This summer, more than ever, there have been situations with rising fish all over the place and nobody can figure out what they’re taking. Tippets have been lengthened and downsized, angles have been changed, flies changed, fly sizes changed and yet the fish continue to snub all offerings. My best guess is that they were taking something extremely small, either a dun or an emerged. I wasn’t prepared for this. It wasn’t until recently that I saw a video by Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions tie “Al’s Trico” on an oversized hook and backwards. The hook bend serves as the head of the fly with the eye of the hook as the tail. It’s a quick fly to tie and with colors changed to imitate a tiny blue wing olive, it has served me well when such an occasion arises.
Secure the hook in the vice and begin your thread at roughly the half way point between the bend of the hook and the eye. Wrap back to the hook point and snip off the tag.
Select an oversized hackle from a cape, preen the fibers back, and cut the fibers close to the stem with your scissors. This really helps the thread bite into the stem on these smaller hackles.
Since this fly is tied backwards, everything is reversed. Tie the hackle “cup-side up” so when wrapped around the hook, they’re completely opposite of how you’d normally wrap them.
Take there or four turns of the hackle and then capture it with three more turns of the thread. Cut off the excess.
With flies this small, you have to be careful of every single wrap. After cutting off the excess hackle, whip finish three times. You don’t have to go all the way to the eye, depending on what size fly you’re imitating. After you’re satisfied, snip the thread off close to the hook.
In Tim’s video, he mentions leaving the tag of your knot to simulate the splayed out tail of the mayfly, which is a brilliant idea. I’ve had success fishing the “Green Curse” either way. Next time these little BWO’s pop up on your local stream, give them a try.
Al’s Trico: BWO Style
Thread: Danville 8/0 Olive
Hook: TMC 100 – Size 24
Hackle: Dry Fly – Dun