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Fly Patterns
Flycraft Fullback

Fly Craft Fullback

Variation by Phil Rowley





Daiichi 1710 #6-#14


8/0, Black or Olive


Pheasant Tail


Fine Copper Wire


Pheasant Tail


Peacock Herl, Arizona Synthetic Peacock or Diamond Dub, UV Bronze Olive


Pheasant Tail


Peacock Herl, Arizona Synthetic Peacock or Diamond Dub, UV Bronze Olive


Partridge, Natural Brown/Grey


Fly fishers worldwide all have favorite searching or “go to” pattern.  In England it might be the Diawl Bach for many in North America a Hare’s Ear or Pheasant Tail Nymph might be the pattern of choice.  When fishing is tough or there is little in the way of a hatch to focus feeding trout generic suggestive patterns are a logical choice.  My personal favorite for such situations is the Fly Craft Fullback, part of fly-fishing’s so called football team.  Other successful teammates include the Halfback and the lesser-known Quarterback.  Stillwater fly-fishing differs little from rivers and streams in that dubbed or peacock patterns offer that special magic few trout can resist.  The Fullback is a generic nymph pattern that can be used to duplicate a variety of stillwater food sources including scuds, dragon nymphs, caddis pupa and Callibaetis nymphs.  


For those familiar with the patterns contained in the classic book for British Columbia stillwater fly-fishing the Gilly the Flycraft Fullback differs somewhat.  In creating the Flycraft Fullback I opted for a nymph look reminiscent of the Fullback’s cousin the Halfback.  Ribbing the shellback with fine copper wire provided for a more durable Fullback with distinct segmentation that provided for added confidence.  Confidence, as many fly fishers can attest, is an overlooked component of success that more often than not outweighs pattern choice.  Believing in a pattern provides an intangible to the fly fisher that translates into superior presentations and more fish to the hand. 


My preferred presentation for the Flycraft Fullback involves either a floating line, Midge Tip or an Outbound hover line in conjunction with a 12-foot or longer leader.  Using the ambient wind to sweep the fly through the water column as it sinks is a lethal presentation technique.  Once the Fullback is at depth, just above the bottom is best, begin a slow hand twist retrieve.  Almost chironomid paced.  Grabs can come at any point and depending upon the individual mood of the trout takes can range from subtle to savage.



Step by Step Tying Instructions



1) Place the hook into the vise. Cover the shank with tying thread forming a firm thread base.  Tie in a length of fine copper wire in at the ¾’s point on the shank and secure down the shank to the bend.



2) Form a dubbing loop and insert a dubbing spinner.  Place a balanced amount of dubbing within the dubbing loop along its entire length.  Twist the dubbing loop tight until the fibres radiate 90 degrees to the loop.  Wind the dubbing loop forward in close touching turns forming a scruffy tapered body to the ¾’s point on the hook.  Tie off and trim the excess dubbing noodle.



3) Tie in a clump of pheasant tail fibres in front of the body making sure the tips extend past the rear of the body half the hook shank.  Do not trim the excess butts protruding forward of the tie in point.  These will be used to form the wingcase.



4) Place one half turn in the copper wire so it hangs straight down below the shank.  Hold the pheasant tail fibres down along the body and hold in place.  Rib the wire forward in open turns securing the pheasant tail in place.  Pull the pheasant tail butts back and wind the wire around the shank 4-6 times.  Break away the excess wire using a pulling and twisting motion.  Secure the pheasant tail butts back over the body about 1/3 back from the hook eye.



5) Move the tying thread forward to the hook eye.  Select a natural brown/grey partridge feather with fibres that are ½ to ¾ of the shank in length.  Strip away the soft flue at the base of the feather.  Tie in the prepared feather by the stem wet fly style, with the convex side of the feather facing forward.  Form a small dubbing loop and insert a dubbing spinner.  Evenly load the dubbing loop with dubbing and using the dubbing spinner twist tight.  Wind the dubbing noodle forward in close touching turns forming a scurry thorax.  Tie off the dubbing noodle about one eye width back from the hook eye and trim the excess.



6) Grab the partridge feather by the tip with a pair of hackle pliers.  Wind the hackle directly in front of the thorax 2-3 times as the feather allows.  Sweep the fibres back after each wrap so they flow down and back along the body and thorax.  Tie off and trim the excess feather.  Hold the partridge fibres back and secure in place so they occupy the bottom half and sides of the fly.



7) Pull the wingcase forward over the thorax and secure in place. Trim the excess.  Build a neat tapered head, whip finish and apply head cement.



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