The Skip Morris Predator
Fly and Text by Joe Cornwall
Photography and Video Production by Jim Stuard
Skip Morris, originator of the Predator, had
this to say about the fly in the excellent The Art of Tying the
Bass Fly: “I developed the Morrisfoam Predator as a trout fly, and
it’s proved itself there. When I finally gave it a chance with
largemouth bass, it proved itself just as effective with them as it
had with the trout. It is fished on a sinking line – the line finds
the bottom while the fly (on an active retrieve) hovers just above the
lake bed.” Right away you can tell this is a special fly. How many
patterns do you know of that are tied from buoyant, floating materials
and then fished on a sinking line?
The Predator is more than a trout or bass fly.
It is an absolute addiction for panfish, especially large bluegills.
I recommend fishing this fly in the manner prescribed by its
originator; on a sinking line. While it is effective as a top-water
bug, there are better, more effective patterns for that application.
But on a sinking line, this is a monster! I fish the Predator from my
canoe on most area lakes and ponds. I like to use an 8 ½ foot 5
weight fly rod with a full sinking, density compensated line. I make
a long cast parallel to shore, then I put the rod in the holder and
grab for a second rod that is rigged with either a popper or
streamer. I let the Predator trail behind the slowly drifting canoe,
or sometimes I let it sit on the bottom while I’m anchored. The
buoyant fly will ride a foot or more off the bottom. It is an
outstanding imitation of a dragon fly nymph, a key food for stillwater
Keep an eye on the rod! Takes on this fly are
seldom subtle and you don’t want your fly rod heading over the gunnels
of the boat! The rubber legs are always in motion and the fly is
tossed about by the micro-currents in a very lifelike manner. White
bass, crappie and big bluegill find it absolutely irresistible. Use a
three to five foot length of 4lb test tippet material and tie the fly
on using a non-slip mono loop knot for maximum life-like action.
If you haven’t tried fishing a floating fly on a
sinking line, why not start this year. I’m sure you’ll be impressed
by the results. And if you find yourself on a pond full of trout,
remember that’s what this fly was designed for.
– Gamakatsu F14 Large Dry Fly Hook, size 6 to 12
Thread – Brown waxed (210 denier) – we use a larger thread to
keep from cutting the foam
– Deer body hair, color to match
Body – Squirrel fur dubbing
Shellback – Craft foam or furry foam, cut to a width not greater
than the hook gape
– Mono eyes, medium or large depending on hook size
– Continuation of shellback foam
Case – Continuation of shellback foam
Legs – Sili Legs or small diameter round rubber legs