Hornberg Fly -


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Hornberg FlyHornberg Fly - by Roger Hoffman

     Without hesitation, I would say my favorite fly is the Hornberg. It has all the attributes I look for in a fly. Itís easy to tie, itís large enough to see in the water, it has great action, it can be tied and used either wet or dry, trout love it, but more importantly, so do I.

     Jack Palance, the actor, once made the remark "Confidence is so very sexyÖdonít you think?".I donít know about the sexy part but I do know that with confidence, we are better fishermen. The Hornberg does that for me!

The Fly Pattern

     The Hornberg is usually tied on a long shank hook in sizes # 6-10. Thatís not to say a #4 3x would be out of place nor would a #10 or 12 tied as a dry fly. The body is of flat silver tinsel although I have used the gold with no noticeable difference. The body is enclosed by a pair of yellow hen neck hackles (some use yellow calf or buck tail) extending past the bend in the hook. A pair of wider and slightly longer mallard breast feathers is tied flat against the yellow underbody. The ends of the mallard feathers are stroked together and into a point that is then maintained with a drop of head cement. Cheeks of jungle cock are then applied on either side. Starling breast feathers will also work here. Leave plenty of room at the head end to accommodate at least two grizzly hen neck hackles wrapped in opposite directions. The hackle needs to be soft but full. A small head of black thread completes the fly.

Fly Fishing with the Hornberg

     A Wisconsin conservation officer, Frank Hornberg, developed the fly sometime prior to the Second World War. It works well for all trout and I have caught land locked salmon in Maine on it as well. I generally false cast the fly and then let it sit on top of the water as a dry for a few beats until it sinks. Fish it at any depth with strong 2-3 ft strips and watch the hackle flow and undulate, unmistakably proclaiming, "If youíve got it, flaunt it". I watch it and dream of Sheherazade!!


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