One of the most successful flies on the fishing scene, all around the world, has to be the Cat’s Whisker. A fly which has been developed, varied and copied time and time again. Originally developed by David Train in the Mid-80’s, who use the moulted whiskers from his cat to stiffen up the tail. An idea he devised to stop the tail wrapping around the bend of the hook when casting or retrieving.
The ‘Cat’ has to be one of the most varied flies of all times, all you need to do is search cats whisker fly patterns in Google and you get 46,000 results in a third of a second. The most commonly used Cat however, is the Chain Eyed Cats whisker. The simple addition of such eyes to a pattern can improve catch rate no end by enhancing the movement of the fly. More commonly used on small-waters, the pattern below has been devised to entice stocked fish into chasing and actually taking rather than turning away at the last moment. The rubber legs matched with the highly active body material means that even when fished on the slowest of retrieves, the fly is kept alive and kicking.
One thing you must take into consideration when fishing with chain eyed flies, or any other weighted flies for that matter, is the strength and durability of your fishing tackle. A wayward cast or a freak breeze could cause your fly to knock and break your fishing rod. This is inevitable as accidents always happen, but it’s always good practise to take care when casting. A correctly matched fly line and rod set-up will mean that casting these large flies will be made much easier than if your set-up is correctly balanced.
The ideal method to fish this fly would be with either a floating line or an intermediate. This revolves back to the movement aspect of the fly, a floating line with give a great incising motion to the fly, where the line will lift the fly up a few inches (or feet depending on the length of the pull) and drop back down under the tension of the line. This is usually referred to as the sink and draw technique. The intermediate fly line will give your fly a different fishing angle again of that than a floater. Giving a more level retrieve than a jagged, up and down motion. This retrieve can be enhanced further by using the roly-poly technique or using a fly with less added weight.