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Adventures in Fly Tying... February 2007


One Hot Blonde!

Fly and Text by Joe Cornwall
Video Production by Jim Stuard



The Brooks Blonde had its genesis in the very earliest epoch of organized saltwater fly fishing.  Brooks tied the Platinum Blonde in the early 1940's to up the average size of his striped bass catch.  The fly found its way to Florida, where it was found to be effective on redfish, bonefish, tarpon, weakfish, black drum, and a host of others.  Bass fishermen knew it as a strange tie of the Arkansas or Stroud Bucktail.  But the spotlight hit it in 1955 when Joe Brooks brought the Blonde to Patagonia and proceeded to rack up a tally of unprecedented numbers. Eventually the Platinum Blonde would account for the world record brown trout - a beast of more than 24lbs!


Since it's arrival on the scene, the Brooks Blonde has accounted for uncounted trophy catches.  Even more importantly, this fly has been the genesis of some of our more important and well-know fly box staples.  From the Blonde comes the Deceiver, the Clouser, and the Surf Candy.  "Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good."  Thomas Sowell was onto something.  The Brooks Blonde is a fly that works. Now why would anyone replace it with something different just because it sounded better?  Learn more about the Brooks Blonde here.


Hook – Mustad 36890, size 1/0
Thread – Danville Flat Waxed Flymaster 210 Denier

Tail – Bucktail
Body –  Medium Flat Tinsel

Rib - Medium Oval Tinsel

Wing - Bucktail

Cement - Sally Hansen's Hard as Nails



Windows Media Video  QuickTime Video 



Click on individual images for a larger view.

The Brooks Blonde is a simple pattern based on the Homer Rhode tarpon bucktail and the "Hi-Tie" bucktails wings of the steelhead flies then coming out of the Pacific Northwest.  It is a fabulously effective style of tying.

 Place a hook in the vise. You can use the Mustad 3407 (traditional) or 34007 (stainless steel).  Another good choice is the Eagle Claw 254.  All of these work well in sizes 2 to 3/0.  I prefer the venerable Mustad 36890, shown here in size 1/0.  This is my favorite size for this fly.

You may select any color combination that works for your applicaiton.  Here we are tying the Portuguese Blonde color pattern.  Start with sparse bunch of long, fine bucktail in leaf green.  Use a 210 Denier black thread.

Tie the green bucktail along the length of the shank.  Use care to make a smooth underbody.  Clip and stack some red bucktail and tie the second half of the "tail wing" on top of the green to make a bi-color tail.

 Tie in a length of medium width gold metal tinsel.  Metal makes a difference in tying this fly.  Use silver tinsel for any pattern except the Honey Blonde, Portuguese Blonde and Strawberry Blonde for historical accuracy.  You can also experiment with braid and tri-lobal style body flash material.

Wrap a smooth thread base all the way to the front of the tie-in point.  At this point you should decide if you want to use a ribbing.  While not technically called for in the pattern, I think it makes the fly look a little dressier.
 I like to use gold oval over gold flat or silver oval over silver flat tinsels.  Some tiers mix it up and use silver over gold or vice versa.  It's up to you!  Tie in the ribbing at the front tie-in point and bind it to the top of the fly to a point just in front of where you tied in the body tinsel.
 Wrap the flat gold hackle for two turns behind the point where you've tied in the oval tinsel. This way the oval tinsel emerges from the tinsel background.  Wrap a smooth body of side-by-side flat tinsel wraps. Then counter-wrap the flat tinsel with the oval tinsel by wrapping in the opposite direction.
 Tie off the flat and oval tinsels at the front wing tie-in point.  It's a good idea to coat the whole tinsel body with Sally Hansen's Hard As Nails Extreme Wear. This will protect the body. 
You can change threads if you use a Kevlar or white thread to tie the body and then want to switch to a black head or a color that matches the front wing.  Re-attach your thread and tie in the front wing.  Add flash if you find it appropriate.  Tie in the wing in two bunches to prevent pull-out.
 Tie in the second half of the wing bucktail.  Form a neat, conical thread head.  Whip finish.
Coat the thread head with Sally Hansen's.  You can also use stick-on holographic eyes and coat the head with epoxy cement for extreme durability and a slightly weight-forward jigging action.


Till next time, tight lines and warm breezes…

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