Version by: Catch Cormier
This is a fly size version of a popular crappie tube jig. It uses silicone skirt material for the tail. Also known under brand names such as silli-legs, loco-legs, etc., the material most imitates the plastic of tube jigs.
Tube jigs have long been a popular lure for crappie anglers. Often when crappie strike, they attempt to injure the baitfish before eating it. When they strike and feel a pliable material that has "feel" to it, they'll strike again. If not, often they leave it alone. This observation comes from many hours of watching crappie in clear water under lights.
I first saw the original Silli Minnow tied at fly-tying festival in North Carolina in 1999. The tier called it a Tube Jig Fly and described it as a fly-sized version of the popular Tube Jig. One thing that stood out was that, when cinched down with thread, the silicon strands flared out. It looked nothing like the tail on a tube jig.
Later I figured out a trick. When tying the tails in, wrap tight near the head, but make a few loose wraps above the hook point. Then wrap back to the head. Add a tiny drop of UV epoxy over the loose wraps, then hit with the UV light for a couple seconds.
Another modification I made to the original was replacing the chenille body with Krystal Flash Chenille. This material matches the pearlescent look of a tube jig. After all, with this fly we’re “matching the commie hatch.”
Jighead: 1/80 or 1/64 ounce
* alternative: competition jig 2x streamer hook with a tungsten beadhead
Tail: Sillicon skirt or Silli-Legs
Body: Ice dub chenille, or medium cactus chenille
1. If using a beadhead, slide the bead up the hook to the eye.
2. Start a thread wrap. Make the thread body rough by wrapping back and forth in a few wide wraps.
3. Tie in a section of skirt tail, about 8 to 10 strands. DO NOT TRIM YET. Also note that the tail will flare if you wrap thread very tightly. If you do not wish it to flare, tie well secured but NOT tight. Then apply a drop of super glue to secure.
4. Tie in a small section of the body material (chenille, etc.) and secure back to just above the barb of the hook. Then take the chenille and wrap around the hook forward to just behind the head (or bead). Tie off the body material and trim material off. Finish with a whip finish or other knot.