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Jeremy's Miracle Fly
The ‘Miracle Fly’ Truly Produces Remarkable Results
Ozark guide Jeremy Hunt tells all in this exclusive interview
There is nothing worse in my world of fly fishing than when an “amateur” fishing near me is hammering fish while I am struggling to get a bite. The ego of a fly fisherman is very fragile, so it does not take me long to come up with some type of justification for this shaming. “He must be cheating” or “He’s using a fly I would not be caught dead with on my line” are the immediate thoughts that come to mind. Eventually, I will leave to go find a more private area to humiliate myself, but I often run into the guys who were smoking my tush in the parking area at the end of the day. Nine out of ten times, their magic fly ends up being some form of egg imitation. I’m not a big fan of using these types of gaudy patterns unless it is absolutely necessary, but I am starting to see that the “ugly stuff” is not without merit. When catching a fish is the primary objective, pride needs to be pushed aside sometimes.
I got to poking around the Internet in search of more information on different types and styles of egg patterns, and I came across an interesting character named Jeremy Hunt. He is a full-time fly fishing guide who specializes in trout fishing on Arkansas’s White River and Lake Taneycomo in Missouri. These tailwater trout fisheries are known for big fish and unpredictable water levels. Jeremy has an egg variation he calls the “Miracle Fly”, and he claims that this pattern produces all sorts of trout during many different water conditions.
Unfortunately, there is very little information to be found on Jeremy Hunt and his Miracle Fly out there – even his incredible, content-rich Web site only mentions it in passing every now and again. I decided to give Jeremy a call to see if I could get some answers as to why his egg pattern is the only one an angler should ever need, and this conversation turned into an interesting interview. Below are some very enlightening answers that I received to my questions.
When did you develop the Miracle Fly?
“First of all, I didn’t invent or come up with the concept of this fly, but I do like to think that I’ve turned a [novelty] pattern into a legitimate weapon. Truthfully, the way I got introduced to jig head eggs was at Roaring River State Park about seven years ago. Tim’s Fly Shop recommended this funky jig head egg, so I thought I would give it a try. That day, I caught a rainbow over ten pounds – my biggest ever, and I knew that there was something about this particular style of egg that appealed to large trout. To make sure that [Roaring River] wasn’t a fluke, I tried this egg out on Lake Taneycomo during low water and caught a nice brown, and the rainbows were fighting over it. I was sold from that point on. The key is the 1/100th-ounce jig head…the fly seems to fall so naturally…like a piece of chummed corn. There is something in a trout’s instinct that makes it throw caution to the wind when they see falling food. I can’t explain it, but I sure wanted to take advantage of this bite.”
What exactly is the Miracle Fly?
“The Miracle Fly is simply an egg pattern tied on a jig hook. Yeah, I’ve played around A LOT with hooks and materials, but the real turning point was when I figured out some new strategies [that relate] to where I fish this fly. I do think it is important to use heavy hooks in order to land really big fish. The 1/100th size works best for how I like to fish, but occasionally I will go heavier. Most of the time, I would rather just use a split-shot to get the fly down instead of using an overall bigger fly.”
Why is this fly so effective?
“The Miracle Fly works so well because it stays down where the fish are. A big key to the ease of using this fly is the fact that the hook rides up, so it will rarely hang on the bottom. Even though the Miracle Fly can help beginners catch more fish, I prefer a specialized approach when the water is lower, and I will rarely fish blind. Still, the fact that so many bites come on the fall makes it so a lot of guys will catch a few fish pretty much by accident.”
What is the best way to fish the Miracle Fly?
“I’m not sure I should get into great detail here, as guiding is my bread and butter, but I guess it won’t hurt to give a few pointers out. Like I said, you can confidently “blind-nymph” with the Miracle Fly, but I prefer to sight-fish on light to moderate flows when I can. This way, I can see the bites and get a really solid hook-set. I use my drift boat because it is so quiet, and I like to find really slow water, even if the river is up. By casting downstream, I can sneak up on bigger fish before the boat gets too close. Most people think egg patterns only work in faster water, but I think the opposite is often true for finding big fish – I’ve seen huge browns just pick this fly right off the bottom in slack areas. I prefer to have no knots between my strike indicator and the fly in order to get a steady sink-rate. Using 5x fluorocarbon tippet also seems to help in this department. If at all possible, I will focus on the slowest areas I can find, even if the water is high. The Miracle Fly catches plenty of fish as a traditional drifting fly, and I will throw a split-shot on my line if I have to get deep in a hurry because I’m fishing in current.”
What do you say when people call using egg patterns “junk fishing”?
“They can call it what they want. Believe me, I like fishing dry flies as much as the next guy, but I also like catching fish and so do my clients. The White River Basin does not really offer steady dry fly action except with tiny midges, so I need to adapt my fishing to the rivers I spend a lot of time on. Using egg patterns has never been about catching numbers of fish for me – I can do that with many different flies. Instead, I wanted to find a productive way to target and catch bigger fish. An egg appeals to a trout’s primal instincts, and I really think that the bigger fish will often take an egg without a second-thought. I’ve had so much fun since I started fishing with the Miracle Fly. I guess in this case, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure, right?”
Are you embarrassed to fish the Miracle Fly?
“I’m not any more embarrassed to fish with a Miracle Fly than I would be to fish with a midge. I mean, our trout feed on both of those food sources in their natural environment. As a versatile fly fisherman, it is important to have a “bag of tricks” ready to go. The Miracle Fly is just my go-to “trick” for guiding and for targeting large fish with nymphs. Some of my clients are skeptical at first, but once they see the bite and what I’m talking about, they are converted. Even some real purists have had a blast. I end up selling my on-hand supply of eggs after almost every guide trip I go out on to clients who want to try this fly on their home waters.”
Does your fly work all year long or just during the spawn?
“Well, I don’t fish for spawning fish on our rivers, but I’ll save that discussion for a later date. Fishing the Miracle Fly is not about ripping trout off of the redds. I’ve caught fish on this fly all year because it triggers something in their instincts. Also, there are mixed up fish that try to spawn all year long on our rivers, so eggs are almost always an available food source. I’m not sure how much influence the hatcheries have to do with the fact that our trout love eggs so much.”
Do you sell the Miracle Fly to the general public?
“I just started selling the Miracle Fly. There are just some things you can’t hold in forever. Those interested in making a purchase or learning more about the materials I use can contact me through my Web site. The flies I sell are the exact same as the ones I use on a daily basis. Just having this fly in your repertoire will increase catch rates, but the real fun begins when you learn to fool the river’s bigger fish on the Miracle Fly.”
As you can see, we really got down to the nitty-gritty during our talk, and I learned a lot. Sometimes, in order to have fun, we just need to catch some trout when we are out on the water. The Miracle Fly offers a way to fish with the utmost in confidence. I also understand that there are times when big fish get very picky about what they will eat - an “instinctual” pattern like an egg can elicit a response from trophy trout that would otherwise snub the most subtle of offerings. I used to think of myself as a “semi-purist”, but I like catching fish way too much for that to be true. Now, I realize that I’m just a guy who likes to get schooled using dry flies until I cannot stand it any longer. The next time that I am forced to admit defeat with respect to fishing to surface, I will surely switch to a Miracle Fly for some action. I would rather not watch others have all the fun, even if it means going big and ugly.
Jeremy Hunt maintains an extensive web resource called Taneycomotrout.com. This Web site contains a wide range of content that explains every aspect of fly fishing White River Basin trout fisheries. Be sure to drop Jeremy a line if you have any questions about the Miracle Fly. He’s an easy person to talk to, and he obviously takes his trout fishing [and catching] very seriously.