The modern tying of this very popular fly, the Mickey Finn, uses a reflective silver body to imitate the silvery fish scales of the under body of a bait fish.
STREAMER WET FLY PATTERNS. Hook size 2 4 6 8 10 12 - $US each
The Mickey Finn Streamer fly pattern originated around the 1930's and with a few adaptions in design. It became a very well liked productive streamer in Northern California where it was mainly used for steelhead fishing. In the 1932 W.M. Mills & Sons catalog listed the Mickey Finn simply as a red and yellow bucktail. A Fly fisherman called Gregory Clark called the fly the Assassin because of its brook trout killing power. A couple of days later he renamed it 'The Mickey Finn' streamer.
Frank Cooper and John Alden Knight had a very successful Canadian steelhead fishing trip back in 1936 with this fly. It was not until John Alden Knight’s article in the 1937 edition of the Hunting and Fishing magazine that the Mickey went public. Weber Tackle Company had placed an advert featuring the author and the fly opposite the article. It immediately became one of the most popular streamers ever designed and has remained so ever since.
Its ability to catch fish has lead to it being used for salmon, sea trout and big trout fishing. I have had great success when fishing for Coho around Vancouver and also for salmon in Sweden with a size 6 Mickey Finn. Bait fish have to move quickly in order to survive and your fly must do the same. Ensure you maintain your retrieve until you feel your line stop Salmon do not slam into the fly like trout or bass usually do. With Coho especially you will sometimes see a wake following your fly. Although it is exciting and can be unnerving it is important that you keep the fly moving. Do not be tempted to slow up and let the Salmon catch up. This is unnatural behavior for a bait fish and may spook your target fish into rejecting your fly
The term "a Mickey Finn" is slang for a spiked drink. It has something added to it that makes the intended victim incapacitated. This fly pattern defiantly incapacitates Steelhead, Atlantic Salmon, Rainbow Trout, Sea-trout and Cutthroats. It looks appetizing to take but it has a kick. This is the effect it has on these fish. I think the name is quite appropriate.
How to Rejuvenate your flies
I have a confession to make. All too often I have managed to get my fly box wet and then forgotten to dry them for a few days with the obvious consequences.
Once I even managed to wade a bit too deep in brackish water so that the fly boxes in my waistcoat got a thorough soaking. On opening, water literally poured out of them but there was worse to come. As the flies dried the salt began to corrode the hooks inside so that those flies not tied on saltwater resistant hooks seemed to rust before my eyes. They were good quality Mustad hooks as well not cheap hooks.
The most important point to keep your flies in a good condition is to keep them dry. A bit difficult you might say for something that is intended to get wet. Try not to let any wet flies come into contact with those that are still dry.
Don’t put a soaked fly straight back into the fly box. Instead put it into a small drying patch either on your waistcoat or hat. Only replace it in the box when thoroughly dry. This rule goes for all types of fly, be they streamers, wet flies, nymphs or even dry flies.
However if the contents get wet through rain or dropping the box in the water, simply remove all the flies when you get back home and spread them out on a piece of kitchen paper. Leave them somewhere warm and let them dry out completely before returning them to the fly box. Make sure the fly box is dried out first.
I use boxes lined either with closed-cell foam, which is relatively unabsorbent or those with plastic grooves. For dry flies I use a purpose-designed box with small rigid compartments which prevent the hackles being crushed.
For those flies which have dried out of shape after use, or have become crushed, my favourite method for giving them a makeover involves a pair of forceps and a kettle. Holding the fly in the forceps, making sure you do not scald yourself, briefly place the misshapen fly in to the steam from a boiling kettle.
You will be amazed how crushed and folded materials spring back to life. Another great tool is a toothbrush. You can use them to brush out the fibres on many different streamer flies. What are your tips on rejuvenating your wet flies and keeping them in a tip top condition?
CUTTHROAT FLY FISHING WITH THE MICKEY FINN
In saltwater, the Smelt muddler and Mickey Finn fly patterns are great searching patterns. Yellow, gold and red seems to be a great colour combination for cutties on the beaches adjacent to the estuary. Concentrate your efforts in estuaries and beaches during the four hour period surrounding high slack tides, and constantly watch for signs of feeding fish.
Mickey Finn Streamers are in my top ten list of flies. Most of my fishing is on rivers and streams in Maine, USA. Occasionally I'll canoe a few ponds. Most noted are the rivers of Kennebec, Penobscot, Moose, Crooked, Rapid, Messalonskee, Kenebago, Grand Lake Stream, Magaloway, Dead River, Kenduskeag and Sebasticook. As always tight lines, Jeff Haresear
On my travels down the Kaitum and Kalix rivers in Sweden your Micky Finn flies took their share of large trout and grayling. Alex Browne Glasgow
I fish streamers in high water conditions in the early spring. Streamers are intended to imitate bait fish, so match the bait that is in the river, both size and color. Dace, sculpins, minnows, and such. I also like the classic Mickey Finn as a searching pattern. This is my go to fly for off color water, a proven pattern over decades. - Jim Kodal CA, USA