How To Tie A Brassie Fly? Tie Like a Pro

Brassie fly is an effective fly pattern during winter. The best thing about this fly pattern is it is the easiest fly that you can tie with a few knots. Trust me!
So, how exactly do you tie a brassie fly?

As I said, it takes a few knots. To tie everything together, you’ll need copper wire, a peacock feather, and strong thread. Start with the tread and wrap a couple of times near the hook eye. Then, wrap a copper wire wrap around the hook shank. Take a long reverse so that the wire can be secured with thread. The final step is to tie the peacock hurl near the hook eye. And it’s finished.

If you want to learn the tying process in depth, you must read the complete text. I’ve put up a detailed guide to tying a brassie fly. So keep reading to the finish to become the master of this brassie fly pattern.

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What Makes the Brassie Fly So Special?

It is a common question that should be answered for those who are new to fly fishing. Even the knowledge will help the angler to understand how it fools the trout and other fishes, which will keep them more careful during the tying process. Let’s dive into its alluring characteristics:

The Characteristics and Versatility of the Brassie Fly

At first glance, the Brassie may seem like a humble fly with its slender profile and unadorned appearance. However, it is precisely this simplicity that makes it so enticing to trout. The slender, elongated body mimics various aquatic insects, including midges, caddis larvae, and mayfly nymphs, making it an irresistible snack for discerning fish.

Why This Pattern Is a Go-to Choice for Picky Tailwater Trout?

One of the key reasons the Brassie fly shines is its ability to entice picky tailwater trout. These trout, residing in the chilly, nutrient-rich waters released from dams, have developed a discerning palate.

They have seen their fair share of imitations and are known for scrutinizing each offering before committing to a strike. The Brassie, with its subtle profile and realistic proportions, excels in fooling these selective fish.

Moreover, the Brassie’s versatility adds to its appeal. It can be tied in various sizes and colors to match the prevalent insect hatches, making it adaptable to changing conditions in the water.

Whether you’re faced with midge-rich streams or caddis-laden rivers, the Brassie fly can imitate a wide range of nymphs, increasing your chances of success.

The Origins and Evolution of Brassie Fly

To truly appreciate the Brassie fly, we must take a step back in time. The origins of this pattern can be traced back to the 1960s when an electronic hobbyist is said to have created it from transformer wire and heat shrink.

Over time, the design evolved, and the heat-shrink thorax was replaced with the iconic peacock herl, adding a touch of iridescence and natural allure to the fly.

Since its humble beginnings, the Brassie has gained immense popularity among fly tiers and anglers alike. It has become a staple in fly boxes worldwide, earning its reputation as a classic nymph pattern that consistently catches fish.

Essential Materials and Tools You Need for the Tying Process

You should gather the right materials and tools to tie a Brassie fly. So let’s take a look at the materials and tools you will need for the process:


To tie the Brassie fly, you’ll need hooks with a scud or shrimp curved design. These hooks provide the ideal shape and posture for imitating the natural nymphs that trout find irresistible.

Choose hooks in various sizes, ranging from larger options around size 14 to smaller imitations as tiny as size 20 to match the specific fishing conditions and preferences.


The thread you use to secure the materials and build the body of the Brassie fly plays a vital role. Opt for high-quality threads like Griffith’s Sheer 14/0 Black, which offers excellent strength and control while maintaining a slim profile. This fine thread ensures that the fly doesn’t bulk up unnecessarily and allows for precise wraps.


Copper wire is the backbone of the Brassie fly, forming the abdomen and providing weight for sinking quickly. Choose a fine gauge copper wire that matches the desired size of your fly.

You can experiment with different wire colors, such as traditional copper, or alternatives, like brass or black, to add variations and attract more attention.


The thorax of the Brassie fly is typically adorned with peacock herl, which imparts a touch of natural iridescence and alluring color. Select high-quality peacock herls with long, full fibers that have a vibrant sheen. Consider using dyed or natural herls, depending on the color variation you wish to achieve.

Stocking Your Fly Tying Kits:

If you’re new to fly tying or looking to expand your kit, here’s a beginner-friendly guide to stocking your arsenal with the necessary tools:

  • Vise: Invest in a reliable vise that securely holds the hook and allows for precise manipulation while tying. Look for a vise with adjustable jaws to accommodate various hook sizes.
  • Scissors: Short-blade scissors with sharp, fine tips are essential for the precise trimming of materials. Ensure they are comfortable to handle for extended tying sessions.
  • Bobbin holder: A bobbin holder holds the thread spool and allows for smooth and controlled thread tension during tying. Look for one with a comfortable grip and adjustable tension.
  • Whip finishing tool: A whip finishing tool is used to create a secure knot to finish off the fly. Choose a tool that feels comfortable in your hand and allows for easy manipulation.
  • Lighter: A lighter comes in handy for sealing the ends of threads or materials and preventing unraveling. Use it carefully to apply a quick touch of heat without damaging the fly.
  • UV Torch: A UV torch is used to cure UV resin, which can be applied to secure certain materials or add additional durability to the fly. Look for a compact and reliable UV torch for precise application.

By gathering the necessary materials and tools, you’ll be well-prepared to embark on your Brassie fly-tying journey. In the next sections, I will describe the step-by-step tying instructions, providing you with the knowledge and techniques to create a beautiful and effective Brassie fly. So, let’s continue our exploration!

Step-by-Step Instructions for Tying the Brassie Fly

Tying a Brassie fly may seem intimidating at first, but fear not! I’ll guide you through each step, ensuring that you achieve a beautifully crafted fly that trout won’t be able to resist.

Step 1: Secure the Hook and Start the Thread Base

First, secure your hook in the vise to keep it steady. Then, take your thread and make a few wraps to create a thread base near the eye of the hook. This base will help secure the materials in place.

Step 2: Attach the Copper Wire

Now, grab the UTC copper wire and position it behind the eye of the hook. Secure it in place with a few wraps of the thread. Make sure the wire is tightly fastened to prevent it from coming loose during the tying process.

Step 3: Wrap the Wire for the Body

Here’s where the fun begins! Start wrapping the copper wire tightly and evenly towards the bend of the hook. It’s best to make each wrap touch the previous one. This method ensures a smooth and consistent body for the fly. Continue wrapping until you reach the halfway point of the bend.

Step 4: Pack and Create a Rib

To create a ribbed effect, bring the thread back up to the starting point. This will give the fly a segmented appearance. But before that, use your fingernail or a tool to gently pack the wire wraps together. This step tightens any loose turns and creates a more compact body.

Step-by-Step Instructions for Tying the Brassie Fly | Honest Fishers

Step 5: Secure the Wire and Create a Ribbed Effect

Once you’ve packed the wire, it’s time to secure it. Make a few wraps with the thread to tie off the copper wire. Now, it’s time for a cool trick! Hold the wire above the fly and rotate it rapidly between your fingers. The excess wire will snap off at the tie-off point, leaving a clean break. Check for any sharp points and cover them up with additional thread wraps.

Step 6: Tie In the Peacock Curl

Now, let’s add some flair to our fly with the beautiful peacock curl. Take a single peacock herl and position it on top of the hook, right where the thread is located. Be careful, as peacock herl is delicate. Pinch the herl with your fingers and make a few wraps to secure it in place.

Step 7: Create a Bushy Thorax

To form a bushy thorax, make a couple of wraps with the thread to build up the peacock herl. This will give the fly some bulk and a touch of flash. Remember to leave some space near the eye of the hook for the head of the fly.

Step 8: Tie off The Peacock Herl

Once you’ve achieved the desired thorax size, tie off the peacock herl with a few wraps of the thread. If the herl hasn’t already broken off during the tying process, you can break it off cleanly at the tie-off point or trim it flush with scissors. Breaking it off often provides a cleaner result.

Step 9: Finish the Fly

To secure the fly and give it a polished look, use a whip-finish knot. This knot will lock the thread in place and ensure the fly stays intact. With the whip finish complete, your Brassie fly is now ready to hit the water!

Tips for Achieving Impeccable Nymph Proportions

Proper proportions are key to tying an effective Brassie fly that mimics the natural nymphs trout prey upon. Here are some tips to help you achieve impeccable proportions:

Abdomen length: When wrapping the copper wire for the abdomen, ensure that it extends the desired length of the fly. The abdomen should be proportionate to the size of the hook, giving it a slender and realistic profile.

Thorax thickness: The thorax, made with peacock herl, should have a slightly thicker profile compared to the abdomen. This added thickness creates a distinct body segmentation and adds visual appeal to the fly.

Herl quantity: The number of peacock herl strands used for the thorax can vary depending on personal preference and the desired level of flash. Experiment with different quantities to find the perfect balance between natural appearance and attractiveness.

Tips for Creating A Flawless Brassie Fly

To tie a flawless Brassie fly, mastering certain techniques is essential. Here are some key tips to help you control material tension and achieve a professional-looking result:

  • Thread tension: Throughout the tying process, maintain consistent thread tension. Too loose, and the materials may shift or come undone. Too tight, and you risk breaking the thread or damaging the fly’s structure. Practice applying just the right amount of pressure to create secure and neat wraps.
  • Wrapping techniques: When wrapping the thread and materials, use smooth and overlapping turns. Avoid trapping or twisting the materials, which can result in an uneven and messy appearance. Take your time and pay attention to each wrap, ensuring they are snug and secure.
  • Trim with precision: When trimming excess materials, use sharp scissors with fine tips. Make clean and precise cuts, as sloppy trimming can detract from the fly’s overall aesthetic. Take care not to accidentally cut the thread or other essential parts of the fly.

By following these step-by-step instructions, paying attention to proportions, and mastering tying techniques, you’ll be well on your way to tying flawless Brassie flies.

What Kinds of Fish Can a Brassie Nymph Catch?

The Brassie nymph is an incredibly versatile fly that can attract a wide range of fish species. While it is particularly effective for trout, it can also entice other types of fish. Here are some of the fish species that can be caught using a Brassie nymph:

Trout: The Brassie is renowned for its effectiveness in trout fishing, including both brown trout and rainbow trout. Its realistic imitation of midges and nymphs makes it an irresistible choice for these species, especially in tailwater and Stillwater environments.

Grayling: Brassie nymphs are also successful in catching grayling, a species known for its selective feeding habits. Grayling often feed on small insects in rivers and streams, and the Brassie’s resemblance to midges and caddis larvae makes it a reliable choice.

Panfish: Panfish such as bluegill, crappie, and sunfish can also be caught using Brassie nymphs. These fish species are opportunistic feeders and often respond well to small nymph patterns. The Brassie’s ability to mimic various aquatic insects makes it an appealing option for panfish.

Bass: While the Brassie is not typically the go-to fly for bass fishing, it can still produce results. In situations where the bass is feeding on smaller forage or in waters with trout populations, the Brassie can attract strikes from bass, especially largemouth bass.

Carp: Surprisingly, carp can also be enticed by a well-presented Brassie nymph. These bottom-feeding fish often root around in the mud for insects and other food sources, and the Brassie’s imitation of nymphs can pique their interest.

While the Brassie nymph can catch a variety of fish species, its effectiveness may vary depending on the specific fishing location, water conditions, and the behavior of the fish.

Adapting the size and color of the Brassie to match the local hatch and experimenting with different fishing techniques can increase your chances of success with different fish species.

What Does The Brassie Nymph Represent?

The Brassie nymph is a versatile fly pattern that represents various aquatic insects commonly found in rivers and still waters. Primarily, the Brassie imitates midges, caddis larvae, and mayfly nymphs. These insects are an essential part of the diet of many fish species, particularly trout.

  • Midge Larvae: Midges are small, aquatic insects that form a significant portion of a trout’s diet. The Brassie’s slim profile and segmented body closely mimic the slender shape and segmented appearance of midge larvae.
  • Caddis Larvae: Caddisflies are another important insect for fish, and their larvae live in aquatic environments. The Brassie’s size, shape, and coloration can closely resemble caddis larvae, which are often found in rocky areas of rivers and lakes.
  • Mayfly Nymphs: Mayflies are known for their distinct life cycle, and their nymph stage is a crucial food source for trout. The Brassie can imitate the body shape and coloration of various mayfly nymphs, making it an effective pattern during mayfly hatches.

The Brassie’s simplicity and versatility make it a successful imitation of these different insect species. Its slender profile, typically made with copper wire, mimics the segmented bodies of larvae, while the use of materials like peacock herl for the thorax adds a touch of attraction.

The Brassie’s ability to imitate multiple insects makes it an excellent choice when fish are selectively feeding on nymphs in rivers and still waters.

Practical Advice for Effective Presentations and Retrieves Techniques

After having a perfect brassie fly, knowing how to present and retrieve can boost your success. The following techniques will help you catch fish with this fly:

Depth Adjustment:

The Brassie fly sinks quickly due to its compact size and weight. To effectively present the fly at different depths, adjust your leader length or incorporate weight in your setup. Experiment with different depths to find where the trout are actively feeding.

Retrieve Techniques:

The figure-eight retrieve is a popular technique for fishing Brassie flies. After casting, let the fly sink to the desired depth and then retrieve it by making a figure-eight motion with your rod tip. This imparts a lifelike movement to the fly, mimicking the natural motion of nymphs.

Observation and Adaptation:

Keep a keen eye on the water and observe the behavior of the trout and the insect activity. Adapt your presentation and retrieve based on the feeding patterns and preferences of the fish. Be flexible and willing to experiment with different approaches to increase your chances of success.

Practical Advice for Effective Presentations and Retrieves Techniques | Honest Fishers

Where and When to Use the Brassie Fly?

Tailwater trout: The Brassie fly is highly effective in tailwater fisheries, where picky trout are prevalent. These trout often feed on small midges and nymphs, making the Brassie an excellent choice due to its realistic imitation.

Still waters: The Brassie is also effective in lakes and ponds, particularly when used in conjunction with other flies on a long leader. It can be fished behind other patterns, such as Buzzers or Chironomids, and the figure-eight retrieve is often effective in enticing strikes.

Best Practices for Incorporating the Brassie Fly into Your Setup.

Leader length and tippet: Consider using a longer leader, up to 20 feet in lakes, to allow the Brassie to sink to the desired depth. Use a fluorocarbon tippet, as it is less visible underwater and can improve your chances of fooling trout.

Fly placement: When rigging the Brassie fly, position it appropriately in your setup. You can fish it as a dropper fly below a dry fly or as part of a nymphing rig with an indicator. Experiment with different configurations to find what works best in the given fishing situation.

Various Fishing Techniques and Retrieves That Work Well With the Brassie

Dead-drift presentation: A common and effective technique for fishing the Brassie is to present it with a dead-drift. This means allowing the fly to drift naturally with the current, mimicking the movement of nymphs in the water. Pay attention to the drift and be ready to set the hook at any indication of a strike.

Slow retrieve: In some situations, a slow retrieve can be effective in imitating the natural movement of nymphs. Use gentle strips or pauses in your retrieve to mimic the behavior of insects in the water. This can entice trout to strike, particularly when they are in a more lethargic feeding mode.

Sight fishing: If you have the opportunity to spot trout in clear water, sight fishing with the Brassie can be incredibly rewarding. Look for feeding fish and cast the fly just ahead of their path, allowing it to drift naturally toward them. This requires stealth and precision, but it can result in exciting visual takes.

Every fishing situation is unique, and it’s essential to adapt your approach based on the conditions and the behavior of the fish. Take the time to observe the water, experiment with different techniques, and be open to adjusting your strategy as needed.


Mastering the art of tying and fishing the Brassie fly opens up a world of exciting angling opportunities. Whether you’re targeting trout, grayling, panfish, or even bass, the Brassie’s versatility, and effectiveness make it a go-to choice for fly anglers.

By following the step-by-step tying instructions, stocking your fly-tying kit with the essential materials and tools, and implementing the tips and tricks shared by experienced fly tiers, you can elevate your tying game and create flawless Brassie flies.

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