Tying with David: Luna’s Cheap Hooker

When David “Butters” Luna isn’t hanging with his lovely wife Alex and his cool kid Diego, he’s catching monster grass carp on the fly. Everyone who’s anyone knows this. But what hardly anyone knows is that Mr. Luna is a crafty fly tyer too.

Maybe one of the finest around.

David found out I was tying flies again myself, and offered me some lessons. All it’s costing me is 20 kegs of Corona my pride. We’ll be showcasing one of Mr. Luna’s flies here roughly every other week, until David runs out of fresh pattern ideas or I run out of ego, which ever comes first.

In other words, we’ll be doing this bit till we’re six feet under.

For the matinee show, we’re going to explain how to tie Luna’s Cheap Hooker. David got the idea for the Cheap Hooker from Kelly Galloup‘s Sex Dungeon. The only difference between the two flies: the Cheap Hooker is half the cost and has almost as much action.

Materials You’ll Need

Hook: TMC 9395 size 4
Thread: black GSP 100
Stinger hook: generic, nothing fancy, straight shank
Stinger: generic backing
Eyes: lead dumbbell, yellow or red, size medium
Tail: black rabbit strip
Body: black buckskin
Miscellaneous: Red EP sparkle, black sparkle rubber legs, black flash

Note that you can check the slideshow below at anytime if you want a look at what’s going on. We’re doing it this way instead of showing photos at each step so those who actually have fly tying skills (unlike Gracie) and can read and follow instructions (unlike Gracie) can complete the fly with minimal confusion.

Meanwhile, those of you who have gotten this far are in for a treat. While perusing the slideshow, those with knowledge of fly construction might notice something strange about one or more of the pics. Point Gracie’s screwups the issue out in the comments, including the effect it might have on the fly, and the first person to give us the correct answer will get three Luna’s Cheap Hookers shipped straight to their door. As in free.

Tying Steps

1) Make a few wraps around the shank, and then mount the eye about 1/4ths of the way back from the eye. Gelspun is tough, so pull hard on that thread – but back towards you (not down, like Gracie did).

2) Bring the thread all the way back to the barb. Now that gelspun may itself spin a bit on the hook, ’cause it’s slick. So now may be a good time to toss a few drops of Super Glue on it. Don’t touch the Super Glue and then poke yourself in the eye (like Gracie did).

3) Measure a piece of the backing roughly equal to four hook lengths (from the mounted eyes back), then slip the two ends through the eye and pull the resulting loop under the hook as you draw down. You should now have equal lengths of the stinger coming out of each section of the eye (even length, unlike Gracie’s uneven ones).

4) Place the stinger section so that its midpoint is over the bend in the hook. Then, wrap the thread forward over the stinger until you reach a point about 1/8 of an inch from the eyes. Don’t clip the remainder of the backing (like Gracie did) – instead pull the remainder of the stinger back, and wrap the thread back towards the bend over that section of the stinger.

5) Cut a piece of bunny about a 1/4 to 3/8 inches wide by four inches long. About an inch from its end, push the stinger hook through, and then lay the rest of the bunny on top of the fly. The front end of the bunny should extend about 1/4 inch over the eye of the hook, not a half inch or more (like Gracie tried).

6) Stretch the bunny out, then wet your fingers and separate the fur right where your bobbin is dangling off the hook. Make three or four thread wraps around the strip. Then, pull the front end of the bunny back (not forward, like Gracie did), and do four or five wraps over it, tying it off about 1/4 inch behind the eyes.

7) Cut some rubber legs about five inches long. Now, draw them across the thread, and make wraps around the hook such that the legs are positioned on the sides of the fly. Pull the dangling legs towards the back, and make a few wraps around the crimp in the legs. The legs should now be hanging off the side of the fly, dangling to its rear. Don’t forget to repeat on the other side of the fly (like Gracie did).

8) Trim the legs down even with the eye of the stinger hook (instead of even with the end of the room like Gracie).

9) Cut a couple of strands (not half a pack like Gracie) of black flash, and tie it on each side of the fly in much the same position as the legs.

10) Add a pinch of red EP sparkle to the bottom of the fly, wrapping the thread behind the eyes (instead of in front of them, like Gracie) in roughly the same position you tied off the bunny strip.

11) Grab your hair stacker and stuff it with cut black buckskin fur. You’ll need a generous amount of stacked hair for the collar, which should be cut about 2/3rds of the length of the hook. Tie it down on the forward end, just about 1/4 inch behind the eyes with the fur facing forward, not down the middle of the fur (like Gracie does).

12) Now add another clump butt end back and wrap it the same way.

13) Turn the fly over, and put yet another clump on the underside, then pull everything back and wrap forward.

14) Lay another bundle in front of the eyes, lay down two loose wraps, then spin it!

15) Repeat once more, then pull everything back, wrap, and whip finish (with your hand if possible, instead of with your whip finisher like 12 thumbs Gracie tried).

16) Pull the hooker off your vise, and start your trimming. You should trip the bottom flat, so it rides correctly, and trip the sides close to the eyes so the fish can see them. Don’t leave a uneven mess (like Gracie did).

You are now done.

David likes the fly because it’s easy to tie, doesn’t require any extraneous specialized hardware, and pushes a lot of water. His favorite colors are black (shown here), white, olive, and brown. Just substitute those colors for black in every respect when you make a go of it yourself.

Damn you make a hell of a mess Gracie. You’re going to need a ShopVac, and pronto.

MG signing off (to replace at least eight of his ten thumbs)

Editor’s note: The author makes no assurances that he actually got these steps 100% correct. Hell…he couldn’t even tie it himself. But Dave did and can, and will be lingering around to set the record straight just in case.

Comments

FlySwinger says:

Sweet fly! Can’t wait to try it on my own.

As per your request that I look for something wrong with the photo set, I see that the photos don’t jive with the instructions in that it shows David tying the legs before the photo showing how long to cut them

For what it’s worth: I like to reinforce the thread on the rabbit strip with copper wire. Red migh look sick on ths fly. Also, if I’m tying deer hair heads other than black or white, I like to use hair with a heavy banding (dark butts and light tips) and then alternate the direction of the tips with each clump of hair, to give the head a mottled appearance.

Looks good. Hope you get this pattern dialed in before you run out of beer money.

Tight lines,

FlySwinger

@FlySwinger – Nice attempt. That would be a Gracie error (like many others), but is not quite what we’re looking for. And the picture order has now been fixed too, so thanks!

FlySwinger says:

Okay, Michael, here’s my best guess then. In some of the photos, the eyes are on top of the hook shank, and in #9, they are on the bottom. Given that the legs should be on the underneath side of the streamer, I would assume that you might want the eyes on the underneath side of the shank. If tied in on top of the shank, the weight of the eyes might cause the hook to turn, causing the streamer to swim upside down.

Damn! I thought this would go a little longer. Correct on all accounts (including the “why” explanation).

Email me your mailing address, and a few will be headed your way.

FlySwinger says:

Awesome! Can’t wait to fish ’em. If I catch some pigs, I’ll send you some pics.

Tight lines,

FlySwinger

P.S. Please send me flies with under-eyes. 😉

Butters says:

Hey Gracie,

First off, let me thank you for letting me show you how its done! As to the steps, they are alright except its not called “buckskin” – its called deer hair!

Fly Swinger – I’m glad you picked up on Gracie’s mistakes, it was very obvious. I see that you are a streamer junkie like my self which makes me happy you got them – I’m sure you’re gonna love them they have great action and attract big fish (great pike fly also)!