The Hornberg Special
Frank Hornberg invented the Hornberg Special. He was born February 27, 1882 in Wisconsin. Frank was a game warden in Portage County Wisconsin. He died June 15, 1966 in Santa Rosa, California. In the 1920ís he developed the fly that bears his name.
Frank Hornberg initially designed the Hornberg Special as a dry fly. The Hornberg can be fished as a streamer below the surface of the water. Jungle cock eyes are what jumps out at you when you see this fly.
The fly is best used as a streamer. A very effect method to fish this fly as a streamer is the "Dredge, Stop, Strip and Twitch" method of retrieve with the "Shake and Bake" ending. This method can be deadly on a finicky brown that has seen about every fly made by man. This method is imitating a bait fish.
The set up of the rod with the Hornberg is important. First off you start out with a new 9 foot leader. Don't size down too much. A 4X leader is appropriate. If the water is 4 feet deep set the strike indicator at 6.5 feet. I prefer to use a big wad of multicolored Bio Strike as an indicator. For you "Zen Nuts" out there that refuse to use an indicator because it is too much like a bobber...You should stop reading right now because this fly imitates a bait fish and no respectable "purist" will use a bobber or use a bait fish imitator. Back on course again...12 inches above the fly you should place your smallest sinker. It should be a round sinker. Make sure you fasten it securely but not too much. If you reef on it you will cause a mar in the line and a weak spot.
The fly is meant to look big. Fish a size 6 or size 8. Don't waste your time with the ones without jungle cock eyes. This fly is a bait fish imitator and the fly without it is like a minnow without an eye.
This fly is typically fished upstream. It can be fished early or regular season. This fly is to be fished on the bottom of a deep hole or seam. It needs to be on the bottom before you start your retrieve. The current will straighten out your line for you so can see your indicator properly. "Dredge, Stop, Strip and Twitch" should be followed now. That sinker gives the fly a sideways swimming action when it is striped just like a swimming bait fish. Make sure you alternate your strip lengths. This method is not to be done quickly. It is important to stop your retrieve ever so often and let it sit for a 2 count.
"Shake and Bake"ending is a must. Many of your ferocious hits are as you are taking that fly out of the water. This could be directly at your feet. Don't give up on that cast. Bring it by you if you can. As you are raising up that fly you should literally shake the end of you rod as you lift it up. This imitates that bait fish swimming to the surface and looking injured. Pay special attention at the surface because that is the last chance for that big hooked jawed male brown to freight train that fly.
You can find Hornbergs at any fly shop or at any big box chain. The recipe for the fly is all over the internet. The jungle cock is not cheap. I would just purchase the fly.
Re: The Hornberg Special
Len: Thanks for sharing the information on how to properly fish the Hornberg Special and congrats on a great looking Brown trout.
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