View Full Version : Rubber Legged Dragon
05-09-99, 11:20 PM
After speaking with Carter Nelson at the Fishawk last week, I tied up some of the Rubber Legged Dragons. Awesome fly! I landed several large freshwater Permit....er...I mean Shellcracker. Also caught a few b****and one channel cat on the RLD.
If you fish warmwater, you need some of these. The Fishawk sells them or you can get the latest issue of Warmwater Flyfishing Magazine and read the article by Carter on his favorite bream patterns. The article also has 4 or 5 recipes and photos of the RLD.
Ironic you mention the RLD. I'd planned to post on it today myself.
Carter first showed me the RLD one afternoon about a year and a half ago - didn't actually look like much to me. That is until he began outfishing me 3 to 1 - didn't take me long to take a hint.
RLD is probably #1 fly for guides at Callaway. As you say, it's especially good for shellcrackers as they tend to like smaller baits than other bream & like `em on the bottom.
But almost any other fish will take it, too. Last fall on the Davidson River in NC, after throwing everything in the box, from #8 woolies to #22 midges, we caught big, ultra-selective rainbow & browns on the RLD.
Yesterday evening after the Mother's Day thing, I went to West Point Lake. Back in a long shallow cove, I saw carp wallowing in the flooded grass. Still excited about a 39" gr****carp a week ago, I thought I'd try the "common" variety. Eased the boat back in there and tied on about 4' more tippet and the RLD. `Chose the fly because it's small, rides hook up, and seldom fouls. Threw it right up in the gr****and let it sit til a carp was right in front of it, then bumped it just a tad. The carp took, and then took off. The bow of my boat was mired in the bank, the stern in about 1.5 ft. He ran thru the grass, back around and under the boat. I had my rod (the whole rod, handle & all) down in the water pointed at him as he headed for deeper water. Finally manipulated it free (a Laurel & Hardy act) and played him to the boat. He wasn't near as big as my gr****carp last week, but let me tell you, this "common" rough fish will pull just about any other freshwater fish backwards across the lake.The RLD strikes again!
There's a photo of the RLD at http://kje.home.mindspring.com/rl_dragon.html .
05-10-99, 01:49 PM
Where do you get this Warmwater Flyfishing Magazine???
I think the same folks that publish American Angler publish Warmwater Fly Fishing. You can pick up single copies at Barnes and Noble or subscribe at 1-800-537-5921. It's a great magazine for those of us that don't have the Hooch or the mountains close by.
05-10-99, 11:55 PM
Fishawk carries the mag. Carter works there about 3 or 4 days a week. Call ahead to see if he's there. He showed me how to tie the RLD on the vise I had just purchased.
Do you wrap the saddle hackle collar on the fly? I've left it off on some of the ones I tied and it doesn't seem to make a difference. I'll use it again this Saturday on a very productive pond. I'll let you know how it goes.
The RLD looks like an unpalmered, bead chained, rubber legged bugger.
The Ole Man
05-11-99, 12:07 PM
Don't understand the bend in the hook question. You don't bend the hook. I first saw Carter tie this 2 years ago at the Shallow Water Expo. I have one of his flys in a plastic envelope that he tied for me. I have tied a few dozen since then. The RLD is actually a dragonfly nymph pattern and I tie them mostly in olive-also do black. To tie: Use a 3x long nymph hook. Think a sz 8 is about usual-but I do 8, 10 and 12. Tie on the gold bead chain eyes on top of the hook shank (clouser style)-on the outside. I use large ,med and small chain depending on the hook size. Set the eyes back a little from the hook eye-just a small amount for a finish dubbing area. Tie on a rabbit fur tail-take an olive zonker strip and cut a small bunch of hair from it. Pull out the underfur leaving mostly guard hairs. Tie on olive-yellow rubber legs in an X pattern behind the chain eyes. Tie far enough back so that the forward two legs don't touch the eyes when you are finished with the fly. Tie in olive chenille (of appropriate size for the hook size and matching the tail color) at the tail and wrap up to the rubber legs, cross wrap between and thru the rubber legs so they are sticking out from the chenille in an X. Wrap up to the chain eyes leaving a tiny space behind the eyes for a hackle. Tie off chenille and cut off excess. Tie in a small hackle. The color is not critical. I use olive or grizzly. Take one or two turns of hackle behind the eyes and tie off. Now to fill the space between the chain eyes and in front of the eyes, you dub your thread-as the chenille is too bulky. Dub your thread with olive dubbing (matching the body and tail color) and if any space is left behind the eyes between the hackle and the eyes, fill that first. Now take the dubbing through the eyes with criss cross wraps to fill in around the eyes, then dub wrap the space in front of the eyes and end up with the thread at the eye of the hook. Whip finish and cement. Trim the rubber legs to desired length. Go fish. This was Carters method as I observed it the last 2 yrs. at the Expo. This is my current method of tying the RLD. Suppose you can use any color combos you want to try. Saw recent post on VFS of great success on the Hiwassee with an all purple woolly bugger. So try purple on this? Experiment.
05-11-99, 01:14 PM
As for Warmwater Flyfishing, I guess I've been getting it for a year now (Just got my renewal form and my magazine, turned right to Nelson's article...) It is a great source of information for any freshwater fish other than trout. I've learned a lot from it regarding patterns, tactics and presentations. I've even learned how to catch fish I never knew existed before. It seems to fill the gap between most fly fishing mags which focus on trout and salmon and the average B****mag which is all baitcasters and b****boats.
2 questions about the RLD. 1) the bend in the hook, how crucial and how much? (I assume it is a bend up (away from the point) 2) Is black and yellow the best choice for colors? Do other combinations work?
05-11-99, 02:46 PM
That sound exactly like what he describes in the article and the way I tied it last night except for:
His recipe says "Hook: 2x-long nymph hook, sixe 10, bent slightly so the fly rides hook up" Like you I prefer 3x, but I don't know that it makes a difference. The bend is the main thing here.
Also I tried using a partridge feather which worked ok. (I hate using them, they are hard to work with, but may be I just have some low quality ones.)
Comments on the bend?
I do use the hackle - just a wrap or two, even scraps. Might not be necessary, but I think it adds some illusion of movement - I often have fish pick it up while it's just sitting on the bottom.
Re bend, I never saw Carter bend the hook, but maybe he does nowdays. If I were bending, it would be right at eye-attachment point, toward hook point. This might make it a little more snag-free.
Like I said, it didn't look like much to me, either. But it's one of those flies that, for some unexplainable reason, works much better than near cousins on many occassions.
Ole Man -
The body can also be dubbed, instead of chenille. We've been tying it lately with a body dubbed from a new synthetic material. Norman, a buddy of Carter & mine, works for a large textile mfg & has been hunting unique tying materials. This new one is dynamite - very reflective & refractive. Pretty wild looking, but seems to work good. Also, we're getting it in long lengths for streamers. Carter should have samples at the Hawk soon.
Flyfishing West Georgia & Beyond
What issue of Warmwater Fly Fishing is this pattern illustrated? I've looked at all the issues I have, must have missed that one. Thanks...
The Ole Man
05-11-99, 06:45 PM
I've never seen Carter bend the hook at all either. Maybe a new twist has been added. Tying the eyes outboard on the hookshank flips it over to ride hook up. I don't ever try to put any bend in a freshwater fly hook. They are too brittle and will break in a heart beat. You can even fracture them by tightening them too much in the vise.
Kent: Sounds like some cool stuff your friend has found. Put it in packages and sell it. Call it "Kents Dragondub" http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/ubbngto/smile.gif
Duo: probably was 2X long. I just wrote the above from memory without digging out my RLD's. Being a dragonfly, extra length would probably be beneficial.
05-11-99, 10:10 PM
The most recent one. As they say, "in stores now" It has a guy in a tube holding up a very nice bass.
Thanks on the advice. I'll play around with tying them this week and report on their success at the Callaway tournament this weekend.
05-11-99, 11:21 PM
The magazine issue in question is June/July 99, page 54 and 55.
Last week I bought a Renzetti vise from Carter under the condition that he had to show me how to tie the RLD. He didn't mention bending the hook. He did say he prefers using a Tiemco 5262 size #10 nymph/streamer hook. I know this 'cause he pulled them off the rack and I bought a couple of packs.
I've got to try the RLD in olive. I tied it in black and it did great. It sank so fast that I caught a channel cat on one cast.
He also showed a unique way to tie in the rubber legs without having to do the criss-cross thing with the thread. I'll have to show you cause it's too confusing to explain.
After all the talk of the RLD, I had to go talk to Carter and learn how to tie these little monsters. What a nice guy. I told him about all the talk about them online and he seemed surprised.
I like the way he ties those legs on. It gives them a lot of maneuverability, so you can get them just right.
05-13-99, 11:12 PM
When Carter showed me how to tie in the legs, I thought....why didn't I think of that!
The method kinda looks the same as the way Ole Man ties the rubber legs on his Madame X.
05-13-99, 11:15 PM
I almost forgot.....thanks for mentioning the NGTO Message Board at the Fishhawk. They are partly to thank for the Hoochcam.
After hearing that I was being mentioned on the internet, I had to jump start my antique computer to check it out. Thanks for all of the nice feedback, it is good to hear some success stories. Let me help clear up one of the questions concerning the bent hook. I only bend the hook on my crawfish pattern (Claire Daddy) and Claires Partridge, not the RLD or the SEM Sculpin. (These are mentioned in the Warm Water article.) The purpose for bending the hook on these patterns is so that the tail of the fly will be bent slightly upward as the fly moves throught the water. The bend is the opposite direction from the bend of the popular salt water pattern, the bend back. This can be used on any of the bugs but i usually only do it on the Claire Daddy to make the claws ride up in a defensive position. Sometimes these magazines edit things in interesting ways that can lead to confusion. also, the is supposed to be an "A" at the beginning of the article for those of you who are wondering. Carter
05-16-99, 12:18 AM
Welcome to NGTO. I for one would like for you to hang around and let us pick your brain so to speak.
I caught a couple of b****on the RLD this afternoon at my pond. I'm gonna give it a try at the Flint River tommorow. So far I've only tied black dragons and they work great!
Carter: Dittoes to the welcome. Check out this board. It's the best group of guys I've run into on the internet with good ff info.
Anyone: Anyone tried the RLD in cold water?
The Ole Man
05-16-99, 07:04 PM
See Kents post at the top here about catching browns and rainbows on RLD fishing the Davidson river in NC. I'm going to give them a go next time I'm out.
Thanks for the welcome folks. Unfortunately, I have such a slow computer that I rarely get online these days. Plus the fact that I am going back and forth from Pine Mountain to Atlanta a couple times a week. After enjoying that traffic, the last thing that I want to do is sit around and wait on a slow computer. Anyway, I will be glad to answer any questions about the bugs or anything else. My response however, may take up to 3 or 4 days. I am also at the Fish Hawk every day except Tuesday and Sunday so stop by (stopping in is better than a phone call) and I will be glad to help in any way possible.
By the way, to answer another question posted, the RLD has caught plenty of cold water fish,i.e., trout in North GA, NC, and SC, as well as out west.
05-17-99, 02:46 AM
Great Fly catches anything.I have caught crappie on Lake Lanier using them tied with hot pink chenille and blue dubbing
05-17-99, 11:35 PM
Why don't you mention to Gary that you need Internet access at the store. Then you could surf the Message Board while the rest of the crew is working http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/ubbngto/wink.gif
05-18-99, 01:48 PM
Just wanted to thank Carter again for his hospitality at the Fish Hawk Saturday. You guys have got to go visit him. He showed me the leg trick and talked fishing with me for a while. Now we just got to get this guy out to Charlie Elliot and let him show us some more tricks! Thanks again Carter.
I tied a few of the RLD's in black and some in olive. While fishing my favorite bream stream yesterday with an olive RLD, I hooked a catfish. It was all my 3wt rod and old arms could handle. Took forever to beach him. I'm not a catfish fan, but that was fun.
Whoa Nellie - it's FLyTyFish ! Hey dude - you better be at the Fling ! Long time no hear ! http://www.georgia-outdoors.com/ubbngto/smile.gif
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