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Pete's R&B
By Pete Hiatt, Sister, OR

Pete's R&B is a fisherman's fly. It has become my GO TO fly for steelhead and lake fishing. It is one of those patterns which simply PERFORMS. I never thought of it as a lake fly until a friend used it on Diamond Lake near Crater Lake, Oregon. There is a local patterns called the Diamond Lake Special which has done very well for me over the years but my friend used Pete's R&B and seriously out fished everything else being used including bait. This pattern uses red which has always been a strike enhancer. It also uses black marabou which has enticing movement in water. The pattern is something like a leech pattern and something like a skunk fly, but is a 100% using fly.

I have two favorite types of hooks. I have always loved the heavy Eagle Claw #1197 eye down and the eye up hooks like Gamakatsu and Montana Fly Hooks. I am tying this one on a red Gamakatsu in size #4. I like #2 for salmon, #4 for steelhead and larger trout and #6 and #4 for regular trout and sea run cutthroat. This hook is red colored in keeping with the red colors on the fly.

If the vise looks unusual, it is a 40 year old Universal Rotator. Still my favorite vise. It should be a good one since I paid almost $10 for it.

We start by applying black thread of whatever size is handy. I am not picky on this and the fish aren't either. It only needs to be strong enough to tighten down the hair. With this in mind, the smaller sizes allow for more error than thicker thread. I tie my flies to last forever, so I use head cement in every stage. Do as you like.

I like movement in the tail, too, so I use the "marabou" type material from the root of chicken feathers. The color for this pattern is red.

Photo #4 shows the black yarn attached and the hammered red tinsel attached. A few subtle hints here. I apply the yarn forward and run it back so the butt is not overly bulbous. We are not tying a Hillary fly after all. One more valuable point. The tinsel is tied on at an angle so that the metal does not crimp and break. The yarn is tied forward and then the tinsel. They are tied off and more head cement applied. I HATE FLIES THAT COME APART. Now a comment on why yarn instead of chenille. When I fish out of a boat in tidewater, I cast under brush (sometimes unsuccessfully). The brush will wear off part of the chenille body material but won't bother yarn. Also the incoming tides are full of leaves in the water which also wears off the chenille. For this reason, I never use chenille. One more comment on the body. When using a red or orange body, they seem to perform better when quite fat. It doesn't seem to matter when it is black.

Photo #5 shows the body material tied off.

Now comments on hackle. This fly uses black hackle but WHAT TYPE OF BLACK HACKLE? The answer depends on how deep you want to fish the fly. You can tie soft hen hackle or sparsely tied rooster hackle if you want to fish down. If you want to fish it closer to the surface which I always do for sea run cutts, use rooster hackle tied thicker. I dislike weighting flies so I vary hook type and size and tying characteristics instead. Just keep in mind what your fishing preferences are.

Remember to leave room to tie the head. That is a very common error in nearly all flies.

Photo #6 shows the hackle tied on and cemented.

Now we tie on the marabou underwing as I call it.

Photo #7 shows the underwing tied and cemented.

Photo #8 shows the red Polar Bear tied and cemented. You need to clamp this down well and cement well as the hair is slick and can get away from you. Some pre-glue the hair together before applying it. A rubbery glue works best if you do this. Polar bear hair can still be legally purchased in the US.

Now for the head. The head can be very important. Some like it very small. I prefer it larger and buggy. Some might apply eyes. I have not found it necessary in this pattern. Simply form it to your preference, liberally cement, and go fishing.

The photo above shows that it works. This was on the North Santiam River in Oregon on a hatchery steelie of about 6 pounds. You can read this fishing article HERE. ~ Whopper Bubba, Oregon


For more great flies, check out: Beginning Fly Tying, Intermediate Fly Tying and Advanced Fly Tying.


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