Intruder II [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Intruder II

Gary W
08-24-2004, 02:57 AM
The Intruder is a fly that I have never seen used in Scotland.

When should it be used?
Is it used as a last resort to try to stir stale fish into taking, or is it for fresh fish?

I am talking about Atlantic Salmon; does it work well for this species?

Thank you in anticipation.


08-26-2004, 12:31 AM

I'm sure that Ed Ward, the fly's originator would love to answer this, but he is still in Kamchatka guiding.

I think that there are a couple of probable reasons why you haven't seen or heard of Intruders in Scotland. First, the fly itself was quite a secret even here in the Pacific Northwest. Outside of a few personal friends of Ed's very few people had ever seen it. In fact it was so shadowy that there were those who felt that even Ed Ward himself did not really exist! Since Ed revealed the fly to the world the response has been huge. Secondly, the fly is... how should I put it... LARGE and RADICAL. Since Scottish gillies are legendary for their adherence to tradition I fear that if a client were to try to put one of these beasts onto a tippet the gillie would shoot either the fly or the angler!

Will the Intruder work for Atlantic salmon - I'm sure they will. When Dec Hogan went to Eastern Canada and chronicled it in Wild Steelhead and Salmon he did very well with his steelhead flies. As his trip was in June his early season Skagit-type flies worked very well - the Intruder is definitively one of these. I know that when the great day comes when I get to fish for Atlantic salmon that a box of Intruders will be in my vest!

I believe Intruders will be most effective on fresh fish. Ed's desire is to illicit a grab from the most aggressive fish in the run. I can personally attest that more often than not - when steelhead take an Intruder - they crush it. Furthermore, since the fly most likely represents marine organisms like squid or shrimp it will be most effective when the fish are recently from the salt. That said I have confidence in them throughout the season.

Ed doesn't like to use his Intruders in murky or really cold flows, though I do not believe he feels they will be inneffective, rather he really hates to lose one! He says they are way too time consuming to litter the bottom with. They do work in poor conditions though. Last summer in very poor visibility on the Dean the fresh run fish absolutely crushed them!

Were I you, I would tie some up in traditional prawn colours as well as in black and give them a swing in some Scottish rivers. However, remember to to keep it out of sight of the traditionalists - they might think you were a poacher!

Gary W
08-26-2004, 02:41 AM
Thanks Tyler,

Always one to try something new, I think I'll tie a few up. I think, tied in bright colours, they will work well for Atlantic Salmon in the spring(Springers). The water is very cold around this time, from January through to early May, and we usually fish big bright tubes. Spring fish also tend to be quite good takers and I think the Intruder may well get a few takes.

It may also work at the back end of the season(October) in heavily fished areas where the fish have seen every other pattern time and time again.

I'll give it a swing.

Once again,


Willie Gunn
08-26-2004, 12:51 PM
Are intruders just fished down and across as standard flies or are they stripped like collie dogs.

08-26-2004, 03:39 PM

They are fished down and across. You should note that in spite of the lead eyes, they do not sink like stones - due to their over-all bulk. In fact, they ride fairly high in the water. This is by design, the stiff pheasant tail hackle and deer hair collar are supposed to create turbulence - as Ed calls it - a vortex that brings the fly alive. To further the movement he likes to fish it on a rather "less than hard swing" more like a greased line swing a la A.H.E. Wood.

Willie Gunn
08-28-2004, 01:42 PM
I have sent the recipe to my dresser, (all good salmon anglers have one) but he asks for a picture. I have searched here but cannot find a picture suitable, could you please post one for me.

08-28-2004, 04:25 PM

Here are a few photos. The problem I have is that I do not have any pristine, freshly tied Intruders. Actually the top photo shows unfished flies - notice that the ostrich herl looks much fuller than in the once-wet ones below. I had to dig through my spring time box to find a few in decent shape for the close-ups - I hope these will do.

You will note that these are all tubes. Ed doesn't do it this way, but I have adapted them to tubes as I find them quite a bit easier (read that as faster) to tie without having to cut hooks and attach loops as per Ed's recipe.

08-28-2004, 07:59 PM
I have sent the recipe to my dresser, (all good salmon anglers have one) but he asks for a picture..

"Your Dresser??" Darn! Guess we've all got to start calling you: "Your Lordship." :D

Darn! forgot to ask: how are your hands doing of late?

08-28-2004, 08:49 PM
OK, looks like a CND Skagit rod and Loop Evotec HD, but what is the yellow line you're throwing the intruders on? Is it a Windcutter? Would have to be an older one, no color change. I'm just wondering because my few attempts at throwing these big flies has been OK but certainly not pretty. I know a lot of guys are using skagit heads and T14. I tried with a long delta 9/10 (on my Skagit rod) with the standard tips and it felt like there wasn't enough mass to pick up and turn over the fly. I cut back an SA short head (at 14 feet) but need to make some tips. Curious as to your reccomendations for throwing these.

08-28-2004, 09:07 PM

I'm sure the SA Short Head will do an excellent job - it is a killer line.

I've thrown the big flies with everything from one of Ed's Skagit lines to full floating Spey Drivers. The outfit in the photo is a CND Salar Specialist, with a 10/11 Accellerator with 10' of level belly looped in at the 17'cut-off point, followed by 15' type IV tip. The extended Accellerator is my favourite on the Salar. I believe that any well balanced system used with good technique will cast Intruders.

That said, I find the system that best casts the Intruder is the one designed by Ed to do it. His whole sustained load (Skagit ) casting style evolved to cast these flies. Ed prefers a progressive action type rod of which the old Sage 9140-4 was the arch-type. Ed's sentimental favourite is his old Jimmy Green prototype rod with a solid tip. In cosultation with Ed and Marlow, Nobuo designed what Ed has called the best Skagit casting rod ever - that is the CND Skagit Specialist.

08-28-2004, 09:45 PM
Appreciate the reply. I own the CND Skagit rod. I cut the 8/9 short head @ 14 feet and tried first the 9/10 sink tips from my Airflo long delta then a 14 foot piece of T 14. The Airflo tips were easier to cast but the T 14 throws big flies with more authority. I'm thinking of making a 10 foot T 14 tip (Per the Ed Ward tips) to see if it is easier to throw. I need to read up more on the Skagit cast. I do well with it on standard tips and small to med flies, but these heavy tip/fly combos leave me thinking I'm just not seeing the light.

One question, when making the forward stroke on a skagit cast (after performing a poke) should it be a slow "C" shaped motion of the rod that increases the load on the rod during the stroke until, at the end, the load is such that it picks up the remaining line and tip from the water (about 2/3 of the head aerialized at this point) and launches it outward?

This is what I'm getting from reading descriptions and trying to apply it on the water. Man, I really wish they'd given more time to this on the Sandy clave video.

A video is worth a thousand words!

Willie Gunn
08-29-2004, 05:20 AM
Hands are improving with all this river time; no need to be formal a simple Sir will suffice. :chuckle:

Tyler Thanks for the pictures my dresser is pleased with them but now inquires about length in cm. Looking at the picture of the rod I would think about 2" which equates to 5cm I think.( I'm too old to be metricated)

These scottish salmon will not know whats hit them.

08-29-2004, 08:16 AM
.( I'm too old to be metricated)

Metricated? Great word, I love it!

08-29-2004, 12:14 PM

These are big flies! My smaller ones are 3' long ( I have only been partially "metricated" - lengths and weights refuse to metricate in my head) and my largest flies are about 6" long.

I have been meaning to tie up some smaller ones for summer use, but as yet haven't got around to it. I think it wouldn't make sense to have them less than 2". However, I used to feel the same about GP's and now I tie Mini GP's that are about 1-1 1/2" long that are really effective, so who knows.

I am still in the experimenting stage with Intruders, the larger sizes that Ed uses are awesome, so I am exploring the other possibilities and situations that the style can offer. Good luck.


The "C" motion you refer to is the right concept. However, one must realize that it is significantly different from "regular" casts. In a conventional cast the d-loop is in a more or less vertical plane, with the motion back then forward into the stroke being directly in line with the target. This is not the case with the sustained load cast that Ed does.

The loop is oriented horizontally or parallel to the water on the back stroke - accomplished by a "push-pull" of the hands, then the rod/loop is "rolled" up into the vertical plane in the forward stroke. This rolling up to horizontal is accompanied by second "push-pull" movement of the hands. The entire movement after the anchor is set is one smooth powerful flow that is activated by these two push-pull motions and results in the tremendous line speeds that are characteristic of the cast.

If this sounds weird, do not despair, this style is not easy to master. I had trouble with the horizontal to vertical motion - even with Ed standing there giving me instructions! My saving grace is that my default casting stroke employs the push-pull motion and long casting stroke that Ed's method uses. It took a lot of time for me to finally work out the nuts and bolts of what Ed was saying, but it was worth it - it is a fabulous way to cast heavy heads and big flies.

Willie Gunn
08-29-2004, 01:44 PM
Thanks Tyler, I'm fishing with Per Palm from Sweden (my dresser), in the last week of September on the Dee and Spey we could have some fun with these monsters.

He ties some lovely Spey flies which put my efforts to shame.

Willie Gunn
09-27-2004, 03:34 PM
Day I of the Atlantic Experiment.
The Spey is stuffed with fish but you can hear them discussing the relative dressings of Ali Shrimps they must have seen them all.

3 of us fished a well known middle river beat with a secrecy policy. on the Spey today, Fish were taken on one of Pers GPs fished by Per, I had a fish on a Collie Dog and lost another when the running line knotted, then I had a good pull on the Intruder later I had a 12lb Cock fish on the Intruder. The third member of the group Willie had 5 on a mixture of Collie Dogs and Pers spey flies, Per & I are not speaking to him any more. The other anglers on the beat touched nothing.
So to answer the question yes Intruders work for Atlantics but is it just they are out of the ordinary?

I will fish the Spey again tomorrow, Willie & Per and moving on to the Dee to try there.

09-27-2004, 05:10 PM

Cool! I am not a believer in "magic bullets" - I am convinced that how a fly is presented is as important as, if not more so than the pattern itself. That said, there are clearly situations where some types of patterns are more effective than are others.

I am however a great believer that angler confidence is a critical factor in the Zen of Fishing. So when a pattern holds magic for the fisherman - it follows that at least for him - it also has magic for the fish.

I will follow the experiment with interest. For me, in some situations the Intruder does feel a bit like a magic bullet :smokin: and I hope you can find similar situations for your Atlantics.

Willie Gunn
09-28-2004, 02:25 PM
Day 2
Tyler, You are right there are no magic bullets, the salmon would not look at an intruder today, or not that I noticed. 6 Salmon were taken for 8 rods, I got 1 on a Sunray/Collie dog but it was hard hard work, the others were all taken on standard pattens fished down & across.

Deveron tomorrow.

Willie Gunn
11-01-2004, 03:03 PM
I have been carring on the experiment, and they certainly seem effective. Today I had a 40" cock fish, probably the best of the season.

11-01-2004, 04:38 PM
Excellent! I don't always have one on the end of my line - but I always have a few in the box and don't hesitate to use one. It is an option I would now feel naked without.

Gary W
11-02-2004, 07:33 AM

I never got around to trying the intruder this year. I was catching well on small Kylie tubes between 0.75 inch and 1.25 inch, which kept me going with no need to change.

It was great on the crazy rivers I fish watching all the wormers and spinners cursing me from the far bank as I was catching fish that they had been covering for hours.

A friend also done well with the Kylie tube on the Don and North Esk in the last week of the season, although he was using a larger size than I. The pattern is listed in Stan Headley's Trout and Salmon Flies of Scotland.

I will get around to tying some intruders and giving them a swim in the spring. I will also, of course, play around with the pattern in the hope of altering the fly for different rivers and flows.

Tight Lines,