BLONDES AND BEYOND by Mike Rice

If I was limited to fishing with one fly, it would be the Brooks Blonde, most likely the all white version known as the Platinum Blonde. Why? Because it’s simple, quick to tie, effective in just about every fishing environ and because it just plain works. I have used this fly up and down the east coast, the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic for stripers, blues, albies, jacks, snook, ‘cuda, smallies, largemouth and pickerel.

Originally tied by fishing legend Joe Brooks for striped bass in Chesapeake Bay back in the 1940’s, the Brooks Blonde has been used in nearly every saltwater and freshwater fishery and has been responsible for over two dozen world record catches. The Blonde is actually a series of flies, the most well known being the aforementioned Platinum Blonde, the Argentine Blonde (light blue over white), the Honey Blonde (all yellow) and the Irish Blonde (chartreuse or green over white). The beauty of this pattern is that it can be tied quickly on any color combination to match the prevalent bait and can easily be cut down and thinned on the water if necessary. The first Blondes were tied before flash materials were available. The addition of flashy body material and wing flash give an already productive fly a little more punch.

In my opinion the Brooks Blonde is the “chassis” upon which many different patterns have been built upon over the years. For this reason, when I teach tying classes, the Blonde is the first pattern we cover. From this fly it is a natural progression to the Clouser, Juvie, Deceiver, Mushmouth…the list is endless. With the addition of just a few steps and materials, the Blonde can be altered to provide you with 4 baitfish profiles that will cover most scenarios. For the fly tier just starting out, all that is really needed to generate these four patterns (and they will all catch fish consistently) is a RUSH CD, a white bucktail and a package of Flashabou.

Turn on the CD, I recommend “Permanent Waves”. Here we go:
(Check out Mike’s Mud Dog Saltwater Flies website)

BrooksBlonde

BROOKS BLONDE

RECIPE

Hook #1 to 4/0
Thread Danville’s Fine Monofilament
Tail White Bucktail
Body Pearl Saltwater Flashabou
Wing Bucktail, color of choice
Flash Krystal Flash or Flashabou
Head Black thread, head cement or epoxy

TYING SEQUENCE

  1. Wrap hook shank with mono, tie in a clump of white bucktail on top of hook shank. Wrap from hook eye back to just above hook point pushing down on bucktail to roll it around the shank.
  2. Run a thin bead of glue/head cement over the wraps, tie in a strand of pearl Flashabou and palmar wrap from the back end to the hook eye. I like the Flashabou in lieu of bodi-braid or similar because it’s more cost effective per fly and it will take on the colors of the wing material.
  3. Fold in a couple of strands of Krystal Flash at the hook eye.
  4. Tie in a clump of your choice of color bucktail for the wing. Create a head about a 1/8” in back of the hook eye.
  5. Cover with black thread and cement or epoxy.

 

From this, add a few different steps and start building your arsenal.

SandEel

BUCKTAIL SAND EEL

This pattern is truly born from the Blonde and bridges the gap to the next pattern.

RECIPE

Hook: Favorite 1/0 or 2/0 standard shank
Thread: Danville’s Fine Monofilament
Tail: White Bucktail
Body: Pearl Saltwater Flashabou or Bill’s Bodi-braid
Wing: Olive Bucktail
Topping: Peacock Herl
Flash: Pearl Krystal Flash
Throat: Red Krystal Flash
Eyes: 3/16 molded holographic, black pupil on silver

TYING SEQUENCE

  1. Cover the hook shank with thread, Tie in a clump of white bucktail on top of the hook shank. Wrap the bucktail with thread back to just above the hook point.
  2. Tie in a strand of Saltwater Flashabou or bodi-braid at the end of the bucktail wraps, coat the bucktail wraps with head cement and palmar wrap the Flashabou forward to the hook eye. Fold in two strands of pearly Krystal Flash at the hook eye.
  3. Tie in a clump of olive bucktail (or your color choice for the wing).
  4. Turn the fly over and tie in a few strands of red Krystal Flash at the throat.
  5. Turn the fly back over and tied in a few strands of peacock herl on top of the wing. Wrap back softly about and 1/8” in back of the hook eye and then tie off
  6. Attach eyes with Goop and let set up.
  7. Epoxy the head or cement it.

Deceiver

BUCKTAIL DECEIVER

This can be as fully dressed as you want and as long as you want depending on the length of the bucktail that you have on hand.

RECIPE

Hook: Favorite standard shank
Thread: Danville’s Fine Monofilament
Tail: White Bucktail
Wing: Choice of color of Bucktail
Flash: Pearl Krystal Flash
Throat: Red Krystal Flash
Eyes: molded holographic, black pupil on silver

TYING SEQUENCE

  1. Wrap hook shank with mono, tie in a clump of white bucktail on top of hook shank beginning just forward of the hook point. Make sure to glue/cement the wraps.
  2. Fold in a couple strands of Krystal Flash (pearl) and the glue/cement the wraps.
  3. 1/3 the distance between your last wraps and the hook eye, tie in a clump of colored bucktail on top of the shank to begin the wing followed by a clump of white below (invert the vice) for the belly.
  4. Repeat Step 2.
  5. Repeat Step 3 half the distance from your last wraps to the hook eye.
  6. Repeat Step 5 right behind the hook eye.
  7. Turn the fly over and tie in a few strands of red Krystal Flash at the throat. (If you want to dress the fly up a little, add a few strands of peacock herl or Black Holographic Flashabou to the top for a back, or to keep it simple just tie it off now, cement the head and go fishing.)
  8. Attach eyes with Goop and let set up.
  9. Epoxy the head or cement it.

Clouser

CLOUSER MINNOW

Everything eats a Clouser and every fly box should have at least one chartreuse/white Clouser in it.

RECIPE

Hook: Favorite standard shank
Thread: Danville’s Fine Monofilament
Tail: White Bucktail
Body: Pearl Flashabou
Wing: Choice of color of Bucktail
Flash: Pearl Krystal Flash
Eyes: Hourglass eyes (they will self-center as opposed to dumbbell eyes.)

TYING SEQUENCE

  1. Tie on hourglass eyes on top of the hook shank with figure 8 wraps, leaving about a ¼” bare shank between them and the hook eye. Remember the weight of the hourglass eyes inverts the fly in the water so that it swims hook point up.
  2. Wrap the shank with thread behind the eyes to just above the hook point then wrap back up to the hook eye. Add a drop of glue/cement on the wraps holding the eyes on.
  3. Tie in a clump of white bucktail at the hook eye, bring the clump of bucktail over the eyes so it lies down in the notch between the sides of the eyes and then pinch on to the hook shank and wrap the clump onto the top of the shank back to the hook point.
  4. Tie in a strand of Pearl Saltwater Flashabou over the hook point and then coat these wraps with glue/head cement. Palmar wrap the Flashabou forward to the eyes and figure 8 wrap the eyes with it. Make a couple wraps with it forward to the hook eye, wrap a few times with the mono and clip the tag end of the Flashabou.
  5. Fold in a couple strands of Krystal Flash.
  6. Invert the fly in the vice and tie in a clump of your choice of colored Bucktail as the wing (this will be the top of the fly when it’s in the water). Finish the head off with several wraps and tie off.
  7. Head cement/epoxy the head.

 

From one fly you now have four “quick-tie” patterns that will cover a broad range of bait profiles, different levels of the water column and all phases of the season.

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