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The Renegade
By Brad Befus and John Berryman

. . .Many, many flies seek to imitate a living insect, fish, or crustacean, while other flies done't pretend to imitate anything in particular. These are attractor patterns (theoretically - for who really knows what a fish is thinking?) that derive their effectiveness from motion, color, flash, or, for all I know, pure magic and/or dumb luck. The Renegade was developed by Taylor Williams back in the 1930s, and it has caught tons of fish. Technically speaking, it is a "fore and aft" - style fly and is closely related to the general class of flies knowns as "bivisibles," which are totally composed of hackle feathers and have no body at all. At any rate, both imitators and attractors catch fish, and there is a place for both in your box...

Materials List:

    Hook: Dry-fly hooks, sizes 10-16.

    Thread: 6/0, black.

    Body: Peacock herl.

    Tag: Mylar tinsel.

    Hackle: Brown or dark ginger dry-fly hackle, as well as white or cream dry-fly hackle. (You'll probably find more use for cream than white, so that may govern your color choice here.)

Let's get started:

Instructions - Renegade:

1. Place a hook in the vise, and using a capture knot, start the thread at the starting point. Next, tie in a couple of inches (enough so you can get a grip on the stuff) of Mylar tinsel at the starting point. Remember, tie in the tinsel with the side you want to hide facing you. In this case, tie in the tinsel silver side out.

2. Now, wrap the thread over the tinsel and down the bend of the hook - about one-third of the way down the bend is about right - and wrap back to the starting point. Then wrap the tinsel over the thread to the starting point, tie down, and half-hitch. This forms the "tag" of the fly.

3. Using the gape of the hook as a gauge, select one brown hackle one and a half gapes wide. Strip the fuzz and fibers from the butt. Tie in by the butt at the starting point, with the curve of the feather facing away from you.

4. Select four peacock herls. Tie in the grouped herl by the tips at the starting point, wrap the thread forward about six wraps, and half-hitch.

5. Grasp the tip of the hackle with hackle pliers and begin wrapping forward, over the herl tie-in point. Each wrap should touch the preceding wrap. Make about four wraps, covering about one eye width of the shank. Tie down the feather, half-hitch, and trim the excess hackle material flush with the tie-down points.

6. Prepare the herl for wrapping: spiral the herl around the tying thread.

7. Wrap the herl forward, making a dense body by placing each wrap right against the preceding wrap. Wrap forward about three-quarters of the way down the shank, tie down the herl, and half-hitch.

8. Again using the gape of the hook as a gauge, select a cream hackle a gape and a half wide. Clean fuzz and fiber from the butt, and tie in by the butt (the "sweet spot" for this tie-in point is where the butt begins an abrupt taper to form the quill of the feather) at the front of the body with the curved side of the feather facing you.

9. Using hackle pliers, wrap the hackle forward, each wrap against the wrap preceding it. Make about four turns, but do not pass the index point. Tie down, half-hitch, and trim excess.

10. Form a small, tapered head; whip finish; and trim thread. Add a drop of cement to the head.

Fishing the Renegade:

Though we've tied this Renegade with dry-fly hackle and would fish it as a dry fly, sunken Renegades hae also taken their share of fish. So, if your Renegade happens to sink, don't be too quick to start casting again. Let it drift for a while, and see what happens. Renegades are also fine for bluegill and crappie, by the way. ~ Brad & John

Credits: From Successful Fly Tying by Brad Befus and John Berryman, published by Pruett Publishing.

For more great flies, check out: Beginning Fly Tying, Intermediate Fly Tying and Advanced Fly Tying.

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