The White

Published Jun 1st 2009

A very simple, universal, shrimpy kind of woolly bugger like hackle fly

By ,

The White was originally tied by Danish angler Rasmus Hansen. Rasmus earned the nickname "The Fork" in my circle of anglers because he once wrote an article about turning fork handles into lures for spinning.

These days Rasmus is almost exclusively a fly angler, mostly known for his pike fishing and his trips to Lapland in Northern Sweden. But he does often fish the coast for sea trout, and I personally meet him now and again when I roam the Northern coast of the Island I live on.
He also used to write for the same Danish angling magazine that I do, and we have met on many an editorial summit - often memorable because of the good company and the fishing, but of course also for slight dozes of serious editorial work - but that's a whole other story.

Rasmus himself tells the story about The White - or The White One as he calls it - on his home page. The fly stems from 1993 and has since been refined and forked out to other patterns, but the original tie is still a stable pattern in Rasmus' flybox, He uses it as a provocation (read: attractor) or as a shrimp imitation, and prefers it for turbulent water and autumn fishing.

The flies on this page are tied by Ken Bonde Larsen except for the one with eyes, which was done by Kasper Mühbach.

Moonfish - The white would probably work fine for fish like moonfish, snook and other saltwater fish pursued at night
The White with eyes - A slight variation with hackle tip tail and bead chain eyes
The White with eyes
Massive - When a sea run trout runs into a certain size category, the tail becomes an impressing rudder. This is a 6 lbs. fish.
Spotted - The lightly spotted tail of a steelhead
The White
TypeCold saltwater fly
Rasmus Hansen
Year of origin

HookSaltwater streamer hook, #6-2
TailWhite Arctic fox
BodyWhite pearlescent Angel Hair
HackleWhite, soft hen or rooster
HeadTying thread

Tying instructions
See pictures below

Step 1 - weight - Add a bit of weight to the front of the hook
Step 1 - weight
Step 2 - start the thread - Start the thread and cover the weight to secure it
Step 2 - start the thread
Step 3 - tail - Prepare a small bunch of Polar fox for the tail
Step 3 - tail
Step 4 - tie down tail - Tie down the tail. Leave the boots to form a base for the body
Step 4 - tie down tail
Step 5 - secure tail - Make the tail about as long as the hook shank. Cover the butts with tying thread all the way to the hook eye.
Step 5 - secure tail
Step 6 - finished tail - Trim the remaining butts just behind the hook eye
Step 6 - finished tail
Step 7 - tie in rib - Use some monofilament for the rib. Tie it in in the front of the body
Step 7 - tie in rib
Step 8 - cover rib - Cover the rib with tying thread all the way to the hook bend
Step 8 - cover rib
Step 9 - dubbing - Start dubbing the tread with some white or pearl Lite Brite
Step 9 - dubbing
Step 10 - finish dubbing - Dub sparsely all the way to the front of the hook
Step 10 - finish dubbing
Step 11 - prepare hackle - Use a soft, white hackle feather, and prepare it by trimming the stem leaving a few stubs to help the thread grip
Step 11 - prepare hackle
Step 12 - tie in the hackle - Catch the small triangular stub with the tying thread and secure with 2-3 wraps
Step 12 - tie in the hackle
Step 13 - wind the hackle - Start winding the hackle rearwards. Take a couple of full turns right behind the hook eye before commencing
Step 13 - wind the hackle
Step 14 - tease out hackle - If the hackle tends to get crushed under itself, you can lightly tease it out with velcro or a needle
Step 14 - tease out hackle
Step 15 - start ribbing - Wind the rib forwards through the hackle. Use a needle to keep hackle from getting trapped under the rib
Step 15 - start ribbing
Step 16 - finish ribbing - Run the ribbing all the way to the front of the fly
Step 16 - finish ribbing
Step 17 - tie down rib - Catch the rib under the tying thread and wrap over it a couple of times. Fold it back and give it a couple more turns to secure it fully
Step 17 - tie down rib
Step 18 - trim rib - Remove the surplus ribbing
Step 18 - trim rib
Step 19 - whip finish - Finish the fly with a couple of whip finish knots right behind the hook eye
Step 19 - whip finish
Step 20 - trim thread - Cut the tying thread as close to the head as possible
Step 20 - trim thread
Step 21 - varnish - Finish the fly with a couple of layers of varnish over the head wraps
Step 21 - varnish

User comments
From: 'witz · witzfish·at·  Link
Submitted February 2nd 2011

February 2011
Simplicity is the second most appealing thing about this fly. The first is obvious: it should appeal to virtually any species. It's thrifty, too, a great use for hackle feathers that don't match each other as wings and tails.

GFF staff comment
From: Martin Joergensen · martin·at·  Link
Submitted January 31st 2011


It would be easier, yes, but t would also remove the function of the rib, which is to secure the hackle and keep it from breaking. And should it break (to fish' teeth), the rib will keep it in place for a while.


From: 'witz · witzfish·at·  Link
Submitted January 31st 2011

Wouldn't it be easier/simpler to tie in the mono ribbing before palmering the hackle, rather than afterward? If I'm wrong, why?

From: craig  Link
Submitted June 5th 2010

I saw a similar pattern in a book about Irish sea trout fishing back in the seventies. the first year or two i tied in the tail and body, however just winding a hackle tied by the butt forward to the eye (over the thread base) gives the same profile. i've tried several colors, my favorite is a dark dun, though white and black work well also. i tie them on #12 dry fly hooks. if i was restricted to a single pattern this would be it. the pattern has taken just about every species of fish i've run into. without weight it fishes dry or wet. it really is an amazing pattern.

From: Walter McFarlane · mcfarlanewalter60·at·  Link
Submitted June 2nd 2010

You could tie this in different sizes to suit the location and the shy fish refusing a larger version. Just go down a size a size and see what happens. Start with Say a size 12 or 10 to start with. I am in Ireland. It would be great lake fly to fish for Brown Trout as it has a bushy appearance like the Irish Lake flies. I would fish it on a sunk leader or tippet.and retrieve it slow and steady.

From: Rasmus Hansen · ramsus·at·  Link
Submitted August 24th 2009

Hey Martin
I'm proud to see that you have taken my simple but effective pattern "The White" into your collection of seatrout patterns. It really is an effective fly, and I still use it as my "first choice". Lots of flyfishers has been really sceptical to this pattern, I think mainly because it is so simple and easy to tie. For rough conditions I put a lot of weight under the dubbing. A "turbo" version with some flash (for example som flashabou tube) tied as a collar works fine too. The strange thing is that the fly often works best in larger sizes and taken in very slowly. On the right day it's a real Killer, I've often experienced loads of takes when other flies didn't produce anything, stangely enough...

Rasmus Hansen

Comment to an image
From: Lorenzo Swanson · lorenzo_swanson·at·  Link
Submitted September 29th 2009

September, 09

This fly pattern is most interesting. What size if most effective? Is this fly for sale? Where can I get it? Please let me know. I want to try it for results. I live close to the Great Lakes in the Midwest of the US.


Lorenzo Swanson

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