The Songo Smelt is a sweet little bucktail perfect for casting out in search of cruising landlocked salmon, brook trout and bass. The fly gets its name from the Songo River in Maine, a short river that flows into Sebago Lake. This was the catch location of a record-setting salmon of 22lbs 8oz back in 1907.
There are a couple of variations for the pattern, one being the addition of peacock herl to the top of the wing. The other noted variation being a green (emerald) tinsel body in place of the silver. Of course, you can make some of your own changes to the pattern, adding a different colored body with a contrasting rib might be just the ticket needed to land the next record in your neck of the woods.
Songo Smelt Bucktail Fly Pattern
Hook: Mustad 3665a or similar 4-6xl
Thread: Black 210 FWN & 70d
Body: Silver flat tinsel
Ribbing: Silver oval tinsel
Wing: White, blue, and chartreuse bucktail
Flash: 1-2 strands pearl crystal flash
Eyes: Jungle fowl nails or painted eyes
Tom is a New England fly tyer and angler who loves to fish the big lakes of Maine and New Hampshire. He’s been tying flies for over 35 years and has found a calling in his streamer designs. The Golden Pinner uses the beautiful and lesser-used jungle fowl spears.
Tom Banks’s Golden Pinner Streamer Fly Pattern
Hook: Partridge CS15
Thread: White 6/0 (underbody) Black 6/0 (head)
Tag: Silver oval tinsel small
Body: Rust Floss (UNI)
Ribbing: Gold oval tinsel medium
Belly: Golden pheasant crest
Throat: Badger hen dyed salmon
Wing: 4 black hackles
Shoulder: Jungle fowl spear
Eye: Jungle fowl nail
Hook: Partridge CS15 #2
Thread: 8/0 White (underbody)
Tag: Silver flat braid
Body:Black 6/0 (140d)
Rib: Silver flat Tinsel
Belly: White bucktail
Underwing: Peacock herl
Under-shoulder: Teal blue hackle fibers
Throat: Teal blue hackle fibers
Wing: 2 light olive hackles flanked by teal blue hackles
Shoulder: Mallard flank
Eye: Jungle cock dyed yellow
Head: Black w/ red
Davie McPhail – I live in the south west of Scotland where I grew up, the best known rivers in the area are the Stinchar, the Nith, Girvan and the river Doon where I was a ghillie. I didn’t really start fly fishing until I was twenty just after I got married my fly tying started at much the same time. When I was learning to cast I lost many a fly up a tree and broke the hook of the fly on stones on my back cast so learning to tye flies was at first to compensate for this but as I got into the tying and catching fish with the flies that I tied I found it as much fun as fishing . 29 years on I’m just as enthusiastic about tying flies and fly-fishing as I was then.
You can watch Davie tying on his Youtube page.
[visit Davie’s streamer page]
The Thunder Creek series of flies was created by fisherman and commercial tyer Keith Fulsher of Eastchester, NY. The fly was developed because he felt the standard minnow tying method of a large thread head with painted eyes didn’t properly represent the naturals. Keith’s reverse tied bucktails added detail and allowed for a variety of patterns to be tied with the method. (books listed below). This pattern, the blueback trout, comes from the expanded book done in collaboration with David Klausmeyer and includes additional patterns for fresh and saltwater.
For hooks, the Partridge CS5 and the Gaelic Supreme Thunder Creek are my two goto hook models. Others that might fit the bill include Mustad 36620, Daiichi 1750, 2370, and TMC 9395. The straight eye hooks can be tough to find.
The head can be weighted with a few wraps of non-lead wire. The finish on the head can be done with UV resin as I have done in the video, but epoxy or several coats of clear lacquer will also work.
Blueback Trout Thunder Creek Fly Pattern
Hook: Partridge CS5 #2-8
Weight: Optional non-lead wire
Thread: White 8/0 (70d)
Flanks: Blue crystal flash & orange bucktail
Belly: White bucktail
Back: Blue & Black bucktail
Throat: Red paint
Eyes: Yellow paint with a dot of black paint
Coating: Solarez thin hard & Bone dry*
*Epoxy or several layers of clear lacquer may also be used
Tying and fishing the Thunder Creek series – Keith Fulsher 1973 https://amzn.to/2DzpAr7
Thunder Creek Flies: Tying and Fishing the Classic Baitfish Imitations – Keith Fulsher and David Klausmeyer 2006 https://amzn.to/2KmA4vc
“The solution to any problem — work, love, money, whatever — is to go fishing, and the worse the problem, the longer the trip should be.”
John Gierach’s Little Brown Trout is a classic for both bass and trout anglers. The bucktail was developed alongside the Gierach Special bucktail. John originally tied this fly pattern with pearl braid and weighted the body with lead wire.
John Gierach’s Little Brown Trout Bucktail Fly Pattern
Hook: Mustad L87-3665Axl #4-#10
Thread: White 6/0
Body: Pearl flat tinsel over white floss
Throat: White bucktail (short belly)
Wing: Orange bucktail, pearl Krystal Flash and fox squirrel tail
Topping: Peacock herl
Eye: Yellow painted eye with a black center
“If people don’t occasionally walk away from you shaking their heads, you’re doing something wrong.”
The long-awaited book from authors Graydon Hilyard and Leslie Hilyard has been announced and is ready to hit shelves on December 1st, 2018. “Herbert L. Welch: Black Ghosts and Art in a Maine Guide’s Wilderness”, documents the infamous Maine outdoorsman and his many talents. In addition to boeing a talented fly tyer, Herbie is well-known as an artist, sculptor, taxidermist, fishing guide, and accomplished demo caster. Most modern fly tyers and anglers know Herb’s iconic Black Ghost fly. The new book includes 9 streamer fly patterns that Herbie originated or adapted and tied. For streamer aficionados like myself who can’t get enough of Carrie Stevens’ streamers, the book also includes a collection of ten newly identified fly patterns originated and tied by her. The book is 200 pages and includes over 200 photographs.
The book can be pre-ordered from Amazon for $19.33US which is a huge discount off the 49.95 $MSRP. Make sure this title is on your wish list or treat yourself and get a copy for your library
Herbert L. Welch: Black Ghosts and Art in a Maine Guide’s Wilderness
I first saw this fly pattern years ago while reading an article on GlobalFlyFisher written by Mike Martinek. Mike stated that he preferred to fish the Liggett Special over the Mickey Finn and claimed it as one of his all-time favorite bucktails. The bucktail was named for one Mr. Liggett, a Hathaway Shirt Co foreman.
It is easy to see the resemblance to the famous Mickey Finn bucktail. I like the addition of the white to balance out the fly.
Liggett Special Fly Pattern Recipe
Hook: Mustad R75-79580 #4-10
Thread: Black 8/0 (70d)
Body: Silver flat tinsel
Rib: Silver oval tinsel
Wing: White, red and yellow bucktail
Eye: Painted or jungle cock nails
Head: Black with Bone Dry UV
Ebay seller jbearfly2 has a series of Mike Martinek streamers for sale. He also has some other interesting flies for sale for collectors. He is bringing in new items so be sure to check back every few days to see what is on offer.