Bron Yr Aur
I approach fly tying with mixed emotions. My head spins when I think about the thousands of flies I have tied over the years. Many, especially in my formative years were either ugly, unattractive, or out of proportion. In hindsight, I still caught a fair number of fish on poorly tied, ugly flies. When I was young I had no money to buy flies so fly tying was a fiscal necessity. As I’ve gotten older it is more about catching fish with something I created. I rarely buy flies unless they are for someone I am fishing with. A store bought fly is like a lure to me. Also, as I’ve gotten older, I realize now that how the fly actually looks is more important to me then the actual fish. Still an effective fly has to have certain trigger mechanisms built in that make a fish respond instinctively.
I was blessed when I was younger to be under the mentorship of Gary La Fontaine. He and I fished in the early 90’s and I quickly realized that the fly was only as important as to what the fish was actually experiencing at a specific time. Knowing the water, executing the cast, the drift, and knowing the light and water conditions, all factored in as well. Gary’s scientific mind in conjunction with his unorthodox approach is still revolutionary today. Trout Flies Proven Patterns is a masterpiece. He was the first guy I knew who did scuba diving studies to watch fish eat. His revolutionary Emergent Sparkle Pupa was not the result of what looked good, or accidentally stumbling on to something that worked like most of us do, but instead, it was a scientific synthesis of what the fish saw and experienced during a caddis emergence. That is some powerful stuff.
In the past two decades as I moved toward steelhead fishing, one tier, Greg Senyo, has that innovative and unorthodox spirit that Gary had. This particular pattern is an offshoot of Greg’s Gangsta Intruder, and I call it the Bron Yr Aur. I kind of think of it as the opposite of stealth technology. This fly gives the fish a larger and bigger target to hone in on with its built in “noise”. Greg Senyo uses these trigger mechanisms when the river is off colored and not ideal, but I can tell you that this concept works just as well in gin clear tailwaters. It is kind of fitting because just before Gary La Fontaine passed away we were experimenting with flies, both nymph and streamer patterns that had built in movement. It is twenty years late, but I think Gary would have liked this.