Feenstra's Bender

Steelhead Flies, Swing Flies -

Feenstra's Bender

This is an easy Sculpin pattern from our good friend Kevin Feenstra. It works great for Winter steelhead in Michigan and the Great Lakes. 

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Thread: 100 Denier Gel Spun, 3/0 Uni works fine too. (+)
Shank: 40mm Senyo Shank (+)
Wire: 20lb Fireline or Senyo's Intruder Wire (+)
Eyes: Gold Bead Chain Eyes Medium (+)
Hook: Gamakatusu Octopus sz 2 (+)
or Owner Stinger sz 2 (+)
Body: Olive Copper UV Polar Chenille (+)
Wing: Grizzly Hen Feather (+)
Flash: Speckled Copper Flashabou (+)
Head: Ice Dub Peacock Eye (+)


Start with a thread base, making sure to firmly close the gaps on the shank.

Cut a piece of intruder wire or fireline roughly 8" long. Fold it in half, and tie it off so the loop hangs off the back. This is where the hook will eventually go. The loop off the back should be slightly shorter than the shank length. 

Cover the wire with thread, using tight wraps so this won't pull out when a fish grabs. The excess should run up through the bottom of the eye, folded back, then covered with thread again. This makes it much more secure. Cut the excess out.

About a quarter of the way up the shank, tie in a piece of UV polar chenille.

Wrap it forward about 10 times. Tie it off. 

Once you're up there, tie in a quad set of bead chain eyes, right behind the loop of the shank. 

Go back to the tie in point of the polar chenille, and tie down your first grizzly hen feather. Should extend past the tip of the wire loop just slightly. 

Next, tie in 3 strands of speckled copper flashabou. Fold the front portion backward, so you end up with 6 strands running back. 

Now tie in another short piece of polar chenille. Wrap it only 3 times, just to fill the fly a little bit more. Cut the excess.

Next tie in your second wing feather. Should run right over top the first one, about the same length. 

Now for the ice dub. Starting on the topside, tie in a pretty decent chunk right behind the eyes.

Then do the same on the bottom.

Get your thread in front of the eyes, whip finish, cut thread.

Using some UV resin on the dubbing will help to prop it down a bit, and prevent the bead chain from spinning. A small amount on the top and bottom should do it.

Loop the hook onto the intruder wire, and you're done.

This can also be tied on a 25mm shank, with fewer turns of polar chenille. This grizzly feather was brown, but natural or olive can also be used. This thing is very light and easy to cast.