The Intruder as a style of fly gets horribly misused these days and has been applied to everything from marabou spiders to long and lanky string leeches. Intruders typically have two stages, each with a profile bump to support a bunch of softer materials like ostrich, separated by a skinny mid-section, usually tinsel or diamond braid. The Squid Pro Quo can be thought of as a single stage Intruder, omitting the rear profile bump, shortening the length and overall profile, or you can simply think of it as a buggy fly with a lot of movement that unquestionably catches steelhead.
Steelhead eat squid and shrimp and such when they’re out in the ocean doing their ocean thing. Being that our coastal winter steelhead are not terribly far removed from that environment when they first come into the rivers to spawn, a lot of folks theorize that flies resembling the critters that steelhead were last munching down on trigger a latent feeding memory that’s just too tempting not to act on, despite the fact that steelhead cease to be able to process food on their freshwater spawning journey. That seems plausible, as does my cat toy theory. The glittery, feathery, obnoxious toys I wave in front of my feline friends are pretty far removed from the brown paste and pellets they consume on a daily basis, but something about being a predator at heart makes it damn near impossible to let those things get anywhere near their space without taking a swing at it.
Personally, as lover of both cats and steelhead, I like the latter hypothesis and imagine that those long silver aquatic cats with neither whiskers nor claws can’t possibly ignore something that sparkles and moves as enticingly as the Squid Pro Quo. Who really knows? If you tie flies and have spent much time swinging flies for steelhead, you’ve long since figured out that the fly is at least as important to you as it is to the fish. Probably more so. Now work that favorite cat toy and go find some fish!
Squid Pro Quo Recipe
Shank: OPST 45mm Intruder Shank
Thread: 140 Denier Black Ultra Thread
Stinger: #2 Owner SSW connected with #30 Fireline
Eyes: Small Plated Lead Eyes
Body: Shrimp Pink Flat Diamond Braid
Dubbing Loop: UV Pink Ice Dub, Orange Arctic Fox, Fl Shell Pink Ice Wing Fiber
Hackle: Pink MFC Ostrich, Fuchsia/Purple MFC Barred Marabou
Collar: UV Purple Schlappen
Wing: Grizzly Hackle Tips
Confluence Beer Pairing: Kulshan recently started canning some of their Apero series. The Aperos are about as un-beer-like as they come. If you don’t like beer, you may want to give this one a try. If you do like beer, as I and many of my compatriots do, the Kulshan Blackberry Apero is refreshingly different and worth a swig. Refreshing is the key word. Crisp and dry, mildly fruity and low in alcohol content. While my winter is more typically peppered with porters and stouts, the Blackberry Apero instantly transports me to the shirt sleeves and 70 degrees of summer on a windless bass pond which is where I long to be, despite my incurable steelhead affliction.