Published May 1. 1998 - 26 years ago
Updated or edited Dec 9. 2019

Copper swap

A discussion on the New England Streamer List began on the merits of copper as a material in streamer tying. It seems the consensus was that copper has always been a productive "metal" in the pursuit of landlocked salmon or trout in New England

A discussion on the New England Streamer List began on the merits of copper as a material in streamer tying. It seems the consensus was that copper has always been a productive "metal" in the pursuit of landlocked salmon or trout in New England. The relative lack of streamer patterns which used this material (compared to silver and gold tinsels, etc.) was the only spark we needed to generate interest in this swap!
The rules were very simple for this swap. Any original or established streamer pattern could be submitted as long as at least one of the materials was copper, or copper-colored. The results are listed below. Enjoy!

Fire Tiger

Submitted By Bob Petti


Hook TMC 300, #2
Thread Black
Tail Bright Orange Hen Hackle
Body Chartreuse Stetch Nylon
Rib Copper Mylar Tinsel
Throat Chartreuse bucktail and orange hen hackle
Underwing Copper Firefly Tye and Peacock Herl
Wing Two Pair of Green Chinese Neck Hackles
Head Black
Bob's Tying Instructions

1. Using the chartreuse nylon stretch in a bobbin as thread, start behind the eye and begin to wrap in smooth touching turns toward the bend of the hook.
2. Before reaching the end of the hook shank, tie in the copper mylar that will be used for the rib and then finish wrapping to the start of the hook bend.
3. Pluck a orange hen hackle and strip off a few barbs to serve as the tail. Tie in the tail at the end of the body so that it is about one hook gap in length.
4. Wind the stretch nylon back to the eye in smooth touching turns. Tie off with a two turn whip finish and start your black thread.
5. Wrap the copper mylar tinsel up the body in evenly spaced turns. Tie off and trim excess.
6. Snip some chartreuse bucktail and even the ends. Tie in beneath the head area such that the tips extend just beyond the hook bend.
7. Strip some more orange hackle and tie in beneath the chartreuse bucktail so that it is about the same length as the tail.
8. Clip a single strand of copper Firefly Tye and double it twice, forming four strands. Tie on top of body so that it reaches the middle of the tail.
9. Take three or four pieces of strung herl and tie on top of the Firefly Tye so that too reaches the middle of the tail.
10. Select 2 pairs of green hackles from you chinese neck and clip them to length. Tie them a bit on the sides of the head so they envelope the underwing yet allow some of the body to show.
11. Wrap a neat head and whip finish.
12. Apply head cement to build up a smooth glossy head.


Submitted By Greg Azarnia


Hook Mustad 9672 Streamer Hook Size 6
Thread Brown
Tail Copper Crystal Flash
Body Lagartun Tinsel overwrapped by medium Copper Wire
Wing Amber Zelon then Copper Crystal Flash on top
Head Small Copper wire wrapped 50% then thread head.
Greg's Tying Instructions

1) Place thread on shank in the middle, not the bend.
2) Measure about ten fibers of copper crystal flash to the length of about 1 1/2 hook shank's length.
3) Tie in behind the eye and secure down through out the entire length of the shank to form body.
4) Behind the eye again tie in a piece of medium copper wire and wrap down the entire shank till the end near the tail.
5) (Repeat process above for the tinsel) Tie in tinsel.
6) Wrap the tinsel forward in even turns to about one hook eye distance away from the eye of the hook and secure.
7) Bring the medium copper wire forward and wrap in even spaces to form ribbed body. Tie off same place as the copper tinsel.
8) Even out head area and tie down a piece of the Zelon, ( It's length should be measured about the same as one hook shank length or less)
9) Select about 15 pieces of Copper Crystal Flash for the over wing and measure it a little longer than the length of the hook shank. Tie in over the amber Zelon.
10) Even out head area with thread again and attach a 5 inch-6 inch piece of small copper wire in the middle.
11) Starting out in the back of the head area, wrap the copper around the head area till 50% of the head has been covered. Tie down and even out the rest of the head with thread taking out any bumps. Whip finish,
12) Cement the body to prevent tarnishing and the head twice. You are done.....

Copper Top

Submitted By Doug Saball


Tail yellow calftail.
Body copper wire.
Wing white bucktail, yellow calftail, black skunk, topped with 4 strands of rainbow Flashabou.
Head black thread.
Doug's Tying Instructions

1. Wrap the shank of the hook with tying thread; apply head cement or another adhesive.
2. Wrap the copper wire in the middle 2/3 of the shank. I found that I had to use some pliers to hold the copper until I had a few wraps on the shank. I also used the pliers to "align" the wraps and keep them next to each other.
3. Attach the tail and build up the thread to a taper on the rear and front of the copper wraps. Heavily coat the copper with head cement, and allow drying.
4. Attach the while bucktail, yellow calf's tail, skunk, and 4 strands of rainbow Krystal flash.
5. Finish the head.

Doug's Comments On This Pattern

This pattern is an adaptation of the Brass Hat Streamer. I used this fly the spring of 1998 in the local rivers when the water was high and flowing strong. It proved to catch fish and get down near the bottom. I was able to fling it quite well on my #8 weight fly rod. I tied these flies on a Mustad #8 straight eye streamer hook because it cost less than the down turned eye. I also found that this fly works as trolled too. It could possibly be used with a spinning rod since the wire adds so much weight.

Copper Squirrel

Submitted By Stan Jakubaszek


Hook Mustad 3665A, size 4
Thread Black, 6/0
Tail a few golden pheasant tippet fibers
Body flat copper tinsel, #12, tied down & back
Rib fine copper wire, Body coated with "hard-as-nails"
Belly sparse white bucktail, into bend of hook, next to hook; then
Throat short golden pheasant crest feather, ~1/2 wing length, curving upwards
Wing 6-8 strands copper crystal flash next to hook; then sparse red bucktail; over which a mallard flank feather, tied flat

Little Violet

Submitted By Stan Jakubaszek


Hook limerick 6-8
Tail red hackle fibers
Body flat copper tinsel
Rib copper wire
Throat red beard of hackle fibers
Wing 2 pink hackles with 2 lavender/purple hackles over

Ginger Snap

Submitted By Stan Jakubaszek


Tag fine gold oval
Tail GP tippet
Butt burnt orange floss
Body flat copper tinsel
Belly light yellow bucktail
Throat GP Tippet
Underwing yellow over orange bucktail
Wing burnt orange over yellow saddle hackles
Cheeks GP Tippet
Eyes Jungle cock

Cone Head Black Woolly Bugger

Submitted By Kelvin Hartley


Head Copper Cone
Hook Mustad 3665A, size 6
Tail Black Marabou
Body Black Rabbit Dubbing
Flash Pearl Crystal Flash, tied in at head, and drawn taut along body to end of tail before applying hackle.
Hackle Black hackle, palmered length of body, over the Flash.

Orange/Copper Fatal Attraction

Submitted By Robb Nicewonger


Hook Mustad 3665A #8
Thread Black
Tail Copper Flashabou as long as the body
Body Copper Diamond Braid
Collar Orange Schlappen
Wing Peacock over orange bucktail over tan crystal flash over orange bucktail.
Eyes Fabric Paint, black on pearlescent white
Robb's Comments On This Pattern

I first saw this pattern in one of Bob Petti's articles--he does a much better job of explaining the tying procedure than I, so check his entry out on the smelt swap page or his article in the Fishing Denmark page.
For this swap I tied the fly on a "streamer hook" and substituted schlappen instead of hen hackle to make for a sleaker appearance. This is now my favorite streamer "searching" pattern for both bass and trout--orange and copper has been real good for the smallies on the Susquehanna. In white/red I've caught a few pike and in chartreuse I got a few stripers this year.


Robb Also provided the following copper patterns with his swap submission:


Deceiver Image

  • Hook: Kamosan B910 #1
  • Thread: Black, 3/0 waxed
  • Tail: Olive-dyed grizzly saddle
  • Wing: Gold/Copper Refrax and brown bucktail

Tube Fly

Tube Fly Image

  • Tube: Q-Tip with ends rounded
  • Body: Copper Braid
  • Wing: Orange & Chartreuse bucktail, rainbow Crystal Flash
  • Hackle:Schlappen - orange, chartreuse, black tied back

Puff's Copper Delight

Submitted By Gordon Mankins


Hook Mustad #90240 size 4 Low Water
Thread 6/0 Golden tan
Tag Ultra Punch Copper yarn
Body Med. flat copper Tinsel
Rib Twisted Ultra Punch copper yarn
Underwing Arizona Diamond braid Rusty tan
Wing Tiewell Reflections Gold/ Pink over Flashabou #6906 copper flat med. tinsel flash over Umpqua Accent Flash copper.
Throat Antron copper/gold
Cheeks Umpqua Accent Flash copper
Head Jones Tones fabric paint #502 copper glitter over built up thread head.
Cement Loon Outdoors water base head finish system


Submitted By Ron McKusick


Hook TMC 300 size #6
Thread Danvilles 6/0 maroon
Tag medium flat embossed Copper tinsel made by Largatun
Body DMC Rayon Violet #30915
Rib medium flat embossed Copper tinsel made by Largatun
Second Rib fine oval gold tinsel made by Largatun
Third Rib silver pheasant breast feather that is 1/2 white and 1/2 black
Wing a matched pair of Jungle cock eyes extending beyond the bend of the hook a bit.
Head a strip of Barred woodduck.
Ron's Comments And Tying Instructions

What a fly! I wasn't sure if I wanted to put this one in the swap, but after debating with myself, and what else would I do with 15 of such a fly that I'd not want to reproduce again, I said what the hey they will make nice Christmas Presents.

1. First start the thread in the middle of the hook and attach the copper tinsel. Make a half hitch and wrap the copper down the shank to the bend and a bit beyond then back to the thread Wrap down the tinsel and clip it, then tie it back in on the far side of the hook. If you simply fold over the tinsel, you'll create a bump and you'll have a harder time positioning the tinsel. It's important to position the oval and the flat, beside each other and the oval has to be lower than the flat. The flat is to be nearer the top of the back of the hook. I used a Renzetti Traveler vise to do this and I wouldn't recommend tying it without a rotating vise.

2. Bring the thread near the eye, 1/4 inch away. Take the DMC and cut a length that is 8 inches. Pull 2 strands out. Take each strand and separate it into two strands then take all four and tie them in. You will have a better, flatter floss body this way. Wrap the floss to the tailing position and come back 2-3 turns of floss or about 1/16 inch. Wrap the thread to the floss and make 3 turns of thread over the floss. As a material holder I used a piece of tape because the spring kept falling off and getting in the way. I then put all 3 materials in the tape, I had the tinsels in it before.

3. Then choose a silver pheasant feather that is half -n- half. You know we who buy the skins always have those nice feathers with nothing to do with them There are only 10 to 12 on a skin. I choose the middle ones with a firm stem. I found out the hard way not to use the thin quilled ones. I thought they would wind better, but they broke at the first turn. After picking out the feather, pull it's fibers back and double them to one side, if you can't or don't know how to do this, then don't worry, they will double after the hackle is wound Tie it in by the tip and wind the thread over the tip to the eye, cut the excess.

4. Take the floss and continue wrapping to the eye making a smooth flat body.

5. Take the flat copper and start the rib and make sure you wrap to the right of the silver pheasant but edge the tinsel right next to the feather. Continue wrapping to the eye, making 5 turns of copper. The first few of these I made bo boos, but I didn't notice after they were done. Then take the oval and wrap it to the left of the copper to the eye and tie off. Take the feather and try to preen the fibers to the left of the quill as you wrap the feather. The feather's quill should hug the left side of the oval gold tinsel. All this sounds hard but after you tie a few, you'll get the hang of it. BTW you can substitute silver badger for the pheasant. Then after the body is done, make a couple of half hitches and take a break. I could only do 3 -4 of these at a setting before I needed abreak.

6. Choose pairs of Jungle Cock eyes near the end of the cape. These should be long feathers with a nice eye. I cemented the ones I used with a vinyl cement such as Dave's Flex-cement. Let them dry then measure them to the hook and tie them in one on each side of the shank don't strip the stems, but trip them so there is short "razor stubble for the thread to catch".

7. Then chose a pair of Barred Woodduck flank that have a wide white band. Cut a narrow section that will be long enough to reach from the eye to just shy of the second "eye". Some of these had a mind of their own so I cemented them to the JC. Try not to cement the white tip section Place the woodduck strip next to the eye and tie in.

8. Make a smooth head and whip finish. I used 2 coats of clear head cement and I turned the flies on a rod turner to keep the heads even.

Blue Lagoon

Submitted By Ron McKusick


Thread Claret, 6/0
Tail Golden Pheasant Tippet Fibers
Body Flat Embossed Largatun Copper Tinsel
Throat Golden Pheasant Tippet Fibers
Wing 2 Teal Blue Saddle Hackles
Veiling A thin strip of mallard flank dyed light green, then 3 or 4 strands of White Fluorescent Micro Fibre on each side of the wing.
Topping Peacock Sword fibers curving downward over wing if possible

The Gate Crasher

Submitted By John Morrison


Hook Daiichi 2200 (4XL) (Size 6-12)
Tail Golden Pheasant Tippets Dyed Red
Body Flat Copper Tinsel
Rib Oval Copper Tinsel
Wing Orange, Red, and Purple Goat Hair (Or Calf Tail)
Throat Orange Hackle Barbules


Submitted By Will Taylor


Hook Mustad 3665A, size 4
Thread Black, 6/0
Tail a few golden pheasant tippet fibers
Body flat copper tinsel, #12, tied down & back
Rib fine copper wire, Body coated with "hard-as-nails"
Belly sparse white bucktail, into bend of hook, next to hook; then
Throat short golden pheasant crest feather, ~1/2 wing length, curving upwards
Wing 6-8 strands copper crystal flash next to hook; then sparse red bucktail; over which a mallard flank feather, tied flat

Coppermgaumic Smelt

Submitted By Will Taylor


Hook Mustad 3665A, size 4
Thread Black, 6/0
Tail a few golden pheasant tippet fibers
Body flat copper tinsel, #12, tied down & back
Rib fine copper wire, Body coated with "hard-as-nails"
Belly sparse white bucktail, into bend of hook, next to hook; then
Throat short red hackle barbules, 1/3 body length
Wing 6-8 strands copper crystal flash next to hook; then a golden pheasant crest feather curved down, over which sparse purple bucktail; over which a teal flank feather, tied flat
Will's Comments On These Patterns:

I haven't tied many flatwing streamers, and have been disappointed with the results on my early attempts; so this has been an opportunity for me to work on this style. I'm pretty pleased with these flies - they look like ones I'd keep in the water, & my dad always told me that's the kind of fly you're gonna catch fish on. Chubs if nothing else. I'll let you know how they do next spring.

The red/white/yellow color combination is pretty well-tried, and I thought it would marry nice with the copper body & flash. It seemed to need something at the tail, & the golden pheasant tippets were the closest I could find to extend the copper motif. I especially like the way the copper crystal flash reflects the red bucktail in the underwing.

About the name - I've carried my 19-1/2' canoe into some pretty unpronouncible lakes in the West Branch (Penobscot) & Allagash watersheds, & I think one of them might have been named something like this ;^).

Coppermgaumic Smelt:
This is kind of a severely re-arranged Magog Smelt, sort of. At least that's what I was thinking of when I sat down at the vice. The Magog is a sentimental pattern for me - I caught my first-ever Maine Landlocked Salmon on one, an aerial 17-incher from Long Lake on Mt. Desert Island. A small salmon, but huge compared to the brookies I was used to catching.

I like purple in a streamer, it seems to catch the color of a live smelt well; and like the red on the Copperquoddiwadamoggin, the purple bucktail uses the copper flash to good advantage. A little yellow feels essential; I like the glow of golden pheasant crest & thought it worked in better than bucktail would on this pattern. I left out the peacock herl, to let the copper flash dominate.

I was gonna call this the Copperple (cu-PER'-pul) Smelt, but thought it too pretty for a silly name. So instead, I've named this for one of the most beautiful streams (Caucumgaumic) I've ever dragged a canoe up.

Guide's Special

Submitted By Roger Whitcomb


Thread Red
Hook Mustad 9575, size 8
Body Copper Twist
Wing Sparse Red Polar Bear, then 4 yellow saddle hackles
Throat Sparse blue Polar Bear to hook point
Shoulders Teal Flank
Topping Peacock Herl
Shoulders Jungle Cock
Roger's Comments On This Pattern

While rummaging through some of my Grandfather's fishing diaries & fly books I discovered an envelope marked " 4/10/45- 3 salmon & 1 lake trout taken in Hebron cove on the cove side of the Cockermouth River about 7 PM by R.M. Whitcomb". Inside the envelope was a fly whose pattern I am using for this swap. It may have been a local pattern (Newfound Lake, NH ) but is very close to several patterns such as the Footer Special, Col. Bates, Governor Barrows & Guide's Special except for the copper body. I do not know the correct name so named it one of those it resembles. The original pattern appears to be tied on a Japanned Allcocks limerick tue hook. All hair in the original is Polar Bear and the body is embossed copper tinsel.
I have attempted to duplicate this pattern in detail except for the use of copper braid instead of tinsel.

Copper Candy

Submitted By Bob Skehan


Hook Mustad 94720, Size 8
Thread Black
Body Flat Copper Tinsel
Throat Sparse white calftail to hook bend, then a small bunch of hot pink hackle barbules, tied shor
Underwing Sparse light blue bucktail, then sparse light purple bucktail
Wing Two hot pink neck hackles, flanked by two golden badger neck hackles
Eyes Jungle Cock


Submitted By Bob Skehan


Hook Mustad 9575, size 6
Thread Black
Tail Copper flashabou
Body Copper Braid, or Flat Copper Tinsel with a Double Copper Wire Rib, laquered.
Throat Small tuft of red marabou
Wing White Marabou, then an equal bunch of black marabou
Collar Black hen hackle, tied back
Eyes Painted white with black pupils
Bob's Comments On These Patterns:

Copper Candy:
Just a fun, bright featherwing pattern utilizing one of my favorite hackles...the badger hackle! Nothing looks fishier to me than the dark center stripe. Makes it look sleek and fishy, and could indicate a lateral line of a variety of bait fish. The bucktail underwing are very light colors...almost pastel.

My "replacement" pattern which I came up with for as a stand in for a swapper that couldn't complete the swap, I think I like this one better than my original swap pattern! The small bunch of copper flashabou for a tail stands out in my mind as a great tailing for casting streamers...and will add life and flash during the retrieve. I plan to tie a whole bunch more patterns with flashabou or holographic tinsel tails. Should add some sparkle to my streamer wallet!

I ran out of the copper braid before I finished the lot of patterns for the swap, and substituted a flat copper tinsel body for the last few patterns. Over this, I used a copper wire rib which consisted of two lengths of wire wound together as a single rib. Each of the body styles on this pattern received a liberal dose of clear fingernail polish which I allowed to dry thoroughly before continuing.


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