Atlantic Salmon Fly of the week – Ross Special [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Atlantic Salmon Fly of the week – Ross Special

11-29-2006, 08:42 AM
Yet another red fly. This one was developed in Nova Scotia on Cape Breton Island. I was not able to find the exact inventor of this fly but keep in mind that the name Ross is very common on Cape Breton. The fly itself is used heavily on the Margaree River, one of Nova Scotia’s most prolific salmon rivers.

Hook: Up eye salmon hook.
Tag: Oval silver tinsel.
Tail: Golden pheasant crest.
Rib: Oval silver tinsel.
Body: Red wool.
Throat: Yellow
Wing: Red squirrel tail.
Cheeks: Jungle cock.
Head: Black.

12-11-2006, 10:57 PM
I remember a trip to the Margaree in '98 or '99 and i tied one Ross Special(why one i'll never know) for the trip. It was on a 1/0 Bartleet Supreme. I fished Swimming Hole with it and had a pull. I made one more pass and then went down to Little MacDaniel and fished it through there. Nothing. I made one more pass through Swimming Hole and landed a semi-bright male. Nice!!! I hiked upriver to the next bend and got in to fish the run. I checked my leader and it was a bit ragged from the last fish so i thought i would add a new tippet.:roll: You guessed it,, I dropped the damn thing and watched as the current carried it away. I honestly felt the trip was ruined. I dropped in to Mack's the next morning and he only had them to a #6. Be-Damned if i'd fish anything that small on the Margaree in OCT so i left them there.:tsk_tsk: I smartened up since then and now use them down to #8 and i would not be without one again on this river.
Salmon Chaser

12-12-2006, 02:26 PM

Good story. I fished the Margaree back then. It was in early June. The fish were just starting to come in so we did not do well on the Margaree. There was a smaller river that fished much better but that one will remain nameless. :smokin:


12-14-2006, 07:55 PM
Hi Charlie, Jim Corrigan here. It's rare that I'll be able to tell you anything that you don't already know about fly tying, but I saw your comment (quote):

"I was not able to find the exact inventor of this fly but keep in mind that the name Ross is very common on Cape Breton."

This is from the profile of Howard Ross in the (fantastic!) book entitled 'A Little Thing I Tied Myself,' written by Don MacLean. Howard is quoted talking about his father, Nip Ross.

Howard's father also had a lasting impact on fly tying in Atlantic Canada, as the creator of the Ross Special. Howard explains: "My father came home and told my mother he asked Joe Aucoin to tie up a fly with certain colours, and that Aucoin had christened it the Ross Special."

You could argue about exactly who 'invented' this fly, Nip Ross or Joe Aucoin. Either way, the fly has a long history of being pulled out of boxes and fished in Nova Scotia. It's got the classic fall colours, that's for sure.

Nice tie job!


12-15-2006, 07:43 AM

Some great information, I will have to take a look around for that book. It sounds interesting. How is life on the west coast? Good to see you back and posting.


12-15-2006, 09:57 PM
Hi Charlie, Jim Corrigan here. Great to talk to you!

Life in the West? One word ... soft - as in, 'I've gone soft.'

I'm working lots, not fishing at all. I've yet to explore out here. I know there's lot's of prime west coast fishing around somewhere, but there doesn't seem to be much to my taste in the immediate region.

My taste?? FLOATING lines - in rivers - for nice salmonids. I've been spoiled by my eastern experiences on a fantastic brown trout stream and a few legendary Atlantic salmon rivers. From what I've heard, 'fly fishing' out here consists of dredging alpine lakes with chironomid nymphs and yuck bugs or fishing sink tips for salmonid species that don't have the decency to rise to a fly. :)

Undoubtably, my ignorance is showing through. That being said, my fishing dreams are cast far ahead. Early next July, Axel and I have back-to-back days on the Dartmouth on Paul Emile and Moose Bogan.

YES - we like these pools!

OK, I found the book (A Little Thing I Tied Myself) on a Nova Scotia fishing website, and bought it from the author. I talked about the book on another thread on Fly Talk, and fell embarrasingly close to be 'shilling' for the book. However, it's got brief stories about many of the Atlantic Canadian tiers and their famous creations. It'a a 'down home' kind of read, but great for someone who likes to know the story behind the flies that they fish. There's a big emphasis on Atlantic salmon flies - what a surprise. I loved the book!

[non-sponsor link removed]

The book is a paperback and 'value priced' relative to many books in this genre. With your wide knowledge of the east coast salmon fishery, I'm sure you'd find it to be a fascinating read. The big downside of the book ... no chapter on the Quebec tiers.

OK, it's been great to talk with you! Tight lines on the Catt, and have a great June down east - I'll be looking for pictures of massive fish :eek:


12-16-2006, 06:09 AM
Hi Jim,

Great to read you again,
Are you directly on the seaside?
Are there not rivers for floating lines??
I must go explore out West, on my agenda next year!!

Find a river, I'll bring the Pino Noir!! :rolleyes:

Happy Holidays, see you next July.

Ann :smile:

12-17-2006, 09:55 PM
Not N.S. but i know you all with like this(if you haven't stumbled upon it yourselves) One of my favorites. I have Deweys book and still adding autographs whenever i can. Not a commercial link so i hope it's ok with the mods
Salmon Chaser

12-26-2006, 07:44 PM
I thought this may be of interest to some.
Dwayne.. Here is some history:

The color group was a request by Nip Ross to Joe Aucoin to create a fly using
Silver tinsel, red, yellow, red squirrel, and Golden Pheasant crest. Joe put
these to work and the result was the Ross Special. Nip gave no direction other
than the specified materials and colors.

Nip Ross was a Charlotte Street Furier in Sydney N.S. When I was a young lad I
worked after school at the Sport Mart, a small shop above the Fur Shop. Joe
Aucoin, from New Waterford, visited the shop after bringing in his flies for
sale. Nip Ross was also a frequent customer.

Joseph D. Bates, in his book on Salmon and Salmon flies, credits it's birth in
the Margaree as many Ross famlies lived there. Another theory was that it was
an adaptation of the Red Abbey, both theroies are wrong.

W.W. Doaks catalog shows it minus the Jungle Cock cheeks, not the original.

The date if inception is not clear but it was commercialy available in 1946 in

If you wish to email me your address, I would be pleased to tie you one as the
original and send it along with an article I wrote about the life and flies of
Joe Aucoin which was published in the Canadian Fly Fisher magazine. You would
then have something to discuss with your group.

I always appreciate someone interested in the history and preservation of fly
tying legends...


This is from an email i recieved from Bill Jollymore who knew all the players involved.
Salmon Chaser

12-27-2006, 09:31 PM

I've seen Joe Aucoin's name in reference to salmon flies several times in books on maritime Atlantic Salmon fishing and flies. However, I know next to nothing about the man because there has been precious little info on him and how he came to tie these flies.

Therefore, I have a request, could you possibly get permission to post the article on Aucoin Jollymore wrote? If this is not possible, a summary of Aucoin's work would be very nice. I suspect there are other fly tying members of the forum who would be interested in this info as well.

Thanks in advance for doing this great service for us.

12-29-2006, 07:21 PM
Russ, I'd be glad to. I'll post with results,,,whatever they may be.
Salmon Chaser

12-29-2006, 11:53 PM

Great! I'm looking forward to you sharing this with us.

01-12-2007, 12:35 PM
Russ,, could you shoot me a mail at
i have a couple of pics for you and will soon have a copy of the article,, hopefully in Mondays mail.
It turns out that the original Ross Special that Bill Jollymore is sending me is tied from Joe's very own hook stock:smokin: They were given to him by Jack Aucoin after his fathers death. 4 boxes of hooks were given to Bill and my fly is being tied on a #2. I bought a frame this week and am eagerly awaiting the package.
aka Salmon Chaser