The Ska-opper – by Thomas Goodwin

featured, Fly Patterns, Step-by-Step Tutorials — By on March 14, 2012 10:27 pm

“Developed for summer-run steelhead on the North Umpqua by Scott Howell, the Ska-opper is one of those patterns that is kind of a cross between a few flies. It’s basically a little bit of a muddler, gurgler, and a bass popper. Made famous in Skagit Master 2, this fly can definitely elicit some aggressive takes from some pissed off steelhead! As a side note, when I first was going through the process of tying this pattern myself, I noticed that the commercialized versions are tied slightly differently than how Scott ties them in Skagit Master 2. That being said, I follow the pattern tied in the movie.” – Thomas Goodwin

Be sure to check out more from Thomas at

Hook: Tiemco 300 Size 6
Thread: Danville 210 Denier, Tan
Tail: Root Beer Krystal Flash
Tag: Gold Tinsel
Body: Polypro Yarn, Orange
Legs: Grizzly barred Medium Round, Neon Orange
Throat: Guinea, Orange
Head: Deer Hair
Overbody: 2mm Foam, Brown
Special tools: Double edged razor blade (found at any small drug store)

Tie in the tinsel tag. Start wrapping the tag where the hook point begins. Next, tie in the krystal flash at about the 60% mark. Clip it so it extends just a bit past the bend of the hook.

Cut out a v-shaped piece of foam like this.

At about the 25% mark, tie in the foam and continue back to the tie in point at the 60% mark. Do the same for the yarn as well.

Tie in the legs with figure 8 wraps. Have one just ahead of the tie in point and one at about the 30% mark.

Wrap the yarn forward and tie it off at the 25% mark.

Tie in a guinea feather and wrap it in to create the throat.

These next steps are the trickiest part of the fly to get right. Stack a clump of deer hair and make two wraps around the hair as if you were spinning it in, but instead of letting go and letting it spin, just hold on to the hair. From there, pull the butt ends of the hair downward, leaving the pointed tips up. Pack the hair and get ready for another clump.

Tie in 2 more clumps the same way.

Invert the vise and take one last clump and clip the tips off. Tie it in the same way as before but on the bottom of the hook shank.

Return the vise to the upright position and cut a small path down the middle of the fly for the foam to rest on.

Pull the foam over and tie off.

Next is the tedious part. Take the fly out of the vise and start shaving it. The easiest way to get the cleanest looking head is to use a double-edged razor blade. Bend the blade to get that nice curved head. Then just use scissors to cut the stubborn butt ends out of the way. The goal is to create the round head with a little bit of the deer hair pointing out the back of the fly like wings. Be careful also with the razor not to cut off the guinea or the legs!

When the hair is all cut and shaved the underside of the fly should look like this.

Be sure to check out more from Thomas at

The finished Ska-opper!

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Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)

1 Comment

  1. Cato says:

    Rock’n’Roll fly! Can’t wait to try this one as a frog imitation for big brown trout here in Norway!

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    Rating: 0 (from 2 votes)

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