The Creation of the ST-Rockmite (Hellgrammite Fly Pattern)
In the late spring of 2014, one of our customers, Mr. Bill Lightner, that had been badly bitten by the “Fly Fishing” bug stated that he had always fished with live Hellgrammites and Stoney Cats for bass and had always had great success with them. He told me that he had searched different fly shops as well as the internet but couldn’t find any acceptable patterns that had been developed to duplicate these two proven live baits. Bill asked if we could develop a fly that could closely duplicate these two baits. As an accomplished fly tier of 50 years + experience, we set to task the development of a Hellgrammite pattern that could be used on a fly rod.
Needless to say, numerous attempts were made with a wide variety of materials and with Bill’s critique and suggestions we finally came up with a pattern we felt the fish would accept as being close to the real thing. Now came the actual field testing of the pattern and as the saying goes, “The fish will tell you what they want”. Bill and I took a trip down to the Mt. Union area of the Juniata River equipped with a dozen of the newly developed Hellgrammite patterns. To say the pattern was successful would be a gross understatement to say the least.
In roughly three hours, we hooked and landed a total of 43 small mouth bass ranging from 10” up to 18 ½” and lost several larger than that. Bill hooked a fish that we never even got to see, headed down river, his reel drag was screaming and all he could do was hold on. We never got to see what kind of fish he had hooked as his 3X leader, (8 lb. test) parted with what sounded like a 22 shot going off. Big Bass, Muskie, Carp, Walleye who knows, could have been any one of those down there in that part of the river.
Given the success we experienced that day, we started producing the pattern for sale here in the shop and named it the ST-Rockmite since my last name is Strock and it’s a hellgrammite pattern. The ST-Rockmite has proven successful in numerous streams, ponds and lakes throughout Pennsylvania, Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Georgia and Texas. We have a customer that fishes the Bass Pro circuit and uses them in tournament events. The pattern takes almost an hour a piece to tie but the results are well worth the time and effort.
Currently, Aquatic Imitations is the only outlet source for the ST-Rockmite. To date, the ST-Rockmite has produced successful catches of Large Mouth and Small Mouth Bass, Trout, Crappies, Walleye, Sunfish, Carp and even a Steelhead. Fish love Hellgrammites and apparently the ST-Rockmite as well.