Green Machine

Published Nov 28th 2008

Transformed from a bomber style pattern, this fly is fished as a wet fly

By ,

Twin engine

The Green Machine is a renown fly in Northern America and Canada. This fly was originally tied as a bomber - a large hackled deer hair fly, tied to be fished dry for steelhead, skating over the water and stimulating some fierce attacks from these scaly silver bullets. The green bomber with brown tufts of hair front and aft was tied on the Miramichi river in New Brunswick for Atlantic salmon.

This version is tied to fish wet. Tied in the low water style with a small body on a large hook, it will dive under the surface in spite of its deer hair body and fairly large and dense hackle. This type of fishing also origins from the Miramichi and is sometimes referred to as "wet bug" fishing. The fly will oftentimes fish right under the surface or even in the film, but by using sinking line or leader, you can bring it further down.

Some tyers opt for a small gold tag rather than the tail, which we have tied here. The tag is less visible, and might be a good option for more spooky fish.

The deer hair body makes the fly somewhat a chore to tie, and we supply an alternative here: a simple, dubbed body. Since the fly is fished wet, the deer hair will have little impact on its flotation, and you can easily exchange the time consuming deer hair body with a quick and dirty dubbed one. If you want flotation, consider using a dry fly dubbing.

HookLow water salmon hook #10-6
Rear tagYellow floss
TailBright copper/gold crystal flash
Front tagRed wool
BodyGreen deer hair
HeadTying thread

Tying instructions
See the images below
The flies in the pictures are tied by Ken Bonde Larsen.
Step 1 - hook - Use a small low water salmon hook
Step 1 - hook
Step 2 - yellow tag - Start the yellow floss and form a small tag
Step 2 - yellow tag
Step 3 - tail - Tie in a small bunch of flash and fold back as a tail
Step 3 - tail
Step 4 - trim - Trim the tail slightly shorter than the hook bend
Step 4 - trim
Step 5 - red tag - Tie in fine red wool for the red tag
Step 5 - red tag
Step 6 - finish tag - Wind the wool back and forwards again and fold the surplus end forward over the newly formed tag. Tie down and trim.
Step 6 - finish tag
Step 7 - finish tag - Whip finish the yellow tag and trim
Step 7 - finish tag
Step 8 - tag done - The tag is done
Step 8 - tag done
Step 9 - start black thread - Use a 6/0 black thread for the rest of the fly.
Step 9 - start black thread

Step 10 - prepare a hackle - Stroke back the fibers on the hackle and trim tip to a small triangle
Step 10 - prepare a hackle
Step 11 - hackle ready - Tie in the hackle, pointing backwards, shiny side out
Step 11 - hackle ready
Step 12 - first bunch of deer hair - Clip a small bunch of deer hair and position it just in front of the tag
Step 12 - first bunch of deer hair
Step 13 - spin the hair - Take one loos turn and then one tight to spin the hair all the way round the hook shank. See the muddler articles for more about spinning deer hair.
Step 13 - spin the hair
Step 14 - more deer hair - Prepare a second bunch of deer hair
Step 14 - more deer hair
step 15 - spin second bunch - Spin the second bunch right in front of the first - one loose turn and then one tight
step 15 - spin second bunch
Step 16 - keep on stacking - Tie in more hair until you reach the front of the hook shank
Step 16 - keep on stacking
Step 17 - hair ready to trim - Press back all hair to compact the body and stroke it back. Whip finish to secure, but don\'t cut tying thread.
Step 17 - hair ready to trim
Step 18 - start trimming - Slowly cut away hair tips and butts
Step 18 - start trimming
Step 19 - more trimming - Trim still closer to the hook shank. Take care not to trim the hackle
Step 19 - more trimming
Step 20 - use curved scissors - Curved blade scissors may make i easier to trim the body to an oval shape
Step 20 - use curved scissors
Step 21 - body done - The body need to be compact and slender
Step 21 - body done

Step 22 - wind hackle - Wind the hackle forward, burying the stem in the deer hair and taking care that the hackle tips poke nicely and evenly away from the fly.
Step 22 - wind hackle
Step 23 - last turn - Take the last turn of the hackle right in front of the body
Step 23 - last turn
Step 24 - finish - Tie down the hackle, trim the butt, form a small head and whip finish
Step 24 - finish
Step 25 - varnish - Add a bit of varnish to the head to reinforce the fly
Step 25 - varnish

Deer hair body

Dubbed body version
Consider using dubbing for the body in stead of deer hair. The difference is difficult to see, and as long as the fly is fished wet, there is no reason to spin and trim deer hair to form the compact body.

Step a - dubbed body - Start the fly like the deer hair version, but use dubbing for the body in stead of deer hair
Step a - dubbed body
Step b - dub sparsely - Use the dubbing sparingly and in multiple thin layers rather than one thick.
Step b - dub sparsely
Step c - finished body - Strive for a slender, oval body shape
Step c - finished body
Step d - hackle - Hackle over the dubbed body, pulling the feather fairly tight. Finish as the deer hair version.
Step d - hackle

User comments
From: Ray · mww·at·  Link
Submitted January 7th 2013

Its a wonderfull fly,i've caught many fish since i live next the the restigouche river and also fish the miramichi,my best one i tie with and orange hackle and rarelly go over a number 6 hook,thanks for sharing i enjoy this place for reading and getting new fly paterns.

From: Don · moroz2251·at·  Link
Submitted March 31st 2010

The addition of the hackle as described by Jerome Malloy allows the tying thread to reinforce the hackle as well as the body hair, making this fly very durable. The tying thread sinks into the deer hair body and vanishes.when wound under tension. Tying the hackle on after you trim the body means that you didn't cut it off WHILE trimming the body hair, or maybe not.

Also, this fly has also been made with Phentex yarn ( a polypropylene yarn used to knit bedroom slippers) and UNI-Yarn.

From: David Anstey · danstey·at·  Link
Submitted June 24th 2009

This is one of the most productive flies I use for brook trout here in central Newfoundland and I couldn't wait to try the dubbed version this spring. I've added a little glitter to the fly by adding a small amount of diced crystal flash to the dubbing and it has worked wonders.

From: Lorenzo Swanson · lorenzo_swanson·at·  Link
Submitted April 22nd 2009

This Web page has fantastic color images of fly patterns I have yet to discover. Can you tell me if the bomber style pattern or the green engine pattern can be purchased? Can it be purchased on from the internet? I found this page by acident, some perhaps I can get this fly somehow?

Thank you.

From: Jerome Molloy · jf_molloy·at·  Link
Submitted December 13th 2008

White goat or calf body are very good here in New Brunswick.Instead of tying the hackle in first at the rear I find it better to tie it by the butt at the front after the body is dressed and trimmed.Take one full turn at front and wind three turns to the rear.Chase the thread thru behind the hackle and return to the front.Whip finish and snap the hackle off by hand.Now your ready for the next and no waste.

From: Dwight · dwb.flytying·at·  Link
Submitted November 28th 2008

Adding stacked white calf tail for the tail instead of the Crystal Flash works well also.

From: Dwight · dwb.flytying·at·  Link
Submitted November 28th 2008

Nice pics, I tie and use these alot. I also use a tight micro chenille for the body which makes for a streamline body..

Comment to an image
From: Marc Nadeau · nadom·at·  Link
Submitted February 6th 2011

It's more a question than a comment. On picture # 12 of the tying sequence. Ken used a very funny tool to secure his hackle before spinning his deer hair. It's the first time I saw such a tool and I would be very happy if Ken or someone else can give me the name and where we can get such a tool!!! Looks very handy. Thanks

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