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Brassie Pattern & Tying Instructions

Fly Tying Recipe: Brassie
2X-short emerger hook (here a Dai-Riki #125), sizes 14-20.
Black, 3/32”.
Black, 70 denier or 8/0.
Copper Ultra Wire, brassie-size.
Peacock herl.
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Video Transcript:

The Brassie is a wonderfully simple and effective fly that imitates both caddis and midge larvae. An added bonus is that it sinks like a rock, quickly getting down to where trout most commonly feed.

Brassies are commonly tied from sizes as large as 14 all the way down to about a 20. Here I'm going to tie a 16 on a Dai-Riki #125 emerger hook. I rarely tie brassies without a bead head and here I'm using a 3/32nds black cyclops bead which looks good with this hook and is a nice color compliment to the peacock herl.

This is a pattern that lends itself well to assembly line tying. I start by mashing the barbs and sliding the beads onto the hooks. A sticky pad is a good place to arrange the hooks and makes it easy to pick them up. As an aside, I'm a huge fan of sticky pads as a tying tool and here's a little trick. The pads are slippery on the tying table which can cause problems. Just remove the backing and the sticky will hold the pad fairly secure. If the bottom sheet gets gummed up and removes it's stick, just remove it and start again.

Now, back to the brassie. Secure the beaded hook in your vise with the bead slid all the way up to the eye. For thread on this pattern, I'm going to use UTC 70 Denier in black. Start your thread just behind the bead, and after a few wraps, snip the tag off close.

I'm using Brassie sized copper ultra wire for the body which I pre-cut into 5 inch lengths and store within a sticky pad for easy access. Insert one end of the wire up underneath the bead and begin securing it to the near side of the hook. Continue taking thread wraps well down into the bend of the curved hook. Give your thread a counter clockwise spin to relax the twist and flatten it out. This will help to produce a smooth underbody which will make things easier when it comes to wrapping the wire to form the body of the fly. Spin the thread occasionally in order to keep it flat. Leave your thread at about the 3/4's point on the hook.

Now, begin taking adjacent wraps with the copper wire, the first couple are always the toughest. Continue wrapping the wire up to your thread. I've found it easier to simply wrap the wire as opposed to using the rotary function on my vise. I've also found that the smoother the underbody, the easier it is to get consistent wraps.

When you reach the tying thread, secure the wire to the hook with several firm wraps of tying thread. Using the bobbin nozzle to brace, helicopter the remaining wire off then advance your tying thread to just behind the bead.

Now, grab a single peacock herl and fold it roughly in half around the nozzle of your bobbin. Run it up the thread and then bring your thread down and take wraps to secure the herl to the hook shank. Finish leaving your thread just behind the bead. Now place a small drop of Zap-a-Gap on one of your ever-so-handy sticky pads and then use your bodkin to pick up just a drop or two. One drop of glue is enough for about 4 flies and should remain usable throughout the entire length of time it takes to tie them. Apply this to the space between the bead and the peacock herl, you don't need much.

Begin taking wraps of peacock herl over the Zap-a-Gap which will help to secure them to the hook. Take one wrap in front of your tying thread then pull the thread over and take a few more. I just use my thumbnail to sheer off the unused herl.

You can then whip finish to complete the fly. I don't use head cement on these, because that underlying Zap-a-Gap really seems to hold things together. Try them with different color beads and different color wire. I tend to lose a lot of these to the bottom and so always have a bunch with me.