Fly Tyer's Bench
Alaskan Fly Patterns Streamer Flies

Brad Hanson's PURPLE DEATH

King salmon....the ultimate Alaskan trophy on a flyrod. Yet not many anglers pursue this quarry on such tackle. Afterall, a 40 lb. king is an intimidating and formidable foe on traditional tackle let alone make the connection on a flyrod. And too, Alaska's king salmon rivers are often large and deep providing little in the way of ideal flyfishing. But there are some smaller, clearwater streams around the state which contain good runs of kings and the ideal physical make-up for some excellent fishing.

This fly, by Brad Hanson, has produced extremely well on the smaller streams along the Parks and Glen highways. Be sure to read the compliment to this fly page, Bushwhacking Chinook - Sightfishing Kings on a Flyrod.

Brad writes "This fly is enticing, yes. My daughter thinks it's pretty, but there's some practicality about it. Number 1 it's easy to tie. 2 it's very durable, practically indestructible which is a bigger deal than most people imagine. Salmon teeth and the tools needed to remove the fly from their mouth are hell on some materials. The stripped rabbit used on the body is tough but also has the most incredible movement in the water. A series of these in Black, Chartreuse, Orange, traditional Purple, and Fuschia make a well rounded king arsenal. I also had some encouraging success this year with yellow."

1. Tail - Fuchsia #10 stripped rabbit
2. Tail - purple or pink crystal flash
3. Under-Body - .030 lead wrap
4. Body - Fuchsia #10 stripped rabbit
5. Wing - purple or pink crystal flash
6. Head - plated lead dumbell eyes
7. Thread - Fuchsia
8. Hook - 2/0 to #4 long in a salmon hook

1. Start by wrapping the shank with .030 lead wire from about the point to just back of the eye and make several wraps of Fuchsia thread to cover and secure the lead.

2. Using a figure 8 wrap, tie on a set of lead or tungsten dumbell eyes just behind the hook eye. You can vary the size depending on how heavy you want the fly.

3. Take the end of a 6" piece of stripped rabbit (not cross cut) and tie in a 1" tail just in front of the hook bend. For a streamlined fly, tie with rabbit fur "grain" pointing to the rear. For a fatter, "buggier" fly, reverse the hair grain to point forward.

4. Using purple or pink crystal flash, tie in another piece of tail at the same point just shorter than the rabbit. Make several strong wraps with the thread where all the tail materials are attached to the shank. Wrap the thread forward to the eye.

5. Firmly wrap the stripped rabbit around the shank to a point just behind the dumbell eye making certain to cover all the lead. Tie off using several wraps of thread.

6. To complete the wing I tie in a 2" piece of crystal flash just in front of the dumbell eyes pointing forward. I thoroughly wrap it onto the shank then bring my thread to a point behind the dumbell eye. The pull the crystal flash back over the hump of the dumbell eyes and secure the wing pointing toward the rear.

7. Whip finish and trim wing to length. I like to cement the head for added durability.

Most salmon flies should be tied in "larger" and "smaller" sizes since light level, water level, clarity, and fly visibility may all influence the fish's preference that day.

Pattern by Brad Hanson
Photo by B. Hanson 1999

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