Deep Water Cay, Grand Bahama Island
E. M. Swift, a Senior Writer for Sports Illustrated, and his fishing partner Bob Spotswood, of Birmingham, Alabama, are feverishly working to “get the skunk out of the boat” in one of my encounters with this pattern. (Orvis News, March/April, 2002)
The story goes something like this: On a windy, cloudy, rapidly deteriorating day in both the weather and success areas, E.M. and Bob apparently couldn’t trigger a strike from the few skittish bones they’d sighted. E.M. would occasionally scare a target off with the splash of his fly; both anglers had only marginal interest in their presentations, the bones quickly inspecting their offerings, but just as quickly disappearing. All the ‘usual suspects’ were tried – small crabs, Rick Ruoff’s fleas, Charlies and Gotchas – not a ‘taker’ in the house. E.M. writes, “ “Who can fathom the ways of the ghost of the flats?” Bob asked rhetorically.”
As things turn out, their guide, Meko, produces a pattern neither angler had seen to date, which manages to punt the skunk back to the mainland and rescue their day. While discussing what the fly should be called and showing it to Perk Perkins, president of Orvis, several references to characters and names from “Gilligan’s Island” were offered up among the men, as both Spotswood, a dead-ringer for the Skipper, and Swift joked about the fly’s name.
Perkins went fishing with Meko the next day, seemingly with fantastic success. Aparently, his luck was so good he lobbied and worked Meko to get exclusive rights to his pattern. So, with credit to the innovation of their guide, it was agreed to name it “Meko Special.” Here it is.
Hook: Saltwater, szs. 4,6,8
Tail: A combination of yellow hair, white hair, and some flash; tied one to two times as long as the hook.
Body: Pale Pink dubbing; yarn; chenille, felt sheeting; what-have-you.
Hackle: Brown, palmered over body.
Eye: Bead or hourglass; May be tied tailing, medium-sink or weightless.
In this pattern I used yellow bucktail, white kiptail, and pearl krystal flash; pale pink yarn, a cream and dark brown/black badger hackle, and 1/8” chrome-plated brass bead chain eyes on a Mustad 34007, size 6. I see this pattern as easily tied with any of the body materials. I chose the badger hackle to create both the leggy, wispy look as well as the pink-brown shading of a shrimp.
If I ever find the magazine article I read about this pattern and Meko, I’ll point to it, as I believe the report was somewhat different, short of the successes these guys enjoyed.