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Adventures in Fly Tying... May 2010

The Fatal Attraction Baby Pumpkinseed
Fly and Text by Joe Cornwall
Video Production by Jim Stuard


Dan Blanton is a master angler with an analytic mind and a deeply creative streak.  His work in promoting West Coast saltwater fisheries is so ingrained into the sport as it's practiced today that it might be considered part of the very core  Blanton is also an avid sweetwater guy, and he's no stranger to bass fishing.  The Fatal Attraction is one of his most effective patterns.  Says Blanton; "I guess you might say that my Fatal Attraction series is my answer to a hardware angler's spinner, the likes of a Rooster Tail or a Martin Panther, which are deadly on all manner of finny critters when in the hands of a talented spin-fisher. Trout and bass are drawn from great distances by the tantalizing, flashing, humming blades of these spinners; and the first thing any lure must do before a fish will eat it, is to get the critter's attention. The second thing the moniker must do, is to dupe the fish into perceiving it as the genuine item - meal time! The Fatal Attraction fills both of these requirements, and then some!"

The Fatal Attraction was originally tied as a fry imitation for an Alaskan outing.  The fly itself was inspired by the Comet, a fly that was first tied for Northern California steelhead and salmon waters by Virgil Sullivan.  Blanton tells the story of the Fatal Attraction on the Outdoors Network web page, and the fly was featured in the premiere issue of Fly Tyer magazine back in 1995.  Blanton ties the fly in nine different color variations, including two that are designed to mimic small bluegill sunfish, a favored food of big bass.  I first came upon the Baby Sunfish version of the Fatal Attraction on Ward Bean's website, Warm Water Fly Tyer.  For me it was a case of love at first sight!

I fish the Fatal Attraction in several of Blanton's color combinations, including Firetiger, Baby Sunfish, and Natural.  Of these, the Baby Pumpkinseed is my favorite.  From late June or early July, when a solid summer pattern sets in and the water warms to the mid 70's, until late September when autumn's cooling weather patterns dial water levels and color back up, this is a super effective choice.  From time to time I'll see small pods of smallmouth cruising in the tails of pools or along the bank.  When I see that behavior I like to throw a Fatal Attraction 2 or 3 feet in front of the pod and fish it with short, sharp strips of 4 to 8-inches, mimicking the way a sunfish might swim.  The result is typically immediate and violent. 

Fish the Fatal Attraction on an intermediate fly line with a fluorocarbon leader to enhance it's sink rate. This isn't a fly I fish on the bottom, but I definitely want the presentation to be 2 to 3-feet deep if the water allows.  And under the clear water conditions of summer, bass can be as spooky as brown trout.  An intermediate line eliminates the shadows cast by the turbulence of a floating fly line on the surface.  In particular I like a ghost tip or clear intermediate fly line. 

And don't discount this pattern for lakes and ponds.  Largemouth bass, pickerel and pike all dine on sunfish on something like a regular basis.  In fact, big bull bluegills will often smack a Fatal Attraction during and immediately after the spawn.  I believe the take the fly to be an intruder and try to kill it or drive it off.  I can't be sure why an 8" bluegill would strike a 2" fly, but they do and this is the pattern that angers them most.


Hook: Mustad 9672 or similar 3xl streamer hook, size 4, 6 and 8.
Thread: Olive, green or peacock Danville 140 denier, 6/0.

Tail:  Flashabou color 6943 "Firetiger"

Body: Continuation of the tail material

Hackle: Light greenish olive hen hackle followed by orange hen hackle

Wing: Layered with pearl Crystal flash on bottom, green bucktail, peacock Crystal flash and topped with 8 peacock herls


The correct color for the Flashabou is Holographic 6943 and it's called "Firetiger".  Evidently the stamping on my package was incomplete and I read the partial "3" as a "7" - mea culpa.  This is a new color from Hedron and it is available through most dealers. Sorry about the confusion!

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Mount the hook in the vise and lay down a smooth thread base.  Using .010 lead wire for a size 8 and .020 lead wire for a size 4 hook, wrap about 5 to 7 turns just in front of the mid-point of the hook.

Build a neat thread ramp in front and behind the lead to provide a firm, full base for the body.

This particular version of the Fatal Attraction uses #6947 Flashabou, which features a combination of chartreuse, orange and copper colors in a rainbow pattern.  You might also try #6927, which is labeled as "perch"

Double ten strands over the tying thread just behind the lead wire and wrap back to a point directly over the barb of the hook.  The tail should be as long as the hook.  Fold the long tags back and wrap over them. The tags will become the body material.

Advance the thread to the three-quarters point of the hook, leaving one quarter of the shank open for the hackle collar and wing. Twist and wrap a body of Flashabou.

Tie in and fold a green or light apple green hen hackle.  Wrap forward three turns.

Tie in and fold an orange hen hackle.  Wrap forward three turns.  You can wrap the green and orange together, but you'll get a different effect.  I like the colors on this fly segregated, but I'm sure the fish don't have a strong opinion!

Tie in the lower wing, Crystal Flash in pearl is great for this fly.

Tie in a sparse bunch of green bucktail.  The underwing and bucktail should extend to the half-point of the tail at most.

Tie in green, peacock or olive crystal flash for the upper portion of the wing.  I like the peacock version best.

Tie in 8 to 10 peacock herls as a topping for the wing.

Build a neat thread head and coat with Sally Hansen's.

A school of pumpkinseeds!




Tight lines and pumkinseed waters...

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