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Product review: Fish-skulls

Ol'DirtyCasterOl'DirtyCaster Posts: 2,373 Captain
I got some of these from the shop a couple weeks ago, and hadn't gotten around to messing with them until tonight. They're a little heavier than they claim to be, could be a good or bad thing depending on what you're using them for. They would definately come in handy for the surf/jetty guys. I can also tell right away that they'll extend the life of a fly considerably, kinda like putting a bullet-proof vest on your fly. I'm going to make it a point to fish these this week, and get back to you guys with more thoughts and opinions. I only had one color, in case you're wondering why I use grey over a chart/white pattern. They come in about 10 different colors, and 4 different sizes.

All are on #2 Gamakatsu SL12's.

And here's how they look wet.



  • mtd885mtd885 Posts: 1,159 Officer
    Sweet! I have some of those and have not tied them up yet. I'm looking forward to your report.
  • TarponatorTarponator Under a BridgePosts: 15,842 AG
    I've used something similar made out of brass. Stopped using them on my tarpon flies because they made the effective gap smaller.
  • Ol'DirtyCasterOl'DirtyCaster Posts: 2,373 Captain
    Tarponator wrote: »
    Stopped using them on my tarpon flies because they made the effective gap smaller.

    I would never use them on tarpon flies. Neutral bouyancy has always been the rule of thumb for fish in my area. If I'm targeting suspended fish off the beach I'll drift into them with a density compensated line. One issue with the fish skulls is that you're very limited as far as the hooks you can use with them. The size I used above was the small/medium, and a #2 SL12 was the biggest hook in my box that would fit. I doubt that any of the sizes would fit a 2/0 aki, 2600-V or any other tarpon hook. I'll be using them for kingfish/bonita/mahi this week if I make it out.
  • Ol'DirtyCasterOl'DirtyCaster Posts: 2,373 Captain
    I had a chance to fish these yesterday, and the jury is still out. They're kinda scary on DC lines, I kept waiting for my rod to get sheared in half on an errant cast. I think they're going to be very useful for those who target macks & tunoids, drift jetties, or just need something that can punch through dense vegetation. Inshore applications are definately going to be limited.
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,725 Captain
    Thanks for the review. I've been meaning to get my hands on a few samples to see what I can come up with... One usage will be the same things we currently use a lot of Clousers and Silhouettes for - working cross current and down in the rivers and creeks that drain the west side of the 'Glades out into the Gulf. Strong water flows, depths from six to thirteen feet, and dark waters have us working intermediate lines in those areas when the tide is right. Everything from snapper and grouper on up will take a fly that comes by where they're holding right on that nasty rocky bottom. Of course the bugs will have to be equipped with weedguards to be of any use at all....

    Once again, thanks for the review.
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • Chris MChris M Posts: 16 Greenhorn
    I have used them off and on over the past year. An inverted tie on a long shank hook using a Farrar blend wing gives you a fast sinking indestructable fly that is fairly snag resistant. I like the long shank because I feel like it gives me more point clearance around the head. Its hard to get the head to go on a big hook and I feel like the hook gap on some the the standard length hooks gets blocked a little.
  • deerflydeerfly Posts: 767 Officer
    ditto on the appreciation thing, it's much preferred that you explode one of your precious fly rods with that darth vader looking thing than me. :)

    j/k of course, but I'm sure the risk was real. Anyway, with the advent of UV cure epoxies, especially the softer blends, it seems an aptly coated dumb bell would more or less accomplish the same thing without the hook size issue. These are certainly more symmetrical without having to wind a similar shape with thread and then take the extra step/time to coat it. And I guess you could coat these with some rubbery epoxy too and maybe soften the blow to the rod a bit should that happen. That said, I love and equally hate weighted flies. :)
    "impossibility cannot be concluded from a sample of failed efforts" - Edsger W. Dijkstra
  • Ol'DirtyCasterOl'DirtyCaster Posts: 2,373 Captain
    deerfly wrote: »
    That said, I love and equally hate weighted flies. :)

    I'm with you there. There are situations where I have to get deep, but if possible I prefer to use a line to do it.

    You might have to get a little creative with the weedguards. The way the fish skulls fit, they don't leave room to be tied in the way I like to do it. They would need to be tied in further back, before you slide the fish skull on. Chris's bendback suggestion would be an idea, but you would need to use a 5X hook like an owner 5136 if you were targeting tarpon/snook in fast current. I'd be very interested in what a veteran such as yourself could come up with using these fish skulls. Let me know if you want me to send you a couple to mess around with.
  • mtd885mtd885 Posts: 1,159 Officer
    Just a thought but I think you can attach the weed guards right on the head with CCG.
  • Ol'DirtyCasterOl'DirtyCaster Posts: 2,373 Captain
    mtd885 wrote: »
    Just a thought but I think you can attach the weed guards right on the head with CCG.

    You definately could, I just don't think that it would stay on for more that a cast or two, with the fish skull being a non porous surface.
  • lemaymiamilemaymiami Posts: 3,725 Captain
    I've given this some thought since I first saw this item on another forum a few months back.... What I'll probably do is use a small drill bit to open up the area where the hook goes (that should allow a larger hook). Because I mostly use wire weedguards.... the rest should be easy (all except the part where you're tying up a fly with a piece of wire sticking straight out from the hook eye until it's completed.

    For anyone wanting to see how I do weedguards I have another article coming out in Flyfishing is Saltwaters (next month's issue) that's a pattern article and clearly shows how I'm doing weedguards. Look for the article on the Tarpon Snake in the July/August issue.
    Tight Lines
    Bob LeMay
    (954) 435-5666
  • sparse greysparse grey Posts: 1,751 Captain
    Thanks for the heads up Bob. I'll be looking.
    Ron Conner Release the fish, keep the memories. Once a Knight is enough.
  • Ol'DirtyCasterOl'DirtyCaster Posts: 2,373 Captain
    Ok, I've actually messed around with a couple different sizes at this point, and my opinion at this point is a little different from when I first posted this thread. The larger the head/hook size, the less relevant the weight of the head is. I've done some playing with the large size (up to 2/0) and it casts no worse than a clouser of the same size, and I still get a good drift in light surf. I'm using them extensively at the jetty at night, and they hold up exceptionally well despite being bounced off cocquina and the back of my rock hard skull a few times. Just an FYI, just because the package says it will fit a 2/0, doesn't mean it will. Aki's, varivas 2600-V's, and other hooks with oversized eyes require larger heads.
  • Capt. ScottCapt. Scott Posts: 94 Deckhand
    Sorry I haven't replied to this earlier...been very busy.
    I started playing with these last summer and like them alot for deep work. I'll post some pictures of the patterns I've been tying possibly over the weekend if I can find time.... but the list of species I've taken on these so far: Kings, AJ's, Almaco, Crevalle's, yellow jacks, assorted snapper, gag, red, strawberry and black grouper, dolphin, cobia, Albies, Blackfin tuna, snook, pompano,(maybe one of the best pompano flies yet for me) and one sailfish,(quite a surprise with the fly sunk 80+ ft. under a bamboo tree in about 600 ft of water, I was looking for Mr. Hoo).
    Put this together with a full length, fast sink line and you can comfortably work 30-70 ft down no problem. I'm using the SA Striped bass IV line,(the old version they don't make anymore) and have gotten snagged on the bottom in 100 ft. I know the super deep fly thing isn't everyone's bag, but I get a huge kick out of it. Especially the "unknown factor" of never knowing what you'll end up with on the end of the line.
    The old standard Mustad 34007 and long shank 34011 fits the large size head up to a 4/0 hook.
    Put the heads on with hot glue and you can re-cycle them after the fly gets chewed up.
    I've also been having fun with the powder coat paint powders made for coating jig heads...stuff comes in some great colors. Stick the head on a bamboo skewer, heat it up with a butane torch and quickly dip in powder and remove.
  • JJDJJD Posts: 13 Greenhorn
    Capt. Scott looking forward to some of your fish-skull creations. I'm with you on the deep fly thing. It's great when that "snag" suddenly rips off 100 yards or so of backing.
  • jaymjaym Posts: 117 Deckhand
    I have used these with Scott and Can verify that you can easily reach the bottom in some ridiculous depths.
  • JWTJWT Posts: 714 Officer
    Totally agree with the love/hate relationship regarding heavily weighted flies. Having not actually seen these, is it necessary to actually tie these in when you make the fly or could you just slip them on the fly when you need something to really get down? it seems that the knot should keep it from running up the shock? also seems like the mfr could make them with a couple of small holes so you can insert a piece of mono & glue in a weed guard.........

    have to say they do look good!
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