Fly Patterns - Bill's Big Fish Fly

                 Bill's Big Fish Fly



This caddis adult imitation is based on a pattern created by Al Beatty. He calls it the Hackle-Top Hopper. When I read his article in Trout magazine, I immediately tied a few and tested them out. My findings were that, tied correctly, the fly floats high, has great appeal to fish, and is very easy to see on the water. It worked well fished by itself, but I really liked it fished as the surface fly in a hopper-dropper setup. It can support a couple of flies and 1 or two split shot. I have never liked Stimulators for October Caddis adults (heaven knows I have used them for many years) because of the very unrealistic way that they sit up on the water surface instead of floating flush on the surface film as do October Caddis adults. The name I have given the much-modified fly is Bill's Big Fish Fly. The reason is contained in the name itself. The fly is not overly difficult to tie, but it does require some intermediate tying skills.


Tying Instructions  (For best viewing: (1) Maximize your Browser Window. (2) Type "Ctrl + or -" to enlarge or contract the webpage display. (3) Use the Horizontal and Vertical Scroll Bars to scroll right and up/down to display larger photos in your browser)

1.       Debarb the hook, place it in your vise, and cover the shank with thread.


2.       Just above the back of the barb tie in a 12 piece of 2x or 3x monofilament. This will become the hackle post; we will wind the hackle around the monofilament. If you have a gallows tool with your vise, use it to hold the monofilament tightly in a vertical position. If you dont have a gallows tool, attach the mono to your light or figure out some other makeshift way.



3.       At the same point, tie in a long furnace or brown saddle hackle. Wind it counterclockwise and upward around the mono in widely spaced turns; when you reach the 1 point begin winding downward in very close turns. If done correctly, this method will allow you to achieve 30-40 turns. This helps to provide flotation.


4.       When you have reached the shank with the saddle hackle turns, tie off the hackle in front of  the post. It helps to let your hackle pliers hang over the shank and release the tension on the mono. You can pull the mono/hackle backward and out of the way while you are tying the hackle down.




5.       Cut a 1/8 strip of orange 2mm foam, making a point at one end. Tie the pointed end in just ahead of the hackle post and move your thread forward to the 1/3 point on the shank.



6.       Wrap the foam strip forward in close, interlocked turns. Don't stretch the foam as it destroys its floatation qualities. Tie the foam off at the 1/3 point. This leaves the front 1/3 of the hook for the rest of the steps.




  1. Apply some Flexament to the top of the body, and then bring the hackle post over the body. Pull it tightly forward, making sure it is directly on top of the body. Tie it off at the 1/3 point.




8.       At the same point, tie in a small bunch of orange crystal flash. Trim it so that it extends just slightly beyond the hook bend.


9.       Cut a small bunch of burnt orange deer hair, measure it to shank length, and tie it in at the same point, tips facing to the rear. Don't stack the hair.




  1. Cut another, slightly larger bunch of the deer hair. Measure it so it equals approximately 1.5 times the length of the shank. Trim the butts even, and tie this bunch in directly behind the hook eye with the tips pointing out over the eye. Keep the hair directly on top of the hook. Wrap rearward, covering up all of the butts. Place a drop of superglue on the tied-down butts.



  1. Dub a thorax of creamy orange Buggy Nymph, leaving the thread at the 1/3 point. To achieve this you'll need to dub rearward from the hook eye to the 1/3 point.




12.   Gather up the second bunch of deer hair and pull it directly upward; make sure you have all of the hair, and smooth it out as much as possible. Bring it over the thorax, forming a nice bullet head. Make sure that there is no space left between the front of the bullet heat and the hook eye.


13.   Tie the hair down at the 1/3 point. As you do this, push the hair down at the tie-down point, in order to make the hair splay outward. Place a tiny drop of superglue at the tie-down point.




14.   Double a strand of pumpkin Sili-Leg material. Place it on top of the fly with the middle of its length at the wing tie-down point. Wrap 3 loose turns of thread over the leg material, and then cut the doubled loop. Pull one of the two sections down onto the far side of the hook, and the other onto the close side of the hook. Wrap the legs down tightly.




  1. Whip finish between the legs and trim the thread.  Apply glossy head cement to the top of the bullet head. This increases durability and provides a nice finish to the fly.








Tying & Fishing Tips

1.       When making the wing sections on this fly, don't stack the hair'it gives the wing a more natural profile.

2.       Make a black stripe on the top of the wing, along the shank axis, using a black Sharpie.

3.       Before fishing the Big Fish Fly, apply silicone paste to the entire fly. Use only a small amount. When the fly begins to lose its floatation, immerse it in floatant powder and rub the powder in with your fingers. It will float like a cork after this treatment.

4.       I tie this same fly with an amber body to imitate a Golden Stonefly; all black to imitate a cricket; in yellow and olive to imitate a hopper; and with a yellow-olive body and black wing to imitate a Skwala Stonefly.




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