Published Jun 14th 2011
The Bloody Butcher is not an imitation of anything that swims in the author's home waters, but it's still a very productive fly for sea run brown trout.
I personally love this fly for its colors. Black, red and silver are perfect together and makes the fly very visible and one of my favorite flies for slightly muddy or really turbulent water.
The original is a wet fly with a feather wing, but as much as I love these beautiful classical feather wing flies, they are not suited for my saltwater fishing. I tie the fly larger than prescribed for the original wet, and with a hair wing in stead of feathers, typically made from Arctic fox. This material is easy to use and has the right texture for a fly this size.
The possible variations are numerous, and a great alternative is to use a strip of black rabbit and tie the fly as a zonker. You can also vary both the body and the tail and throat hackle. Use yarn or hackle for the tail, tinsel, silver braid or flash chenille for the body and soft or stiff feathers for the throat hackle. The most important issue is to keep the color scheme, which in my eyes is the key to success with this fly.
I like my Bloody Butchers to be rather meaty and heavy - a real attraction to a hungry trout in the early spring. I also like to add some weight under the body to get the fly to sink readily and to induce a swimming motion to the fly as it's retrieved.
The Butcher is not an imitation of anything that swims in my home waters, but still is a very productive fly for sea run brown trout. I prefer using it when the water is a bit rough with some waves and maybe a bit of dirt. I have also had success with the fly in the early spring, where the bright colors seem to be able to get lazy sea trout moving.
This sequence shows how to tie the fly with a wing in several sections, This gives a nicer, drop-shaped wing, but also requires more tying steps. You can tie the wing in a single section if you're lazy...