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Fred Hodge Au Sable River Golden Wing Tribute Fly

08-Sep-2020 11:51 AM | Michael Brand

From the Desk of Robert Sousa.

I designed a credible fishing fly that I hope Fred Hodge would have liked. 





Some facts:
 Hook:  Gamakatsu R 10 B Size 12 (barbless)
Thread:  Gudebrod Tan 8/0
Tail:  Golden Pheasant
Quill:  Brown Verigated grizzly
Wing:  Lemon Wood Duck Flank
Hackle:  brown Grizzly
Head:  UV Fluorescent
Finish:  UV Glaze Topcoat

Notable features.  Like Fred, I wanted to integrate several unique features into this fly while still maintaining some traditional characteristics.  For example, the red head is a traditional feature of the Ausable Wulff patterns.  The unique element introduced here is that I used fluorescent UV Red thread.  Since UV light red penetrates water better than  plain red, the fish will be able to see it from a greater distance.  Fred would like that.

 I wanted something to reflect Fred’s personality and that is why I selected the gold cape feathers of the Golden Pheasant.  Fred sure loved his pheasant hunting and we all know what a hit he made giving out Pheasant tail feathers at Jamboree.  He had literally thousands of scouts proudly wearing their pheasant feather in their cap. 

 When you get to see a fly up close, you will see that it’s abdomen uses a tightly wrapped quill (center spine) of a brown grizzly hackle (complements of Pete).  Taking the feather, I stripped all of the side barbels off.  Now starting where I tied in the tail, I began my wraps.  As the quill became thicker, it began to suggest a segmented abdomen of an adult insect.  However another reveal is that in youth we have darker hair but as we age our hair becomes more white.  So it is with this fly.  Closer to the tail, it is darker but nearest the wing it is Snow White...just like Fred’s hair!

 For a wing, I used the verigated lemon yellow flank feathers of the wood duck.  Then to suggest more gold, I merged another feather of the Golden Pheasant.  As we all know, Fred was in the USAir Force.  He wore those Golden pilot wings proudly and this fly’s namesake recalls Fred’s honorable service to our country. 

 For a dry fly hackle (again complements to Pete), I used a brown grizzly.  “Oh My” he would say whenever we spoke of fishing in Alaska where grizzly bear encounters are quite common.  Fred had a passion for wildlife and fishing and his travels around Alaska (as well as other parts of the Country and world for that matter) gave him a perspective that he always taught to kids. 

 He loved the Au Sable River.  As a youth he lived in the area where his dad was a Michigan State Forester who helped restore vegetative cover to the deep sands of the region.  It is for this reason that this fly will have that River name in its title.

 The Gamakatsu hook I used was selected for several reasons.  First, they are of the best quality.  They also are a relatively new hook having a unique shape.  I had them in my hook box here in R.I. and they seem to call out to me.  Maybe it was Fred looking over my shoulder.  They are barbless with the point section being extra long.  I think they will hold the fish better yet make for a quicker release. 

 Lastly, I am certain this pattern will catch fish. 

Robert Sousa

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