The Wet-Fly Corner
With Andy Brasko, a Genuine Wet-Fly Fisherman
Photo, fly and article by Andy Brasko
I am always searching for new wet-fly patterns. While looking through Bergman’s Trout, I came across a pattern that intrigued me from the start. When I first I saw this pattern, on plate 8 of Trout, I thought to myself, “What a wonderful pattern to bring to life in my vise, then give it a try a fishing!” When I looked at the actual pattern recipe and saw the materials listed and colors called for, though, I thought to myself, “Who in their right mind came up with this color scheme—and why?” The fly I am speaking of is called the Thunder.
Off to the vise I went go to tie up a dozen of this pattern, and when I completed the first fly, I sat back in my chair and caught myself admiring it. The colors blended together, and the pattern just seemed to flow from head to tail. So it’s actually quite beautiful, but would it catch fish? I decided this fly had to be part of this year’s field trials.
On the stream, I fished this pattern with much success from April through June. For some patterns, I find there’s a time when the fly works best, and this success is repeatable over the course of a few years during the same time frame. I have also found that some fly patterns are best used as searching patterns. On the basis of only a half years’ worth of data, this fly appears to fall into the latter category— it worked for the whole spring season, from April to June. I still have the remaining fall season to go with it, but thus far, I have given the fly a fair try, and it hasn’t let me down.
I find that some searching patterns work for only short periods of time during the season, too, but throughout the entire spring, trout would smash this fly again and again. While the success rate of other searching patterns tends to taper off, this fly has remained a constant winner.
I get excited with a new wet fly that I find to be beautiful works so well at catching fish. Give this fly a chance in your vise and as part of your wet-fly arsenal. I will report again on it in the next year or two, when I’ve gathered more data. Have a great summer, and don’t forget to get ready for the upcoming fall season.”
Hook: Mustad 3906, size 8
Thread: White Danville 6/0 for the underbody, black Danville 6/0 for the head
Tail: Golden pheasant crest
Body: Two strands of Danville black floss, wrapped from back to front only
Rib: One strand of Danville orange floss
Beard or Full-collar hackle: For beard, yellow saddle hackle; for full-collar hackle, yellow hen cape
Wing: Paired guinea hen quills
Yellow saddle hackle feathers can be substituted for the tail. I prefer golden pheasant crest, though—it just makes a prettier-looking fly. The floss ribbing should be constantly twisted while wrapping it around the body. The twisted floss gives the fly nice definition, however, you can lay the floss flat for the rib, if you prefer. When tying in the guinea hen wing, make sure the head’s thread base is at the same height as the black floss body. This will make it easier for you to get the wings to set in any style you prefer.