By Montana Grant

Posted: July 15, 2023

Every fly angler has a ton of their favorite flies. One box may be full of nymphs, another is loaded with dries, and a terrestrial box is also on hand. We never have enough flies.

Back in the day, I remember Lefty Kreh bragging about how it’s not the fly but the presentation. He would say, “if you present a cigarette butt properly, it will catch a fish! “Since I was Lefty’s student, I preached the same lesson.

During an outdoor show, I was challenged by one of the snobby fly guys in the audience. My seminar was about presentation. The Fly Guy was argumentative and challenged me big time. “There is no way a piece of trash will catch a smart trout. Matching the hatch is critical!”

My next seminar was about tying flies, so I asked the guy to find me some cigarette butts and meet me at the fly-tying bench. There was also a trout fishing Tank Truck at the show, so the challenge was on.

He found me several Butts to work with. I used a streamer hook to match the length of the butt. The hook shank was covered in thread. I made a slit in the butt, lengthwise. This butt crack slid over the hook shank. I added some glue to hold it in place. Then I wrapped the thread around the butt in a crisscross pattern. At the head of the fly, I wrapped some peacock herl, just because. After finishing the knot with some head cement, I took a red, green, and black sharpie pen to make some dots across the butt fly, just for fun.

By this time, I had a huge audience. I swear that they were placing bets on if I would catch a fish on the Butt Fly. My next seminar was on the fish tank truck. This big tractor trailer fish tank was full of big trout. The water’s surface was covered in foam and waves from the pumps and filters. I would not be able to see any fish take my Butt Fly presented as a dry fly.

It was time to present the fly at the depth where the fish were. Since the fish were near the bottom, I had to add some weight. Some stick-on indicators would help me see the Butt fly bite.

I cast my Butt fly into the tank and watched the strike indicator. In a moment, the indicator went down, and the trout was on. I netted and released the fish while giving tips and tricks during my seminar.

The Big Mouth was not satisfied. ‘You were just lucky!’ So, I cast several more times and caught several more fish. He left quietly.

Since that time, I have always kept a few Butt Flies in my arsenal of flies just in case another challenger steps up. These flies also work as dry flies during terrestrial time. Adding some rubber legs makes them deadly.

Several other seminar leaders also fished off the deck into the trout tank. None caught a fish. Their information was awesome, but talk is cheap. Putting lips to the fly means proper presentation.

No Butts about It!

Montana Grant

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