Noobie Merkin question
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  1. #1
    Senior Member tj5485's Avatar
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    Noobie Merkin question

    Just picked up my first vise and I decided to dive right in and try and learn the Merkin as my first fly to try and hammer down. Anyways. It seems to be a coke vs Pepsi debate wether to tie the fibers on top or on the bottom. As of right now I like tying them on the top of the hook but I don't know where to tie the legs. I bought sili legs and they just seem to not stay straight very well. Thoughts?
    Last edited by tj5485; 09-09-2012 at 02:14 AM.

  2. #2
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    Do a google search of merkin and maybe that will help with your question.

  3. #3
    Senior Member DowntownNash's Avatar
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    I'm sure this is far more than you're asking for and surely some of the guys who've actually caught a permit can tell me what I get right/wrong and undoubtedly forget to mention.

    In order to understand the Merkin and begin to form your own opinions on how it should be tied I guess you need to know why it was created. And as far as I know it was created by Del Brown as one of, if not the first truly effective flies on permit. A fly that at the time of conception only had one purpose. Permit. Permit feed largely on Blue Crabs and I believe the way that they approach these crabs is either from above of below. They watch them fall from down the water column, the crabs typically starting their descent from right below the surface. Now again, Ive never fished for Permit a day in my life and certainly havent ever caught one. But this is how I would approach this fly if it was say a Redfish fly, or Trout, or Bass, or just about anything else. My best guess is that tying your fibers on top vs bottom come down to a couple of factors. One of the biggest being water depth. If you're targeting permit in very skinny water, I don't think they'll care too much about what the bottom of the fly looks like because if they even see it, it wont be for but a split second. But if you're fishing water over 10-15ft, they are going to have a solid look at the underside of your fly. In this case I wouldnt want to have a bunch of ugly line wraps showing. I would want the fish to see a seamless profile of what it believes to be a Blue Crab.

    Of course the other big factor is preference. Every guy I've fished with has his lucky go-to fly and likes to see it tied a certain way.

    I havent done much fishing with a REAL Merkin fly (though I tie a ridiculously cheap version that I use for redfish/trout) so I can't tell you whether or not tying the fibers one way or the other changes the way it sinks, floats, rides, or it's general presentation. If it alters it, this would be the biggest factor.

    Uhhh off the top of my head I'm not too sure what else... I mean as far as other smaller things go you could probably list them for days. First one that comes to mind being that if you tie your fabric on the underside than you will obviously lose some of the gap size of the hook, thus possibly reducing hookup/catch-rate.

    Every predatory fish hunts in a particular way and creating killer flies relies on knowing what that fish feeds on, and how it feeds on it.

    *If you're legs aren't staying fixed it's probably because you arent packing your strands close enough together.

  4. #4
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    Tj: The merkin's a tough patttern if you've just started tying, IMO.
    As for the silli legs, I used to tie them with an X configuration, much the same way the weight eyes are attached. That's tough. A friend of mine showed me how to use tie the legs in an overhand knot to the shank of the hook (no thread). Once you have the legs fairly secure on the shank, then tie the legs down with thread. If you try to tie the legs down without that base of security, they can be a pain.

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