04
Jun
11

Fly Tying & Fishing: Borger Brassie

It is a reality of fly tying and fishing that we tend to seek refinements ad nauseam for patterns. It cannot stand that a simple, effective pattern can just be, as is, without more color options, dubbing, beads, etc…. refinements from what if’s and what about’s.

Several years ago, I sat front row at a Fly Fishing Expo affair in Portland, Oregon. Gary Borger was a featured speaker in one of the little side theaters. My son and I sat excited to get some inside refinement to our fishing efforts and from a notable fly fisher to boot. Borger was, that day, crusty and authoritative. Boy, this was going to be good.

Authoritative about what? One of his go to patterns, a copper wire bodied fly with a red thread head and no beard as depicted in the pic here. That fly with a split shot a foot above the fly was the offering that day. Initially, I heard a man from behind mumble ‘you’re kidding me?’  But, Borger wasn’t kidding and he remarked at the simplicity of the whole fly, rigging, presentation. It struck me that day how confused I was. That was it?

Was that all there was? Really, if that was true then maybe the problem wasn’t the gear, the waters, the fly….maybe it was me over thinking, over planning, over “everything-ing…(my word, you can borrow it). I have not forgotten that simple approach that Borger offered that day. It still flies in the face of the difficulties I have catching Steelhead on big rivers (not smaller coastal rivers where pods stack up and one hander nymphing rigs connect with fish).

But, none the less, the point here is some patterns are simple and presentation is perhaps more critical than over tweaked fly patterns. The over tweaking is part of the creative bent most tiers enjoy and the fun of putting your personal touches on a pattern. If it works, all the better. The admonition to KISS is often good advice. I think it is a benchmark to keep an eye on when one ranges so far afield, that basics are forgotten and success is elusive. 

“This pattern is attributed to Gary Borger although it is an adaptation of a pattern originally tied for the South Platte in 1971 by Ed Marsh. Gary admits that this particular version came about by him not remembering the correct dressing as related to him earlier. Anyway he was fishing the Armstrong Spring Creek the next summer when he saw the little flies in his box and tied one on in desperation and the rest is well, history. He says it has taken trout feeding on midges in rivers and streams the world over as well as even fooling steelhead!

“It works because the wire body provides a strongly segmented appearance and because the bright copper produces an attention-getting flash. The copper colour also suggests a rusty brown larva and may hint at the red colour of a bloodworm. I’ve dressed this pattern in every imaginable shape and form; with a thorax, with a tail , with legs, with a sparkle yarn husk, with a wing, with a soft hackle, with a stiff hackle, and so on.

They all catch fish, but not anymore effective than the simple body and throat. So I’ve stayed with my original, mistaken design.” (Gary Borger, Designing Trout Flies, 1991, page 93).”           http://www.goulburnvlyflyfishing.com.au


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