By Ernie Harrison
Photo by the Author
I find it interesting how a chance encounter can have
a major effect on the way you do things. I was in San
Francisco for a training class and started talking to
another student at lunch. I don't know how the conversation
about fly-fishing got started, but this fellow started
telling about meeting Jack Horner at the San Francisco
Fly-Casting Ponds. Jack was sharing his knowledge in an
area of the ponds known as Horner's Corner. He tied a fly
called the Horner Deer Hair and he certainly pulled out
a plum when he stuck his thumb into his bag of fur and
feathers to tie it.
The fellow said Jack was very specific about using
six evenly spaced turns of thread to tie the abdomen.
I wish I could ask Jack about his fly and why exactly
six turns of thread, but unfortunately he is no longer
with us. My memory of Jack lives through a chance
encounter with someone he so graciously shared his
Jack also created the Humpy.
The story goes that a Horner Deer Hair became worn
and the thread forming the six body segments was broken
as was the deer hair forming the lower part of the body.
The broken hair swung back into a tail and the upper body
hair puffed up into the now familiar hump.
I like to call the revised version the "California Nugget"
because when the sun is low in the Western sky the fly glows
like a golden nugget and I never fail to strike it rich on
California's "Mother Lode" trout streams. ~ Harrison
|| Mustad 94840 size 12 or 14.
|| White polypropylene and deer hair
Tie the white polypropylene yarn in at
the wing position. Let it stick out over the
hook eye and trim to the proper length. Cut
the deer hair and even the tips in a hair stacker.
Trim off the butt ends leaving the hair twice
the length of the hook shank. Hold the deer hair
on the hook shank with the tips extending beyond
the back of the hook and the butt ends even with
the place you tied in the polypropylene. Do not
overlap the deer hair and the polypropylene. Tie
the deer hair to the hook using a spiral wrap back
to the bend in the hook and take three overlapping
turns to hold the deer hair in place.
2.Let the bobbin hang at the bend of the hook
and use both hands to pull the deer hair forward
on all sides of the hook shank. The tips of the
deer hair should be even with the tip of the white
polypropylene wing in front of the hook eye. Hold
the deer hair firmly against the hook shank with
one hand and take six evenly spaced spiral wraps
back to the wing position. Take three overlapping
turns at the wing position to hold the deer hair.
3.Let the bobbin hang at the wing position. Use
both hands to pull the white polypropylene wing and
deer hair tips up to form the wing. Hold the wing
in an upright position with one hand and take five
wraps of thread around the bare hook shank tight
against the front of the wing. Take three turns
around the base of the wing before letting go. The
wing should now stand in a vertical position by itself.
4.Tie in a grizzly hackle at the wing position and take
three turns of hackle behind the wing and three turns in
front of the wing. The hackle should be the same length
as the wing. Finish off the head with a few turns of thread
and whip finish. Apply head cement and fan out the wing so
it mixes with the grizzly hackle on top of the fly.
Fishing the Fly:
I have changed the fly slightly by adding white
polypropylene to the wing, which makes the fly easier
to see. Use fly floatant to give it a high bouncing
action. Cast it into fast water at the head of pools
and let it drift down along side the tongue of white water.
If I could use only one fly this would be the one. It
works well wet or dry, if it sinks, fish it on through
the run. I have caught some of my larger trout by doing this.
~ Ernie Harrison
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