|Natural Sculpin Muddler|
Still, it’s hard to beat the original Muddler Minnow, tied by Don Gapen, & I’d place Jack Gartside’s Sparrow right up there beside it as a sculpin imitation. Considering that most species of freshwater sculpin are two inches long or less at maturity, Gartside’s Sparrow, generally fished in smaller sizes than the Muddler, makes perfect sense. Both of these killing patterns have two things in common: both offer the classic, big-headed, sculpin profile, & both are constructed of natural materials that blend together when wet, mimicking the blotchy coloration & texture of the naturals.
If you’ve caught a natural & looked at it in hand, or if you’ve seen pictures, you might have noticed that the critter looks like primordial brown/olive camo ooze fashioned to an elongated teardrop shape, & other than the profile, the most outstanding characteristic, the dark barring on the body, usually three or four dark patches (& yes there are the large pectoral fins, but these are held close to the body when the sculpin is in motion). In designing the Hair & Hen Muddler I was looking for a version of about two & a half inches in length that, when wet, would closely imitate a natural in shape, movement & coloration. This one comes alive when wet, & worked very good for us this past season. I tie these in purple & chartreuse as well, & there are a lot of possibilities with dyed squirrel & kip tails. Works as a craw for smallmouth bass as well.
Hair & Hen Muddler
Hook: #2-#4 Mustad 3366-BR
Thread: black, brown, tan or olive UNI 6/0
Tailing: squirrel tail
Gills: red tinsel wound on the hook shank
Body: in order tied in, on top of the shank: olive calf tail; squirrel tail; olive calf tail; squirrel tail; olive calf tail; squirrel tail; olive calf tail, on this last one, a pinch on top & a pinch on both sides of the hook shank (this will support a flared head shape once the hackle is wound in – each hair clump is placed a bit forward (shorter) than the one preceding it, I use the color bars on the hair as a guide, stepping the hair clumps forward a bar at each step
Lateral Line: copper mylar flash, one strand, both sides
Head (Hackle): in order tied in: bronze mallard, gadwall flank or brahma hen, Coc de Leon is perfect if you have it; then work toward the eye with dyed olive grizzly hen (3 to 4 hackles) diminishing the size of the hackle slightly as you go forward ~ & finish