The MR Simba, or Mad River Simba, is a fly that’s been a long time coming. As with any fly I design, there was a specific purpose for both the fly’s profile and its action. I was looking for a fly that maintained a solid baitfish profile during quick stripping retrieves of the fly line, but fluttered enticingly during pauses or in lighter currents. I also wanted a fly that would work back to me with an erratic side-to–side motion, or dig and jig through buckets or ledges when I dropped the rod tip. Early versions of the fly had less layering and synthetic materials. They fished well but compressed too much on the strip and did not maintain the intended profile. It was the boom in synthetic materials that transformed this fly to what it is today.
MR Simba Recipe
Front Hook: Gamakatsu B10S, size 1
Rear Hook: Gamakatsu SP11-3L3H, size 2
Thread: Danville, 140 denier
Connection: Beadalon, 19-strand .018” with one 6mm bead
Body 1: UV Polar Chenille
Body 2: Schlappen
Body 3: Barred Fly Enhancer Legs, rubber
Body 4: Marabou
Body 5: Ripple Ice Fiber
Head 1: Senyo Laser Dub
Head 2: Flymen Fishing Co. Fish Skull, medium
Eye: 3/16” Holographic Epoxy eyes, Super Pearl
- Place the Gamakatsu SP11-3L3H hook level in the vise and attach the thread mid-shank. Secure a single tan marabou plume extending a full hook-length off the back of the hook. Trim the butt section of the feather and tightly wrap down the cut section to the top of the shank. Finish with your thread at the rear of the shank, directly above the barb of the hook.
- At the rear tie-in point secure the Copper UV Polar Chenille with a few tight thread wraps, ensuring that the fibres of the chenille point towards the rear. Then prepare a yellow schlappen feather by stroking the fibres back to reveal the stem, starting an inch or so down from the tip. Tie in the feather by that stem, at the same point as the UV Polar Chenille, with the fibres cupping the shank (bottom of the feather towards the shank). Carefully palmer the two materials together up the shank to the eye of the hook, then bind them down with a few thread wraps and cut the excess.
- Just behind the eye of the hook tie in two barred Fly Enhancer legs on each side of the shank. Tie them in at the midpoint in the rubber, to ensure they cannot easily pull out. Then reverse down the other side of the shank and secure. The legs should extend past the bend of the hook to a point about halfway between the bend of the hook and the tip of the tail. Finish the rear hook by tying in a single tan Marabou plume over the top of the shank that extends just past the bend of the hook. Clip the excess and form a small thread head before whip finishing.
- The connection is made with a single three-inch piece of 19-strand .018” Beadalon. Place the Gamakatsu B10S hook level in the vise, start the thread at the eye, and alternate wraps back to the rear of the shank forming a ribbing over the metal. Slide the rear hook onto the wire, then bring the wire ends together and slide on a single 6mm bead. The connection is completed by tight, crossing wraps of thread, with the wire being tied down side-by-side along the top of the hook shank.
- At the rear tie-in point tie in a tan and a yellow marabou plume. Start with the tan plume on top of the shank with the tips extending approximately to the rear of the rear hook shank. Cut the centre stem out of the yellow plume, so it is less likely to foul, then tie in that feather on the bottom of the hook shank with the tips extending just slightly less than the tan. At the same point repeat step two and palmer forward four wraps.
- Tie in two barred Fly Enhancer legs down each side of the shank. Tie them in on one side of the shank at the midpoint in the rubber, then reverse down the other side of the shank and secure. The legs should extend approximately to the rear hook point. Tie in a pinch of copper Ripple Ice Fiber on top of the hook shank and yellow Ripple Ice Fiber on the bottom of the shank. The tips of the Ripple Ice Fiber should extend about to the bend of the rear hook.
- Tie in a single tan marabou feather as a topping, with the tips extending about to the hook point of the rear hook. Then apply Senyo Laser Dub. First tie in a small amount of burnt orange down each cheek. Then tie in a pinch of tan on top of the hook shank and yellow on the bottom of the hook shank. Tie in both with tight wraps of thread over the middle of the bunch and then whip finish right over those wraps, with half of the Laser Dub still out over the eyes.
- The Laser Dub now acts as a platform for the Fish Skull. Carefully reverse the Laser Dub back over itself and slide on the medium Coppertone Fish Skull to ensure the eye of the hook is fully exposed. Hold the Laser dub in place as you slide the Skull back off of the hook, place a dab of Loctite Gel just behind the hook eye, then in one motion quickly slide the Fish Skull back on until the eye is fully exposed. Finish the fly with a small dab of Loctite Gel in each recessed eye socket and place a 3/16” Holographic Super Pearl eye in each. Hold firmly between your fingers for about ten seconds to ensure a good bond.