Sprig Flies and Teasers – also called dressed hooks

Teaser colour matched to Cobra.
Teaser colour matched to Cobra. Sprig Flies and Teasers.
Teaser colour matched to Cobra.

Sprig Flies and Teasers

The effectiveness of Cobra lures can be enhanced by replacing the hooks supplied with the lure with a more attractive sprig fly. These dressed hooks are also known as Sprig flies and teasers. Tight Lines produce a range of dressed single hooks under the name of Kiwi Teasers.

I am sure that the position of a lure in the water, together with the manner it is worked while retrieved accounts for at least 80 percent of the strikes on that lure and that the actual colour scheme is much less important! An old black Toby with almost all the black paint having been scratched off seems to work as well, if not better than it did when new!

Trout flies also work just as well when chomped up by fish. An old fly with most of its dressing worn off will still be a good producer.

However, hanging the hooks on Cobras and replacing them with teasers most definitely improves their effectiveness. For this reason, I now only fish for salmon with dressed hooks both upriver and in the surf. Many anglers prefer to tie their teasers to match the colour of the Cobra. The combination of Cobra and dressed hook gives the end result, an articulated action in the water which more closely resembles the swimming action of fish. This is enhanced still further by tying the line to a split-ring which in turn is connected to the hook. This arrangement flops around more freely and also allows the Cobra to slide up the line once a trout is hooked and so decreases the trout’s leverage and therefore the likelihood of it throwing the lure.

Teaser colour matched to Cobra.
Teaser colour matched to Cobra. Traffic light pattern. Click to enlarge.

Another similar was of achieving the same thing is to pass your line first through a small plastic bead and then tie it directly to the hook. This also prevents the hook eye from sticking in the end of the Cobra’s tube.

Many anglers report that the hook-up rate for Cobras is increased if a single hook is used in place of the treble. I’m sure that this is true. The larger hook with its bigger gap holds the fish more firmly. However, trebles look better on the lure. The colour and design of the dressing is limited only by your imagination. Start by clamping the hook in the vice and under binding along the shank and coat­ing with head cement. Then tie in the tail of Krystal Flash. This flares out nicely to partially hide the barbs. Bind on three small clumps of Krystal Flash around the shank of the hook. It is necessary to remove the hook from the vice and turn it over to reach the opposite side.

For the body of the hook a wrap of Estaz, or Crystal Chenille, does a great job and takes only a few seconds to apply. This reflects light, is pearlescent, and really ads sparkle.

Another way of adding sparkle to the hook shank is to tie in the end of a dozen or so strands of Krystal Flash. While holding the other end, wrap the material around the shank to cover it and build up a “body.” This can, in turn, be coated with clear head cement to make it stay in place.

The body can also be made from Diamond Braid or Chenille. It could also be wrapped woolly bugger style.

Finally tie-off with either matching or contrasting thread to suit. Coat this also with head cement.

There are no hard and fast rules on making up teasers for use on your Cobras. However, here are a few tips:

1. Don’t use too much material so that the fly becomes overdressed. This will deaden the Cobra’s action. Also, too much material will mask the barbs of the hooks and make it difficult to get a good hook set.

2. Tie up a good selection of colours and styles so that if one doesn’t work you can test out another.

3. In some waters, you are only allowed to fish with single hooks so check your license.

4. A long tried and tested rule of thumb is to use bright warm colours such as yellow, orange, pink, silver, and gold when fishing on a bright sunny day, and more subdued colours when conditions are overcast or at night. For the West Coast lakes green and black are very successful.

5. On a bright day or when conditions are oily calm try using a small Baby Cobra and sparsely tied teaser.

6. Try heating your Cobra in a cup of hot water and bending it between your fingers to increase its darting action. This is particularly effective when spinning from the shoreline around lakes. It makes the lure work harder for a given retrieve speed and so it is more attractive to trout.

7. Although Cobras are available in a huge range of colours some anglers apply extra paint of their own to the body of the lure to get the combination that want. You can also paint on a little glue and sprinkle glitter over it for a sparkle effect.