Tie, Instructions, Photos, and Write-up By Kevin Foley.
The Blue Suede Shoe came about in early June 2015 after a day of fishing tributaries of the Susitna River in search of King Salmon. At the time, reports had suggested that King Salmon, the largest of the five species of Pacific Salmon occurring in the Susitna River drainage, had started their migration into the streams and rivers of the Mat-Su Valley. However, my efforts that day had gone largely unsuccessful as compared to other gear fishers I observed. That evening back at camp, I reflected upon the gear and lures I saw being used and pondered how I might adapt the techniques to my own equipment; a one-handed 10-wt fly rod.
My observations suggest I was searching for a fly that would sink quickly, provide a large profile, lots of flash, and movement, and remain durable. Most importantly, the fly had to keep a fish hooked tight to the line. For the latter, I felt a tube platform would be best to keep a large fish tight to the line. My experience told me that the Pro Sportfisher Nanotube system was a very convenient system, and a great way to add a “hotspot” to a fly with the use of different colored attachments. Not only that, but it would easily hold the barbless hooks I so frequently used for King Salmon fishing. When it came to fly color, the choice was easy. I would incorporate the time-tested and proven King-catching color combination of blue and chartreuse.
As far as movement and flash, I adopted the lateral scale from the Dali Lama fly and felt Flashabou would not only add flash but the movement as well. The supple strands of Flashabou move and breathe in the current when tied sparsely into a fly. Rabbit and fox are superb materials with amazing breathability and movement in the water and would be a great addition to the fly. However, the fox is expensive relative to the rabbit and rabbit is available just about anywhere fly tying materials are available.
I returned to the vise to create a solution to my observations and problems encountered on the water. What emerged was this fly. The following week I set out to field test the pattern and had amazing success! In time, this pattern has become my No. 1 go-to King Salmon fly for fishing Susitna River tributaries along the Parks Hwy. Since conceived, I have tied this fly without the barbell eyes for use with two-handed and switch rods. It has proven successful in other color combinations for Coho Salmon and Rainbow Trout on the Kenai River. I am happy to be able to share this fly with you.
- Tube: ProSport Fisher Nano Tube
- Thread: Veevus 140, White
- Eyes: XL Barbell
- Hook: OPST Swing Hook Offset Bend 1/0
- Wing: Chartreuse Zonker Strip
- Inner Collar: Chartreuse Frizzle Chenille, Large
- Outer Collar: Charetreuse Marabou
- Flash: Pearl Lateral Scale, and Blue Flashabou
- Head: Blue Steelie Ice Dub
Step 1: Form a bump of thread approximately 1/2” from the front of the tube.
Step 2: Secure barbell eyes behind the bump using cross wraps. Tie in a 7 1/2” piece of pearl flat braid at the rear of the tube, and wind thread forward.
Step 3: Wrap flat braid forward about 1” on the tube stopping about 3/8”-1/2” behind the barbell eyes.
Step 4: Tie in a 2 ¼” strip of chartreuse zonked rabbit strip (as measured on the skin).
Step 5: Tie in a 3” piece of large chartreuse frizzle chenille. Make two wraps of chenille, making sure to sweep chenille fibers rearward with each turn. Tie off and trim excess chenille. Add a marabou collar. I prefer a dubbing loop although wrapping in a long marabou feather by the tip will also work. Lightly wet your fingers and stroke all of the marabou to one side of the loop.
Step 6: Wrap the marabou loop forward and secure the marabou loop just behind the barbell eyes. Tie a single strand of lateral scale flashabou on each side of the fly. Flashabou should extend to the rear of the fly.
Step 7: Tie in two hanks of 8-10 strands of blue flashabou; one on the top, the other on the bottom. (Fold one hank of flashabou on the thread and secure on the top of the tube. Repeat for the bottom.) Advance thread to approximately 1/8” ahead of the barbell eyes on the tube.
Step 8: Create a 4” dubbing loop of Ice Dub Steelie Blue. Wet Steelie Blue slightly and fold the material together to one side of the dubbing loop thread. Wind thread to back behind the barbell eyes.
Step 9: Wrap the dubbing loop rearward to behind the barbell eyes. This requires you to stroke the dubbing loop materials FORWARD. Complete a single figure 8 wrap around the barbell eyes, making sure to keep the ice dub stroked forward! Stop behind the barbell eyes and secure the loop with several wraps of thread.
Step 10: Pick out the ice dubbed head such that the material sticks out, radiating 360 degrees from the tube.
Step 11: Leave approximately 1/8” of the tube beyond the tip of the fly. Cut the tube with a razor or scissors. Trim excess lengths of flashabou that may stick out too far past the end of the fly.
Step 12: Choose a brightly colored hook holder.
Step 13: Introduce the King to its new Blue Suede Shoe!
Other King Flies: