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How to Tie the SA Merkin

The How and Why Behind the Strong Arm Merkin
Author: Josh Idol | June 2021
Two-Aught-Fly-Fishing-Co-Permit-On-Fly-Biscayne-Bay
Searching for Permit.

Why the SA Merkin

The brainchild of renowned fly tier Dave Skok, Angling Company owner Nathaniel Linville, and a handful of Key West Permit guides the Strong Arm Merkin is probably the hottest Permit fly around. Like the Tarpon Toad before, the Strong Arm Merkin has changed the way many fly anglers fish for Permit.

Tying the SA Merkin

Now that you have your SA Merkin Tying Kit…
You’ll need a handful of tools and supplies to complete your consortium of strong arm crabs…
Two-Aught-Fly-Fishing-Co-SA-Merkin
A completed SA Merkin; you’ll find one of these in your kit.
Once you have your materials sorted…
SA-Merkin-Step-One
Step One: create a thread base for your dumbbell eyes.

Step One

We’ll start by…

Step Two

Now we’ll tie in the lead dumbbell eye…
SA-Merkin-Step-Two
Step Two: tie in your dumbbell eyes.
SA-Merkin-Step-Two
Step Two: tie in your dumbbell eyes.

Step Two

Now we’ll tie in the lead dumbbell eye…
Step-Three
Step Three: build up thread wraps between shank and eyes.

Step Three

Next create a thread base between the…

Step Four

Now that the eyes are tied in…
Step Four
Step Four: whip finish behind the lead eyes.
Step Four
Step Four: whip finish behind the lead eyes.

Step Four

Now that the eyes are tied in…
Nail Polish
Step Five: prep your eyes for finish.

Step Five

We cover the head on almost all of our lead weighted flies with nail polish for two reasons: durability and…

Step Six

Coat the head and threads with nail polish. The polish will saturate and level as it dries, but I usually give it a few spins on the vise and stick it in my foam material holder with the eyes down (the same way it swims) while the polish dries.
Nail Polish
Step Six: apply nail polish finish to your lead eyes.
Step Four
Step Four: whip finish behind the lead eyes.

Step Four

Now that the eyes are tied in…
So there you have it, a finished SA Merkin. Remember to go back through your fly and trim any wild fibers that may be long enough to foul the strong arm. If you have any questions about the process or just want to chat, head on over to our contact page and shoot us a message, we’re happy to help. Thanks!

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