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Graham's Ghost - A Reader Contribution

 Courtesy of Jonn Graham

I come from a standard gear background. Casting and spinning rods were my “thing” until, three years ago, I finally saw the light and turned fly fishing into a huge passion. Because of my background, I am often trying to make flies that imitate the lures I used during my pre fly fishing years. One of my old favorites is the soft plastic jerkbait – often just called a Fluke. The action of this bait drives smallies crazy! So when I began to tie, I was often fooling with long streamers that could best match the action of the fluke. My first few attempts were feeble, but I kept trying. Then I discovered a tying material called Body Fur. Body Fur is made by a few different companies. Cascade Crescent Tool company is one supplier of this neat material. After playing with body fur for a while and tweaking different designs, I came up with the completed Graham’s Ghost fly.

The fly is lightly weighted with wire wrap and I fish it just like I used to fish the old Fluke with the spinning rod. I normally throw it on a seven-weight rod with either standard Clouser floating line or Rio Streamer Tip line. When it comes to leaders, I have tried many different set-ups and have found them all to be acceptable. Straight, untapered leaders, furled leaders with a short tippet section of mono, and regular tapered leaders all work well. I fish the fly with very short, quick strips, which causes the fly to dart just under the surface of the water. I am sure a fly fisherman could fish the fly deeper using sinking line or a standard, heavy sink tip. I fish it near the surface because I just love to watch a smallmouth rise and crush the fly.


Here are the tying instructions:


Hook: Tiemco 8089NP #6 or #10 (#6 is my standard size)
Thread: 6/0 Uni Thread
Wire: .20 lead or lead substitute
Tail: Bucktail (any color you desire), Crystal Flash, Icelandic sheep wool (optional step), Flashabou
Collar: Ice fur or marabou
Head: Chenille
CCT Body Fur (regular size)
Eyes: Boss true vision 3D eyes
Markers: Sharpies or Prismacolor
Adhesives: 5 minute epoxy (for eye attachment), Sally Hansen’s Hard as Nails (thread sealer)


1. Build up a thread base all the way along the shank of the hook
2. Attach bucktail right in front of the bend of the hook. Make sure the tail extends about 3.5 inches back beyond the hook. (For a size 6)
3. Attach six to eight strands of crystal flash on top of the bucktail. The crystal flash should be the same length as the bucktail.
4. Attach a section of Icelandic Sheep Hair the same length as the bucktail (this step is optional)
5. Next, tie in about 8-12 strands of flashabou. Tie it in at the same exact location of the previous two materials. Make sure it is long enough that it extends back the same length as the previous materials, AND IT EXTENDS ABOUT AN INCH IN FRONT OF YOUR TIE DOWN POINT. You will fold that extra inch back in a later step.
6. Now, for the collar of the fly use ice fur or marabou. Cut two equal sections of materials that measure a little less than an inch. Secure them to both sides of the fly, right in front of where you tied all your tail materials. When you have them secured, they should measure about ˝ inch beyond the bend of the hook.
7. Now, go back to that section of flashabou that is extending from the tie-in point up toward the eye of the hook. Bend back that section and tie it in right where you were tying in the ice fur/marabou. This will be like a little top “fin”. This top fin should be around 1 inch long.
8. Now you are ready to build the head. First, tie in your body fur right in front of your collar material and leave it for now. About six to eight inches of body fur will ensure that you don’t run out while you are wrapping.
9. Tie in about a 6 inch section of chenille right in front of the body fur. Move your thread to just in front of the eye.
10. Wrap one layer of chenille from the tie in point up to just in front of the hook eye. This chenille will not be seen when the fly is finished. It is only there to provide bulk and make a fuller head in the end. Tie off the chenille and leave the thread right there.
11. Now, wrap your body fur forward. Make sure that each wrap is RIGHT in front of the previous wrap. Also, make sure when you wrap that each successive wrap is pointing slightly back. You want the head to be “full”.
12. When you get right in front of the hook eye, tie off the body fur, clip off the extra and whip finish the thread.
13. Now, it is time for the scissors. Trim the sides of the body fur very short. Then, only slightly trim the top and bottom.
14. Attach eyes using 5 minute epoxy. Make sure to liberally apply a good dab of epoxy in the spot where the eyes will affix. As the epoxy is setting up, keep pushing the eye into the body fur.
15. Normally, I like to take Sharpie or Prismacolor markers and make the top of the fly a darker color. Of course, this is optional. The Body Fur does take the marker color quite well. In addition, many times when you color the top you will get a slightly different color than the color of the marker.


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