In my opinion, Golden Stones are some of the prettiest bugs around. Their coloration and body details are just spectacular. That said, I’ve found over the years the patterns I tie to imitate them are getting simpler and simpler, and this Euro Golden Stone is where I'm at right now. I think it more suggests a Golden Stone rather than imitates one.
To start, I’ve matched an Orvis Tactical Barbless Jig Hook in size 12 with a black 1/8” slotted tungsten bead. After slipping the bead over the hook point, small hole first, get the assembly firmly secured in the jaws of your tying vise and make sure the bead is positioned all the way up behind the eye.
For added weight and to stabilize the bead, .015 lead-free wire works well. Get the wire started on the hook shank and take 10 or so touching wraps before helicoptering to break it off close. Fine point needle nosed pliers are great for manipulating and mashing wire. Mashing the front few wraps into a more vertical orientation will allow them to slip into the slot of the bead and lock it against the hook eye. It also will prevent the wire from spinning around the hook shank, allowing you to finish wrapping the very tail end.
For thread, I’m going to use UTC 70 Denier in a color called Wood Duck, but yellow or light brown look good too. Get your thread started on the hook shank immediately behind the wire and take a few thread wraps rearward before snipping or breaking off the tag. You can then wrap over top of the wire to further stabilize it and create a small thread ramp down to the hook shank.
To rib the fly, I’m going to go with Brassie sized gold Ultra wire, 5-6” is enough to make numerous flies. Butt the wire up against the weight and take thread wraps to secure it to the hook shank. As you wrap rearward, allow the wire to drop down along the far side of the hook shank. Then take thread wraps forward back up to the weight.
Barred Pumpkin Silly Legs are used for the tails. To save on material, you can cut one of the strands in half and even that is more than enough to make two tails on a single fly. Lay the segment's midpoint at the location of your tying thread and take a couple of wraps to secure it. Then, pull the front half back and secure both strands to the top of the hook shank, all the way to the bend. Snip the Silly Leg material off to leave tails about a full hook in length.
Golden Yellow pheasant tail fibers are used to form the body of the fly. Pull down 10 or 12 so they’re perpendicular to the stem and then strip them free. Cut the little curlies off if you like so they don’t catch on things while you wrap. Reorient the fibers so you’re holding their tips with the fingers of your left hand. Place the tips against the near side of the hook and take thread wraps to secure them all the way to the base of the tails. Leave your tying thread in that location and start making touching wraps with the pheasant tail fibers forward but behind the tying thread. Pressure from the thread will keep the fibers together and help to create a nice, evenly tapered body. When you reach the bead, secure the butt ends of the fibers with wraps of tying thread. Once they’re secured, you can reach in with your tying scissors and snip the excess off close.
Next, get hold of the gold wire and start making open spiral wraps over top of the pheasant tail to segment the body. Feel free to make counter wraps if you prefer. When you reach the bead, secure the wire with a few tight turns of tying thread then helicopter the wire to break it off close.
For the collar of the fly, I like Golden Stone colored Australian Possum. An ample pinch is all you need. Create a 2” long dubbing noodle on your tying thread that’s tapered at both ends. Take wraps with the noodle to build up a fair-sized collar behind the bead.
Once you have the collar looking good, complete a pair of 5-6 turn whip finishes to build up a short thread band and secure your tying thread. You can then snip or cut the thread free. A small piece of velcro works wonders when it comes to brushing the dubbing out to represent legs and gills, and add some motion.
Since this fly will spend most of its time bumping along the bottom, adding a drop or two of head cement, or in this case, Sally Hansen’s, to the exposed thread wraps will help to ensure they don’t come unraveled. If any of the dubbing has gotten a little too wild during the brushing process, now’s the time to give it a little trim.
Because it’s tied on a jig hook with a slotted bead, this Euro Golden Stone will ride hook point up, making it less likely to get snagged and lost to the bottom. For me, this fly is one of those cases where simpler is most definitely better.