Don’t Fear The Merkin

Del Brown’s, er, merkin.

If you’re a non-fisher, fly names, alone, could keep you from joining the ranks. Who are these sick beings, you might ask, after glancing at a list of the most egregious monikers.

Take these, for example: some of the worst include, but are not restricted to, the Sex Dungeon, the Barely Legal, the T&A Bunker, the Butt Monkey, the Bangtail, the Butt Sump, the Flatliner, the Heifer Groomer, the Improved Pearl Necklace, the Stacked Blonde, the Drunk & Disorderly, the Sleezburger, the Organ Donor, the Voodoo Squatch, the Home Wrecker, the Sculpzilla, the Threesome, and the Booby Leech.

Alright. I’ll admit it.Most of us never grew up. That’s partly why we fish: we can get away with—for lack of a better word—murder while we’re on the water. But being on the water, sometimes waiting endlessly for a grab, also allows us to think and some fly names, despite their dark histories, tell interesting stories.

One of the best involves the Merkin, which was created by permit master Del Brown, who landed more that 500 of those difficult fish on the fly before his death in 2003. The name of Brown’s fly is so beloved in the Florida Keys, a contest—the March Merkin Tournament with a buy-in of $1,000 per angler—is held each year.

He called this fly the Merkin because its body, which imitates a crab, is made of rug yarn. And that rug yarn, in a way, resembles materials that prostitutes wore as early as the 1400s when public officials might demand them to shave their landing strips for a variety of reasons, including the presence of lice. To hide their affliction these ladies might have visited their local merkin manufacturer to be fitted with a “vag” wig.

Who knew the merkin would survive the centuries—Hollywood used it as a tool against censorship and today it is, apparently, popular in the drag scene. Some women now wear merkins (also called mufftas) in the erogenous zone not because they have to, but because they are fond of the bristled pleasure. Others wear it simply as a decorative object.

Thanks to Brown, you can learn something new—whether you wanted to or not—every day. It’s your job to research the names of the other aforementioned flies. My warning: be careful what you wish for.

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