Easy to tie and effective? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Easy to tie and effective?

03-29-2004, 02:32 PM
Along the lines of Mark's recent thread on overrated flies...


What would you say the most effective and easiest to tie fly is? In other words, tell us in your experience what fly gives you the biggest return for the amount of time it takes to tie.

My vote goes with a clouser.

03-29-2004, 02:48 PM
Have to agree on the clouser.

For freshwater, my vote goes to the wolly bugger.

03-29-2004, 03:00 PM
I was going to give the clouser a vote too, but having recently "discovered" it, I have to go with Joe Brook's Blonde in various color combos - esp Ray's Fly.

03-29-2004, 06:31 PM
Saltwater: Estaz bugger.

Marabou tail, estaz wrapped up the shank. Glue on eyes if you feel guilty because it only took a minute to tie.

Freshwater trout: Grey softhackle. Tied wet, but can be fished dry in the film.

03-30-2004, 12:25 AM
Wingless wet flies tied either with or without a tail. Use salmon irons for steelhead and trout hooks for trout and smallmouth.

For streamer, Jack Gartside's Marabou streamer. The body is either silver or gold tinsel, wrap a marabou feather of whatever color strikes you fancy as a hackle/wing, and finish with a couple wraps of mallard flank (natural or dyed). You can add eyes to it if you want; but it works fine without them. The same basic design is used for the Marabou Spiders (Alaskabous) of the PNW.

For nymphs, G.R. Hare's Ear without a wing case or hackle, a Red Fox Squirrel Nymph, or Pheasant Tail. Tie them in whatever color, size you wish and go catch fish.

03-30-2004, 09:48 AM
For trout: peacock nymph: Lead wire, peacock herl body ribbed with the black tying thread. No hackle, no wing, no tail.

Mink Nymph: mink dubbing, including guard hairs over weighted or unweighted body. Pick out the guard hairs. If you want to get fancy, wrap a couple of turns of tan partridge as a hackle.

Saltwater: Clousers are good but do take time... so go with a Dart: full, long marabou tail, wrapped body, conehead. You pick the colors and body material.


North Island
03-30-2004, 10:24 AM
Tough Choice.

There are so many. For salmon, Knudson's Spider with color variation.

For trout, a Brown Hackle. N I

03-30-2004, 06:48 PM
light cahill
pink squirrel (Wisconsin fly)it's a nymph
woolly bugger

03-30-2004, 08:49 PM
Fresh water - grifiths gnat.
Salt - Ray's fly is right up there in productivity but I have to second the estaz bugger it's a real easy tie and it was a killer this last fall.

Nooksack Mac
03-31-2004, 04:33 AM
This is an uncomfirmed guess, but since the emphasis here is on quick-and-easy tying combined with effectiveness, I'd bet on a streamer/leach tied with crosscutt rabbit strip. It's an impressionistic undulator that should attract fishy attention just about anywhere. A few different colors, a few different hook sizes and lengths, and the fishy world awaits.:)

03-31-2004, 06:15 AM
trout elk hair caddis.
Salt Clouser and Ray's fly. Out West the easily tied flies are called Guide flies and for a reason. The guide wants and effective fly that he can bang out the night before he takes his sports out .

Dble Haul
03-31-2004, 08:06 AM
Freshwater- Marabou leech.....it's just what the name implies and will catch anything that can fit it in its mouth.

Saltwater- Clouser minnow....if your materials are set up in advance for bulk tying, these flies should take less than four or five minutes apiece to tie, and they will catch just about anything.

Dble Haul
04-01-2004, 08:55 AM
I just thought of another one for freshwater, trout in particular. The San Juan worm. A pattern doesn't get much easier than that, and I've had good results with them.

04-01-2004, 09:31 AM
the san juan reminded me of perhaps the easiest of all...although you could debate weather it's a "fly".

the glue gun egg - drop of pink hot glue on hook - dip in H20. couldn't be much easier than that...no thread!

04-01-2004, 09:44 AM
That approach seems a bit too boring, though. What's the fun of fly tying if no tying is needed?

04-01-2004, 09:49 AM
I agree they are boring but you can do a handful in 5 minutes
and not think twice about running one as a dropper where you
might lose it.

Plus they work like hell and you can't buy'em in most fly shops.

04-02-2004, 10:24 PM
If you set up everything before you start, you can tie a White Lefty's Deceiver in nothing flat, 6 hackles 3 per side, a spun bucktail collar and thats it. You can add flash if you want, but it's quicker than clousers and most other flies. And it works beet than anything else, even on trout. In mini sozes. Max

Dble Haul
04-03-2004, 08:46 AM
I guess that I'm a bit confused over the notion some folks have that clousers take a while to tie, even when compared with a deceiver. A clouser entails dumbell eyes, a layer of bucktail or equivalent on bottom, some middle flash, and a layer of darker or same colored bucktail or equivalent on top. They take me all of a few minutes to tie.

Maybe I'm missing a step? :p

04-03-2004, 07:08 PM
I didn't say that they take a while to tie, a Deceiver is better to tie because it's a better fly. OOps. Max

Dble Haul
04-05-2004, 08:07 AM
Max, you weren't the only one who suggested the time issue with the clouser. The fact that more than one of you held the same opinion is the reason that I made the point.

04-05-2004, 11:04 AM
DH-- I also mentioned that Clousers "take time" in comparison to the Dart series. I don't think the Clouser is difficult or time consuming, but it is more complicated than a Dart-- that's all. It does take a bit more time but compared to a bunch of other patterns out there is fairly simple. It's just not on my list of easiest and most effective-- although it's very close.


Dble Haul
04-05-2004, 11:09 AM
Gotcha. ;)

04-05-2004, 11:12 AM
Personally, if you take the time involved with steaming and ironing saddle hackles, and cutting the coreect size bundle of bucktail and seperating the guard hairs, then putting the feathers correctly on the hook, as well as binding the hook shank and applying the super glue, then spinning the collar and getting the head right and the side flash, a Deceiver takes a while to produce, but its well worth the effort. Have you seen this one. Max

04-05-2004, 11:23 AM
Try this, its a Spinster Deceiver. Works, but not as good as a straight white "D". Max

04-05-2004, 11:40 AM
Fresh water: soft hackle hares ear (natural)

Salmon: Bunny Leach...wrap lead on the hook and then wrap with rabbit strip. Good for pinks, dogs, and silvers in Pink and Green.

04-06-2004, 08:46 PM
I like both the deciever and clousers.
Ten minutes to tie and always effective.
The Spinster deciever looks to much like a spinnerbait. Foam poppers are easy and effective under a lot of conditions.
Shad darts? A little like lead head jigs(clousers too). Might as well be spinfishing. ;)

04-06-2004, 11:48 PM
Decievers, Clousers, Why not use the best of both worlds and tie Half+Halfs. I do all my eyes in one sitting, I might eye 2 dozen hooks at once. Then it`s a snap to whip out the rest of the fly in the next night or two. I tie lots of Clousers and I love my Decievers, but my go to, 90% fly is the olive over white half+half.

04-13-2004, 11:36 AM
This thread has developed quite well while I was away (vacation, glad to be home). Mark - I agree, a clouser takes only a few minutes, particularly when the color is uniform. Deceivers are also pretty quick to tie; I don't bother steaming hackles or any of that, I simply cut them from the bunch as shown in Lefty's video with Bob Clouser. Honestly, I think I can tie them both in the same amount of time, but perhaps that's because I overdo the wraps around the eyes on the clouser?

The H&H is a great pattern, of course.

04-13-2004, 12:46 PM
I did a lot of watching Deceivers swim and I found that the straighter the feathers the better the tail wobbled. If you have flare it upsets the action, which is pretty good. I like that tail flutter, Clousers don't have it, in fact I have not seen it on other flies. Basically a half and half is a deceiver with lead eyes, all those mods, like the Spinster D do not work as well as the straight out Leftys white. It works very well on a do nuthin retrieve, which the other varaitions just do not do.
Quite a lot are over dressed and look like shaving brushes, and perform like shaving brushes. I once hooked a 9 foot whaler shark on a 2.5 inch 3/0 deceiver on a do nuttin retrieve. Hell that was sudden. Max

05-01-2004, 05:31 PM
I like the partridge and peacock for a wet trout fly

The Black gnat for a dry for trout.

The pink worm---a pink chenille worm with an orange body tied on the hook for the bulging part of the worm (whatever its called).

maybe a black bunny leech

Sharp Steelie
05-04-2004, 03:00 AM
How about a single fly that has landed; Steelhead, Chinook
Salmon, Coho Salmon, Pink Salmon, White Fish, Cutthroat
Trout, Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Largemouth Bass,
Smallmouth Bass, Pan Fish, Northern Pike Minnow, Suckers,
Sea Run Cutthroat, Sculpins, and even Carp. Now that is
an effective pattern - don't take my word for it, read what
others have now said and try it for yourself.:hehe:

05-04-2004, 06:34 AM
Originally posted by Sharp Steelie
How about a single fly that has landed; Steelhead, Chinook
Salmon, Coho Salmon, Pink Salmon, White Fish, Cutthroat
Trout, Rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Largemouth Bass,
Smallmouth Bass, Pan Fish, Northern Pike Minnow, Suckers,
Sea Run Cutthroat, Sculpins, and even Carp. Now that is
an effective pattern - don't take my word for it, read what
others have now said and try it for yourself.:hehe:

Am I missing something here, or is the pattern staring me in the face? Which pattern are you referring to?

Sharp Steelie
05-04-2004, 10:15 AM
All I can say is that I stumbled onto something really
good. It's a very simple pattern tied out of pink 4
strand floss with grizzly saddle hackle for the collar.
Nothing to fancy - just very effective. The color's green
and red are also good. It's a very humble little fly
compared to some works of art. Embarrisingly simple -
but it works! It was named for my family.:cool:

Dble Haul
05-04-2004, 10:32 AM
Could you put that pattern into one of our archives here with a picture? It would help us see the universal appeal.

05-04-2004, 10:43 AM
Originally posted by Sharp Steelie
..It's a very simple pattern tied out of pink 4
strand floss with grizzly saddle hackle for the collar... green
and red are also good.

Sounds like a wet fly, correct?

Sharp Steelie
05-04-2004, 10:48 AM
Here it is, can't get much simpler. Think I already put a copy
in the Salmon/Steelhead Fly section with a recipe:

05-04-2004, 11:38 AM
stripers, hardtails, bluefish: bunny fly (under a minute)
freshwater: marabou bugger
steelhead: spider (mallard or wood duck hackle, orange dubbing)
bonefish: gotcha/charlies, tan over pink or pearl

05-04-2004, 11:49 AM

Hey what have others said about the fly. I don't know if I would fish it out of prefence for the type of fly I like to fish for steelhead but I would be interested in what others have said about it.


Sharp Steelie
05-04-2004, 02:39 PM
Some others from the WashingtonFlyFishing.com site have now
had success with it - Carp/Trout/Steelhead. There was some
threads on it (not sure if they got yanked). Have also received
personal e-mails from some people that have done well with
it. I personally know some people that have had the best
fly fishing day of their lives because of this simple little fly. For
me personally - it's not how well I do thats important. It's
how well others do that counts. It's really a neat feeling to be
a small part of someones success. Have plenty of proof to
back it up - but I'm not going to go there! Hope it brings
anyone that tries it a ton of success - looking forward to seeing
some more pics from others. That's what I'm about.

What good is treasure if you can't share it


05-04-2004, 03:38 PM

So that looks like a dead drift on the bottom with a floater and split shot fly. Is that what you do? Or do you fish it near the surface? Assume that is a summer fly or do you use it in winter too?


Sharp Steelie
05-04-2004, 05:28 PM

I try to combine nymphing - to a natural drift - to a wet
fly swing in every cast. Depending on river conditions, will
go with either a sink tip or straight floating line. Don't use
any split shot at all - it detracts from the action of the fly.
Have had fish hit it the second the fly has hit the water, mid
level, near the bottom, and even while it was dabbing on
the surface after a wet fly swing. Believe the majority of
takes come in the transition from natural drift to swing. Even
had a fish smack the thing behind a boulder when my
fly line was stuck on the boulder! (just one of those days
that everything clicked - even when I screwed up). In
other words - it is a very forgiving pattern that doesn't
always require the perfect presentation - that's the beauty
of it.

Sharp Steelie
05-04-2004, 05:32 PM
Sorry, forgot - it works year round. Summer runs tend
to hit it really hard. The winter runs have mostly been
soft takes.:)

05-04-2004, 06:53 PM
So if you are trying to do some nymphing it looks like it is on a small hook how do you get it down?

Do you leave barbs on or crush them. I have a tendancy now to crush most of them.

Sounds like you have had some good days with this fly.

Sharp Steelie
05-05-2004, 11:25 AM
JJ, the majority of the time I fish C/R so I crimp the
barbs. The hooks that I use are 2x heavy. Think
the combination of the hook and material in the fly
makes for a really good sink rate. When I start off
nymphing - also do a lot of mending as the fly line
transitions to a swing. Depending on the river
conditions - tend to normally cast upstream. Start
off with a short cast and increase the distance with
each cast to cover any holding water.

If there is fish in the river - and you put this fly near
them, 9 times out of 10 they will smack it. At least
that's what has happened with myself and some
people that have gone with me.

Of course you always have to find the fish first!


05-10-2004, 01:24 AM
the san juan worm is the easiest fly to tie. it is the first fly we tie in my beginning tying classes. students learn thread control, handling materials, knots, etc. it is a very good fly in lakes and rivers.

Sharp Steelie
05-10-2004, 02:43 PM
Splitshot, can't argue with that one - that is about as
easy as it gets - and they work too. Used them on the
San Juan river in the late 70's - it's been around for a
long time.:cool:

05-11-2004, 02:13 PM
filo-leech has to be my easiest for return, simple tie the plume behind the eye and c/r. The only issue is they are only good for a fish or two.


05-12-2004, 08:02 AM
Neff Caddis I can tie over 2 dozen a hour. So SO SO EZ to tie. Body and then put some deer hair on and cut.

05-12-2004, 01:27 PM
Oops, I posted this response in the wrong thread. (Moved to If you had to pick one fly)

05-12-2004, 10:23 PM
It has been said that no new flies are invented just rediscovered. Congrats to Sharp Steelie for rediscovering the all pink Tup's Indispensable. That fly is at least 100 years old. I once told a guide that I had invented a new fly. He told me he invented it and opened his box which was full of my new fly. On top of that he showed me a fly catalog that sells the Whitely Flashback RS-2. He has been getting royalties on that fly for 17 Years.

Sharp Steelie
05-13-2004, 02:03 AM
Brad, interesting - I checked all the archives of fly patterns
I could find including Umpqua, Orvis, and even UK archives.
The only thing that I could find that was even close was
some soft hackles. I also checked on the 4 other patterns
that I use and the only one that had anything similar was
the Brown Steelie Nymph. Was there even 4 strand floss 100 years ago - do you have a picture, where did you find this. I would never put a name on something without thoroughly investigating it, and confirming that it was original.

Sharp Steelie
05-13-2004, 02:40 AM
Brad, the Tups Indispensable is a different fly - it does
not use floss for the tail, does not use grizzly hackle for
the collar, and uses pink fur for the thorax. It is also
tied on a Mustad hook in sizes 10 - 16. Guess some folks
are taking my little fly pretty serious - I also tie it in
Olive Green and Red. Don't think it would have got
published twice if it wasn't original! Like I said before -
already went through all the archives.

05-13-2004, 01:35 PM
I feel the need to clear up some misinformation about 4-strand floss not being available 100 years ago. Single-strand floss was the type that was not available 100 years ago. Instead, there were flosses of 6-strand, 8-strand,and 12-strand 100 years ago and the fly tyers had to separate out the number of strands they needed for the size or type of fly they were going to tie. And pink floss was most definitely available 100 years ago, otherwise Kelson, Hale, and Hardy would not have included it in the classic featherwing salmon salmon fly patterns.

Also, floss was used as tails a long time ago. In fact, the first wooly worms used multiple strands of floss for the tail. And tyers of the past like Ralph Wahl and Wes Drain tied flies that were composed of only floss with a hackle collar that they used for steelhead. Just because these flies were not published in so-called fly pattern dictionaries or in the popular outdoor magazines of the era does not mean they don't exist or were never tied. W all have to keep in mind that on-line resources do not include all possible source material in their databases.

Also, just because someone listed a Mustad, or Tiempco, or Daiichi, or Partridge, or Sealy (which haven't been made for 35 years) hook in their pattern recipe doesn't mean that if you use a different manufacturer's hook you haven't tied the same fly. To claim that a Hare's Ear Nymph tied on a Tiempco instead of the more commonly used Mustad of 30 years ago means it is no longer a Hare's Ear Nymph is very disingenuous.

Sharp Steelie,

Your pink fly, or whatever other color variation you tie or decide to tie, is nothing more than a variation of the venerable old grey or brown hackle flies from the late 1700's. And just because you had a fly published, does not mean it was never tied before, including having been tied commercially; it only means that your variants of the grey or brown hackle or of an old nymph pattern was not put it print or in popular magazines.

Even the late Lee Wulff very freely told people that the "Royal Wulff", for which he became credited with "inventing" was nothing more than the old "Royal Coachman" tied with calf tail wings instead of duck quill wings and then later on with bucktail for the tail instead of brown hackle fibers. In other words, the "Royal Wulff" is nothing more than a "Royal Coachman" tied with a hair wing. Lee Wulff (and Dan Bailey as well) also freely told people in print and in person that the name "Royal Wulff" was Bailey's idea because it would be easier to sell it than if he called it a "Hair Wing Royal Coachman".

05-13-2004, 01:45 PM

So with the floss tail have you ever noticed it getting tangled in teeth? It seems to me the at times people have used floss tails to "floss" fish to get it tangled in teeth. Do you use a long light leader or a shorter one? I think it is is interesting to have discussions about what others do in the name of fishing. Helps broaden our horizons.


Sharp Steelie
05-13-2004, 03:30 PM

Thanks for the historical information - you learn
something new every day.


I don't think Steelhead smacking a fly dabbing
on top of the water would be considered flossing.
Never heard of people intentionally using floss to
try and get it tangled in the teeth of a fish. I have
watched how the fish react to it - they flat out hit
it. The majority of the time with a lot of aggression.
(same with the passion fly - it doesn't have any
floss in it!) When using a sink tip line I go with 6.5
to 7 ft of leader/tippet. When using a floating line
10 to 13 ft of leader/tippet. Stick with the same
length with all the flies that I use (non-weighted
flies). Have even had fish hit it the second the fly
touched the water. Bottom line - it works.

05-13-2004, 04:41 PM
Sharp Steelie,

You missed the point of my post.

It used historical information only to show we have to be careful when making claims of creating/inventing a new fly. Simply using a different make or model of hook, using a different tail material, different type of dubbing, or different colored thread doesn not mean it is an entirely new fly. That is why folks like Lee Wulff with his Wulff Series of dry flies and Al Troth with his "Elk Hair Caddis" were careful to give credit to what their flies really are, material variations of a much older fly. For Wulff it was the "Royal Coachman, Usual, Pink Lady, Light Cahill, march Brown, and Hendricson"; for Troth, it was the "Henryville Special", which he changed the wing of to elk hair from duck quill.

Also, we have to be careful when making claims about materials not being available in the past. Yes, there are some materials we have now that were not available, Krystal Flash, Flashabou, mylar, and genetic dry fly hackle come to mind; however, most materials used to tie flies have been in use since flies were first documented in print back in 3rd century Italy.