How to Tie: The Yewchuck Rat – “Fly Armory Style”

We sat down with fly tier, Jarrod Mathena of The Fly Armory. He’s an extreme streamer junkie that focuses a lot of his time on chucking meat no matter the species. In this short interview, he talks about a popular fly he ties, The Yewchuck Rat. However, he adds his own twist to it… Check out the video and recipe below!

Flylords: Tell us about yourself

Jarrod: While most people get started into fly fishing with a 5wt, dries, nymphs, and trout, I was introduced into fly fishing with an 8wt, bass bugs, and streamers. Even when I was introduced to trout fishing, I started off throwing streamers while everyone would tell me, “Trout only eat small insect flies” which only encouraged me to prove them wrong. While trout are prone to eating various aquatic insects, they eat bigger stuff as well, to say the least. It didn’t take long for me to come across some fly fishing magazines and videos with names like Kelly Galloup, Michael Schmidt, Russ Maddin, Tommy Lynch, Blane Chocklett, and more with all the various large patterns they tied. Once I learned more about the streamer game and the hosts of other great patterns and streamer tiers abroad along with all the various fish species a person could target with the right fly rod set up and flies…my fate was sealed. Trout, Smallmouth, Largemouth, White Bass, Hybrids, Stripers, Pike, Musky, and anything else that will eat a streamer, I’m all in!

Flylords: What’s rodent fly fishing?

Jarrod: Rodent fly fishing, it may sound crazy or leave some scratching their heads but think topwater streamer fishing. There are those that know how fish become predatory, they don’t discriminate on the meal. It’s about that natural killer instinct and a meaty mouthful. Rodents often end up in water whether it be to get to the other side, a clumsy mistake, or a mishap while scavenging for food. Rodent fishing is not much of a numbers game, it’s sure to bring out the big boys eventually.

Flylords: Where did you learn to tie the Yewchuck Rat?

Jarrod: I came across a picture on Facebook from a guy named Steve Yewchuck. He tied some crazy sized rodents, and not just mice but rat-sized patterns. As someone who was indoctrinated into fly fishing with a passion for big flies, I had to give this pattern a try. When it comes to the tying vice, I can be a bit of a “mad scientist”. There are a lot of great patterns and ideas out there I often find myself tweaking or throwing some personal preferences and flare into my tying. The first time I tied the fly as close to the original as possible. After a test run, I had some ideas. I wanted a rodent that was going to sit lower in the water with its head and nose up as if it were struggling in the water. After taking some foam out and flipping the double-barrel popper head over, I achieved the desired effect.

Photo by Jordan McCall (@jordanmccall_outdoors)

Flylords: Have you had any luck on this fly?

Jarrod: Upon the first few casts of fishing the “tweaked” version, the water erupted beneath my fly. It was followed by 15 seconds of tension and then slackline. While I didn’t end up with a fish in hand, I did have my first topwater musky encounter. Throughout the next couple of weeks of fishing the rat, I had multiple ospreys swoop down and try to take the fly. If you are ever fishing for birds of prey, pike, musky, or the occasional largemouth, it will get their attention. I have no doubt that if you scale the size down it would be great for targeting other species as well.

Recipe:

  1. Hooks: For the Front Hook I’m using an Ahrex TP610 6/0. For the rear hook, you want a shorter shanked hook with some weight to it to help the back end of the fly sit lower in the water, I’m using a Kona BGC in 4/0.
  2. Tail: The tail is a combination of 550 cord sleeves with some Hareline Dura Flash Tubing. The sleeve helps keep the 550 cord tail from moving so much it fouls yet still allows for movement.
  3. Legs: 550 cord
  4. Shank: 40mm Big Game Shank
  5. Thread: Veevus 240
  6. Body: Homemade Arctic Fox Brush. If you have a brush making jig this will be easy to accomplish with some Arctic Fox Tail, otherwise, there are several good sources to purchase brushes with a little bit of looking around. And this by no means needs to be limited to Arctic Fox nor should synthetic brushes be overlooked.
  7. Head: Double Barrel Popper Heads in XL
  8. Articulating Wire: Mason Nylon-strand Coated Wire in 40-60lb.

Jarrod: I hope you fellow meat chucking enthusiasts give this pattern a try and are able to have some fun fishing stories as well. I want to throw a thankful shout out to Steve Yewchuck for his inspirational tying along with so many other influential tiers out there.

Header photo by Jordan McCall (@jordanmccall_outdoors)

This article was written by Flylords team member, Collin Terchanik.

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