If you are planning to fish for bream, and possibly catch a bass as a bonus, look no further than the rubber legged spider. As a dedicated fly fisherman, I have included rubber legged spiders in my arsenal of tactics. In years past, I purchased foam spiders, but more recently I have tied spiders with chenille bodies and various colors of rubber legs. Here are some tips on tying them and fishing them in the most effective manner.
As a retiree, I have the delightful option of fishing on weekdays. This allows me to avoid fishing on crowded waters. As my late father-in-law, Lewis Clark said, “I don’t like fishing in the third row.”
Recently, I was inspired to tie some spiders for bream fishing. Normally, my weapon of choice is a nine-foot, 5 weight fly rod and popping bugs. Using mid-sized bugs can result in discouraging small bream and increase the possibility of catching a bass.
On this occasion, some rubber legged spiders were tied with chenille bodies and rubber legs. I visited a local, upstate South Carolina pond stocked with bream, bass, crappie and trout. The trout are a cold weather addition, as they probably cannot survive the summer heat.
Arrival was in the early morning hours and it didn’t take long to get the kayak into the water. I was the only person there on that Tuesday. Following my normal pattern, I moved counter-clockwise around the pond. It is about 8-10 acres and my starting point was on the northwest side.
The response was swift, with several small bream attacking the spider. The third fish was more sizeable and every second or third fish was a keeper. I fished for about three hours, but shortly before I left, I hooked a decent bass and another smaller one that I released.
During the time there, I only covered about 2/3 of the distance around the pond. The response of the bream kept movement to a minimum. Nothing beats scrappy bream for fun with a fly rod. Also, to my taste, the bream is one of the most desirable fish.
Tips for Tying and Fishing Rubber Legged Spiders
The unique attraction of rubber legged spiders is the slow sink rate and the wiggle of the rubber legs. The foam versions will likely sink, but the chenille will sink a little faster, once they absorb water. The best way to fish them is to cast to a likely spot, hesitate prior to retrieve to let the fly sink a foot or so under the surface. Then the fly should be retrieved with twitches that propel it for 12” to 18” at a time. As the fly is twitched, the rubber legs will bend and wiggle in a manner that is very attractive to fish.
These flies may also be used as droppers behind popping bugs, increasing the chance of attracting bass.
Rubber legged spiders are easy to tie and I would advise all fly fishermen who enjoy bream fishing to tie a few and enjoy the rewards of their efforts. Here are a few of the steps in tying them:
- Select a long-shanked hook in size 8 or 10
- Use 6/0 thread to build up a foundation from the eye of the hook to the top of the bend
- Tie in the abdomen chenille at the bend on the hook and advance thread about 60% toward the hook eye
- Wrap chenille to the 60% mark and tie off securely
- Loop two rubber legs over thread and secure to hook (about ¾”-1” on each side of hook)
- Select chenille for the thorax and tie to hook body at same point as rubber legs
- Wrap thorax chenille to eye of hook, leaving room to whip finish thread
- Apply head cement to secure thread
- Tug legs into final position on the fly
My choice of chenille is black for the abdomen and variegated black and yellow for the thorax. Actually, color does not seem to be critical, as the wiggly legs seems to be the major attraction. Leg color is optional, but I have tied these with white, black and olive rubber legs.
Don’t miss out on a hot lure for bream. I can tell you that fishing with a fly rod and rubber legged spiders is the way to go. It is super enjoyable and results in some great table fare.