I prefer non hardened hooks because they sharpen up easier every time you bend the tip over on a rock. For this swap I tied on a size 6 salmon/steelhead hook. If I am going for a "modern interpretation of spey profile" I tie on a regular to XL length hook, but generally I tie on a short nymph hook like a Tiemco - 2457. It has a great hook gap for steelhead and is very strong with a sticky sharp cone point. I only had 9 of them in my inventory so I used a mustad instead which has a smaller gap, and a larger diameter wire (takes a bit more lbs/in^2 to penetrate)
Orange Crystal Flash
Pearl/Brown/Burnt Orange Chenille
The brightest orange colored Furnace Hackle you can find
Blue/Green Pheasant Flank/Rump
- Wrap 1/4 inch or so of the gold tinsel on the tail.
- Tie in a couple layer thick of thread about 1/8 inch wide in front of the tinsel for a base to mount the crystal flash tail on to.
-Cut 5 or 6 strands of Crystal Flash a bit longer than you plan on having it (2.5-3 inches usually) and tie the middle of it into the center of the base you built out of thread. Put two or three wraps on top of each other in the center of the base you built and snug it up until the tail lifts away from the body. Fold over the back part and tie it in. Build up the thread on the front and back side of the crystal flas a bit to hold the tail somewhere between vertical and 45 degrees back. (The closer you get to vertical will give it more wag in the current, but it will spin when you cast it more) Trim the tail at an angle going up and away from the head so you get different length strands of flash.
- Tip tie in a long furnace hackle feather on the front side of the crystal flash.
- Tie in the chenille between the crystal flash and gold tinsel tail and put one wrap behind the tail (helps hold it up) and then wind it up to the head.
- Wind the furnace hackle to the head and make sure that you keep the orange side forward/out while winding. After winding the body I try to do at least three wraps of the furnace feather on the collar right on top of each other for bulk. Multiple layers of wraps also help to support the soft hackle and cause it to bend around the collar.
- Pick out a Pheasant flank feather that is as blue and green as you can find. I strip off all the feathers that aren't the same color as the blue/green tip (leaving only the Pennaceous part). Tip tie in about the first 5 or 6 barbds of the feather. The small size of the flank feathers means you usually only get 1 revolution of soft hackle only, unless you have a really good pheasant. Regardless, 1 is all you need. Just takes a couple times to get it right.
-Finish the head and completely cover over the quill part of the soft hackle feather by one or two thicknesses of thread to lock in the soft hackle feathers. NOTE; if you don't cover the quill completely the soft hackle part will disintegrate in a couple hours of fishing. It also lets you snug up on the soft hackle so it stands away from the fly body.
- Put a thin coat of nail hardener on, followed by a thick coat that has to be rotated on the vice until it is dry (if you don't have a rotating dryer).
Closeup looks like
Fish this fly whenever, but it was designed specifically for use when the sun is on the water. Skated, swung in the surface scum, on a sink tip, or nymphed, this pattern is hands down the best October Caddis pattern I have ever used.