I like tying flies, but I don’t love it. You’ve got guys like Josh who can pump out a dozen whatevers in 5 minutes, and then you’ve got a guy like me. I slowly plod through most flies, half paying attention to the fly while listening to a Brewers game on the radio or watching one on TV.
Because of that, I love flies that are easy to tie. Well, assuming the fly actually catches something.
That’s why I really like this fly. It’s about as easy as any fly you can tie, and it actually catches fish. It’s not going to catch the eye of many fly fishers because it doesn’t look like much. But, ask me if I give a crap about that as I’m bringing in a 12″ brown.
Greg Smith introduced me to this fly. I’m pretty sure he admitted that he didn’t come up with the design on his own – I think it was shown to him by some random fisherman he bumped into on-stream. In fact, Greg always called it the “Turkey-Tail Bead-Head” which is about as matter-of-fact a name as you can think of. That’s like calling a Clouser a “Double Bucktail Lead Eye” or something.
So, I decided it needed a new moniker. Given that Greg introduced me to it, and it was pretty much black, the name “Blacksmith” was born. Damn, I’m creative.
What is this thing supposed to be?
I’m no entomologist, but I do know that in different streams, you’ll find caddisfly larvae that surround themselves in different types of “cases.” I’m not sure if this is species-dependent, or based strictly on the location the fly is found in. Some are coated in little grains of sand or gravel. Some are coated in larger bits of plant material.
In S/W Wisconsin, you’ll find a lot of small (size 18-14) larvae coated in what appears to be very fine strands of plant material. I’m sure someone much smarter than me could tell you exactly what it is.
It’s this kind of encased fly that the Blacksmith is meant to imitate, and it does it well.
Thread – 8/0 black
Head – 5/64 or 3/32 tungsten bead
Body – 8-10 fibers from a turkey tail feather split into two groups of 4-5