Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Homer Circle and the Green Sponge Rubber Spider fly

When I was learning to fly fish in my early teens, I was an avid reader of the three sporting magazines available, Field and Stream, Outdoor Life and Sports Afield. The fishing editor of Sports Afield was a guy name Homer Circle, and he often wrote about fly fishing for bass and panfish. For panfish, Homer loved him some sponge rubber green spider fly lures.
For a few years, Sports Afield would have a fly fishing issue, and you could always count on Uncle Homer to do some talking about these lures and how good he thought they were. No telling how many articles I have read by him over the years that make mention to panfishing with these lures.

I couldn't find a picture of the ones I use, but mine are a little different than the ones pictured above. I like those in the picture though. Orvis sells an excellent rendition, with three sets of legs instead of two sets. Also, the Orvis green spider features white rubber legs.

I've fished this lure longer than I've driven a car. On rivers, creeks, streams, tanks, ponds and large lakes, I've caught many panfish and bass and even a small catfish on the green spider. For Texas, if I could have only three flies to fish with, this would be one of them. The other two flies would be some sort of mosquito/gnat immitation and a Dave's Hopper grasshopper fly. Solid producers in all types of Texas locales year round.

I've caught as many bass on this lure as I have panfish. I have even caught a tiny channel cat when fishing this fly deep like a wet fly/streamer. That's part of the versatility of this fly. If you want to fish it dry, it naturally floats on top of the water. If you want to run it deeper, you simply squeeze the sponge and fill it with water and you're going deeper.

In my youth I bought this fly from places like Netcraft. Orvis and other fly tyers began tying this fly a lot in the late 70's and early 80's and you can find versions just about everywhere. The white and the green have produced best for me, although I once had a good run of large perch on the Medina River near the road to Tarpley crossing just outside of Bandera on an overcast day with a yellow spider.

Mr. Circle is still writing and fishing. He was named the 2008 Samuel C. Johnson Fishing Journalist of the Year. After being with Sports Afield magazine for 35 years, he now writes for Bassmaster. He was a pioneer of fishing television shows, but I'll always remember him for the green rubber spider.

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