What seems many years ago now, I booked my first steelhead trip in British Columbia. Having asked my good friend Brian Niska what sort of patterns I would need for the trip, he gave me several colour combinations rather than patterns. So I decided to do those colour combinations in an Atlantic Salmon pattern style I’d had lots of success with and therefore had confidence in, called the Pot Bellied Pig.
Originally designed by River Ness ghillie Peter Whittingham just over 20 years ago to look like a sombre prawn pattern, it soon became one of the most popular salmon tube flies. The use of the boar bristles as feelers added great movement with their kicking action in running water that fish found exciting! Here’s how to tie the original pattern, which I know also works for steelhead, which may have seen a few fly patterns and brighter flies and associate these brighter flies with danger.
Instructions, photos, and write-up done by our friend Stuart Foxall. Stuart is a superb fly angler, fly tier, and a great person. You can find him on Instagram – @stuartfoxall.
Step 1: Start with red thread on a copper tube. I’ve used a Sean Stanton Signature tube here as it’s got a nice bottle shape to it.
Step 2: Tie in some pig bristles as a tail. These have been dyed an orangey-brown color.
Step 3: On top of that, tie in some brown bucktail slightly shorter than the bristles.
Step 4: Add a couple of strands of Pearl krystal flash.
Step 5: Tie in a brown cock hackle by the base of the feather.
Step 6: Wrap the hackle twice at the rear of the fly and lock it in position with wraps of thread.
Step 7: Tie in some gold wire as a rib.
Step 8: Form a dubbed ‘noodle’ of brown seals fur.
Step 9: Wrap the dubbing noodle neatly to form a body.
Step 10: Counter wrap the ribbing to protect the cock hackle stalk and tie it off.
Step 11: Tie in a pair of jungle cock eyes to form a bit of a shellback.
Step 12: Whip finish and varnish the head.
As you can see, it’s a great natural-looking fly that picks out fish when other flies can spook older fish. Give them a go!
Even cats like the taste of them!!!
Other Flies to Tie: