One consistency among all large freshwater game fish is that they all feed on small fish. With minnow patterns you never have to worry about the time of the year, hatches or weather. Baitfish are just what their name implies, bait for other fish. The deep sheep minnow series by master fly tier Dave Whitlock will consistently put you on more and bigger fish then you have every caught before.
After many years of experimentation Dave Whitlock created this pattern with certain characteristics that the large freshwater game fish (Pike, Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass & others) cannot resist. First and foremost, this deep sheep pattern incorporates lead barbell eyes to allow the fly to dive down deep to the bottom where big fish feed and spend most of their time hiding. In the middle of everything this fly has an up-riding hook to avoid potential hang-ups as it skips over rocks, sunken branches or aquatic vegetation. The body materials of this fly produce a very life-like imitation to actual colors of real fish while providing enough buoyancy to easily swim the fly as if it were a wounded or fleeing baitfish.
To fish this fly in your favorite still-waters no special tackle or techniques are required. Your standard 9 ft 5 wt rod will suffice. The depth of the structure you plan to fish will determine if you need to use a floating or sinking line. With the deep sheep minnow, cast towards your potential fish holding target and when the fly lands on the water let it sink to the bottom. Using a straight line technique of retrieval and a few shorts strips of line accompanied with intermittent pauses the fly will dance along the bottom structure enticing fish to bite. With this straight line retrieval it will not be hard to detect bites, but hang on tight because when the big boys come out to play. You will be in for quite a fight.
Tie this fly in sizes 2-6.
Start this fly by securing the hook into the vice tightly and attaching the thread to the hook shank. At the ¾ mark on the hook shank tie in a pair of 3D painted eyes using figure eight thread wraps. Form a thread loop behind the pair of eyes and stuff it with small sections of red wool teased out. Spin the loop to create a bushy red wool hackle and take three turns with this wool hackle behind the weighted eyes.
Bring the thread to the front of the hook shank and tie in a small bunch of yellow Wing N’ Flash to the bottom of the head. On top of this yellow Wing N’ Flash tie in a similar sized bunch of orange Wing N’ Flash.
On top side of the head, tie in one bunch of yellow Wing N’ Flash and then top that with olive Wing N’ Flash.
Strip the ends of two yellow grizzly hackles and the two pheasant feather. Tie the two grizzly hackles on top of the olive Wing N’ Flash and the two pheasant on the bottom of orange Wing N’ Flash. Form a large head for the fly with the thread and then whip finish and cement the thread.