Matt Jorgensen's Comments On This Pattern
- Tie on the thread and wind back to the bend.
- Tie on a few golden pheasant tippets for the tail. For this
size hook you can tie down the tail at the 2nd black band on
the tippets. Trim or bind down the excess along the hook shank.
- Wind forward to the just behind the hook eye, making sure to form
a smooth thread base for the tinsel.
- Tie on the tinsel, wind back to the bend, and then wind forward
to the eye covering the first layer of tinsel. Tie off and trim.
- Tie on a small bunch of red bucktail for the underwing. I like to
use a trick I first saw on Martin Joergensen's home page. (Raske's Note: Now Global Fly Fisher!)
Martin suggests first wrapping a loop of thread around just the butts
of the hair before tying it down. This helps to insure that the hair
will stay on top of the hook where it belongs. A great technique that
I use whenever I'm tying down bucktail or other somewhat unruly materials.
- Next tie down a small bunch of blue dun marabou. This color is somewhat
hard to find but I think it really adds to the fly. Page Rogers, an
inventive SW fly tyer from Rhode Island was the first person I saw use
this color for tails on her epoxy striper flies. I thought it looked
great for smelt imitations, too.
- Next tie down a few strands of peacock herl for the topping.
- Form a thread head, tie off, and cement.
I originally wanted to put together my own smelt imitation but after about
4 or 5 really hideous looking flies I decided to go back to Joseph Bates'
Streamer Fly Tying and Fishing and look for a classic instead. I've always
had good luck with marabou streamers, so the Ballou Special really jumped off
the page when I first saw it. And it turns out that this was one of the first
marabou streamers EVER. Seemed like a good choice.
But, of course, I couldn't leave well enough alone and had to muck around
with the original. I will tie up some originals and see how my variant
First, the tail. I wanted to use golden pheasant crest feathers but didn't
have any. I tried a test pattern using the golden pheasant tippets and
really liked the look, so I kept it that way.
As I mentioned in the tying instructions, using blue dun instead of white
marabou seemed like another obvious choice. The original calls for two
marabou feathers, but I prefer a much sparser fly and only used about
one-third of a feather for each fly. More would probably be fine, but
I've been making an effort to keep my streamers sparse and I like the result.
The original, as you would expect, calls for jungle cock cheeks. I agree
that the jungle cock makes the fly look much nicer, but in my limited
experience I have yet to see a noticeable fish-catching benefit to the jungle
cock. I thought about adding the cheaper fake jungle cock stick-ons, but
don't really like them. The recipient is welcome to paint on some eyes if
they wish. I meant these to be fishing flies and I concluded that
cheeks/eyes weren't necessary. I am, however, open to suggestions to the contrary.
I have yet to try this pattern on the water so I'd be especially interested
to hear how people fair with them this spring.