Effective Flies – Blow Torch

Craig turns to the Blow Torch nymph when he needs that extra something while stream fishing. 

We’ve all been in a stream fishing situation where we know the trout are present and the technique is sound; however the fish just won’t move to the fly. Sometimes, fishing well is not enough and the angler needs some extra help. That’s when you need a nymph that will really catch the trout’s attention. The Blow Torch fills this roll nicely. It incorporates a flashy yellow tail, very mobile and alluring CDC, a fluoro-orange eye-catching collar, all topped off with a flashy silver bead. What’s not too like about this fly?

As I wrote a few issues ago, I was fortunate to fish in Kashmir recently. This region is blessed with beautiful, cold rivers that run off the foothills of the Himalaya. My shikari (the Kashmiri term for a guide) advised me that the local trout responded well to black flies with some yellow. As the shikari dedicate their lives to guiding, and often specialise in one specific beat on a river, I was extremely confident tying on the Blow Torch! It didn’t let me down, being the most productive fly during my stay in that wonderful part of the world. You know a fly has worked well when at the end of a trip, your fly box is devoid of them.

The Blow Torch was a hit in the rushing streams of Kashmir, but has worked just as well at home.


Hook – Ahrex Mini Jig hook, size 14 to 18.

Bead – Tiewell slotted silver tungsten 3.5mm to 2.5mm.

Thread – Black 8/0 and fluoro orange 8/0 Semperfli Waxed Thread.

Tail – Yellow Semperfli Floss.

Body – Black laser dub or similar.

Rib – Medium silver wire.

Hackle – Black or Dark brown CDC.

Tying instructions

  1. Slot on the tungsten bead. (I put 3.5mm on a size 14 hook, 3mm on a size 16 and 2.5mm on a size 18 wide-gape jig hook such as a Hanak H450BL Supa Jig.)
  2. Tie in your yellow floss; the tag should be quite long, half the length of the hook shank. (This feature gives the fly its name.)
  3. Tie in the silver wire.
  4. Tightly dub a slim body using the Spectra Dub and rib anti-clockwise with the silver wire.
  5. Make a dubbing loop and wind in a collar of brown CDC.
  6. Finally, wind in a fine collar between the CDC and the bead using the fluoro orange thread. I add a small amount of clear head cement to secure the whip finish.

Fishing Tips

I use this fly when I’m Euro nymphing with double nymphs. It will usually be the heavier of the two flies, so I put it on the dropper in shallow water (60cm or less) and on the point in deeper water. This is because the heaviest fly is the one the angler is in best contact with, so it should be placed in the position on the cast where it is the first fly seen by the fish.

Normally, the Blow Torch isn’t my initial fly choice; rather, as touched on earlier, it’s a nymph I turn to if the fish aren’t coming freely. Incidentally, it seems to work especially well in rivers which have good caddis populations. Therefore, pairing the Blow Torch with a caddis grub often makes a good combination.