February 2010

Red Badger

Larry Reis

Red Badger
Red Badger

Beadhead Red Badger
Red Badger--Beadhead Option

Hooks: TMC 3769 or equivalent nymph hook, sizes #18 - #2
Thread: Red 8/0 - 3/0, depending on hook size
Body: Red thread
Hackle: Badger hen cape
to match hook size
Bead: Optional bead head -- color of choice

Comments and Tying Instructions:
Build a slim, even body with red thread. Tie in the tip of a badger hackle feather at the tail of the fly. (Match hackle feather to hook size.) Palmer the hackle forward, making several successive wraps around the thorax for added bulk before tying off and tapering the head.

Besides being an easy pattern to tie, once you've finally found a quality badger hen hackle cape, this fly is a fly-catching fool if brown trout happen to be the object of your efforts. The beauty of this fly is found in its versatility. Dress the smallest flies with floatant for a passable midge emerger. Dead-drift intermediate sizes that apparently must resemble a mayfly, stonefly, or caddisfly larva, since trout suck them in like candy. Of course they can be cast across or downstream and swung in traditional wet fly style as well. Strip large patterns like streamers at night and hang on!

I got the basics for the Red Badger fly from my neighbor and fly tyer, Bob Pratt, in Lime Springs, IA, when I was a little kid. He was the best fly fisher I ever saw, and he tried to teach me how to take trout with a fly rod, too. Sorry to say, I should have paid more attention to his sage advice on the stream.

Photograph ©2010 by Marv Slind