ball sits on a tuft of healthy green, 195 yards from the bright flag
shimmering in the soft summer breeze. The breath of wind is
quartering towards your gaily dressed party as you look to the caddy,
here a young boy but on the continent a trained and serious
professional, and ask for your brassie. A century ago a brassie
was a golf club; a precursor to today's fairway woods.
Today the brassie is gone
from golf. More than a century after it began it's evolution from
brass-faced wood club to the modern 3-wood, the brassie moniker again
surfaced, unrelated, in the sport of fly fishing. A western
pattern with its roots in Colorado, the Brassie has been fooling trout
since the dawn of disco. From its plain wire body and simple
construction have come bushels of variations, the most famous of these
the Copper John.
Today the traditional
two-part Brassie is as effective as ever. At its most basic, this
is a blindingly brilliant imitation of a caddis larva, midge larva or
aquatic beetle larva. These aquatic insects are so common, in both
cold water and warm water flows, as to be considered the first important
step in the food chain of game fish. Beyond simple imitation, the
enduring strength of the Brassie is its endemic mass, the dense tie
veritably plummets to the bottom. As we all know, trout spend 90%
of their time living, eating and hiding on the bottom.
The Brassie was originally
tied with thin brass wire. But brass is quick to tarnish and it
wasn't long before copper wire took its place. Copper, too, will
tarnish, but at a slower rate. And varnished copper, common in
electrical parts, is even better protected and slower to dull.
Copper quickly became the material of choice and bead heads, rubber
legs, wing cases and exotic hackles quickly found their way into the
design. Some materials made the fly fish better some of the time
(glass and brass beads), but most only made it look a bit different.
Today you won't see the simple version shown here in as many fly boxes.
Excellent variations to
carry include those tied with different colors of wire. I like red
and chartreuse best of all. I carry copper, red and chartreuse, in
both bead head and standard thread-head versions in sizes from 10 to 18
and I've done very well presenting them to bluegills in lakes,
smallmouth in creeks and trout in clear, cold flows. In red the
Brassie is an amazing carp fly, one you should carry if you intend to
dance with the big, golden fish. And I've heard the brighter
colors are absolute bad news for steelhead, so much so that a few
fellows I know wouldn't head to Steelhead Alley without them.
This is a simple fly,
productive and effective. It's a fast tie and a good choice for a
beginning tier to practice with. It's almost impossible to make
one that won't catch a fish. And that's saying something...
Hook: Standard wet fly or curved
"scud style" as desired, size 10 to as small as you can tie them!
Thread: 8/0, 70 denier, black
Body: Thin copper, brass or colored wire.
Thorax: Peacock herl. Also
try dubbing in various colors
Thread head or bead head as desired.