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Fishing with Mike O'Brien

by Mike O'Brien
Clean Up With Mop Fly

Competitive fly anglers kept it under their hats. Professional fly-fishing guides kept it close to their vests. But as it goes in fishing, most secrets leak out. And so it was a few years back with the Mop Fly.
The Mop Fly is reported to have been invented almost ten years ago by Rivers Edge Outfitters (Cherokee, North Carolina) and Great Smoky Mountains National Park expert, Jim Estes. It gained much of its fame when Lance Egan supposedly won the last National Fly Fishing Championship (NFFC) in large part due to the Mop Fly. This rumor generated great interest among anglers. The fact is, Egan did win the NFFC, but the Mop Fly was only one of several flies he used to best the competition. Egan said, “I narrowly won and the Mop Fly wasn’t even close to my most productive fly.” Still, due to its fish-catching effectiveness, anglers have made a place for it in their fly box.
The Mop Fly is a quick and easy fly to tie. It is constructed from non-traditional tying material, a trend that has become very popular over the last decade or so. The fly is made from the finger of a microfiber dust or wash mop. These mops are available just about everywhere — the “Mart” stores, automotive stores, even grocery stores. Many fly shops now offer the mop fingers, as well as finished flies. The fly has a better look when finished off with a dubbing head.
Detractors will consider the Mop Fly a ‘trash fly’ and refuse to use it. They put it in a class with the San Juan Worm, Squirmy Worm, and Green Weenie, among others. I’m not one of them. Over the several years I’ve used the pattern it has performed admirably. It has both imitative and attractor qualities. When wet, the fibers of the finger, and the finger itself, move. Perhaps it is taken for some luscious aquatic larva (the cream or tan color might very well imitate a crane fly larva). In either case, the Mop Fly has ‘the look’ that trout can’t seem to resist. The fly is usually tied with a bead head and/or extra weight built in. This makes it sink quickly and hug the bottom during its drift — both positive qualities.
I have tied and tried the Mop Fly in many different colors. Some of these colors are tan, cream, pink, white, olive (dark and light), gray (different shades), black, chartreuse green, blue, and yellow. I have had especially good success with cream, tan, white, chartreuse, and dark gray (hellgrammite or fish fly larva-?).
Is the Mop Fly that secret fly that always catches fish. NO! But it works enough of the time, and at times when nothing else seems to be producing, to warrant a place in your fly box. Keep an open mind. You might just clean up with the Mop Fly.


 
 
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