Bloody Butcher

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.

By ,

Simple hair wing

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.

Butcher by the water

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.

Tying instructions
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...
Step 1- thread - Start the thread in the front of the hook shank
Step 1- thread
Step 2 - cover shank - Cover the hook shank with tying thread
Step 2 - cover shank
Step 3 - tail material - Tie in the tail material in over the hook bend. It has to be long enough to reach to the front of the hook and back - plus the length of the tail times two... and then some.
Step 3 - tail material
Step 4 - tail - Cover the tail material all the way forward to right behind the hook eye,. fold it back and cover it again back to the hook bend. All this will help obtain a smooth body
Step 4 - tail
Step 5 - trim the tail - Trim the tail to a slightly tapered shape
Step 5 - trim the tail
Step 6 - tail done - A tail lenght about half the hook length is fine
Step 6 - tail done
Step 7 - tinsel - Tie in the tinsel, again in the front of the body, covering it with thread wraps all the way to the hook bend to form a smooth foundation
Step 7 - tinsel
Step 8 - varnish - Varnish the body to reinforce the tinsel body
Step 8 - varnish
Step 9 - start the tinsel - Start wrapping the tinsel while the varnish is still sticky
Step 9 - start the tinsel
Step 10 - body - Wrap the tinsel in touching turns to almost behind the hook eye
Step 10 - body
Step 11 - tie down - Tie down the tinsel and trim off the surplus
Step 11 - tie down
Step 12 - prepare hackle - Prepare the hackle feather by cutting off the tip to provide a small triangle to tie it in with
Step 12 - prepare hackle
Step 13 - tie in - Tie in the feather, tip first and shiny side forward
Step 13 - tie in
Step 14 - trim stubs - If there are any feather stubs, trim the away now to keep the bulk under the head down
Step 14 - trim stubs
Step 15 - start hackle - Wrap the hackle forward while you stroke back the fibers
Step 15 - start hackle
Step 16 - 3-4 wraps - Wrap the hackle in 3-4 touching turns
Step 16 - 3-4 wraps
Step 17 - tie down and trim - Secure the hackle with a couple of wraps of thread and cut of the remaining feather as close to the thread as possible
Step 17 - tie down and trim
Step 18 - hackle done - Wrap a couple of times over the hackle to press the fibers down and to the rear
Step 18 - hackle done
Step 19 - first wing section - Prepare a small bunch of Arctic fox the length of the hook
Step 19 - first wing section
Step 20 - tie in - Trin the butts to the right length and tie in the wing
Step 20 - tie in
Step 21 - fir section ready - The first win section is ready
Step 21 - fir section ready
Step 22 - second wing section - Prepare a socond bunch of hair. This is a bit longer than the first
Step 22 - second wing section
Step 23 - tie in - Ti it in on top of the first
Step 23 - tie in
Step 24 - in place - The second wing section is secured
Step 24 - in place
Step 25 - trim stubs - If any hair sticks out in front of the thread wraps, trim them away
Step 25 - trim stubs
Step 26 - second wing section OK - The second wing section is in place. Even though the room seems sparse, there is room for one more
Step 26 - second wing section OK
Step 27 - Third wing section - A third section is tied in like the first two. Slim and a bit longer than the previous one
Step 27 - Third wing section
Step 28 - wing done - The wing is done. By dividing it into three small sections we can control the bulk under the head and the shape of the wing
Step 28 - wing done
Step 29 - form a head - Wrap the thread to cover all hair butts and to form a nice head
Step 29 - form a head
Step 30 - whip finish - Whip finish and cut off the thread
Step 30 - whip finish
Step 31 - varnish - Varnish the head, Turn the fly sideways to control the flow of the laquer
Step 31 - varnish
Step 32 - done - The fly is finished after a couple of layers of varnish, which form a smooth head
Step 32 - done

Fish on!

See also
We have covered the Bloody Butcher other places:
The Bloody Zonker
The Angel Body Bloody Butcher
EZ Bloody Butcher

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