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Home / Fishing / Articles



Akl's Fur Comet Series

  by Jason Akl

After seeing the recent craze over tying cheap salmon/ steelhead flies, I figured that nothing better categorized the set of patterns that I have been using for the last few years. The fur comet patterns have accounted for numerous salmon, steelhead and trout being caught on some of Wisconsin most pristine trout streams. These fly patterns although being inexpensive still follow along with the

brilliant coloration of most traditional salmon flies to attract the target fish. Instead of pricey rare materials being used to create sleek profile flies, the comet series flies substitute a variety of differing colored and sized fur hackles to create bulky appetizing morsels. One advantage of using these types of flies is that they can take punishment and still be fishable, this cannot be said for most of there pricey counterparts. The fur mainly used in these patterns comes from zonker strips. A few good reasons for using zonker strips is that they are relatively inexpensive, come in almost any color imaginable and make it simple to spin the fur hackle since it is easy to attach the clips to the fur for use in dubbing loops.

These types of flies are fished like any traditional salmon fly streamers, on the swing or dead drift. If needed these comet flies can be tied with lead free weight underneath to help get the fly down deep were the big fish are likely to be hiding. Giving these flies a strip or two while retrieving them is not a bad idea. Employing timely strips accompanied with short pauses can get even the most stubborn of fish to bite.

The Blazing Saddles Fly Pattern

  • Hook: Mustad Salmon Size 4 (Turned Up Eye)
  • Thread: RED Uni-Thread 8/0 and 6/0
  • Tag: Red Flat Tinsel
  • Butt: Yellow Ostrich Herl
  • Body: Red Wool Yarn
  • Wing: Zonker Strips (Yellow/ Red/ Purple)
  1. Start this fly by securing the hook into the vise so that it will not be able to slide up or down even with high thread pressure. Attach the Uni-thread 8/0 thread behind the hook eye.

  2. Tie in some red flat Mylar so it is secured tightly to the hook shank. Wrap the Mylar down the hook shank till you reach the point above the barb and then wrap back up the hook shank inch. Tie off the Mylar and clip the excess tag end.

  3. Select a nice even yellow ostrich herl and tie in down butt first at the tie off point for the Mylar. Take four to five turns with the yellow herl and tie off. Clip the excess herl and now advance your thread to the point on the hook shank.

  4. Tie in a small piece of red wool yarn and wrap it down the hook shank to butt against the herls wraps you made earlier and back up the hook shank to the mark. After ting off the yarn change you thread to the 6/0 size so that you can start forming your fur hackles.

  5. With your thread set up a large dubbing loop and get your yellow and red zonker strips out for use. Select a one inch strip of yellow zonker and smooth out the tips of the fur. Pinch the one inch section between a paper clip and cut the fur free from the hide. With the fur now secured in the paper clip place the butt ends of the fur in the dubbing loop. Pull the dubbing loop closed to hold the zonker fur in place. Keep the pressure on the fur with the dubbing loop and release the tips of the fur from the paper clip. You should now have the zonker fur held freely by the dubbing loop alone. At this point you can push the fur in or out of the loop to change the length and thickness of the hackle. I suggest leaving about inch of fur sticking out of the loop (tip length) and cutting the butt length to 1/8 inch. If you are a little confused about tip and butt length, I am referring to the length of fur sticking out each end of the dubbing loop. After you have the fur the way you like it spin the dubbing loop to spin the fur into a nice thick hackle. Wrap the fur hackle around the hook shank but be careful not to wrap down any of the preceding wraps. A good idea is to sweep the fibers towards the rear of the hook with your fingers for each wrap you make around the hook shank. For the fly I wrap two fur hackles for each color of zonker I want to use this helps to give the fly a nice full look.

  6. Repeat the same steps used to create the yellow fur hackle but this time use a red zonker strip for your fur source. Again make two hackles from the red zonker to complete the red fur portion of the fly.

  7. One more time make a fur hackle but this time use the fur from a purple zonker strip. Only make one fur hackle this time because the purple hackle is only a topping for the rest of the fur body. After you are finished tying off the last of the fur hackles take a few turns of threads back onto the fur body to keep it in a swept position. Lastly create a small neat head, whip finish and cement.

Read about Jason Akl and other writers in our Outdoor Writers section.


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