Lefty’s Deceiver

By Carlos Hidalgo:

Although he would deny it, Lefty Kreh is a legend. With great knowledge (he has authored or co-authored over 30 books and hundreds of magazine articles), boundless energy (he has performed countless lectures and casting demonstrations over the last 60+ years), down-to-home humor (a dumb person would “pick up a snake to kill a stick”), and showmanship (at casting demos, he finds a pretty woman and makes a cast that curls the fly line around her neck), Lefty has done more to popularize fly fishing than any other person in the last century. He has fished with Fidel Castro, Ted Williams, and Ernest Hemmingway, but he hasn’t just witnessed fly fishing history, he has created it. His innovative fly casting techniques are used by millions of us today.

Oh yeah, he also developed Lefty’s Deceiver, the best fly pattern ever devised. Lefty tied the first Deceiver during the late 1950s. He wanted a fly that was easy to cast, didn’t foul, looked like a baitfish and had great action in the water. The pattern can be easily described: a tail made up of several matching hackle or saddle feathers with a bucktail collar. Add flash material to either or both, eyes to the head and some type of red material for the throat, as needed. The hook shank beneath the collar (the body) can be wrapped with the tying thread or a flashy material, like mylar tinsel or Diamond Braid.

By the way, Lefty says the key to the pattern is to tie the collar at least as long as the rear of the hook, which keeps the hackle tail from wrapping around the hook.

In appropriate sizes and colors, Lefty’s pattern has deceived just about every fish that swims, from four-inch bream to 400-pound billfish. Lefty’s Deceiver has even graced a U.S. Postal stamp.

Lefty’s favorite Deceiver colors are chartreuse/white and yellow/chartreuse. I tie them in many sizes and colors, and my favorite is tied in a Firetiger color scheme. This color works very well for many saltwater fish in sizes 1/0 to 3/0. It has also been very successful for me for peacock bass and largemouth bass in south Florida in size 2. I imagine smallies would jump all over it, too.

Lefty’s Deceiver (Firetiger):

  • Hook – Mustad 34007 or similar, size 2 to 3/0
  • Thread – fluorescent yellow
  • Tail – two yellow and one yellow grizzly hackle on each side, topped with yellow Krystal Flash
  • Body – yellow thread or Diamond Braid
  • Collar – yellow bucktail with yellow Krystal flash and a small yellow grizzly hackle on each side, topped with green Krystal Flash and green bucktail
  • Throat – orange bucktail, as long as the collar
  • Head – fluorescent yellow, with painted orange/black eye, covered with five-minute epoxy

Contact Carlos at cah6620@gmail.com to submit a pattern for consideration in this column or to order his book, “South Florida’s Peacock Bass.”

Fishing Magazine, Coastal Angler & The Angler Magazine is your leading source for freshwater fishing and saltwater fishing videos, fishing photos, saltwater fishing.