New Thinking: Tirelessly tinkering with ways to catch more steelhead on the swing, Scott Howell has taken the proven intruder fly pattern and incorporated new materials that bring the best out of the intruder design. The result is the Squidro – a resilient fly that offers more fish-catching options to the steelhead angler, regardless of the fishing conditions.
One of the primary figures in the so-called ‘Skagit Revolution’, Scott Howell has been in on almost every important innovation in the recent history of Pacific steelhead fly fishing. Whether cutting saltwater fly lines to cast on heavy Scottish rods in the 1980s, leading American anglers into remote Kamchatka in the early 1990s, or developing the Intruder fly with Ed Ward and Jerry French, Scott has consistently found himself on the leading edge of innovative steelheading.
When Pacific Northwest steelheaders started using Spey rods, and designing heavier “Skagit-style” lines, they found they could deliver larger and larger flies. These flies allowed them to fish deeper slots and grittier water than they could have fished with single handers and traditional hair wing patterns like the Green Butt Skunk. One of the most famous of these new patterns was the Intruder. The Squidro picks up where the Intruder left off.
By using rubber legs instead of Ostrich or Turkey feathers, as on the Intruder, Scott has made a much more durable fly. Rubber legs also don’t hold water, so this fly is easier to cast than its predecessor. Rubber legs also have better rigidity than feathers, so less material is needed to achieve the same large profile. By using less material, Scott can create a faster-sinking fly. Finally, since rubber legs are available in all kinds of factory color combinations, Scott has been able to create some striking color schemes.
Pro review – Ben Paull
The Scott Howell Squidro Series of steelhead flies is the latest creation from the steelhead man himself. If you have seen Skagit Master II, you already have an idea of the passion that Scott has for swinging flies for steelhead and as well as his intense drive to pursue new and more effective techniques, presentations, and fly patterns by thinking “outside the box.” The Squidro represents a simple, yet revolutionary, variation on the standard intruder style. By utilizing silicone rubber legs, instead of ostrich or rhea, the Squidro may at first glance remind you more of a bass jig than a steelhead fly, but, once you get past that and actually fish a Squidro, the benefits are undeniable.
The Squidro is able to hold a large, tapered profile, and moves in a seductive, breathing action throughout a wide range of current speeds. But, the real beauty of the Squidro is that it does all this with a sparse amount of extremely durable material, which is neutrally buoyant and does not absorb water, thereby making it last longer, sink faster, and cast easier than flies consisting of fur and feathers. Plus, the color combinations made possible by these rubber legs are unreal.