Published Mar 17. 2019 - 1 year ago
Updated or edited Mar 17. 2019

Howard Norton Special

The Howard Norton Special is a fly from the popular series of Comet patterns. This Comet pattern was originated by Howard Norton of Sebastopol, CA. The fly was tied to be fished in the Russian River and gained popularity along the west coast steelhead corridor from California up to British Columbia. The fly is sometimes called an Orange Comet (silver body) or the Norton Special and has several variants that it is tied in. I did The fly is a proven producer for Pacific salmon and winter steelhead.

The Comet series arrived in the 1940s and featured a design of a long tail, stiff collar, and optional bead chain eyes. Bodies were made from tinsel, floss or chenille. The pattern was tied with orange polar bear but this material is quite hard to find and is protected under the CITES agreement. Bucktail is a great substitute for bear hair and still provides the desired action sub-surface. It is believed the Boss was the first in the series followed by the Howard Norton Special and many others. The flies sink quickly and offer a lot of action with their long tails.

I’d like to thank Dean Endress for helping with information about the pattern.

Quick Spin Fly Tying Video for the Howard Norton Special

Howard Norton Special fly pattern recipe

Hook: Mustad S73UBLN or similar #
Thread: White 6/0 (140d)
Bead: Silver bead chain 3.2mm
Tag: Silver tinsel
Tail: Orange bucktail tied long
Ribbing: Silver oval tinsel
Body: Orange floss or chenille
Collar: Orange neck hackle


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