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Hotwire Steelhead Copper John!

By Pete Rosenau February 14, 2021 0 comments

I've always been a fan of the Hotwire style designed by Ken Morrish as well as the iconic Copper John by John Barr. This fly is a combination of the Hotwire Caddis and Copper John with some variations. This pattern is very successful in smaller sizes for trout and other species. Thanks for tying along! 

-Pete 

Materials List:
Hook- Ahrex XO774 sz4
Thread- Ultra Thread Wood Duck 70 
Bead- Hareline Gritty Tungsten Gold 5/32"
Weighted Wire- NL .015
Tails- Hareline Stripped Goose Biots  Gold
Flash- Olive Lateral Scale
Body Wire- Ultra Wire Medium Olive and Gold
Thorax- Spawn Simi Seal Sand Dab
Wing Case- Olive Lateral Scale with Olive Thin Skin
Wing/Legs- Nature's Spirit Mallard Flank Blue Winged Olive
Collar- Nature's Spirit Duck Cul De Canard  Wood Duck
*Loon Hard Head
*Loon UV Clear Fly Finish Thin
Step 1:      Before putting the hook in the vise, you will probably need to crimp the barb on the hook with a smooth pair of pliers. Once you've slipped the bead onto the hook, place it into your vise.
Step 2: Add 15 wraps of the .015 non lead wire to the hook shank. After clipping and smoothing both ends of the wire wraps, push the wire into the back of the bead. 
Step 3:  Begin your thread on the hook and cover the wire wraps with a few passes of thread. Tilt the hook in the vise and take your thread down to where you'd like the tails to split. Take a few extra wraps of thread at this spot to create a thread bump. This will help to keep the tails separated.  
Step 4:  Tie in two goose biots on top of the hook, but making sure they point outward. As you tie down to the thread bump and snug against it with thread wraps you can feel the biots seating securely. Take your time before this point to make sure you have the tails exactly where you want them.
Step 5: Tie in a piece of olive Lateral Scale all the way back to the last thread wraps of the tails. It is important to keep the flash directly on top of the hook shank in the tie in as well as while we wrap the body.
Step 6: Tie in both wires, butting them up against the end of our weighted wire wraps. Be sure to wrap the wires all the way to your previous thread wraps. Propping the wires to a 90* bend before you begin wrapping the body will make the first wrap much simpler and cleaner. After securing the wires with a couple passes of thread bring the thread to the back of the bead. 
Step 7: Make two wraps with the wires held together as though they are one. Bring the flash over those first two wraps and trap the flash as you make the third wrap, which is happening in the photo. Make sure the flash is not being crinkled by the wires and that it stays directly on top of the hook.
Step 8:  Bring the flash back over the rear of the hook as you make the 4th wrap with the wires. 
Step 9: Bring the flash back over the 4th set of wire wraps and trap it with the 5th wire wraps. This will continue up the hook shank. The flash will be trapped on any odd number of wire wraps.
Step 10: After you've made a wrap of wire onto the weighted wire, tie down the wires and bend them back toward the hook point before cutting. This will ensure extra strength in your wire bodies. Do not cut the flash.
Step 11: Bring the flash back over the top of the wire wraps and tie back for a small thorax. With a traditional wire body I'd use a longer thorax, but for the Hotwire style I prefer to show off the body a touch more.
Step 12: Tie in a strip of olive Thin Skin that is just smaller than the width of the bead, but is still wider than the Later Scale.
Step 13: Prepare a CDC feather by trimming the fibers at the tip of the feather. This is tied in with the convex, or top side, facing forward and by the tip. It is important to keep this on the side of the hook shank, or even underneath in order to allow for the mallard wing on top of our thorax in the next steps.
Step 14: Add some Simi to your thread to form a thin noodle of dubbing. Dub back once and then forward to behind the bead. There is already a good deal of underbody built up, so you don't need a lot of dubbing.
Step 15:  This is what your mallard feather should look like before tying it in. The fibers should reach comfortably past the body without being excessive. 
Step 16: Tie in the mallard feather with 3 gentle thread wraps. At this point make sure it is positioned properly and gently adjust the length if needed using the butt end of the quill. Once it is to your liking add a couple more securing thread wraps.
Step 17: Take one wrap of your thread in front of the CDC. Then make two wraps of the CDC feather, keeping all the fibers going rearward by stroking them back with your off hand as your tying hand wraps the feather. Tie off and trim the excess. If there are any fibers on top of the hook shank, you can either trim them with your scissors or slide them to either side of the thorax with your finger tips.
Step 18:  Bring the Thin Skin over the dubbed thorax and tied down behind the bead with three strong thread wraps. 
Step 19: Now bring the flash over the Thin Skin and tie down with 2 thread wraps. At this point maintain tension on your thread as you bring the flash back over itself toward the hook point. Take 2-3 thread wraps to catch the flash. Securing it this way will prevent it from slipping out after a toothy encounter. After trimming the flash, make a neat thread collar and add two whip finishes. Trim the thread and add a coat of Loon Hard Head of cement of your choice to the thread wraps.
Step 20: Add a layer of Loon UV Clear Fly Finish Thin to the Thin Skin thorax and cure with your UV torch. Now run another small line of Thin resin over the thorax and down the back of the wired body where the flash is. Quickly cure with your torch. You are now ready to chase some steel with a classy nymph that is sure to be noticed. 

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