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The Silver Outcast
By Skip Morris

Though I probably know all I need to about Charles Waterman's Silver Outcast, a streamer fly for bass, I'd like to know more. I'd like to know, for example, on what style of hook tis fly should be tied. I'd like to know how small to how large that hook should run. And should the Outcast have jungle-cock eyes (my assortment of fly-pattern books how it both with and without)? And where in blazes is that pestiferous bunch of blue bucktail supposed to be positioned in the wing?

Silver Outcast Variations

These technical questions really taunt me - I like to have all the details that leave no doubts abut how a particular fly pattern is tied. Soon, I'm playing with variations, conducting my little experiments, but I need a solid foundation of concrete facts from which to launch me flights of imagination. So I spent some time with Waterman's book, Black Bass & the Fly Rod, and some others and came up with the answers - or rather, best guesses - that follow: The hook should be of heavy wire and regular length or short shank. Hook-size seems to be a personal matter, though large hooks seem standard. Jungle-cock eyes are optional, but adding eyes to a streamer always makes sense because such flies normally suggest small fish. And the blue buck tail probably belongs in the middle, between the munches of white and yellow (even though Flies for Bass & Panfish, by Dick Stewart and Farrow Allen, shows a same Outcast with the blue on top).

That's probably all abut right, though a bit speculative. On the other hand, I do know a few things about the Silver Outcast for certain. I know that Waterman developed the fly by accident - his rendering of a fly called the Silver Doctor was somehow so far off the mark that when Dan Bailey saw the aberrant version he said, according to Waterman, that it "didn't look like any Silver Doctor he ever produced at his fly shop." I know that it's always been considered primarily a fly for largemouth and smallmouth bass. And I know that as bass flies go, it's an easy one to tie, and easy to cast.

I also know that it works.

So I suppose that even though I'd like more hard, sure details about the Silver Outcast, I know enough.

Materials for the Silver Outcast:

    Hook: Heavy wire, short to regular shank, standard bass-streamer sizes.

    Thread: Black 8/0. 6/0, or 3/0.

    Body: Flat silver tinsel.

    Wing: White buck tail under blue buck tail under yellow buck tail. A few strands of peacock herl atop all the buck tail.

Tying Instructions for the Silver Outcast:

    Silver Outcast

    1. Start the thread just back from the hook's eye; trim the end of the thread. Bind on some flat silver tinsel (or two-color Mylar tinsel with the silver side up) just back from the eye. Wind the tinsel in close tight turns to the hook's bend.

    Silver Outcast

    2. Wind the tinsel forward to its starting point, again in tight close turns; secure the tinsel under a few tight thread-runs. Trim both the stub ends of the tinsel.

    Silver Outcast

    3. Stack a small bunch of white buck tail, and then bind it just behind the hook's eye. The buck tail should project back, from where it is bound on, about two full hook lengths.

    Silver Outcast

    4. Closely trim the butts of the hair and partially bind them. There is more buck tail and a topping of peacock herl remaining to complete this wing, and Waterman says he prefers this wing tied "pretty skimpily," so keep this in mind.

    Silver Outcast

    5. Over the white buck tail, bind a small bunch of the stacked blue buck tail. The tips of the blue should be even with the tips of the white. Trim the butts of this new bunch and, again, partically bind them.

    Silver Outcast

    6. Over the blue buck tail, bind and trim a small bunch of stacked yellow, in the same manner as the previous two bunches.

    Silver Outcast

    7. Over the yellow buck tail, bind a small bunch of peacock herl. The tips of the herl should be even; they should also be even with the tips of the buck tail. Trim the butts of the herl closely. Build and complete a threadhead to complete the Silver Outcast.

    Silver Outcast

    8. Some tiers add cheeks of jungle cock, which suggest eyes. An eyed jungle-cock feather is simply stripped of its fuzzy fibers and bound to one side of the thread head. Then a second jungle-cock feather is bound to the other side before the thread head is completed.

    Silver Outcast

    ~ Skip Morris

Credits: The Silver Outcast is from Skip Morris's book, Morris on Tying Flies, published by Frank Amato Publications, (2006). The book contains seventy-four patterns, Skip's favorites, updated from top to bottom.

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

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