This fly is the Orange Fish Hawk. This little jewel is an old fly that Ray Bergman wrote about and it never stopped catching fish but people stopped tying it years ago. My tactic with this fly is to tie it with a few modern improvements and put a few in my box. You’ll be surprised how this fly can pick up a fish or two when newer flies don’t seem to work.
Recipe for the Orange Fish Hawk
Thread – Black
Hook – Standard wet fly hook, size 6-16
Body –Orange floss or Uni-Stretch
Rib – Gold Mylar
I use a standard wet fly hook. These hooks are a bit heavier and sink a little deeper. There is no tail so start your thread and tie in the Mylar rib. The recipe calls for gold tinsel; I have great luck with this fly if I use holographic Mylar. If you are a purist, by all means use the traditional material, but I’m beginning to really like holographic Mylar. After you tie in the Mylar rib, lay the material back out of the way and wind the rib later. Tie in your floss for a body. If you choose to use Uni-Stretch, you are ready for the next step. If you use orange floss, you should start this fly with a white thread underbody because when floss gets wet, the thread will show through and black thread will dull the body color.
Wind your body on and tie off behind the eye a bit. Wind a small butt with the Mylar behind the body just before the hook shank starts to turn down then wind forward several wraps to make a rib. Tie off the Mylar where you stopped the body wraps. The hackle is badger. Badger feathers have dark stripe down the middle and when you wind this type of feather around a hook shank, the dark center looks like an insect thorax. Tie on a badger hackle and wind a few turns, but don’t overdo it. Cut off the excess and use your thread to wind back over the hackle to force it to lay back. The original fly used hen badger because it is softer and has more movement. You can use whatever badger you have on hand for this particular pattern.
You can substitute a few materials if you want. I love holographic Mylar and I do use Uni-stretch (try bright green) instead of floss for a lot of flies. There are dry versions of this pattern and a different wet one with a feathered wing; this version is my favorite. Tie a few as small as you can tie them and try them in the spring, you’ll love it.