Tying the Beadhead Brassie

The Brassie is a great all-around nymph pattern that offers three great features: its wire body imitates the segmented bodies of midges and caddisflies, it’s easy to tie, and it sinks like a stone—which means you can fish it deep. Invented in Colorado in the 1960s by three South Platte fanatics—Ken Chandler, Tug Davenport, and Gene Lynch—the original Brassie had a body of copper wire and a head of black shrink-wrap tubing. The pattern was so effective on trout that the three anglers marketed it in local fly shops, and it became quite popular, both locally and beyond. Over the years, the shrink-wrap tubing head was replaced by peacock herl, and the original straight-shank hook gave way to a curved-shank emerger hook. Brassies are also often tied with wire of different colors, especially red and green, or even two colors on a single fly.

This video, by Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions, has all the elements that make Tighline’s step-by-step tying videos so popular here on OrvisNews.com: clear instructions by the narrator, pinpoint focus so you can see exactly what the tier is doing, and a few of tricks that will make you a better tier. Because he has tied these patterns so many times, Tim has developed ways of making the process easier. Here, you’ll learn how to keep your copper wire organized with a pad of sticky notes, how to spin the bobbin to create a smoother thread underbody, and why you don’t need scissors to trim the wire or the peacock herl.

Brassie from Tightline Productions on Vimeo.


          The Beadhead Brassie
          Hook: 2X-short emerger hook (here a Dai-Riki #125), sizes 14-20.
          Bead: Black, 3/32”.
          Thread: Black, 70 denier or 8/0.

Body: Copper Ultra Wire, brassie-size.
          Head/Thorax: Peacock herl.    
                 Adhesive: Zap-A-Gap.       

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