The first steelhead fly that fell from the tying vise into my 10-year-old palm was a standard Skunk tied on a 2X heavy Mustad, down-turned eye, sproat, size 4 hook. The tail was an irregular clump of webby red neck hackle fibers, tied in too short, like the tail of the green Woolly Worm I'd finished a few minutes before. The body was medium black chenille over-wrapped with oval tinsel, one size too thin, followed by a thick black saddle hackle so spiky that the first four wraps were about four sizes too small; the fifth and sixth wraps grew progressively two sizes too big. The tips of those last wraps lay back beyond the ragged red tail when I preened them to clear a space for the wing.
The Absence of Color
I've been using black flies in salt water for so long I really don't remember the first time I learned about them-probably more than 40 years ago. Today, every couple of trips to the brackish-water world, I find a situation that, whether because of low light levels or murky water, it's best to cast a black fly.
Last issue I promised and delivered some good news about the recovery of the West's imperiled trout, though in the case of Paiute cutthroat recovery-aborted for the fourth time by retired macroinvertebrate researcher Nancy Erman and her troupe of loud, aggressive, fish-stupid chemophobes-you had to look hard for it. Herewith, good news that- once you get past some discouraging elements-is more obvious.
- Photography by: Ted Fauceglia
Tap's Bug is one of the all-time great fly-rod bass bugs. Let's tie one. (Please be patient—it may take a minute or two for all of the photos to load!) Start the thread on the hook shank. Tie in the bucktail tail. Trim the front end of the clump of bucktail and make a nice taper with thread on
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