Anyone who ventures into saltwater with a fly rod should be carrying some Lefty’s Deceivers. Invented in the 1950s for catching striped bass from Chesapeake Bay off the eastern shore of Maryland, the Deceiver “concept” is now used for patterns designed for all manner of fish in both fresh and salt waterfrom trout to bonefish to peacock bass. But the initial impetus was Kreh’s desire to make a fly that wouldn’t foul easily. According to his reminiscence on Dan Blanton’s website, Kreh told his fishing buddy, “I’m going to design a fly that won’t foul on the cast! It will have a fish shape, but can be made in many lengths. You can vary the color combinations; it will also swim well, but when lifted for the back cast, it will be sleek and have little air resistance.” Nowadays, he notes that Lefty’s Deceiver isn’t really a specific pattern, but a kind of design that can be altered in any way the tier sees fit: “That is, it can be an inch long or 14 inches long and can be of any combination of colors to suit the fly fisherman. . .or the fish. You can make it of natural or synthetic materials, or as I often do, use a combination of both.”
In this video, Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions offers his simple version of Lefty’s original, with no eyes and just a few materials. As usual, there are a couple of neat tying tricks on display that you can use for tying all such patterns. For instance, Lefty’s trick of rolling saddle hackles into a bunch makes them easier to work with. You’ll also learn why it’s important to strim the bucktail butts at an angle, as well as the best way to attach them to the hook.
Hook: Mustad 34007, sizes 2/0-6.
Thread: Fluorescent yellow, 140 denier.
Tail: White saddle hackles, 3X length of hook shank.
Flash: Pearlescent Krystal Flash and medium Flashabou.
Body: Silver or pearl braid.
Wing: White bucktail.
Overwing: Chartreuse bucktail.
Gills: Red Krystal Flash.
Head: Tying thread.
Note: Other great color combinations include red over white, olive
over white, blue over white, red over yellow, olive over yellow,
all white, and all black.