Our Man In Canada
August 9th, 2004

MR Black and Orange

By Sheldon Seale

Most of us have a friend like my friend Mike. Mike is an avid fly fisher, conservationist, but he's less addicted to fly tying. Perhaps this explains his enduring quality of running his particularly sticky fingers all over my tying bench. I cannot hold this against Mike, for he is a fine fellow, a great judge of single malt whisky, good company and always willing to go fishing.

He knows what works, but his talents are not normally associated with creating new fly patterns of his own. Therefore, I was surprised when he arrived at my house one day and, instead of indulging in his usual light-fingered activities, produced a pattern he'd invented himself. Actually, I shouldn't have been surprised, as Mike is a good fly fisher and a reasonable tyer—he's eminently capable of doing his own creating.

So, in honour of Mike, here is a Great Canadian Fly pattern, the MR Black and Orange. It comes in both a trout version, listed below, and a longer and larger bass version.


    Hook: Wet fly, sizes 12 and 14.

    Thread: Black.

    Bead: Black, medium.

    Tail: Orange dyed wool, from the skin not yarn.

    Rib: Fine wire.

    Body: Back half black ostrich herl and front half peacock herl.

In hindsight, this pattern has some of the great materials in fly tying, wool (especially off the skin), ostrich herl, peacock herl and a bead. How can it miss? The fact is — it generally doesn't.

Tying Steps

    1. Slip on a bead and tie in the ribbing and a tuft of wool for the tail. Keep the tail about the same length as the hook shank.

    2. At the bend, tie in and wrap a black dyed ostrich herl forward in touching turns for half the hook shank (you may need a second herl depending on the size of the hook).

    3. Fill the space between the ostrich and the bead with a few strands of twisted peacock herl and secure with thread behind the bead. Counter wind the ribbing, secure with thread behind the bead and trim any excess. Tie off the thread behind the bead and the fly is finished.

Fish this pattern as a nymph or strip it slowly on a sinking or sink tip line. I have had success with both approaches.

Current Issue Canadian Fly Fisher

Bass Variation

For the bass version, a larger and longer shank hook is substituted; use a little lead wire to add some extra weight along with the bead or, as in the photo (below), a small cone. You will need a couple of long ostrich herls to get enough body length and a few extra peacock herl to fill it out. Adding a soft hackle collar provides additional movement to the pattern. Fish it like a Woolly Bugger.

I think this pattern has potential in other colours, especially the tail. It wouldn't surprise me a bit if a red or chartreuse tail worked at specific times, and it would be worth having a couple in your fly box. It might even make a good steelhead pattern, especially with a nice, long, soft hackle collar just behind the bead. ~ Sheldon Seale

Credits: This article is from the Canadian Fly Fisher magazine. We appreciate use permission!

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