Killer fly – The Gamechanger
There are thousands of fly patterns out there, but just occasionally, a fly comes along that really does change the game. Matt Harris explains.
Anglers who use big streamer flies that are designed to imitate baitfish will know that while there are a number of advantages to fishing flies over plugs, spinners and spoons, most big streamers have a predictable, one-dimensional action.
Fishing with my good friend Richard Walker for the big snook that inhabit Miami’s cuts and channels, I was made painfully aware of this. While my big Flashy Profile came back in a straight line, Richard’s multi-jointed Sebile Magic Swimmer lure writhed and wriggled in a way that no fly could ever do.
Or could it?
While I forgot all about what a remarkable lure that Magic Swimmer was, another angler decided to replicate the plug as a fly. That angler is fly tying genius, Blane Chocklett. Blane is predominantly a muskellunge guide based in Virginia in the US. Muskies are big pike, and they are notoriously difficult to seduce, particularly on fly. They want a lure that moves slowly, and this gives them plenty of time to examine – and usually reject – the angler’s offering.
Blane realised that by using multiple Waddington shanks of gradually decreasing lengths, he could create a multi-jointed fly that would swim with all the erratic, sinuous movement offered by the Sebile lure, and his Gamechanger fly was born.
The first time I put a Gamechanger in the water was on my local River Cam, where I fly fish for the river’s notoriously difficult pike. I dropped the fly in the water while I stripped line from the reel, and as I drew the fly towards me in order to make my first cast, a pike rushed from nowhere to grab it.
Since then, the Gamechanger has been just what it says on the tin. As well as pike, I’ve caught huge, ultra-difficult clear-water dorado in Bolivia and monster peacock bass in Brazil, along with other species like surubi catfish in the Amazon and huchen in Eastern Europe, the latter two species considered almost impossible to catch on fly.
For any fish that predates on baitfish, the Gamechanger is fast becoming my go-to fly – wherever you are fly fishing for predators, from the Cam to the Amazon, you just have to give it a try.
You can order Gamechangers from Selectafly. Buy the white version and use Sharpie permanent markers to colour the fly to ‘match the hatch’.
Alternatively, Jo Stephenson will tie you bespoke flies, including ones tied with natural fur rather than the original synthetic material. You’ll find her Fairer Flies page on Facebook.
If you want to tie your own Gamechangers, contact Toby Merrigan at Funky Fly Tying – he stocks all the necessary materials and can advise on all aspects of tying this killer fly.