“The Lunch Money was created out of need for a bite-sized baitfish streamer for the Texas Hill Country. Most of our baitfish are in the 2-3" range and due to our normally ultra-clear water, our bass can be fairly finicky, which meant it needed to both look realistic and have the right amount of movement to work correctly.
The original iteration was named the "Llano Critter" after the Llano River west of here, where it produced very well. I based the original fly off of Charlie Craven’s Gonga streamer, with a few changes. It was originally tied hook-down with larger legs, spun craft fur head, and just a tail (no wrapping for a profile transition) on a TMC 8089 #12. After coming across Laser Dub after coming up with the initial design, I incorporated that to give it a nice, translucent profile in the water with just the right amount of sheen. I also flipped the fly to ride hook up at that time, as I'd often get fish following the fly and wanted to be able to retrieve slower without hanging up on the bottom. Originally, I trimmed the head to shape but after brushing the Laser Dub back instead, I ended up with a similar shape with more water-pushing bulk. After the TMC 8089 #12 was discontinued, I moved to a Gamakatsu B10S, which has allowed me to tie it in a few more sizes and have since moved to an Ahrex NS122 for a better saltwater finish to the hook.
The original Tan/White color is still my go-to just about anywhere, but also fish the Shad and Craw colors locally for bass. Those two colors are also great for trout, along with the Rainbow Trout and Brown Trout colors, which account for much of my trout streamer fishing and for some great days on the water. Many of the rivers I fish in both southwest Colorado and central Texas tend to be low and clear, so a stealthy approach is needed. During those conditions, I tend to fish the Lunch Money on a 5/6 wt. rod with a floating line and typically a 6-9 ft. leader. In the spring, I’ll fish this on a much shorter leader, around 3” on a sink-tip or full-sinking line, when we usually have higher, dirtier water. Sometimes I’ll even fish two of these tandem, one lighter and one darker color, until I find what the fish are responding to. Short quick strips are usually the name of the game, but I will swing these through the current as well on some occasions. Change your stripping pattern up and let the fish tell you what they want!”
- Signature Tyer Matt Bennett