The Slumpbuster is a John Barr creation with a little bit of everything; weight, a touch of flash, some wiggle and a profile that pushes a fair amount of water. In addition, it’s real easy to tie, especially when compared to many of today’s streamer patterns.
For a hook, a Dai-Riki #700 in size 8 works well. As always, it’s a good idea to mash the barb before you start tying.
A large size nickel cone head looks about right for this hook. Insert the point of the hook into the cone, small hole first, and thread it around to behind the hook eye. With the cone in place, get the hook firmly secured in your tying vise.
This fly works well with a lot of weight so I’m going to add some .02 lead free wire. Plunger-style hackle pliers allow you to get the weight started on the hook shank so there’s no waste. To really get the fly down, I’m going to use a full 20 wraps.
To stabilize things, apply a liberal drop or two of your favorite adhesive to the hook shank and wraps, before sliding the wraps forward to pin the cone against the hook eye.
Once you get all the wraps neatly in order, load a bobbin with a nice heavy tying thread, here I’m using UTC 140 Denier in a brown olive. Start your thread on the hook shank immediately behind the wire and take wraps rearward before snipping or breaking off the tag. Take wraps forward over the weight to further secure it and then build a little thread ramp down to the hook shank.
For the fly’s rib, I'm going to use brassie-sized, chartreuse, ultra wire, but the color is entirely up to you. A 10” piece is enough for numerous flies. Secure the wire to the near side of the hook shank and take thread wraps, binding it down all the way to the bend. Then wrap your thread forward to just behind the weight.
Snip a 4-5 inch length of silver sparkle braid free from the card. Secure one end of it at the tie-in point and take wraps rearward to the bend, and then forward all the way back up to the edge of the cone. Although not essential, a little adhesive applied to saturate the thread wraps can’t hurt, in terms of durability.
Get hold of the silver braid and start taking slightly overlapping wraps forward up the hook shank, ending at the back edge of the cone. Secure the braid with several tight turns of tying thread and then snip the excess off close.
The final ingredient for this fly is a pine squirrel zonker strip. Here I’m using chartreuse, but they come in a wide range of colors. Get hold of the butt end of the strip and remove a small amount of fur to expose the bare hide. Push the hide up into the cone, on top of the hook shank, and take thread wraps to secure it. Really bind it down well, as you don’t want the strip pulling free. Tug on the strip to stretch it rearward and then wet your fingers to make the fur more manageable. Preen the fur upward so it’s at a 90 degree angle to the hide. Part the fur right above the ribbing wire and start making wraps between clumps of fur to secure the strip all the way up the shank. If you can make the wraps fairly even, and not bind down too much fur in the process, so much the better. When you reach your tying thread, take wraps to secure the wire really well. You can helicopter to break the wire off if you’d like but here I’m just going to use fine point wire cutters.
Everybody seems to have their own preference for tail length on these things. I prefer fairly short and will snip the hide off so it’s a little more than a half a hook shank in length. Once the fur is pulled back, the tail looks a good bit longer.
Get hold of the remaining pine squirrel strip and, again, remove a small amount of fur. Secure it to the hook shank just as you did the previous strip then start making wraps so the hide is wrapped around the hook and the fur is swept back. I like to really pack the wraps in behind the cone so there’s no space left between the two. You can then secure the strip with a few tight turns of tying thread. Carefully snip the excess strip off close and take a few more thread wraps to make sure everything’s seated below the edge of the cone. Do a 5 or 6 turn whip finish and snip or cut your tying thread free.
And that’s all there is to it. Try ‘em in different sizes, colors and weights. The Slumpbuster is an absolutely awesome pattern for high, discolored water and has a reputation for catching big fish