Tied by Mike Horowitz,

There had been a discussion concerning this fly on the list, and about the same time I discovered the patterns on LJ's home page, so that's where I went to find a pattern. I almost went 100% by Jim Caldwell's instructions, which are reprinted below, and annotated by me (in parenthesis).


Hook: 3X long dry fly (TMC 200R)
Thread: Florescent Orange (Mike's note -I used Florescent Yellow to match the body)
Tail: Elk
Body: Orange floss ( Mike's note - I used Florescent Yellow)
Wing: Elk -- tied bullet head style (will explain in the body)
Legs: White rubber hackle

Tying Instructions:

1. Cover the hook with thread. Stack the elk to even up the ends and select a bunch not quite the diameter of a match-stick. Tie it in about 2/3's of the way down the shank from the eye. The tail should be about as long as the hook gap. Wrap the thread back towards the rear and then cut the hair by lifting it up and cutting it off on a slant. The hair should not be allowed to rotate on the hook -- it should be tied in on the top. Tie the cut ends down tight trimming any stray bits off -- this will keep the hair from rotating on the hook.

2. Wrap the thread back toward the rear and cinch it down so the hairs flair a bit spreading the tail. Select another bunch of hair -- a bit more (maybe 15% more) than you used for the tail. It will be tied in so that when it's cut off (using the same slant cutting method) the ends will meet the cut ends of the bunch used for the tail [Mike's note: the fly-tying police will not beat down your door if they don't meet exactly - the floss will cover a multitude of sins]. Tie this bunch in so that the hair extends 2/3 of a hook length or a bit more in front of the hook eye.

3. Wrap to the head area but leaving enough room so the hook eye is not crowded. While tying it in do not let the hair rotate around the hook. Now go back over the entire body making sure the entire thing is well cinched down.

4. Next, tie in a strand or two of orange floss (8" to 10") and wrap the body from front to back evening out any gaps between the two bunches of hair [Mike's note on handling the floss - my floss came in 4 strands - I used only one for better control; also, moisten the floss after tying it in or else the strand will attempt to further separate]. Tie the floss off about 1/3 back from the head but do not clip it off yet, there should be about 2" or 3" of floss left - cut it off; in one or two winds, move the thread back along the body about 1/3 the distance back from the head.

5. When you are done with this step there should be a flared hair tail, a long smooth uniformly thick body of orange floss, and a bunch of hair sticking up and out at the head, slightly flared but tied to the top of the hook. A piece of floss (at least 3") should be left hanging 1/3 back from the head. Your tying thread should be just in front [see Mike's previous note]. Now you tie the bullet head. Actually it's not really a bullet head since you only want the hair on the top half of the hook. This leaves the floss body visible from below. Stroke the hair back being sure it is not under the hook. Now, using the thread, tie the head down. This should be done about 1/3 of the way back from the head. If everything goes correctly you should be able to flair the hair so the wing stands up and sticks out a bit. Cut two rubber hackle legs. They should be about as long as the hook shank. Tie them onto the sides at the same tie down point used for the bullet head.

6. Cinch down so that they bend outwards, each one forming a V, the two together forming an X. Wrap the tie down point with the floss [Mike's note - remember, we cut the floss earlier, so simply whip finish using the thread] and tie the floss off with the tying thread. Tie off the thread by whip finishing at the tie down, this makes it unnecessary to try to get the thread back to the head to tie it off. A Matarelli makes whip finishing easy.

Tying note:

Right now I'm tying on size 14 TMC 200R's so these tying instructions are tuned for that size but other sizes are good and any 3X long hook should do. The gap on the 200R's is awfully small so for tying sizes smaller than 14's I recommend using a 2X long hook one size up and just tie the fly smaller. This way you don't end up with an absurdly small hook gap.

How to fish this animal:

A nice fall day, with the kids back in school (so they have to do homework and aren't running along the bank, scaring the fish), and leaves in the water, blocking the flow, causing the water level to rise. The grass has stopped growing, so you have no responsibilities in that area. The day is yours. How should I know? I'm a chuck it and chance it FF'er, although Mike Fisher and Claude Freaner have both helped me this summer to THINK before casting. I have found that floatant keeps this beast on the surface where the legs seem to be more active. Without floatant, the legs twitch nicely if you give small jerks; you'll see what I mean.