I received an email from my friend William Ninke last week regarding a new fly he was enjoying a lot of success with. Bill is one of the most innovative fly tiers I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. He is continually inventing new patterns or finding new ways to tie or improve existing flies. When he talks about flies I listen! His latest email included some photographs of a streamer version of the Hornberg Special. He wrote that he had made a few modest changes to a streamer version of a Hornberg Special I had written about a while back. He tied the fly for both panfish and bass and was catching a lot of fish on both patterns.
No Stranger To The Hornberg Special
The Hornberg Special has been a long-time favorite of mine. Not traditionally considered a warm water pattern, the Hornberg Special will always have a home in my panfish fly boxes. It is a versatile pattern that can be fished as a dry fly or submerged and fished like a wet fly or streamer. It is a fly that has been mentioned many times in the pages of this blog. I tie several different versions of this pattern in a few different colors (basically light and dark). Use the search bar on the home page and a quick search of the word Hornberg will bring up some blog posts and pattern recipes.
Bill tied up two versions, one for bass (top fly, first image) and one for panfish. Bill's Hornberg Bass Streamer incorporates the use of a golden badger hackle for the collar and a grizzly hackle for the wing. The use of a hackle feather wing changes the profile of the pattern. The choice of golden badger hackle collar gives the fly an attractive new look. The dark core of the feather really defines the head. I know many will question the use of the guinea fowl eyes on a bass/panfish pattern, but I love it. Fortunately, I have a good supply of these feathers and these warm water patterns are a great way to use up all those split or otherwise imperfect nails.
I will be tying up a few of these for my warm water boxes and a few more for my landlocked salmon streamer wallet. I will be in Maine chasing landlocks when this post goes live! I will be sure to report back on the fly's success!
If you have never fished streamer patterns for panfish your missing out on some great fishing. Small streamers are a go-to pattern for giant sunfish and crappie relish streamers of all types. Autumn is my favorite time to use streamers as most waters have a ready supply of young of the year fish and big panfish undoubtedly key in on this food source. So give small streamers a try this fall before the chill of winter arrives and be sure to include Bill's Hornberg Streamer in your box.