hurst handlebar


Left handed Gemini.
I have searched the web and I'm unable to find picture or pattern for this fly, Searun would you mind giving up the dressing?
This is an older pattern, first tied by Bob Hurst of BC. There are a few versions I've discovered recently. However, a basic Hurst Handlebar is as follows:
Any saltwater hook, size 6 or 8
Clear mono and Danville fluorescent flat waxed nylon to match Edgebrite.
Eyes: smallest Spirit River black bead chain, not heavy lead
Underbody: flat silver Mylar on shank
Overbody: Edgebrite, tied in as a short tail and then wrapped tightly forward, slightly overlapping each turn and cross wrapped over the eyes.
Finish fly with flat waxed nylon that matches color of Edgebrite. Hit the head with Softex, or whatever finish you like
I use the mono to tie everything except the head. The Hurst Handlebar is pretty durable and quite bright when tied over the silver Mylar underbody.
Edgebrite can be purchased in red, orange, pink and green. If your favorite fly shop doesn't have it in stock, ask the proprietor to purchase it. You will have to cut it into thin strips but it is pretty easy with a straight edge and razor blade. Strips should be about 1/8" wide.
We do carry the Hurst Handlebar at Orvis in both green and orange if you don't tie your own flies. We don't have the Edgebrite material in as yet.
The Hurst Handlebar certainly isn't the only good fly for chum but is one of my three or four favorites (it is also effective on pinks and juvenile winter silvers). As most of you know,I prefer small flies for chum when they are viable to use as small hooks drastically reduce foul-hooking in my experience.
Good Fishing,
Les Johnson


Left handed Gemini.
Thank you very much Mr.Johnson, every time you have mentionedthis fly I've done searches without success and finally just had to ask. I own and read your books at least the ones I can afford ( theres that one out of print on tube flies) and I really look forward to getting the new edition on salmon, thanks for sharing.
When we wrote the first salmon book we hadn't heard about the Hurst Handlebar. That book generated a lot of fly patterns, some of which will be in the new salmon book.Also, Tube Flies is now out in its second printing but does not show the Hurst Handlebar. Thus far for the new salmon book we have received four versions of the Hurst Handlebar, each slightly different (you'll have to wait for them). The one I listed here is most popular on Vancouver Island where I first saw it some years ago. I've been using it around Puget Sound for several years.
Good Fishing,
Les Johnson


Active Member
thanks for the fly receipe. went over to my favorite fly shop and they actually had the edge brite in a variety of colors. also comes packaged as 'lazer wrap' from another source.

since i always experiment with patterns, a couple of things i have already done a bit differently.

- i buy bead chain at the big box tilt up home improvement store by the yard. permanent marker makes it any color you want for cheap.
- i would try and cut the strips thinner that 1/8 if you are going to overwrap the eyes.
- i simply use clear mono the whole way and it looks great.
- am now substituting 'frostbite' or similar for the underwrap.
- i also split the short tail into two pieces.

this is a wonderful looking fly, fast and simple, two of my criteria for sure. again thanks for posting the pattern can hardly wait to get it wet.
Here are a couple of pictures of my version of the hurst handlebar. It is different than the fly mentioned by Les Johnson but has caught silvers for me. I use something called Rexlace, plastic craft lacing, 10 yards on a small spool. It comes in various colors like chartreuse, orange and a green sparkle. It is cheap and does not need to be cut into strips. I think I bought it at Ben Franklin. It is thicker than Edgebright, so I stretch it before I use it and tie it in using mono thread at the back of the hook leaving a tag end that is cut later into a short pointed tail to prevent the fly from spinning. If it spins, cut the tail off. Wrap the shank of longer shank Mustad hook, like 3407, usually size 4. At the head tie off the lacing with the mono and then switch to a matching thread to finish off the head and seal with head cement. Very simple and cheap fly that works off of beaches or estuaries for salmon.


Chris has shown you a pretty fair rendition of the Hurst Handlebar. I always add the mini black bead chain eyes (from Spirit River) which add just enough weight to make the fly dance on retrieve but will not turn it upside down.
I personally prefer the Edge Brite because the edges really glow when wrapped over a silver Mylar underbody.
There will be at least four versions of the Hurst Handlebar in the new salmon book from some highly respected fly fishers of long history. So, Any version that doesn't completely bastarize the fly is just fine. And, it does really work well at times.
Good Fishing,
Les Johnson