It takes something special to score the most points in a single day at One Fly- Check out some of the flies that have done it in the past, and the stories behind them.
Scharp's Skunk Works Minnow
I originally tied this fly as a possible choice in the 2013 JH One Fly. The second day of the competition that year I fished Deadman’s to Moose. The river was blown out, but the fly managed to attract fish. The next year I again fished the same fly. Not just the same pattern, but the exact same fly! It brought in the fish, and I scored enough points to win the individual title in the 2014 event. I started calling the streamer pattern the Scharp’s Skunk Works Minnow, hoping it’s identity would remain secret like the Stealth Bomber. For the 2015 JH One Fly, I had no choice but to try the same pattern. It again out scored the field and once again I had the top individual score. Even though it’s identity is no longer a secret, knowing how to fish it will remain one.
On Sunday I had the pleasure of fishing with long-time friend Dave Deardorf, who not only provided me with great company but a great fly, the Chicklet. I had planned on fishing a streamer, needing some big points to improve my score. Approaching the boat ramp Dave offered me the fly I had fished in the past. The Chicklet Dave had tied turned out to be the ticket … the fish loved the Chicklet! It produced fish all day long and it actually hooked many more fish than I landed. Thanks Dave, for the great fly, it was just the breath mint those cutties needed. —Brandon Murphy
Jeff Sotzing of the Hemingways team, guided by John Gendall, used the Parachute Moe, our winning fly for 2011. The fly was tied by Rob Parkins and he has graciously provided this recipe for those who want to give it a go: start with anything sharp, preferably size 12; use rust colored thread; tail material is moose; the body however is top secret Capt. Moe Neale dubbing; the parachute is of EP Fibers; and the hackle is Duni Bruce. Good luck and big fish to you all!
Brown Rubber Leg Stonefly Nymph
When asked for advice most One Fly guides offer a variety of foam giants, small dries, streamers and even small nymphs on the South Fork. When Harry Spooner asked veteran South Fork guide Ed Emory for advice at the upper South Fork launch on Sunday, Ed pulled out several identical #8 flies that resembled some type of small animal dropping with rubber bands hanging out.
Misgiving welled up in Harry. In a previous One Fly, Harry had lost a nymph that the guide encouraged him to use within 30 minutes and scored a zero for the day. Fortunately Ed’s reputation preceded him. He knows where trout lie, what they eat and the location of every nymph grabbing snag. Harry took the advice, a brown rubberleg stonefly nymph. The result – 722 points including a 22 incher.
Bosworth's Bitchin’ Frizzy
The Bosworth’s Bitchin’ Frizzy was the winning one fly for 2009. This fly was tied by South Fork Guide Jason Bosworth and was fished by Don Pegler, III of the Cornhusker Fly Fishers team. The fly worked equally well on the Snake as well as the South Fork. For a change, weather in 2009 was nice, which is very favorable for big dry flies. Bosworth’s Bitchin’ Frizzy is a fly that has not yet been released to one of the fly tying companies, so you can bet it will be tied locally for future years of use in the One Fly competition. The One Fly contest has been the catalyst for developing and perfecting new and innovative flies for many years and this 2009 winner is no exception.
The Marabou Minnow is a fly pattern that was inspired by a Jack Gartside pattern called the Marabou Soft Hackle. Jack’s pattern was designed to be sparse with very little flash and have great action. It works well, but it’s sparse design didn’t lend itself to being a ‘Fish All-Day’ One Fly pattern. Jay Buchner expanded the idea to include significant flash and a fuller, more dense 2-color marabou body and a tungsten bead. The marabou body was reinforced, so it would hold up to a full One Fly day. The result is a enticing minnow silhouette that seems to work quite well. This fly was used by both the 1st – both days and 2nd – 1 day place individuals.
San Juan Worm
Veteran One Flyer and intrepid storyteller Peter Moyer did it again, in his own style, by using his version of the San Juan worm. This fly represents none other than the many species of worms that grace our rivers. Many fly tiers turn their noses down on is simply tied fly and dismiss it as a non-fly. There’s no question about it’s fish taking qualities, however, in the school of fly fishing that treats dry-fly fishing as a religion and nymph fishing as a cult, it is a hated fly. Leave it to the Moyer, who introduced the size 18 Rusty Spinner to the One Fly in 1998, only he could’ve wreaked so much havoc with the ‘worm’. Remember the whole point of the One Fly is to have fun, something Peter never forgets.
BSF (or Bob’s Stonefly)
This is another variation of the Chernobyl which Bob Williamson had been attempting to tweak for five years. An idea born while fishing the 1998 One Fly on the South Fork with guide Darren Puetz. Bob was having a good morning using Donna’s Chernobyl variation. When they stopped to net and release a cutthroat, Darren took time to dig for a stonefly to demonstrate what trout really think the Chernobyl is.
Bob says, “The first creation was quite ugly, yet it caught over 100 trout before I retired it. I looked at the bottom of a stonefly and tried to make it look like that from underneath”. The palmered hackle on the fly is from a suggestion that Paul Bruun once made … that it needed something underneath to make it more “buggy”. When occasionally asked the name, he said it’s Bob’s Stonefly, which doesn’t have much of a ring to it. So this year it was dubbed the “BSF”.
The origin of the Jimmy Z came during the original One Fly in 1986. Dave Robinson and Jimmy Gabettas decided to combine the calf tail wing and chartreuse body of Reynolds Pomeroy’s winning 1986 Lime Trude with the deer hair head of a Muddler Minnow, which was also a high scoring fly. A few years later they borrowed the silhouette and rubber legs from the Turck Tarantula, giving the fly its current form. The name came from the combination of Jimmy Gabettas first name and Dave Robinson’s fishing style similar to Zorro’s blade.
This years winning fly continues the One Fly tradition of a foam fly variation of the Chernobyl ant design. One Fly guide Brandon Powers married his Powers 747 ant design with a body design of the Willy’s Red Ant for the BMOC (short for big man on campus) Ant. A brilliant fly tier, Brandon has realized as a guide flies needed to be changed at a moment’s notice to match the changing fall conditions of the river during One Fly time. Last year his peachy BMOC design fit the bill and was the top point getter, used by several high scoring anglers that teams finished in the “money.” For the last few years Brandon’s patterns have been popular among many One Flyers and have established him maybe as the next “Scott Sanchez” of the fly tying world.
The foam bodies strike again with Jack Dennis’ variation of the Chernobyl Ant. The Frontier Fly Fishers cast to victory with this high floating ant pattern with all members using the creation. Joe Bressler scored over 700 points on Saturday setting a new high point score for the Professional Division using a two day old, used Amy’s Ant found on the floor of the guides car. He plans using the same fly again this year after 4 days of use and literally over 100 fish. This durable fly combines the good visibility of Elk hair with a Chernobyl style body. The under body sparkles with silver-flash chenille and dyed Grizzly hackle. Brown round rubber legs add to the killer swimming fly action to make this fly a new, popular addition to the One Fly winners.
The 1998 event was back at home on the Snake and South Fork. Peter Moyer led a close group of anglers by catching an amazing 44 fish on a Rusty Spinner. Day two allowed Brad Downey to score numerous points on a Chernobyl Ant variation. Brad Downey’s day two score combined with Mike Fitzgerald score the day before to clinch the individual award. Peter held on however to receive the highest point score for one person. It is a tough decision between Brad’s Chernobyl Ant and Peter’s Rusty Spinner. We called Peter’s high point fly, the Rusty Spinner, the winner.
Black Rubber Leg Wooly Bugger
In a number of past One Fly events, wet flies have done well. The Rubber Leg Wooly Bugger is a combination of an old pattern, the Wooly Bugger, and a newer pattern, the Yuk Bug. The rubber legs and marabou tail both provide motion, which generally triggers strikes. A gold bead is added for extra weight. This color combination can imitate a variety of aquatic foods. (Fly shown here without bead).
The angler can fish the Tarantula fly dry or wet. Size and color are its most important aspects. The fly tier has the ability to craft the fly to perform differently on each angler’s rod. There is no question that this too is a deadly fly. Ask Frank Hussey of Hobart Tasmania, our 1996 champ, who used the basic concept and design of the Tarantula to craft a highbred version, say, Aussie “down under” style, or as Frank calls it, a “Tassie Tarantula.” The deer hair and rubber legs gives the critter fly incredible lifelike action and the ant struggles in the water. It was good enough for Frank as he captured the 1996 amateur championship and added to the One Fly mystique.
The winning fly of 1995’s One Fly was out of the ordinary, as its name suggests. This foam-bodied fly is the product of the guides of Flaming Gorge—namely Emmette Heath. While the winning fly propelled amateur Gary Eckman into the winner’s circle, he claims his fly is another version of the Chernobyl Ant. No matter which version an angler might fish, the basic concept and design is the same: High density foam forms the abdomen and head, and rubber legs give the critter incredible lifelike action as the ant struggles in the water. The name suggests a mutant insect so true to form that the fly can be a myriad of colors, design schemes, etc. This year’s event is sure to entertain many different varieties as a result of Gary Eckman’s success. Eckman amassed 864 points for the amateur title.
In 1994, the Double Bunny was victorious again. Carter Andrews, who had tied the “Son of Bunny” for 1993 winner Walter Ungermann, was the angler who fished it to perfection. Carter set a record for the most points ever scored in the One Fly history. Carter fished the fly deep, with amazing results on the South Fork river on Saturday. He racked up more than 900 points, and followed on Sunday with 500 points to cinch the title of “Top Rod.” Changes in the One Fly’s 1995 rules limit the hook size to an 8 and length to 3x. The Double Bunny will not disappear, it will just be more challenging.
In 1993, Walter took the Single Bunny and crafted a slightly sparser version of the Scott Sanchez Double Bunny, creating what he called the Half Bunny. The Half Bunny is tied with glass eyes and two rabbit strips glued together, cut very short, thus its name. Walter fished the Half Bunny on a sinking line deep into the runs and on deep pools of both the Snake and the South Fork rivers. The high winds of the day made dry fly fishing difficult, but Walter’s deep rig proved to be the winning combination, scoring him more than 800 points to win the 1993 individual honors.
In 1992, One Fly winner Walter Ungermann took the advice of guide Carter Andrews, who suggested that he try Scott Sanchez’ rabbit-fur creation on the South Fork. Walter, who had never used anyone else’s flies in the last four One Fly’s reluctantly tried Carter’s version of Scott’s fly on the first day. He promptly set a record with 560 points. The next day, he used the same fly to score another 500+ points and captured the individual title. This marked the first time a streamer fly ever won the event. Sanchez crafted the fly from two different colored rabbit pelts glued together. He cut them into quarter-inch strips and affixed eyes to the body. It is intended to mimic a small wounded fish.
The Adam’s Wulff turned out to be the quiet hero. In the excitement of the Hollywood team roaring to the front to snatch first place, the Adam’s Wulff got dwarfed. It was very much a part of the reason the Hollywood stars won. Saturday morning brought normal One Fly weather (rain and drizzle), but it was surprisingly warm. Master fly tier Scott Sanchez suggested to the All-Stars that the Brown Drakes would come out in spite of the bad weather. The best fly was a New Zealand creation of Jack Dennis, the Adam’s Wulff, made to imitate the Brown Drake. The secret was the Australian Opossum underfur, just the right color, and the white wing would show up under poor light conditions. Captain Skip Brittenham convinced the majority of the team to try the fly on the first day. Only Art Annecharico stuck with the Dry Muddler to catch the largest trout of the event. They continued to use the fly in the next day’s competition and piled up enough points to win. The Drakes came out as Scott had predicted, and the rest is history. This was the first time that any team swept the individual, largest-fish and top-team awards.
Good weather came back to grace the One Fly in 1990. George Anderson was looking to repeat his performance but was at a loss as to what fly to pick. As any good guide knows, when in doubt, go to the people who know the water best. Because everybody knew George loved rubber legs, a fly was thrust in front of him for his inspection. It looked sort of like a Madame X, but sort of didn’t. It was unusual and right up George’s alley. He was told that it was a Turck Tarantula. With his patented grin, he snatched the fly from its creator, Guy Turck, with a promise that he would use it. He was willing to gamble and used the now infamous concoction. Quite simply, George kicked butt. The Turck Tarantula did its job and became the new One Fly champ. A star was born.
George’s Brown Rubber Leg Stone
In 1989, rain poured down but Montana guide and angling authority George Anderson was prepared. George understood the Snake River conditions and, being a tenacious angler, knew it was time to attack with a fly in which he had confidence. The rubber legs and the woven body of George’s creation gave the fly the right action as he fished it to perfection and smashed the competition with Air Jordan-type performance. George left everyone shaking their heads and wondering what had happened. Way to go George.
This was the year of the Yellowstone fires. The first day was cloudy and threatening rain. Thinking that the day was going to be stormy, most anglers went for the wet flies, but not top angler John Flick of Durango, Colorado. John wanted a fly that could be fished both wet and dry and thus chose a Western Coachman, a Trude-style fly tied with white-rump deer hair for the wing and stiff brown hackle and peacock herl for the body. On Saturday, John built a lead so large that nobody was able to catch him. His two days of fishing the Western Coachman earned him top honors and a place in history for the fly.
Dry Muddler Minnow
Tom Knopick, a Top Gun for the visiting Duranglers team, fished a Dry Muddler to perfection. The Muddler has always been a popular pick of One Fly contestants because of its ability to imitate adult insects on the surface, yet, when fished under the surface, makes an excellent minnow imitation. The search for the perfect One Fly always seems to come down to a fly that can be fished both wet and dry. The Muddler has always been on everybody’s fly list. Many anglers—including legend Lee Wulff—believe that if they were limited to one fly for their entire fishing career, this would be their pick. There is no question about its ability to catch big fish in the event. The record, a 24+ inch cutthroat, was caught on a Muddler, as was the 1991 winner.
The Trude has been around since the early 1900s, when Alfred Trude first cast his bucktail wind creation on the Henry’s Fork of the Snake River near Island Park, Idaho in 1901. The Trude fly has been a popular creation among fly fishermen. The Lime Trude is a fly that was tied and fished by Reynolds Pomeroy of Westbank Anglers. In the first One Fly, he scored point after point with his lime green body, grizzly hackled, size 14 Trude, winning the 1986 event. Dubbed as the perfect One Fly (because it can be fished effectively, either wet or dry), the fly now is a standard in Jackson Hole, stocked in every fly shop in the region and a popular pick among One Fly participants.