Murray’s Sculpin Marauder Blog- Murray’s Fly Shop
When I was a kid growing up on the North Fork, I seined spring minnows to use for smallmouth baits. When I started fishing the Yellowstone River in the seventies, Dan Bailey handed me some Dark Spruce flies to use. He said they matched the Bull Head Minnows in the river which the large browns fed on. Later we all got smarter and cleaned up our vocabularies. We now call these bottom-hugging minnows sculpins.
I have designed this new sculpin using a tying style and material which enables us to produce two of the natural minnow-actions in the stream. It will produce a pulsating action when stripped sharply. It will produce a breathing action when retrieved slowly. Most of the real sculpin minnows in the rivers I fish are a greenish shade so I have matched these.
The riffles and the cobblestone streambottom for two hundred feet downstream of them are the homes of these minnows. An effective technique for both smallmouth bass and trout in large stream is to wade into the river right where the riffle empty into the main pool.
The first cast is across stream forty feet. After the sculpin sinks deeply, strip it six inches every ten seconds to swim it right along the streambottom until it is within twenty feet of you.
Successive casts are made five feet longer until you are casting as far as you are comfortable using the same retrieve. By wading downstream and pausing every ten feet to repeat this technique, you will effectively show your sculpin to all of the large fish before you.
I feel it is important to swim my sculpin right along the streambottom. In order to achieve this I carry three different fly lines on reel spools in my vest. These are a floating line, a sink tip III line and a fasting sinking head line. My choice as to which one to use for the water before me depends both on the speed of the current and the depth of the water.