The North American Fly Fishing Forum

Go Back   The North American Fly Fishing Forum > >

Rate this Entry

Tying the Ellicott Special

Posted 10-26-2011 at 08:38 PM by gatortransplant

Ok, so as some of you may know, I caught my first steelhead with a fly rod yesterday:
Click the image to open in full size.
I have to make this distinction because I have caught a steelhead before, on a fly no less, but the fly was attached to my cheater stick, a spinning rod. This was before I stepped into the light. Carrying on, I caught this steelhead on a fly of my own design (read: I tied whatever was in reach of my hands on in a slip-shod fashion...). Ok, so maybe there was a plan to it, but it ended up looking like this:
Click the image to open in full size.
I ended up loosing the original to a snag, so I decided since one fish was loony enough to take it, maybe others would too. I started tying them in several colors:
Click the image to open in full size.
It was requested that I post a step-by-step, and since I intended to tie the fly in black and blue for muddy waters, I figured I would track my progress. Unfortunately, I do not have blue saddle hackle to make the collar as I did previously, so I tried blue marabou. This looked neat but was a little overwhelming (it covered everything and upon trimming, well, I trimmed too much...). So the end result was I used some blue ostrich herl I had laying around. It worked well enough, but I figured I would include the disclaimer that this particular step-by-step has a slight deviation.

On to the important part:
Hook: Any streamer hook works, though I've been mainly using a tiemco 5263 in size 6.
I add to this a large cone head. I then add 20 wraps of lead or lead substitute wire. I've been using lead because that is what I have. Before I push the lead wrapping forward, I add a drop of head cement between the wrapping and cone head, then push the wrapping forward so it sits flush with the cone head. I've found that this keeps the wrapping from spinning, which is very helpful.
Click the image to open in full size.
Next, I add a marabou tail. I use medium marabou rather than wooly bugger marabou because the thickness of the vane in wooly bugger marabou bulks up the fly too much. You'll see why in a bit...
Click the image to open in full size.
After clipping off the butt end of the marabou feathers, I wrap it fully up to the wire wrappings, and then continue forward to lay down a thread base on the wire itself. At this point the entire shank should be of relatively uniform thickness. This photo is jumping the gun a bit, but it shows the uniform thickness of the body.
Click the image to open in full size.
The next step is to tie in estaz to use for the body of the fly. Once you tie in the estaz, wrap your thread up to the cone so that you don't tie down your estaz. Everything forth wrap I wrap the estaz back over itself and pull tight to add to the durability of the fly, since it isn't held down by thread. I picked this up from a Kelly Galoup video on tying a Zoo Cougar, and it's pretty handy. Once you get to the front of the fly, tie down the estaz and clip off the rest.
Click the image to open in full size.
Next, cut a clump of deer hair about as long as the hook, and tie this in like a wing. You're not spinning it, so hold it in place as you cinch it down. I then wrap the thread over the butt ends of the deer hair to make sure its not going anywhere, and trim the butt ends so they won't interfere with the next step.
Click the image to open in full size.
Here's where a bit of variation came in (I figure it's only fitting, since this fly essentially came as a variation of a wooly bugger...). I tied the top of an ostrich herl, then ran my thread back to the point where I tied in the deer hair, slightly less than a hook gap back. I wrapped the ostrich herl back like I was palmering hackle, then tied it down. I then held down the feathers and rather than counter-wrapping the thread back over the feathers, I just held back the feathers and took the wrap straight to the front of the fly behind the cone and whip-finished. I then made the herl a bit more manageable by pinching off extra-long portions between my fingers. Finally, I trimmed the marabou tail. I learned in another video that with trimming marabou, rather than cutting it with a scissors, it looks great if you place something with a straight edge against the marabou at the length you want and then tear off the feathers. It makes for a fluffier tail.Click the image to open in full size.
And there's the end result in a new color pattern. Hopefully fish like it

As an aside, some of you may notice part of my vise that doesn't look like the rest. That's because the cam arm broke, the vital part which locks the jaws closed. So I drilled a whole where the piece used to be and I replaced it with the shank from a broadhead, which was conveniently threaded.
Posted in Uncategorized
Views 1140 Comments 6 Email Blog Entry
« Prev     Main     Next »
Total Comments 6


  1. Old Comment
    Gator, for your first round of teaching +1
    Very good job.

    Posted 10-26-2011 at 09:10 PM by littledavid123 littledavid123 is online now
  2. Old Comment
    Nice job on the SBS and great looking fly-- and big congrats on your steelhead
    Posted 10-27-2011 at 02:26 PM by peregrines peregrines is offline
  3. Old Comment
    s fontinalis's Avatar
    Definitely a great looking fly. What size are you tying them...have you thought of using fish skulls instead of the cone head. They are a little more expensive, but definitely look great on flies. The smallest fit hook sizes #8 #6 and #4. I believe you need to use a straight eye too. Maybe i'll try some tonight if i have the materials and post a pic.
    Posted 10-28-2011 at 09:27 AM by s fontinalis s fontinalis is offline
  4. Old Comment
    Ard's Avatar
    You are getting a great start AJ. I just discovered this post.

    Posted 10-29-2011 at 06:15 PM by Ard Ard is offline
  5. Old Comment
    lthrnk03's Avatar
    Ellicott Special as in Ellicott Creek? Or as in Ellicottville?
    Posted 11-02-2011 at 12:11 AM by lthrnk03 lthrnk03 is offline
    Updated 11-02-2011 at 02:15 AM by lthrnk03
  6. Old Comment
    Ellicott Special as in Ellicott Creek, surprisingly.
    Posted 11-02-2011 at 01:21 PM by gatortransplant gatortransplant is offline

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:09 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimisation provided by DragonByte SEO v2.0.40 (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Feedback Buttons provided by Advanced Post Thanks / Like v3.6.3 (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
2005-2017 The North American Fly Fishing Forum. All rights reserved.