Joel's Fly Page

Here's a sampling of my favorite flies. I'll continue to add to this as time permits.

Mr. Rapidan

This fly was invented by Harry Murray at Murray's Fly Shop (aka People's Drug Store) in Edinburg, VA (540-984-4212). I find this just a super fly for a wide variety of conditions. I like the parachute style, and that is the dressing I'll give here:

Hook: standard dry, 12-20, I use #14 & #16 a lot

Thread: 8/0 brown

Tail: Moose or black deer hair, small ones can use black/dun hackle

Body: Flyrite #34 dubbing (a sort of yellowish brown)

Wing: Yellow Calf tail, tied into a single post parachute style. Alternatively, you can use yellow poly yarn...I like this better now, but be careful not to get it too thick, since the yarn holds more water than the calf hair and can tend to tip the fly over.

Hackle: Use a single Cree hackle if you have it; otherwise use one grizzly and one brown.

This fly is a real killer on Southern Appalachian trout....

Female Adams

I guess that I'm actually using this fly more now than the Mr. Rapidan. I think that it covers a really wide variety of hatches, and looks nicely "buggy". The orange egg sack may help as an attractor; I think that this pattern works a bit better than the standard Adams. Again, I like the parachute style, and that is the dressing I'll give here:

Hook: standard dry, 12-20, I use #14 & #16 a lot

Thread: 8/0 brown or black

Tail: Moose or black deer hair, small ones can use black/dun hackle

Body: A bit of orange, about 1/16" or a bit more at the tail. Follow with Muskrat for the rest of the body.

Wing: White calf hair or synthetic fibers, tied into a single post parachute style. I've tied some of these with fire orange wings for visibility. I haven't noticed any negative reaction from the fish, and it's also easy to see. Like I mentioned on the Mr. Rapidan, be careful how much synthetic fiber you use. I find that synthetics hold more water and can create a topheavy fly.

Hackle: Use a single Cree hackle if you have it; otherwise use one grizzly and one brown.

I caught my favorite trout of 1995 on this one...A beautiful 11" brown from a tiny stream. I looked at the pool and told my son, I'm going to catch a brown next to that rock. Damn sure did!

Bead-head Mr. Rapidan Nymph

This is another of Harry Murray's flies...I became a real beliver in this and other beadheads on a trip in the summer of 1995. My partner & I had fished a clear headwater with dries in the morning, and after lunch (and a jumpstart on the Trooper; don't leave the lights on! :-) ) we fished a bigger, muddier fact, the visibility was about 12". I was firmly convinced that I wouldn't get a fish, but I caught 2 nice browns in a couple of hours on this fly.

Hook: standard nymph, 12 or 14...I like 12's. Put the bead on first and wrap thread behind to "chock" it into position

Tail: Hungarian partridge fibers

Thread: 8/0 brown

Body: Tie in a piece of copper wire. Dub light brown/tan body up to bead. Wrap wire in the opposite direction up to bead. Wrap several times to secure.

Wing case: Hungarian partridge again, enough to go back to point of hook.

Miscellaneous info: Whip finish behind bead. Be sure to use a drop of head cement on bead heads to keep the bead secure. I never use cement except on bead heads or other flies where the wingcase is likely to slip.

Royal Stimulator

I've caught a number of nice fish on this fly. It's a favorite pattern of mine in choppy water. I think that this fly is at its best in fast runs or frothy water. It has a nice profile (covers caddis hatches) and most importantly floats like a cork. I've not been as successful with this fly when I've tried to fish it in slower water where the trout can look it over before taking it. This fly is one I use on fast stretches of the
Davidson River .

Hook: 2 extra long dry, 12-16...I like 12's as attractors

Thread: 6/0 Fire orange

Tail: Elk hair, stacked

Body: Tie on 4 to 6 nice long peacock herls right at the bend of the hook. Also, tie on a brown or ginger hackle. A saddle hackle is best, but not mandatory. Take the thread 1/4 of the way to the eye. Wrap the herl to the thread and tie down. Now, take the thread and overwrap the herl another 1/4 of the way up the shank of the hook. You are now 1/2 way up the hook, with a tail, a peacock herl band, an orange band, and remember, that brown or ginger hackle is hanging off the rear. Make a nice heavy orange band with the thread, wrapping back and forth several times. Now take the thread another 1/4 way forward. Make another peacock herl band. Tie off the herl. Now, palmer the hackle forward over the body. You've left 1/4 of the hook for the wing and the forward hackle.

Wing: Stack some more elk hair, a length to go to the bend of the hook when finished. Get a generous portion...this really helps the fly float. The wing should come down on both sides. Tie down so that there is a taper toward the eye.

Hackle: Tie on a grizzly saddle (if you have it) or a normal grizzly hackle at the base of the wing. Wrap forward in a spiraling band...this is why a Hoffman saddle is best for this, the stem is small and the feather is uniform...

Miscellaneous info: You'll crowd the eye like crazy on the first few of these you tie. You'll hate 'em. However, keep trying, and you'll find that it's a very useful fly to have in your bag. An attactor, a caddis, and a really high floater.

Haw River Shiner

This is an effective pattern for piscavorous species in streams that have good shiner populations. I've used this fly with success on the annual White Bass spawning run on the
Haw River . This is an original pattern, though it's not anything really unusual. I tied this first when I asked some folks what fly to use on the White Bass run...they told me, just use a white streamer, so here's my rendition. One thing that makes it sorta unique, however, is the gold krystal flash for the lateral lines. There's a species of shiner that lives in the Cape Fear River drainage (the Haw is in this drainage) that turns a vivid gold color during its own spawning. I decided that gold rather than silver highlights might look natural. Who knows...however, it works!

Hook:6 XL Streamer, size 8

Thread: 3/0 white or cream

Eyes: Brass bead chain, one pair cut as a "dumbbell". Tie the eyes on first, leaving about 1/8 inch between the eyes and the eye of the hook, to allow room to whip finish. Tie on with a criss-cross wrap. I like to tie the eyes on the bottom of the hook and then I turn the fly over to add the rest of the materials. I think that having the eyes on the bottom of the shank makes the fly ride hook down.

Body: Wrap the thread back toward the bend of the hook and back forward to thicken the body a bit and to give you a less slippery surface for attaching materials. Then, choose two cream hackle feathers (hen is OK, or larger feathers from your dry fly neck) about 2.5 or 3 inches long. Tie one on each side of the hook. Wrap the feather down about 1/4 inch and make a couple of passes over this area to build up the body slightly. Cut 4 or 5 strands of gold krystal flash, about 3 inches long, and tie on one side over the feather. Repeat for the other side (a rotary vise helps for stuff like this). Cut a pencil-thick bunch of white deer tail. I trim the but ends but I let the length of the hairs on the back vary to taper the fly's body. Put the bundle on top of the fly and work some hair down each side as well. Tie with soft loops, increasing the tension as you get the bundle strapped down. Wrap the materials for 1/4 to 1/2 inch back from the eyes. Build up slightly by wrapping several times.

Miscellaneous: Wrap forward of the eyes and whip finish. I like to use head cement on this type of fly to hold the eyes and to prevent unravelling in the mouth of big fish :-).

Syl's Nymph

This is one of my favorite panfish flies, and I've used it successfully on trout as well. It's really a wet fly instead of a nymph, and it's the fly popularized by Syl Nemes in his soft hackle fly books. I find that this fly is quite effective dead-drifted with the current; the partridge hackle undulates in the water and it calls the fish in! When you fish this fly, wet it before you cast -- otherwise it will float like a dry.

This fly has the added benefit of being extremely easy to tie!

Hook: Any size 14 or 16; I often use scud hooks.

Thread: 8/0 black

Body: Tie on a piece of medium copper wire and several strands of peacock herl. Wrap the peacock herl forward, thickly, to create the body. Counter wrap the copper wire to reinforce the peacock and to add weight and flash.

Hackle: Select a grey/brown Hungarian partridge feather and trim off the thick butt. Tie on and wrap on as the hackle. These feathers are short and will often only go around a couple of times, but that's OK. The fibers will be long, and may well extend beyond the bend of the hook when bent backwards. Hold the fibers against the body of the fly and wrap the thread backwards to force the hackle to angle back toward the rear of the fly. Whip finish.

Return to  Joel's Home 

This page is maintained by 

Last updated 03-January-1998