Friday, June 15, 2018

Tying Tutorial: The Bronze Goddess

Several years ago, a fishing buddy offered to take me to his favorite little stream near his home for some small water Ohio bass fishing.  Little did I know how much this introduction would affect my future fly fishing endeavors locally in Ohio.  When I asked what flies to bring, one he suggested was a pattern new to me called the Bronze Goddess.  I immediately looked the fly up online, and found the following online tutorial for it.

To be perfectly honest, I wasn't impressed at a glance.  It looked messy and gaudy to me, but I churned out a few with the materials and colors I had handy and went fishing.  Fishing the Goddess made me a believer.  Let's be realistic, it is basically just a bugger with some mallard flank and lead eyes, but the thing fished amazingly well on those small stream bass.  Over the next few years, the Goddess (in varying colors) caught my top 4 small stream bass.  These streams typically have a mix of spotted and largemouth bass, and both readily engulf the Goddess.  I have changed a few minor things over the years, tweaking the fly to be more to my liking.  It's a quick and pretty easy tie so you can stuff a box in no time.  

Color combinations are pretty endless, so let your imagination run wild.  A few of the color combinations that have worked really well for me are: a mostly brown with orange mallard, all black with blue mallard, olive with tan mallard, and (my not-so secret weapon) white/gray with pink mallard for the collar.  For the purposes of this tutorial, I am going to tie the olive and tan version.

Hook - DaiRiki 700B size 6 (20* bent shank hook)
Eyes - double pupil lead eyes, size Small (orange)
Thread - 6/0 red
Tail - marabou (olive) and Krystal Flash (olive)
Body - hackle (fiery brown) and Arizona Diamond Dub (copper olive)
Collar - mallard flank (tan)
Head - Arizona Diamond Dub (copper olive)

Begin by tying in your dumbbell eyes.  I like to add a bit of cement to both sides of the eyes after they are tied in to help keep them from spinning.  On the bent shank hook, I attach the eyes at about the midway point of the front shank portion.

Next tie in the marabou for the tail to be about the length of the hook.  I also add some sparse flash, 2 pieces of Krystal Flash per side.  Tie the butts of the marabou all the way to the eyes to help build up a little body.

Tie in your fiery brown hackle feather by the tip where the thread meets the marabou tail.

Create a dubbing loop of the copper olive Diamond Dub to wrap for the body of the fly.  A hair or material clip is helpful to keep the spinning dubbing loop from catching your hackle feather or marabou tail.

Wrap the dubbing loop forward in touching turns and tie off behind the eyes.  Trim any excess loop.  If you are a person who makes your own dubbing/streamer brushes, that works great for wrapping the Diamond Dub on this fly.  It's much faster than using dubbing loops, but both options work great.

Now wrap the hackle feather through the dubbing in an open spiral.  Coax the hackle fibers to lay back as best you can.  I find it's easy to just wrap the feather, tie it off, then stroke the fibers back with your fingers.

This step is optional but I think it makes for a sexier fly.  You can leave the body as-is, but I prefer to go at it with a Velcro dubbing teaser a little.  It teases out some of the Diamond Dub and makes a really buggy body. 

Try to select a mallard flank feather with barbs long enough to reach just into the tail.  I'm a bit unorthodox with tying in the mallard flank.  It can be really unruly.  The best way I have found to deal with it is to tie it in by the butt of the stem with the natural curve facing upward.  When I wrap the mallard, it always wants to rotate on me, so on the first wrap it will usually right itself for me.  A couple wraps of mallard is all you need.

And it still usually wraps a little chaotic for me.  Don't worry.

Stroke the mallard fibers back and make a few thread wraps over them to help coax them back.  It also helps to brush the fibers with an old toothbrush or dubbing brush to separate the more clingy mallard fibers.

Use another dubbing loop (or dubbing brush) of the Diamond Dub behind the lead eyes.  This dubbing loop will be roughly half the length of the first loop.

Wrap the dubbing loop behind the eyes, criss-cross over the eyes, and make a few wraps in front of the eyes.  Tie off behind the hook eye, whip finish and cut your thread.

Lastly, I take my old toothbrush or dubbing brush and brush the whole fly a bit to help tease the dubbing and mallard rearward.  And this is the final product, the Bronze Goddess.

Over several years of use, the Goddess has proven to be a very valuable tool to have in my box.  As I said before, my top 4 small stream bass have all fallen to this fly.  Among those fish, they were caught on three different colors in this pattern, so it pays to have options.  Unfortunately, my worst and lowest small stream Ohio bass memory also involved this fly.  I hooked and lost the biggest spotted bass I have seen in Ohio on a white/gray/pink Goddess.  The fish came from an undercut bank, inhaled the fly, and after a brief but intense battle the fly simple came free.  That one stung.  Here's a few who didn't escape.  Tie a few Goddesses up and get them in front of bass (or even carp) in your area, you won't be disappointed.