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How to tie the original Ed Ward Intruder
Nils Rinaldi with large arctic char caught on orange Intruder - 102 cm and 13 kg - Allan Kofoed photoI was still lengthening my Skagit casts when the deep pull came out of nowhere, at the very end of the swing, just when I was getting ready for a new cast. The fish seemed calm at first, and pulled steadily line from my reel. But as the first run kept going on, I started to worry and knew something big was on the other end of the line. This was confirmed when a gigantic fish leapt out in the current, some 80 meters downstream from me. I waded out from my position, and started running down the river bank, as fast as I could among the large cobblestones. I managed to get even with the fish, and could play it with better odds on my side. The fight continued for 10 anxious minutes, and in the end I could beach this monster of 40 inches and an estimated weight of 26 pounds. This was a beautiful male arctic char, with perfect red fins bordered by a white line. In the right corner of its mouth, was my orange Intruder. I had just met char heaven, out in the middle of nowhere, in Nunavut, northern Canada. Again thanks to the faithful Intruder.
The Intruder is a large fly that was primarily designed by the West Coast steelhead guide Ed Ward, with the help and feedback of fellow anglers Scott Howell, Jerry French, Dec Hogan and Scott O'Donnell. I was lucky to be guided by Ed over a whole week in Kamchatka, Russia, and I learned a lot from this modest person. He introduced me to the Intruder, and showed me how to tie it. I have never been on a salmon or steelhead fishing trip without an Intrude since.

About Ed Ward
Ed Ward tying the Intruder - Kamchatka, Russia - Nils Rinaldi photoEd Ward is a very famous steelhead and Pacific salmon angler, and a magician with a Spey rod in his hands.  He usually spends his summers chasing king salmon in Alaska, and the rest of the time you can find him in his camper somewhere between Washington State and British Columbia. His home river is the Skagit River in Washington.

Ed has been a Spey rod design consultant for Sage and G. Loomis. He does not like to spend time writing about fishing. "Writing in an office would steal me some precious fishing time" he told me. So you may never see any piece written by him in the fishing literature. He appears in pictures taken by fellow fisherman though.

History of the Intruder
Arctic char fooled by pink Intruder - Nunavut, Canada - Nils Rinaldi photoIn the early 1990s, Ed made a first design of the fly, aimed for Alaska's fresh king salmon, during his guiding months at Alaska West Lodge. It worked well with the kings, but Ed noticed that huge rainbow trout would also hammer it like crazy. It didn't take long for Ed to make the link between a rainbow and a steelhead, his anadromous cousin. The following steelhead season, he experimented a lot around the tying and the fishing of the fly, and had a lot of success with it.
His first patterns were tied in olive, and looked much like a sculpin. However he slowly moved away from this color, to tie his Intruder in orange, pink and red variations. Soon, the silhouette of the fly resembled more and more the squids these anadromous fish engulf during their ocean journey.


Last Updated on Thursday, 22 August 2013 16:01