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Tom's 60 Second Red Head

Submitted By

Yankee Angler
If I only had one fly to use all season that works for all species of fish that run the Salmon River, this would be it. It imitates a black stone fly nymph with an egghead. We are simply combining 2 favorite sources of food. The best part about this fly is you can tie it in 60 seconds or less. Why does it out produce all others on a consistent basis? Some people swear that the angora dubbing gets caught in their teeth, allowing you more time to detect the take. The spiky angora moves in the water, giving the fly action or a life-like appearance. The subtle amount of flash reflects light, which also adds life to the fly. What little wire shows through adds a translucency and reflection of light, adding life. The wire also adds weight that gives it a good sink rate, getting your fly to the bottom where the fish are. With wire there's no whip finish, head cement and it will never fall apart. The simplicity of this fly makes it easy for even the non-tier. The experienced tier can produce 60 or more in an hour. Yet it incorporates all the features we all look for in our flies - shape, size, silhouette, profile, density, action, color. The colors are not too bright and flashy, so that even under heavy fishing pressure or bright sunny days it’s a producer. On even the grayest days it has enough flash to get some attention - not too bright and flashy in low clear water. When steelhead are eating eggs in the fall, aquatic insects in the winter or spawning in the spring, it’s a producer. Optional ways of tying and coloration: Depending on flow of water, imitation desired, time of year, target species. Besides using wire, I also use red thread when I’m fishing very slow water. The wire does sometimes hang up a little more frequently. Green wire could be used to tie a green bodied caddis larva with a small black head. Natural copper with brown dubbing and small black head for a cased caddis. Natural copper wrapped up the shank of hook with a little black dubbing or peacock hurl for head to imitate a midge pupa. (Brassy) All Black for a black stone fly. All brown for a mayfly nymph. Big orange head for a salmon egg, smaller for a steelhead egg, etc... If you tie it in all orange, we call it an O.J. (it's a killer fly) Ha. I've caught many a steelhead in the fall on orange scuds. Winter tying tips: Things I do this time of year when tying flies: Don’t use any flashy material at all. The aquatic insects we are imitating are mostly dull, dark in color. Try to keep a slender profile, size, shape - a lot of folks use too much material. An old trick Jim Rusher taught me is to tie a size 14 black stone on a size 12-hook etc. This gives you a bigger gap to hook and hold and it doesn’t seem to make a difference to the fish. I’d like to thank Tom Wilson for introducing me to this fly and the Salmon River, many Flies ago. Happy Hookin. Randy Jones ~ The Yankee Angler


  1. Black Dubbing : Beaver (soft), Angora (spike), & black flash (mix)
  2. Red Dubbing : Beaver, Angora, and red flash (mix)


  1. Wrap shank of hook with copper wire and wrap back slightly down bend in hook. Apply dubbing wax to wire. Apply black dubbing to wire and wrap froward, 3/4 of the way, tapering the body in a stone fly nymph fashion. Apply red dubbing and wrap forward. Half hitch, pull tight and snap off. Red head should be approximately 1/4 the size of the length of the black nymph body. Red head should be the size of the dominant eggs that are in the river (Brown, Salmon or Steelhead).
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