Monthly Archives: January 2013

Carp Bitter – Barry Reynolds


Designer: Barry Reynolds
Colors: Mango, Olive, Rusty
Sizes: 6

Umpqua Feather Merchants

Barry has been an Umpqua Royalty Designer for nearly two decades and is widely hailed as “a true master of fly fishing with over thirty years experience guiding fly fishers to angling destinations all over the world.” His angling expertise encompasses an enormous range of species in just about every geographic location. Read more about Barry Reynolds here.

Barry Reynolds describes his fly—

“The evolution of the Carp Bitter dates back to 2007 and was my original Barry’s Carp Fly and a rough and undeveloped version was introduced in the DVD The Flyrodders’ Guide to Carp. This early version was similar and while still an effective pattern, it was missing a few key elements to make it a consistent producer for carp. After shelving it for several seasons, I broke the pattern back out a couple of years ago and started to play with improvements and ideas I had while learning and grasping a better understanding of carp and their feeding habits and colors they see.

“The final version we have now incorporates weight dispersed over the hook shank and not in one location, which helps reduce the splash and spook factor while using lead eyes and having the weight in one central location. Additionally I added two sets of rubber legs — each longer than the original version — for added movement in still water situations, attracting much more attention without having to strip the fly.

“The most important improvement was color selection. While the original was tied in rust and grey, I found (through trial and error) that mango, rust and olive were the best three colors on a day in and day out basis. Mango is great in all situations but excels best when used in dirty water or when crayfish are molting making them easy prey. Rust is a great crayfish imitating color but runs a distant 2nd to the mango in dirty water situations. The olive color was the last color to be used but came about after watching carp on the Platte River in Denver feed on chunks of moss and vegetation as it was being flushed down the river. After seeing this and watching the carp refuse everything we offered, I ran home and quickly tied up a few Bitters in olive and returned to the river and watched carp after carp mover over to intercept and eat the olive bitter every time it drifted close enough to inhale it!

“This year was my most successful season ever for carp. Even on lakes, where we struggled to catch carp, I found the Bitter to be the answer and they accounted for more than 150 carp during the month of July alone! I soon found all my fishing buddies sneaking through my fly boxes to see the secret fly! I also sent some to my friends all over the country and on both coasts to see how their carp would react to the Bitter! The results were staggeringly successful; from California to Vermont anglers were reporting wildly successful results with Bitters. One angler in Vermont caught 3 personal best on the Bitter including a 32lb, a 30lb, and 28lb in one outing!

“Fishing this fly is simple. It is not a fly that is stripped aggressively but merely crawled slowly along the bottom while fishing still waters, and dead drifted and tumbled along the bottom to river fish! Everyone I have shared this pattern with has absolutely crushed the carp with this fly! I now carry no less than several dozen of these flies on my carp outings in assorted colors and they account for 90% of the carp I take! The surprise with the Bitter is that it is not only effective on carp, but also works tremendous well on smallmouth bass, crappie, largemouth bass … and yes … even trout. If there are crayfish present in the system you are fishing, this is a must have fly… it’s that good!”

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The Adams

The Adams was created back in 1922 in northern Michigan by Len Halladay. Judge Charles Adams was fly fishing on the Boardman River near Mayfield Pond when he noticed some insects buzzing around. So he went to his friend and fly tyer Len Halladay’s house which was nearby. Judge Charles asked Len to tie something for him that closely matched the insects he saw. Halladay later wrote a letter to a fly-pattern historian describing what happened next.

“The first Adams I made was handed to Mr. Adams, who was fishing a small pond in front of my house, to try on the Boardman that evening. When he came back next morning, he wanted to know what I called it. He said it was a “knock-out” and I said we would call it the Adams, since he had made the first good catch on it.”

This may be the most popular fly ever invented. Its popularity is due to its effectiveness. In the following video, Brian Kosminski shows us how to tie the famous Adams. Brian is the editor of True North Trout, an obsessive angler, fly tier, and defender of quality water and public access. He has been deeply involved in Trout Unlimited, including leadership roles with the Miller VanWinkle Chapter. He is a GreenFish ambassador and promotes the use of correct technique in catch-and-release fly fishing. He lives with his family in Hemingway country in northern Michigan where he can often be found on the water or at the tying bench.


Filed under Step by Step, Trout flies

Woven Body technique – Terje Refsahl

This beautiful fly was tied by Terje Refsahl and he uses a woven body technique shown below step-by-step. In the step-by-step Terje uses antron yarn to better show how to make the woven body. On this finished fly the material used is micro stretch tubing. With the combination of the micro stretch tubing and the technique below you get the body you see here.

cdc loop wing mayfly emerger

cdc loop wing mayfly emerger


 Click on any image to zoom in for a better view and slideshow.

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Fly Fishing the Ozarks 2012

Brian Wise of Fly Fishing the Ozarks has thrown together an end of the year video. Even though it isn’t all fly tying, it shows the sweet catches they hauled in with the streamers they tied throughout the year. Gar!

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Purple Haze

Andy Carlson, a fly fishing guide on the Bitterroot River in Montana originated the Purple Haze fly pattern. It closely resembles a Parachute Adams with a purple body. This has been a very effective pattern in Montana and has become a popular dry fly in general. Below I’ve embedded a video by Walter Weise. He does a really good job of explaining how to tie the fly and offers slight replacements in materials he is using from the original pattern.

Walter says, “The Purple Haze is an excellent attractor dry popular in southwest Montana, especially during the fall. It’s a great choice during fall BWO time.

Incidentally, your fly should look like the one in the still image and the first video clip. I was struggling with my contacts through most of the video and it shows. The fly I tie is one of the worst Purple Hazes I’ve done in recent memory…”


Filed under Step by Step, Trout flies

Fuller’s Falcor

I thought this was an interesting sculpin pattern from Calvin Fuller of Big R Fly Shop. Here is Calvin’s notes on the video.

“Fuller’s Falcor sculpin is a great pattern to swing, strip, or even dead drift for big browns and rainbows in both spring and fall. This realistic sculpin streamer imitates the flesh eating variety and has a white bunny “goatee” below the helmet. This adds to the attractive quality this pattern already has to get the attention of a hungry trout for a meaty meal.”

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Sofa Pillow – Pat Barnes


Sofa Pillow

The Sofa Pillow is a classic dry fly pattern originated by Pat Barnes back in the 1940s. In the words of Pat, here’s how it started.

“When a party of Amarillo bass flyfishermen came up West to fish on the Snake, they couldn’t see the small flies. They came into the shop and asked for a pattern they could see, a BIG salmonfly imitation. So when I tied this up, one of the Texans said, “My God, it’s as big as a sofa pillow!” I said, “You’ve just named it.”

Sofa Pillow recipe:

Hook: Mustad 9672, or equivalent, size 4-10
Thread: Black 6/0
Tail: Dyed red goose quill section
Body: Red floss
Wing: Red or gray squirrel tail
Hackle: brown saddle hackle


Variations of the Sofa Pillow followed. You might have seen or heard about the Improved Sofa Pillow. Pat and Sig had called this a Super Sofa Pillow and it enhanced the floatability of the original. Here is an excerpt from Pat’s book, Ribbons of Blue:

“The popularity of the fly increased each year. It was fished during the grasshopper season, and successfully. Soon it was being tied commercially by all tiers in the West Yellowstone area.

It is now tied as large as size 2. The original fly had a red tag, red wool body, red fox squirrel wing and brown saddle hackle. Many variations are now used, in body color, body material, wing material and color of hackle. The changes Sig and I have added to the fly in recent years are the addition of a Palmer brown hackle on the body and elk hair under the squirrel hair.

It is doubtful if any dry fly in recent times has been used as successfully for catching big fish in rough water.”

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Gary Lafontaine’s Emergent Sparkle Pupa

Gary Lafontaine studied flies for fishing purposes in more detail than most. He would use scuba gear to study the life of aquatic insects. His research would help bring fly fishermen some new patterns that were extremely effective. One of these patterns is the Emergent Sparkle Pupa. This is the pattern shown in Gary’s label above. One of the important materials in this fly pattern is what Gary referred to as “Sparkle Yarn”. This is basically Antron. Even though Gary has passed on, you can still purchase the original Sparkle Yarn as well as Gary Lafontaine related materials at

Below I have included two videos on how to tie the Emergent Sparkle Pupa. One is produced by Tightline Productions and is tied by Matt Grobert. The other video is from and tied by Curtis Fry. Both are excellent ways to tie this ground breaking pattern made possible by Gary Lafontaine’s research.


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Around the net!

I’ve seen some interesting stuff on my daily look around the net lately, so I thought I would throw a post up showing some of the things I’ve noticed. I hope you enjoy it!

If you haven’t visited Stream 2 Stream, then you should probably start. My friend Justin Keene works on some good stuff over there. He has just posted a step-by-step of his brand spanking new streamer he has named Blinky. It’s a great looking pattern and it looks like a fun tie.

Piker over at the posted this fly he tied from his dog’s hair. Came out pretty sweet!

Doug Korn posted a beautiful dry fly called the Snowshoe Apple Caddis over on his blog. Doug’s tying is top notch and this is a great pattern!

My buddy Dave Hosler posted a new pattern called Weapon X on his Pilecast blog! This baby uses the new Misfit Holo-heads and it looks killer! If you want to get your hands on some Misfit Holo-heads, Lunds Fly Shop is now carrying them.

Eunan Hendron of Addicted to Vise uses a Llama wing to fill out this nice looking fly he calls Gray Wolfs Brown Julie.

Juan Ramirez of The Hopper Juan blog has a nice, simple, step-by-step of his nymph, The Money Midge.

This last streamer is mine. For now, you will see it on the right here on FrankenFly because I recently posted it to the FrankenFly Instagram account. I’ve been working on this for awhile, but couldn’t decide what to do with the head of the fly. I finally figured it out and this is how it ended up. I’m happy with it and I’ve gotten some great comments on it so far. The name of the fly is the Bearded Biscuit.



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Utah’s Marauder – Johnny Utah

Utah's Marauder on regal

I am from New Jersey right on the boarder with Pennsylvania and that is where I currently reside. I fish New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York waters.  With most of my time spent on Pennsylvania streams.  I love to wet fly fish, but I do nymph and dry fly a lot as well. Basically I go with what the stream is dictating for that day.

I am a self taught fly fisherman and fly tier. As you may guess I own a lot books and quite a few dvds. I used to commercial tie but it became a real bear and so I have since slowed down a lot, but I still tie everyday. I tie 365 and I think that is the true secret to become good at fly tying. Tie a lot!  People can contact me about my flies or dubbing blends at and you can also visit my blog Utah’s Fly Corner.

Utah’s Marauder


Hook: Daiichi 1560 #12
Thread: Brown pearsall or uni 8/0 camel
Tag: Mirage tinsel
Tail: Silver badger hackle fibers
Rib: Silver oval tinsel fine, Lagartun is the best.
Rear Body: Natural dun colored marabou from the bottom of hackle
Body hackle- Badger cock hackle
Front body: Peacock hurl
Collar hackle: Dark speckled hen
Wing: sharp tail secondary wing fibers. (optional)
Eyes: Jungle Cock (optional)


Start the thread, and run it back to the barb.


Tie in the mirage tinsel and go around the bend, and bring the thread back to the barb.


Wind the tinsel up touching turns,  and catch with the thread, trim the excess.


Take 8-12 hackle fibers and tie them in on top with one turn.


Tie in the oval tinsel with one turn in front of the last.


Here is the body material. Pinch the butt end like shown, and pinch off short pieces of the bou.


It should look like this. You dont want the fiber that holds these fibers to the stem.


Dub the body up 2/3s


Tie in the silver badger hackle.


Wind it back with two complete touching turns at the start then palmer it back to the rear. Once at the rear, catch the hackle with the oval tinsel and rib the fly.


Tie in 2-3 peacock herls.


Wind the herl forward, leave a hook eye distant for hackle and J.C.


Tie in the dark speckled hen by the tip. You want the hackle fibers to extend back to the hook bend.


Wind the hackle. Dont go crazy, saddle hackle is heavy. 1-2 turns is plenty.


Tie in the jungle cock on each side.  Dont worry if your nails are broken, the fish will break them sooner rather than later.


Tidy up and form a head. Whip finish.   When i use silk thread like i did here, I wax it through out the the tying process and especially for the whip finish.  I do not like to  varnish silk. The wax does a good job of protecting the thread and making a really tight whip.

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