Copper John |
By Jason Akl
John Barr could not have realized the stir this pattern would create throughout the fly fishing and tying world. Originated in 1996, the Copper John steadily gained popularity and creditability among fly anglers all over the world. In 2001, this nymph pattern became the best selling fly in the Umpqua catalog of flies joining the likes of other classic nymph patterns such as the Hare’s Ear and Prince Nymph.
The popularity of the Copper John is not due simply to its good looks but rather its uncanny ability to catch fish. Like other legendary fly patterns this nymph has a few key features that make it appetizing to fish. The large gold bead, slim profile, flash and breathing hackle are just a few of these features; but the real strength for this fly comes from its weight. The compact design and special materials used in construction allow this fly to sink quickly to the level of the fish. The extensive copper body is what adds the significant weight to the fly helping it rapidly descend to where the big fish lay. This unique style of weighting a fly also allows the fly to roll across the river bottom in a natural fashion as compared to a fly weighted down with a split shot attached to the leader.
The Copper John overall is a relatively good imitation for many types of mayfly nymphs, but in general the Copper John can imitate just about any of the aquatic insects you will come across if tied with the appropriate color of wire.
As far as the tying steps are concerned the Copper John is a little more laborious of a tie than most nymph patterns simply due to the different types of materials used and the addition of a separate epoxy step. Set aside a few hours this weekend to tie of a few Copper Johns, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed with their results out on the water.
Tie this fly in sizes 10-20.