Getting the Blues

By Carlos Hidalgo:

“Everyday, everyday, everyday, everyday I have the blues”B.B. King

I’m pretty sure B. B. King was not a fly fisherman. Had he been, I’d like to think that, like his guitar Lucille, his fly rods would have been named after women. His delicate 3-weight, small stream rod might have been called Celeste. His 12-weight tarpon stick… Beulah, or maybe Gertrude.
I hope you don’t have the blues. But if you are a trout angler, I do hope you have some blue flies in your boxes. You will be hard pressed to see any blue trout flies in the bins of your local fly shop or in many fly pattern books. This is understandable since so many trout anglers are strict “match the hatch” believers and trout do not feed on any blue prey items. Despite this, blue flies are very effective. Here are a few you should consider.

John Barr ties a blue version of his very effective Copper John nymph. Just replace blue copper wire for regular copper wire in the fly’s abdomen. A few years ago, Atlanta guide Dave Johnson requested that his friend Scott Abernathy design a blue nymph for his clients. Abernathy said the fly, which became known as the Blue Assassin, is based on the Rainbow Warrior nymph but with a really bright touch of blue. He speculated that its effectiveness might be because blue is the most visible color in deep water, as scientific studies have shown. This nymph is an extremely hot fly for Georgia trout.

Pennsylvania angler Charles Meck included two blue dry flies and one blue egg in his book, “Fishing Tandem Flies.” Meck wrote that he began tying blue flies because of studies that showed that blue and purple flies “are the last to disappear as the fly sinks deeper in the water column.” The Blueberry is an egg pattern Meck ties with a brass bead and white or cream Glo Bug yarn, which is dyed with Rit evening blue dye. Meck swears by his two dry flies, the Patriot and the White-Winged Bluebird.

Although uncommon, blue is a very effective color for trout attractor flies. Give them a try.

Blue Assassin – Scott Abernathy (available at The Fish Hawk in Atlanta, Ga.)

  • Hook – Tiemco 2457, size 14 -20
  • Thread – Blue
  • Bead – silver (tungsten or brass)
  • Tail – light gray Antron (originally, Scott used pheasant tail fibers)
  • Abdomen – pearl Lateral Scale
  • Thorax – hot purple SLF dubbing

White-Winged Bluebird – Charles Meck

  • Hook – dry fly, size 12 – 14
  • Thread – 6/0 medium blue
  • Tail – blue hackle fibers (Meck uses white hackle dyed Rit evening blue)
  • Body – smolt-blue Krystal Flash, with red thread mid-rib
  • Hackle – blue
  • Wings – white calf tail
    • To tie the Patriot, substitute brown for the tail and hackle, everything else stays the same.

Contact Carlos at to submit patterns for consideration in this column, for high-resolution photos of these flies or to order his book “South Florida’s Peacock Bass.”

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