Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Some new and old flies.

Some new and old flies.

Here are some of the flies I have been using with the floating line in the Midwest when conditions allow.
Clockwise from top.

Lord Byron:
This fly originated due to the desire to create a fly that had flash and calling power without being too bright or gaudy. After I tied it I recalled a line from George Gordon - Lord Byron’s She walks in beauty
“And all that’s best of dark and bright meet in her aspect and her eyes…”

This has become a go-to fly in low clear water

Hook:    AJ size 3
Rear 2/3 of body is gold mylar ribbed with small oval gold tinsel. Gold tag at butt.
Front quarter is peacock SLF.
Hackle is dyed red gold pheasant, and the wing is black bear.

Orange Racer:
This fly originated in 2003. It headlined a TV segment I did on steelhead flies. I put it away for a few years, and would take it out once or twice to look at. Then this spring I actually fished it. It swam and tracked well in the water, and pulsed with life. Its extreme taper towards the front gave it its name. Credit must be given to John Shewey, as the fly was inspired by his golden greed.

Hook AJ 3/0
Rear half is fine oval gold tinsel wrapped tightly forward. Front half is hot orange angora wool and hot orange SLF blended and twisted into a dubbing loop.
Hackle is orange schlappen. Collar is of long dyed orange teal flank and orange dyed guinea fowl.
Wing is goose. Orange over crimson, reversed and tented.
Head is red.

Gold Demon: Traditional
Note: LOVE this fly.

Black Racer: A takeoff on the orange racer in black. Body is peacock slf and black angora this time.
Gadwall tied in as a loose throat completes the fly.

Unnamed black fly:
A fishable fly with the contours of a racer, but with less labor and materials. Good in low flows as well.

So far I have been lucky that none of these have gotten snagged in the back of a zombie salmon. If they ever do, I guess I will be going for a ride.

Also, please forgive the photography. I got a new camera (Waterproof this time) and am just learning its ins and outs. It also survives being dropped. Wish I could say that about myself!


  1. beautiful ties Erik, how do you feel about such using such large gap hooks(1/0-5/0)? I personally like to keep the gap size down and go to shanks or tubes and use smaller hooks when going for the large profile flies.

  2. Actually, the flies that I am using are tied on AJ 3 and 1.5 hooks. The water is clear enough that I don't have to go too large. On the debate over large hooks and small, I have less experience than many, but so far the larger light wire hooks get securely into the jaw every time, while the only steelhead I killed happened this year with a small fly (size 2). I theorize that slow water plus small hooks can lead to inhaling the whole fly and getting it caught in the gill rakers. I have spoken with others that believe that the old (up to 7/0) irons used for steelhead on certain rivers actually resulted in less damaged or killed fish than shanks or tubes with small hooks.
    I don't know the answer, and unfortunately, the only actual useful experiences are by going down to the water and experimenting.


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