Black goldhead

The rib has been ravaged by the trouts teeth but this one caught it’s fair share

I realise most of you already have this fly or something very similar in your box but for the sake of completeness here is the one I use. It has a lot going for it, easy and quick to tie, cheap and easily available materials and, most importantly of all, a proven fish catcher. Stockies, both brown and rainbow, love this fly.

Materials List

Hooks – all sizes. 12 long shank is my favourite

Black tying silk

Rabbit fur on the skin, dyed black

Gold bead, 2.8 – 3.3mm depending on the size of the hook

Hen hackles dyed black

Something for the rib such as oval tinsel


Take one of the beads and thread it on to the hook. Put the hook in the vice and test it. Now push the bead up against the eye and start the tying silk behind the bead, building up a dam to hold the bead in position. You can add a dab of superglue if you want. Prepare and tie in a black hen hackle then run the silk to the bend to create a bed for the tail . Take a pinch on rabbit fur, stroke out the shorter fibres and tie this in as a tail. The tail should be about the same length as the hook shank. Now bind the butt ends of the fur down with turns of silk as you wind back up to where the hackle is tied in. Remove any waste fur.

Catch in a length of your ribbing material and wind back down to the tail. Take another pinch of the black fur and dub enough for a body on the silk. In practice, the short fur you combed out of the stuff you used for the tail will make the body. Wind this rope up the shank. Now rib in open turns, tie in and cut off the waste.

Wind the hackle, two or three turns is all you need. Cut off the waste end of the hackle. Make a whip finish between the hackle and the bead, cut off the silk and carefully varnish.

As flies go they don’t come much more simple but do not be deceived, this is a deadly pattern. Over the years I have tried various ‘improvements’. Hot spots, flash in the tail, palmered body hackles etc have all been tried but being perfectly honest nothing matches the original.

A word on the rib. Most of the time it is just fine oval gold but fine flat gold also works as does pearl. Copper wire and a copper bead works well too.

Incredibly versatile, fish this fly on the point of a leader. It works on any density of line depending on conditions, retrieved in short jerks to get that mobile tail working. It has caught me fish on just about every line density and during most months of the year. It would be easy to rely almost solely on this pattern for stocked fisheries it is so good but I tend to use it as a prospecting fly, one to find the fish.


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