Need a pattern for bigger stripers when they’re holding in shallow water but not actively feeding? Who doesn’t? So, pay attention. I’m only gonna say this once … well, maybe twice. But, I digress.
Corey Pietraszek runs Plug and Play Charters around Rhode Island, The Elizabeth Islands, Cape Cod, and offshore. He’s been at this a while, so this is our chance to learn something from his years of experience. In fact, Corey’s dad named this pattern the first time he saw it dangling from the end of Corey’s leader. He called it the Big Junk, apparently due to the variety of materials that went into the wing.
Corey fishes this fly when larger striped bass are on the move, primarily in boulder fields from Newport, Rhode Island, to Buzzards Bay. The fly seems to shine when larger baitfish, such as medium-size bunker or herring, are in the water. The best time to use it is in spring, when the fish are on herring, and in the fall, when larger peanut bunker are the preferred bait.
As a kid, Corey noticed that his dad always used larger patterns on sinking lines, but Corey hated throwing lead line. He recalled, “I wanted a fly that worked well in shallow water when the bass were not actively feeding but hanging among the rocks. I decided to add eyes and weight the head with 5-minute epoxy to hold the 3D molded eyes. I also added some weight forward so when I stop stripping the fly, it falls headfirst. Adding the head and eyes also acted as a keel, making the fly track better.” Corey said, “When my dad was younger, he loved fishing the Sakonnet River in the fall. He was an avid fly-tyer and fisherman who loved to try new things. He was on a kick of using all chartreuse Half-and-Halfs. I asked him to make some in white with blue and pink on top one night before we headed down to fish.
“The bait was small herring and some tinker macks. On the end of my line was the BJ Deceiver, version 1.0, that my dad made the night before. Well, after ten minutes on a nine-weight fly rod and 20-pound leader, we landed my first striped bass over 20 pounds. After seeing my results, my dad switched to a colored Deceiver like mine.
“We landed fish from fifteen to forty pounds that whole day. They had the bait pinned against the shoreline. As soon as we tied on a giant BJ Deceiver, the fish lit up. Big fly, big bait, right place, and that was it.
“After that day, he always had a few of ‘his’ version of this fly in the box, but he loved mine and stole them over time. It was the first fly I got good at tying and had confidence in. To this day, still love this pattern and use it as often as possible. I always have at least two in the box and have scored some nice bass on them when nothing else will produce. Color combo, size, and action are what I attribute it to. Tie a few and use them when other flies aren’t working – this one will.”
Hook: Gamakatsu SC15, Size 3/0
Thread: Clear ultra-fine mono thread
Wing: White bucktail, pink bucktail, lavender bucktail, pearl UV Krystal Flash, Mirage Flashabou (blue), peacock heurl
Eyes: 3D molded eyes 3.5/4.0, pearl or silver, covered with 5-minute epoxy