The Viva Cats Whisker Streamer Lure was invented by the English fly fisherman David Train in the 1980's.
CAT'S WHISKERS STREAMER FLY PATTERNS. Hook size 6 8 10 - $US each
All our Cats Whiskers are sent to us direct from David so you can boast to your friends you have a David Train Cats Whisker. It is one of the most successful British stillwater streamer lures. It has a marabou wing and tail with heavy chain-eyes just behind the eye of the hook. The Cats Whisker streamer is very attractive to fish because the movement of the marabou gives the fly a life like quality. When pausing during the retrieve the weighted eyes make the fly look and move downwards towards the bottom just like a feeding minnow. On the pull of the retrieve the fly darts backup wards imitating the natural action of a disturbed juvenile fish. This pattern can be used all year round but excels in late autumn when the trout become active on fry. It is a sinking pattern, so can be fished at any depth on either floating, intermediate or sinking line. The best retrieves are long erratic pulls giving darting movements to the fly. This can be varied by adding pauses in the retrieve followed by very quick short jerky pulls before reverting to the longer retrieve.
David Train named the fly "Cats Whisker" because on the original design that didn't have chain bead eyes, he used four white whiskers shed from his pet cat to stop the wing looping around the hook shank! Don't panic he did not go around collecting road kill or jumping on unsuspected tabby cats and pulling out their whiskers. As any cat owner knows, Cats shed hair. David runs a wholesale fly tying business and Bob Church, a famous British match fly fisher, asked David if he had any new patterns he could test. David sent bob some of his Cats Whisker. He used them to during some competitions and won; in one case he beat his boat partner by 16 fish to one. Word spread about this new match winning design and it grew in popularity. Bob fished this fly on a floating or intermediate line in the summer. In cold conditions, in early and late part of the fishing season, he fishes the pattern on a fast sinker.
The original lime green chenille body with white marabou wing and tail prototype was tied on a long shank size eight hook with no chain bead eye. With all that marabou it floated for ages but was taken taken by a hungry trout. The color was obviously correct. David added the chain bead eyes to make the fly swim on an even keel, move correctly and sink. With the addition of the eyes the need for the cat's whiskers was removed. Because the fly was bright he could see when it disappeared. This was his queue to strike into the fish. David likened this to turning a light bulb on and off: Strike when the light goes out. David concedes that some of it's popularity is due to its unusual name. If the fly had been called white and green lure (streamer) it wouldn't have been so popular. The Ace of Spades wouldn't have caught on as a black and brown matuka
Last year I went fishing on a reservoir in Wales with my pal Mark. After half an hour fishing the dam, we both tried drifting down the reservoir. I had a team of Gold Ribbed Hares Ear nymphs and epoxy buzzers on an intermediate line, but got no takes. I then noticed a small flock of seagulls diving into the water close to the left bank, so we headed off in that direction. I gave Mark two of David Train’s deadly Cats Whisker flies. Ten minutes later I had my first fish followed by two more. Mark had another fish and half an hour subsequently, yet another. Five fish for 10lbs, not enough for a feast, but indeed a promising start.