Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Thunder and Lightning Fly is more than a Great Storm Fly

Doug's Version of the Thunder and Lightning Fly
The Thunder and Lightning fly was supposedly named after a sudden storm caused a river to rise quickly and which in turn caused salmon to go into a feeding frenzy. However, as years passed, fly fishers discovered that it was a much better fly in low water. Because of this, I tend to believe that the Thunder and Lightening fly is an all-around pattern that can be used in many conditions. There are numerous variations that are effective as well. 

My only experience with this fly occurred at Davis Lake, Oregon where rainbows of ten pounds or more could be caught. My friend Bill and I had been fishing this lake for several hours with only a few smaller fish to our credit. We were still enjoying the day, when the weather suddenly began to turn for the worse. Dark, ominous clouds began to build up in the northeast which quickly grabbed my attention. When thunder began to rumble, I told Bill that we should head back, but he just scoffed and said with a cocky sneer, “What, are you afraid of a little lightening? 

I glared directly at him and said, “Bill, we are sitting in an aluminum boat and our graphite fly rods are lightning rods! Let’s go before it gets worse.” 

He was very indignant and said sarcastically, “Maybe we’ll have better luck if we use the Thunder and Lightning fly!” 

When he laughed, I glared at him and yelled, “Bill, that’s taunting nature! I’m rowing back and taking cover.” 

The minute we got to camp, thunder, strong winds and lightening began to threaten us. Besides the lightening, the rain began to pelt the camp, the wind collapsed our tent and our sleeping bags got sopping wet.  After we weathered the storm, the subject of lightening never entered our conversation again.

Dr. T. E. Pryce-Tannant refers to the Thunder and Lightning fly in this book, How to Dress Salmon FliesThe original recipe for this fly took 16 applications, but here is a simplified version that should also work.

Tag:  Oval gold tinsel
Tail:  Golden pheasant crest
Butt:  Black ostrich herl
Body:  Black floss, gold tinsel and palmered orange hackle
Throat:  Blue jay feathers
Wing:  Bronze mallard feather over teal
Topping: Golden pheasant crest
Shoulder:  Jungle Cock
Head:  Black ostrich herl

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