By: Adam Spence
For this week’s edition of Big Fly Friday, we’re going to feature a streamer designed for angry smallmouth, but has a place in the water wherever predatory fish swim: Mike Schultz’s Swingin’ D. This fly can be a bit of challenge, as you’ll need to wrap small saddle feathers on a small articulation shank, so the Swingin’ D is not necessarily recommended to be the fly you tie once you’ve mastered the Woolly Bugger.
Main target species: Smallmouth Bass
Prime water to fish it: When I see high flows on my favorite smallmouth stream, I’m thinking that the Swingin’ D is going to be my first choice for the sub-surface. High flows generally mean dirty or stained water, in which case I’m looking for something with flash that will also push water. The Swingin’ D checks both boxes with a generous amount of flash tied in and a foam diver head.
How to fish it: The Swingin’ D is versatile in the ways you can fish it. One obvious way is with sinking line or a sink tip. I like sinking line because it gets the fly down now and keeps it down. When fishing it on sinking line, you can mix up your retrieves as you would with any streamer, but a jerk strip (think Kelly Galloup) will really get that thing dancing. If you’ve come across a stretch that isn’t really deep, or maybe you left your sinking line at home, you may opt to use a floating line and longer, stiff leader. The longer leader will allow you to pull the fly deeper and allow you to keep it below the surface during your retrieve, much like you would fish other diving streamers.
Action: The Swingin’ D’s design allows it to move like few other streamers out there. The key to this action is the combination of the foam head and the articulated shanks. When you strip this fly hard and then pause, the head darts in all directions and the shanks in the body move enticingly. Add in the flash that is most noticeable when the head darts to the side, and you have a fly that acts, and looks, a whole lot like a wounded baitfish.
Colors: This fly can be tied in whatever colors work best on your home water. Between the foam diver heads and the articulated shanks, it’s not a cheap tie, so if you can only tie one color combo, I’d tie it in white and gray. It’s a pretty common color among baitfish and nothing beats watching your fly get killed because you’re able to track it through the water. If you have the means, black and purple would be dynamite on dark days.