, cut it to approximately 2 hook shank lengths.  Cut it on a 45 degree diagonal from right to left.  Next, tie in your squirrel zonker strip.  It should be approximately 2 ½ times the length of the hook shank.  It is tied in only by the tip of the strip.  Next, tie in a second strip of squirrel zonker to be used as a collar.  Before you tie it in, clip the tip at a 45 degree angle.  That will provide you with an easier tie in point and make wrapping your collar easier.  Add a few more drops of adhesive and wrap your zonker forward to create your collar. One or two wraps is all that is needed. Tie off your zonker collar, whip finish, and clip off your thread.  You are now ready to place your fish mask and eyes onto the fly.  The fly designer recommends gluing and affixing the eyes on the mask prior to putting it on the hook shank.  I use Fusion glue to cement the eyes in place, then use a little light activated resin on them, with a final coat of ‘Tough as Nails’ for added durability.  Add some adhesive on the hook shank behind the eye prior to gluing in the mask.  When you place the mask on the hook shank, leave room in front of it for additional thread wraps to ensure it is held in place.  After you build up wraps in front of the mask, clip and whip finish it off.  Apply additional adhesive to the wraps.