Brassed Off by Dave Wiltshire

Articles — By on September 29, 2009 9:38 am

brassieF

Hook choice: This is down to preference really.  I prefer to choose curved, grub hook.  My preferred choice is the TMC2457 or TMC 2488.  I prefer to use size 14 down to size 22.  A straight hook can also make a good looking fly, especially in smaller sizes.

The wire: I suppose ‘colour’ immediately springs to mind here.  Certainly changing colours can give you wide range of bugs.  Originally brass coloured, we now have a huge range of wire colour options available to us as tiers.  Have the confidence to experiment and you’ll find the ones that bring you the greatest success on your rivers.  You may even be surprised by the results. Copper, green and red all have their place in my fly box and a change in colour can turn a struggle into a day to remember.

Gauge of wire should be matched to the hook size. Trying to cram a thick wire onto a small hook may give you the desired weight, but be careful not to close the gape and limit the hooking potential of the fly.

I like to use the loose tag of wire at the end of the body to form a rib.  This adds a nice segmented effect, adds extra weight to the fly, avoids the ‘bump’ from tying in the wire onto the hook shank and makes the fly even simpler to tie.  Have a look at the step-by-step procedure (Page 3).

The thorax: Peacock herl, hare, rabbit guard hairs… The list is endless.  I personally like a longer dubbing fiber to create a ‘straggly’, life-like appearance.  Kept sparse, this effect is still achieved, but very little air is trapped and the fly is still able to descend through the water quickly.  Explore the options a little – try a soft hackle as a further alternative.

The ballast: Perhaps the real beauty of the Brassie is that its whole appearance and profile is based around the very material that helps it to function – the wire.  I also like to include a bead-head on many of my versions. Tungsten beads are great for adding extra mass in a small package. Whilst a small bead can be successfully added to a tiny version (Sub #20), I sometimes leave the bead off, allowing the wire to add the desired weight. Again, just watch the gape of the hook and ensure it is as open as possible.  If you do plan to use a bead on these smaller flies, try off-setting the hook point slightly to give yourself the best chance of a successful hook-up.

Whilst the bead’s primary role is to add weight to the fly, a range of colours adds even further options to your tying. There’s a good range of coloured beads on the market now and they are well worth experimenting with. Further, try experimenting with coloured glass beads and see how you get on.

Fished singly or as a team under a dry fly, or alongside other nymphs, the Brassie is a top pattern that will help you put fish in the net throughout the fishing year.  Experimentation is the key.

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Brassed Off by Dave Wiltshire, 8.0 out of 10 based on 7 ratings

13 Comments

  1. Oatka says:

    Very nice work. I love the wide range of colors you tied those in. Simple fly that still works. I like to tie these for kids to use under bobbers on spinning rods, for the same reason that they get down quick. Kids need quick since they often want to just reel the line in before the fly gets down.

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  2. This is a great artical, simple fly to tie, and brassies are great for the big bows here in British Columbia. To keep your price per fly down try tying these on Togen Scud hooks.

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  3. Paul Bowen says:

    Looks like some great general purpos nymphs. I think I’ll spend some time tying a few this winter for use next summer.

    Thanks and have a good day

    Paul

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  4. Dave Wiltshire says:

    Thanks for the comments. It really is simple; but very, very effective.

    Dave.

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  5. Marc Fauvet says:

    nice article, flies and sbs Dave. brassies in all their variants are a sure bet. thanks !

    cheers,
    marc

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  6. Paco says:

    Me gustan mucho sus montajes, por ello voy a montar unas cuantas brassies para usarlas con un muelle pues creo que pueden funcionar muy bien.Me gustó sobre todo el montaje del abdomen con un único hilo de cobre. Cuerpo y brinca con el mismo material,muy hábil, si señor. Un saludo desde Galicia (Spain)

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  7. Gracias! Espero que funcione bien para usted.

    Dave.

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  8. upstate tj. says:

    another example of traditional patterns with a fresh look.thanks again dave,those brassie’s would knock grandad’s sox off. we are blessed with the materials available to us. your articles give me much inspiration.

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  9. bigdewy says:

    Thanks Dave!! A great looking nymph that I know will be a killer here in the Sierras!

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  10. Thanks folks. Try it in very small sizes with micro-gauge wire. Can be very effective!

    ~Dave

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  11. Avril says:

    Hi Dave,
    I love these flies. Wondering what beads you are using? Would love to use some of those colors in my ties. avril

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  12. duane dunham says:

    Outstanding photography and excellent instructions. I would like a little more info on how you fish them.

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  13. thanks. I was looking for a pattern like this that would work right now!

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