Thursday, January 6, 2011

Sculpin Steve

what are you looking at? (obvious tag line for any streamer with big eyes).
I signed up for a "big trout streamer" swap of at yesterday that my buddy Mike is hosting, and decided that I will tie one of my all time favorite streamers, Sculpin Steve.  I am not a believer in the Kelly Galloup type of streamer fishing, and rather than have a light fly on a heavy line I much prefer a heavy fly on a floating line and about 9-10' leader.  I do spend about 98% of my time fishing streamers out of a drift boat, so this has a lot to do with how I like my set up.  Rather than the streamer twitching in a Galloup rig that comes from the density differences between fly and line along with line manipulation the heavy fly light line technique comes from more line and rod tip manipulation.  This set up was introduced to me by my old boss Jack Mitchell, and a have continued to tinker with it over the years.  The benefit of a heavy fly on a long leader is that it can be moved quickly, keeping the fly up on the surface, but can also slowed way down for more of a nymphy (technical term) presentation.  The long leader allows for a slow  tight line presentation that I can not get as well when fishing the Galloup style, and it also sinks quicker than waiting for a sink tip.
Sculpin Steve eater from 2004.

Sculpin Steve was created through the melding of several different patterns during my second and third years guiding on the Yakima, and continues to adapt especially now that I live in brown trout country and can see what really good streamer fishing is on a regular basis.  The name came from a fishing day on the upper Yakima and an old friend of mine and I came up with it as an honor to Scuba Steve, a character in Adam Sandler's movie Big Daddy.  Initially my streamers were tied on a size 4 streamer hook, had a narrow body and no rubber legs.  Below is a picture of "Kyle's Egg Sucking Sculpin," a fly one of my friends at the time swore by, and was my inspiration for tying bigger streamers.  My first big streamers were dumbed down versions of this fly with just marabou, rabbit and polar chenille and tied upside right.
The Inspiration.
After a while, and hanging with some other good streamer fisherman, namely an old yakima guide named Greg Chang, I added more material and got sculpin steve to where I fish it still today.  I also started tying the fly inverted so that with eyes on top of the hook it would ride hook point up and avoid snagging.  Now I will often tie an articulated version or the "Big Bird" version that Chang and I came up with, but the original still gets the job done for me on a regular basis.  I am always a fan of simple patterns, and with only 4 materials Steve is hard to beat.

Hook:  #2 Streamer hook, longer is better.
Eyes:  Large Gold Eyes
Tail: Olive Marabou
Body: Olive Polar Chenille
Legs:  Flat Rubber Legs, "Pumpkin" colored
Back:  Olive barred magnum bunny strip.


  1. Awesome. Glad I'm in that swap too and between now and its arrival I'm going to tie up a few Sculpin Steves in varied colors for myself.

  2. looks great joe! i think i still have the one you gave me the other summer. reading your post i now know what i'm not going to tie so i'm glad you posted.

  3. I tied a "nymphier" version of this last year, worked really well on the Big HOle when it was up.

  4. I am torn when it comes to the light line-heavy line debate. I have found success with both styles and I see the merits of both. Sculpin Steve looks mighty fishy. I would be interested in seeing what the "Big Bird" version looks like. Me likes the articulation.

  5. I'll wrap up a big bird soon. I just like the heavy streamer technique because I'm pretty much always fishing out of a boat, were I on foot more it might be different.


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