The Baby Sculpin is a continuing evolution of a video I posted a while back in which I used Meyer’s Mini Leech as a starting point to create a small sculpin pattern. This is the “production” version for 2020, tied with a tungsten bead on a jig hook to reduce hangups. Small dead-drifted sculpins are excellent patterns for larger browns, both on summer float trips and in the fall when the browns are sitting in deep runs preparing for the spawn. Fish this one under an indicator from a drift boat or when fishing long, deep runs on foot, or Euro-style in pocket water.
Hook: 2xl jig nymph, #8-12. Alternately, use a scud hook if you don’t need the fly to ride hook-up.
Bead: Slotted tungsten to match hook size and to match or contrast overall body color. Here, black nickel 5/32-inch. If tying on a scud hook, use a standard brass or tungsten bead.
Weight (Optional): .015 lead or lead-free wire, just a few turns to hold the bead in place.
Thread #1 (Jig Versions Only): Clear monofilament tying thread. Use Thread #2 for the entire fly if tying on a scud hook.
Body Bump: Australian possum or other coarse nymph dubbing. Good colors are olive, brown, black, antique gold, and rust. Here, olive. Omit on scud hook versions.
Legs: 3-5 small Sexi-Floss or similar barred spandex legs. Choose a sculpin-esque color from tan to olive. Here, amber.
Belly/Flash: Pearl-gold Ice Wing Fiber or similar. Angel Hair can substitute.
Thread #2: To match overall body color. Here, olive-dun Uni 8/0.
Wing: Pine squirrel strip. Good colors are gold, tan, brown, olive, and black.
Collar (Optional) and Head: Same dubbing as “body bump,” tied using a dubbing loop.
Tying Note: If you’re tying this on a scud hook, tie in the legs as shown here, then tie in flash above and below the hook to shield the leg tie-in point and to hide the hook shank. Then tie the wing above the hook so it hangs free as on a Mayer’s Mini Leech. Then dub the head as standard. This version is much faster to tie but more snag-prone. As such, I usually use it as a dropper nymph in #12 hanging from a huge dry fly such as a Chubby Chernobyl, rather than fishing it deep.