Best Experimentals 2013


Jame's wasp thread gave me this idea.

I create a lot of experimental patterns. I think out of the scores I tied in 2013, these two have the most potential for stillwater fishing. I sure hope they work because I like the shellback approach.

(hopefully they sink :) )



Tacoma Red

Active Member
Another option for the shellback is using the blue quills from a mallard wing. It gives a nice irridescence in the water. Very nice ties Gene and thanks for starting this thread should be interesting.



They are meant to imitate aquatic, subsurface living, bugs :D

Seriously, I'll test them at a planted lake where specific hatches are never a consideration... about the only thing I see hatching over there is size 32 midges.

I'm tying the patterns with hooks 10-14. The patterns are not meant to represent anything specific but something that looks edible to a fish and covers many bases. Something like a GRHE or PT.

I'm tying them in many, many different color combinations just to see if there's one combination that the trout like above the rest.


Orange and brown have worked well for other patterns so I decided to give it a try. I'm also tying one with a red shellback over a black body and peacock thorax. Black with red sometimes can work as well as orange and brown.

....Virginia keeps suggesting color combinations (usually different shades of olive) for the experimental patterns and because she also fly fishes and sometimes catches fish when I don't by using some weirdass pattern she bought somewhere -- I now tend to go with her color combo recommendations.
That first one, is actually really close to one that I tie. It actually does resemble a hatch (minus the legs), and when it's one - hang on!


The color of the first one is misleading in the photo. The yarn I use for the abdomen is really more of a golden color than olive... it's kind'a a golden olive... kind'a. It's really more of a golden brown color than anything else.

I didn't come by the yarn via any flytying material outlet. Rocky found it on sale at a yarn shop. He thought it looked like something we could try with patterns. The yarn shop went out of business so Rock has the only remaining stock of the stuff. Fortunately, I snagged quite a bit for myself.

I've told the story before but I'll tell it again. We call the yarn (and more specifically, a very effective soft hackle pattern tied with the yarn) "John's Green".

For many decades, John, Rocky, Tom, Stan and a host of other fly tiers who would stop by, got together each week (mostly) to tie flies. When Rock scored the yarn he brought it to flytying night and gave some to all of us to try.

John is colorblind.

As we were tying, John asked Rocky for some of his green yarn. We couldn't figure out what the hell he was asking for. He said, "the new yarn Rocky found". Green??? We all had a good laugh over that one but to John, the yarn is green in color.

Stan, the fish biologist of our group, was into tying traditional style soft hackles and used the yarn for a pattern he was tying. That weekend, we all went fishing and Stan was catching trout after trout after trout and the rest of us couldn't get a hit.

We, of course, demanded to know what he was using and he showed us the pattern. It was the soft hackle he tied with the yarn Rock had purchased. As the pattern had no name, we called it "John's Green". To this day, we still refer to Stan's soft hackle pattern as "John's Green". It isn't green. It isn't even really an olive color. But boy howdy, the soft hackle pattern can be very effective in fooling fish. I also use the yarn for tying golden stonefly nymphs and it works quite well.

Sometimes we forget John is colorblind and foolishly ask him the color the fly he is using if he's catching fish and the rest of us are not. If you go by the color he tells you, chances are, it isn't even close to what he is really using. We've learned to ask to see the fly he is using instead of asking him the color of the pattern.

Thus... the story behind "John's Green".