Streamer fishing, whether for trout or otherwise, has been an ever evolving game. When it was being experimented with and boundaries pushed decades ago there simply was not the fly line technology that we have today, so many of the fly designs revolved around weight if you wanted to get a fly to depth. Even in the mid-90s when the boys in northern Michigan were quickly ramping up the streamer game a sinking line was generally homemade and consisted of a floater with a length of T-Line attached. Since then we have gone to sink tip lines and finally full sinking lines in every grain weight and taper imaginable. These advances have allowed us to greatly diversify how we present a fly, and therefore affected our fly design as well. With the tremendous advances in sinking fly lines we are able to get a good size fly down without having to weight the fly.
I love to streamer fish and to teach others to do the same. That said, getting someone new to the game to cast both a sinking line and a weighted fly can be dangerous both to any person in range as well as your rod. In my opinion it is far easier to teach presentation with a weighted line with an unweighted fly. In all but the fastest flows it is also my favorite way to fish as the fly can be made to act far more naturally when it is not weighted to fall like a jig on any pause in the retrieve. With the right line control you can get the fly to depth and really swim it back in any fashion you like, even allowing for some suspension in the water column.
The Red Rocket was one of the first articulated flies that I designed to be unweighted and take full advantage of the lines grain weight alone to get to depth. It primarily consists of three of the fishiest natural materials around (rabbit, schlappen, and marabou) that each move in a different way at different retrieve rates so that there is always some movement inherent to the fly. It has a thicker head of Senyo Laser Dub which displaces a lot of water; as water flows around that head and comes crashing back to the fly it forces the back to kick with even the slightest amount of current. The flash in the body of the fly is limited to some internal chenille, but the oversized eye and flash in the Laser Dub sparkle each time the fly folds and moves in the water. The fly soaks up and holds only a small amount of water so on the first false cast it sheds most water and is easy to then cast with great accuracy.
Thread: UTC140 denier
Hook: Gamagatsu B10S size 1 and 2
Tail: Rabbit Strip
Body2: Cactus Chenille
Cheeks: Grizzly Marabou
Head: Senyo Laser Dub
Eyes: 3D Epoxy, Super Pearl
1. With your Gamagatsu B10S size 2 in the vise get your thread started and wrapped to the back of the hook shank. Once at the rear tie in point, located above the midpoint of the hook spear, tie in 4‐6 strands of Magnum Flashabou. Tie in the Flashabou by it’s middle with a few tight wraps then fold it over itself and complete wrapping it down.
2. Tie in the rabbit strip off the back of the hook from the rear tie in point. The strip should hand off the back about an inch and a half or so. Once it is securely in place trim the Flashabou so that it sticks out just a bit past the rabbit.
3. At the rear tie in point you now attach a single schlappen feather by the tip and then the cactus chenille with a few tight wraps each, then advance the thread forward to the eye.
4. Wrap the cactus chenille forward to form the underbody of the fly and then palmer the schlappen forward and tie it off. Be careful as you wrap forward not to trap fibers down to the body.
5. Just behind the eye finish the back of the fly by tying in a marabou veil. The marabou tips should extend past the schlappen and about half way down the rabbit strip.
6. Place the Gamagatsu B10S size 1 hook in the vise and wrap the shank with lead. Attach the rear hook using 19 strand .018” Beadalon threaded through the eye with two size E beads as spacers. Tightly wrap edge to edge forward and back to lock the connection in place.
7. Using another 6‐10 strands of Magnum Flashabou you will form a skirt off the baack of the front hook to add internal flash and help cover the junction. Tie them in by the middle on one side of the hook shank and then fold them back over themself and tie them off. They should extend about to the back of the schlappen on the rear hook.
8. Mirror Step 3, at the rear tie in point you now attach a single schlappen feather by the tip and then the cactus chenille with a few tight wraps each, then advance the thread forward to the eye.
9. Mirror Step 4, wrap the cactus chenille forward to form the underbody of the fly and then palmer the schlappen forward and tie it off. You should leave about a quarter to a third of an inch behind the eye for the remaining steps.
10. Mirror Step 5 and tie in a marabou veil. The marabou tips should extend past the schlappen and extend over the junction point.
11. Tie in two rubber legs so they come down each side of the hook shank and trim them so they extend about to the bend of the front hook.
12. Over the tie in point for the legs you will add the Grizzly Marabou cheeks. The cheeks will extend about the length of the hook shank, so just short of the rubber legs.
13. Tie in a thick head of Senyo Laser Dub. You will need to stroke the fibers so they are mostly going the same direction, slide the clump over the eye of the hook, a few wraps in the middle, then fold it back over itself and tie off behind the eye.
14. After a secure whip finish remove the thread and finish the fly by adding eyes to each side using Loctite gel. Make sure to hold the eyes in place until you feel them getting warm, which ensures they are securely bonded and will not fall off.