Atlantic Salmon Fly of the week Claret Killer [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Atlantic Salmon Fly of the week Claret Killer

10-23-2006, 09:25 AM
This fly is unique in that Claret is not a common color for salmon flies. Bill Baker of Biscay Bay, Newfoundland invented it for fishing the rivers of the Avalon Peninsula in NF. It became very popular after being just a local rumor for a long time.

Hook: Up eye salmon hook.
Tag: Oval silver tinsel.
Rib: Oval silver tinsel.
Body: Claret wool or seals fur.
Wing: Gray squirrel tail.
Collar: Black hackle.
Head: Black

10-23-2006, 11:40 PM
Geez, Charlie,

You keep coming up with these really fetching steelhead patterns and persist in labling them as Salmon bugs.

Got to try this one for sure!



10-24-2006, 02:12 PM
Hey Eric,

I think Im going to start using my Atlantic salmon flies for Steelhead and my Steelhead flies for Atlantic salmon. I just need to kill a few more brain cells and I wont know the difference between the two anyway. :Eyecrazy:


10-24-2006, 11:57 PM

You are finding what many of us here on the left coast have found, steelhead and atlantic salmon often like the same flies. This one looks yummy, altough I will probably tie it with teal or pintal wing simply because I like the way featherwings move in the water.

And just like for atlantic salmon, there are very few claret steelhead flies.

10-25-2006, 05:50 PM

Really interesting comment about feather wings. A few years ago, many AS anglers switched to hair wing versions of their favorite flies as they felt the hair-wings were more effective than the traditional built or strip wings.

One thought along this line was that the more a feather-wing fly was used, the more effective it became, owing to the separation of the feather barbules. I think there was some sort of adage about only giving away new flies, as the used ones were the fish catchers.



10-25-2006, 06:02 PM
Claret Flies:

Centuries ago, or so it seems, there was this big deal secret fly used on Deschutes steelhead by Don and Lola McLain and a few of their buddies. Supposed to be devastatingly effective.

Eventually the pattern was described in _Salmon Trout Steelheader_. I cannot find the issue (buried in the Oregon City land fill, most likely), but, if I recall, it was tied on No. 6 - No. 2 TULE hooks, had a silver-ribbed claret floss body, a smokey gray polar bear hair wing, and jungle cock shoulders. Don't recall the hackle color or whether the thing had a tail or a tag. Maybe someone else remembers this concoction.

I tied up a few of them way back when, and remember liking very much the way they looked in the water, although they didn't seem any more effective than the usual assortment of Max Canyons and Green Butt Skunks.

Another big-deal secret fly, used with consistent results by a certain magazine publisher, turned out to be a hair-winged Blue Charm. If it works for AS, it works for steelhead, I guess.



10-25-2006, 10:52 PM

I have long suspected the big reason most AS anglers went to hairwings had more to due with the fact that it is far easier to learn to tie and to set a hairwing as opposed to a featherwing. I have no proof this was and is still the case today; but I haven't met many tyers over the years who can properly set a featherwing despite their ability to tie hairwings.

I know I read a lot of stuff written by Col. Brooks (and others to be fair) about how a hairwing provides "more movement in the water" than a featherwing; however, when I put a hairwing and a featherwing (including the married wing variety) in moving water side-be-side, the featherwing moves a lot more than the hairwing. Granted a lot of this movement the featherwing displays is sublte; but nonetheless it is moving even when the current is nearly non-existent.

I also read a fair amount from Lee Wulff making similar claims about hairwings; but Wulff also wrote quite a bit about how much more effective his Wulff style dries were in fast water because the wing was stiffer than feathers and as such helped float the fly.

Interestingly, hairwing wets were in use before featherwings for AS with such things as dog hair, horse hair, cat hair, donkey hair, pole cat hair, etc. for the wing. Even Blacker and Francis mention hairwings in their tomes. And in their era, featherwings, especially the married wing variety, were considered the most effective of all flies for AS.

And as I'm sure you know, early PNW steelhead flies were featherwing wets either originals, large trout patterns, or AS flies. And when Glasso's steelhead spey flies became known, they caused quite a stir in steelhead circles because they were featherwings and took a good bit of skill to tie. Likewise, when folks started to use the G.P. tied as originally designed, it caused quite a stir due to its effectiveness.

10-26-2006, 07:01 AM
you can train a pigeon to play ping other words learning to tie different flies is a matter of practice. I tie all my own flies and have done so since I was 10 ( 30 years ago now!). I can tie virtually any fly I want including full dress if necessary. It is not necessary.

Full dress flies take longer and are more expensive with all the fancy feathers. I know they do not fish any better. They look pretty and as the old saying goes" the fly must catch the fancy of the fisherman first". I hate to lose these beauties I spent an hour making so I don't fish them much. I catch most of my fish either on my own patterns or variations of other patterns that I "tag" as my own ( change part of the pattern to make it semi-original). These flies are hair wing type patterns or tube flies as a rule.

Confidence in the fly is as important as anything else. Fly size, shape, color and presentation are in my mind what works. Most important above all is presentation.

In buying a house it is location, location, location. In atlantic salmon fishing it is presentation, presentation, presentation.

Tight Lines,

Jim Y

beau purvis
10-26-2006, 10:36 AM
Doc,I see from your posts where you fish.I believe that your "presentation,presentation,presentation is helped imensely by your "location,location,location"!!!!!You have to have fish for the presentation to work its magic!You can sometimes get lucky even if the presenataion part sucks as long as you have the location part of the puzzle!!!!!I like both, as I see you do too!!!!!Beau

10-26-2006, 02:32 PM
...yes it helps to be in a target rich enviroment...

10-27-2006, 05:59 PM
I agree wholeheartedly, presentation and confidence in the fly being fished are far more important than the type of fly or pattern.