Put a new tying material into the hands of a true fly fishing predator and frequently the result is a devastatingly effective style of fly, in this case the Slumpbuster. Years ago the Wapsi boys sent John Barr several colors of new "zonker–cut" Pine Squirrel strips. Unlike zonker strips of rabbit with its very long hair, these skin strips were short–haired, nicely mottled, and thin skinned for easy wrapping.
Instead of listing the positive attributes of this fly's construction, specifically what John employed and more importantly the materials — especially flash — he left out, let's define it another way. It has been fished by John, head–up against many other streamer and bugger variations, in the hands of very experienced anglers, and it has been the winning fly every single time! John has fished the Slumpbuster cast tight to the banks, but it is fairly heavy and must be stripped briskly to avoid hanging–up. More often he fishes them upstream — frequently with a two Slumpbuster rig — and lets them drift and tumble back down. The flies sink quickly and will dip and dive into rock–seams, deeper runs and depressions, or down the face of drop–offs. Frequently all that is needed beyond dead drifting are occasional sort strips, bumps or small twitches. The fly (or flies) can be fished through the entire drift and into the swing at the downstream finish.
Slumpbusters also fish great dead–drifted under indicators. John fishes all Slumpbusters, singly or in fly combinations, on floating lines and exclusively with Umpqua's 9ft Power Taper leaders, from 0X to 2X. John's favorite color, if he had to choose but one, would be the Rust. This color is different to the fish's eye or simulates a juicy crayfish.
If fishing tandem Slumpbusters he will fish the Natural in a size 4, trailed by an Olive or Rust in a size 6 or 8. Several sizes and colors of Slumpbusters should be in everyone's fly boxes they are really that good.
HOOK: Tiemco 5263 (#4 - #12)
CONE: Tungsten Coneheads (Rust = Copper Cone; Black = Silver Cone; Natural and Olive = Gold Cone)
THREAD: 70 Denier Ultra Thread (Olive = Olive Thread; Natural, Black, & Rust = Black Thread)
RIB: Ultra Wire (Brassie | Olive = Chartreuse Wire; Natural & Black = Blue Wire; Rust = Copper Brown Wire)
BODY: Sparkle Braid (Natural & Black = Royal Blue Braid; Rust = Copper Braid; Olive = Peacock Braid)
WING/TAIL/COLLAR: Pine Squirrel Zonker (Olive, Rust, Natural, OR Black)