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The Intruder is to be fished as a swung fly. As it is fairly large, it is best cast with a Spey rod. Ed and his friends adapted the Spey cast in order to be able to cast these heavy flies, thus developing the so-called Skagit cast in the process. A DVD is about to be released (fall 2009) about this special cast: "Skagit Master", featuring Ed Ward.
Ed likes the Intruder due to the fact that it is very large and very lively. It is a fly with a large silhouette, but still not too heavy or too large to be cast with a fly rod. He believes that steelhead will move a good way to intercept it. Thus, while fishing with the Intruder, expect explosive takes, as this fly is often taken violently by the fish that has travelled a long way to inhale it.
The fly is tied a la tube fly, but not exactly: it is tied on a long hook shank instead of on a tube. The hook bend is then cut off, and a single hook is mounted to the rear, like tube flies are rigged. The advantage is that the marabou feather can be wrapped around the hook shank in a better way than around a larger tube shank. This is also true for the elk hair collar at the front of the fly.
The materials used for this fly have been carefully selected. The arctic fox collar is made to support the marabou feather fibers, which would otherwise totally collapse in the current. Remember that this fly is designed to show maximum silhouette and volume in the water! The front collar features an additional layer made of cow elk hair, in order to better support the softer arctic fox. The front collar is taking most of the current's pressure, and thus needs to be stronger than the rear collar.
The arctic fox and cow elk have not been selected in white color by chance: it lightens up the colors of the marabou and ostrich herl in front, and glows magically in the water. Thus it is the only material which color I never change in this pattern!
The marabou fibers have wonderfully living features in the water, and are well completed with the ostrich herl wing tied above. Ostrich herl and marabou are very complementary, and are a better choice than heron, peacock herl or other stiffer materials for instance. In my view, the ostrich herl properties have been largely underestimated in the past, and I am really happy to see more and more patterns integrating this fantastic feather.
Some variations of the Intruder include a sophisticated body, made with dubbed seal fur, a palmered saddle hackle over it, and a tinsel ribbing to top the whole thing. I believe that the strength of the fly lies in its two voluminous collars, and I don't spend much time on the body; I simply wrap chenille plus a tinsel rib on top.
As told before, it is not only a great steelhead and king salmon fly, but it also turned out to be a deadly pattern for large arctic char. I have no experience with Atlantic salmon, but I am pretty sure it can be effective for these fish as well, assuming the fly is adapted accordingly. Remember that the Intruder is originally designed for steelhead, which likes slower water than Atlantic salmon. If a pattern for fishing in faster water is desired, it might be wise to substitute some of the selected material with stiffer options, so that the material doesn't collapse in the swift current.
Last Updated on Thursday, 22 August 2013 16:01