|The Pink Panther|
This month's waker is another version of my pattern that came about through a request from my friend Steve Turner. Steve was planning for his first trip to the Dean a couple years ago and so he contacted me to request some pink versions of the Little Wang in a large size. Steve had a trip booked through Jeff Hickman's Kimsquit Bay Lodge on the lower Dean in late July/early August. Jeff had been telling Steve that the ocean bright lower Dean steelhead would aggressively take large pink flies so Steve asked me to tie up a few monster versions of my skater in all pink.
Knowing of the aggressive nature of Dean river steelhead and also knowing of that strain's ferocious fighting characteristics, I decided to tie more than just a few flies for Steve: I decided to gift him with a dozen of the big pink wakers, just in case of break offs and just in case Steve decided to share a fly or two with other fisherman. I had tied those early versions on size 2 Mustad 9672 hooks which are an old school 3xl streamer hook.
Steve is such a generous guy that he did indeed end up sharing some of those flies with other fisherman at the lodge. He was ultimately left with just a few remaining flies from the dozen I gave him. He got a nice coho and raised a steelhed on the pink panther on his first trip and he hooked into a nice Dean steelhead on the pink panther on his most recent trip this past summer. One of the guests that was at the lodge with Steve a couple years ago hooked and landed a nice Dean steelhead on the fly as well.
Steve recently requested more pink panthers, but this time he asked for me to try tying them on tubes as he wanted to share some with a renowed steelhead guide who intends to go after winter steelhead with them. My friend Tony Torrence gifted me with some hooks and pink tubes so I could beging tying prototypes of my first tube wangs. The pink panther pictured above is the result. I have tied the rear half of the fly on the stinger hook itself and the front half of the fly is tied on the pink tube. I burned a hole in the bottom front of the tube so the leader goes in from the bottom of the tube. Early field testing finds that this pattern skates well. Further field testing will reveal if winter steelhead will show some interest in this pattern - stay tuned!
I am so thankful whenever Steve requests flies from me as his requests have brought about new versions of my pattern and his fly requests give me a rare opportunity to reciprocate, even if in a small way, Steve's kind-hearted generosity.