The Silver Outcast
Though I probably know all I need to about Charles
Waterman's Silver Outcast, a streamer fly for bass, I'd
like to know more. I'd like to know, for example, on
what style of hook tis fly should be tied. I'd like to
know how small to how large that hook should run. And
should the Outcast have jungle-cock eyes (my assortment of
fly-pattern books how it both with and without)? And where
in blazes is that pestiferous bunch of blue bucktail supposed
to be positioned in the wing?
By Skip Morris
These technical questions really taunt me - I like to have
all the details that leave no doubts abut how a particular
fly pattern is tied. Soon, I'm playing with variations,
conducting my little experiments, but I need a solid foundation
of concrete facts from which to launch me flights of imagination.
So I spent some time with Waterman's book, Black Bass &
the Fly Rod, and some others and came up with the answers
- or rather, best guesses - that follow: The hook should be of
heavy wire and regular length or short shank. Hook-size seems
to be a personal matter, though large hooks seem standard.
Jungle-cock eyes are optional, but adding eyes to a streamer
always makes sense because such flies normally suggest small
fish. And the blue buck tail probably belongs in the middle,
between the munches of white and yellow (even though Flies
for Bass & Panfish, by Dick Stewart and Farrow Allen,
shows a same Outcast with the blue on top).
That's probably all abut right, though a bit speculative.
On the other hand, I do know a few things about
the Silver Outcast for certain. I know that Waterman developed
the fly by accident - his rendering of a fly called the Silver
Doctor was somehow so far off the mark that when Dan Bailey saw
the aberrant version he said, according to Waterman, that it
"didn't look like any Silver Doctor he ever produced at his fly
shop." I know that it's always been considered primarily a
fly for largemouth and smallmouth bass. And I know that as bass
flies go, it's an easy one to tie, and easy to cast.
I also know that it works.
So I suppose that even though I'd like more hard, sure details
about the Silver Outcast, I know enough.
Materials for the Silver Outcast:
Hook: Heavy wire, short to regular shank, standard
Thread: Black 8/0. 6/0, or 3/0.
Body: Flat silver tinsel.
Wing: White buck tail under blue buck tail under
yellow buck tail. A few strands of peacock herl atop all
the buck tail.
Tying Instructions for the Silver Outcast:
Credits: The Silver Outcast is from Skip Morris's book,
Morris on Tying Flies, published by Frank Amato
Publications, (2006). The book contains seventy-four patterns,
Skip's favorites, updated from top to bottom.
1. Start the thread just back from the hook's eye; trim the
end of the thread. Bind on some flat silver tinsel (or two-color
Mylar tinsel with the silver side up) just back from the eye.
Wind the tinsel in close tight turns to the hook's bend.
2. Wind the tinsel forward to its starting point, again in
tight close turns; secure the tinsel under a few tight
thread-runs. Trim both the stub ends of the tinsel.
3. Stack a small bunch of white buck tail, and then bind
it just behind the hook's eye. The buck tail should project
back, from where it is bound on, about two full hook lengths.
4. Closely trim the butts of the hair and partially bind them.
There is more buck tail and a topping of peacock herl remaining
to complete this wing, and Waterman says he prefers this wing
tied "pretty skimpily," so keep this in mind.
5. Over the white buck tail, bind a small bunch of the stacked
blue buck tail. The tips of the blue should be even with the tips
of the white. Trim the butts of this new bunch and, again,
partically bind them.
6. Over the blue buck tail, bind and trim a small bunch of
stacked yellow, in the same manner as the previous two
7. Over the yellow buck tail, bind a small bunch of peacock
herl. The tips of the herl should be even; they should also
be even with the tips of the buck tail. Trim the butts of the
herl closely. Build and complete a threadhead to complete
the Silver Outcast.
8. Some tiers add cheeks of jungle cock, which suggest
eyes. An eyed jungle-cock feather is simply stripped
of its fuzzy fibers and bound to one side of the thread
head. Then a second jungle-cock feather is bound to the
other side before the thread head is completed.
~ Skip Morris