Hornberg 88
 
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  • Hook:  Mustad R74, # 6-12
  • Thread: Danville's Prewaxed 6/0, white & brown
  • Body: rear 2/3 red floss, front 1/3 green floss
  • Wing: wood duck flank, or mallard flank dyed to wood duck
  • Cheek (optional): Jungle Cock
  • Hackle: grizzly (dry fly quality)
Thanks to Mel Heath of Poland, Maine for this idea.

Mel has been using the classic Eighty-Eight streamer this season with great results on land-locked Salmon, not far from where the pattern was created.  As is often the case when a particular pattern far outweighs others, slight variations come to mind so the pattern can be fished in other ways.  Mel thought that an Eighty-Eight, tied like a Hornberg, would be a good variation, allowing for different fishing techniques with the same success as the standard streamer.  I thought this was a good idea. The flatwing style of the original Eighty-Eight easily converts to a "Hornberg style," as would many other flatwings, particularly those using the various duck flank feathers for the wing.

The classic wire-body Eighty-Eight is a heavy fly that is perfect for stronger flows (see Alberto Jimeno's version of the Eighty-Eight here).  In Mel's area, the fish seem to be especially fond of this pattern. Whether it's the red and green, the grizzly hackle, or the specked wood duck wing, only the fish know.  The Hornberg can be fished as a streamer, or floated like a dry, or a combination of both (drift it on top, then at the bottom of the swing strip it under). Tying the Eighty-Eight in the same style as the Hornberg is really just a matter of changing the colors. Keeping a couple of things in mind, this is an easy pattern to tie, and the materials are standards that you probably already have in your materials collection.  If you find a particular pattern successful in your area for a particular season, try thinking of other styles to tie it in as shown here that will let you fish it in other ways under various circumstances.

Tying Instructions:

1)  To maintain the proper shade on the floss body when the fly gets wet, start with the white tying thread.  Secure the thread to the shank about two and a half hook eye widths behind the eye.  This will indicate the front end of the body, with the bare hook behind the eye reserved for the wing, lots of hackle, and the head.  Wind back toward the bend about 1/3 of the way in tight touching wraps.  This front portion will be reserved for the green floss.  The tendency is to get this section too short, so for the first one, you might try measuring the distance from the start of the thread to the bend (body length) to get a feel for where 1/3 is.
2)  Tie in the tag end of the red floss on top of the shank.  Here I'm using Uni-Floss, which for me is easier to handle if I cut a length of it (about 6-7 inches) and carefully divide in half.  Leave a short section of the floss protruding as a marker for the end of the red portion of the body.  Hold the floss up at and angle and continue wrapping the thread to the bend smoothly, lashing the floss to the top of the shank.
3)  Once at the bend, with the excess floss extending back past it, wind back up to the 1/3 mark.  For a smoother foundation, let the tying thread untwist before wrapping so it lays flatter.
4)  Wind the floss forward to the tying thread.  To keep it smooth, stroke the floss from the hook all the way to its end on at least every turn (I usually do this every half turn). Tie off with two tight turns of thread, and clip the excess.
5)  Tie in the tag end of the green floss where the red floss ends.  Wind the thread forward smoothly over the tag end to the front of the body area.
6)  Wrap the green floss forward to the tying thread in the same manner as you did for the red.  Tie off with three tight turns thread and clip the excess.
7)  Tie a three-turn whip finish knot and clip the tying thread.  Add a drop of cement to the knot, just enough to soak into the thread without getting into the floss.
8)  You can leave the body as it is in step 7, or for added durability you can coat the floss with a thin layer of 30-min epoxy, as I've done here.  This will add a little bit of weight, so keep this in mind if you intend to use the "dry" features of the Hornberg style more than the streamer features.

Whichever type of body you use, it is helpful to prepare a few bodies before proceeding with the wing.

9)  Switch to the brown tying thread and start this right behind the eye.  Wind back to the green floss, over the knot of the white thread.
10)  The classic Hornberg has an underwing of slender yellow hackles.  Later versions call for yellow bucktail or calftail.  Here, I'm going to use natural brown bucktail, which seems to compliment the overall style of the classic Eighty-Eight. (Hmm. Another pattern to try...a bucktail Eighty-Eight? *G*)

Clip a small bundle of the brown hairs found in the center of a natural white bucktail.  Clean out any underfur and excessively short hairs, pull out any really long ones, then align the tips, either by hand or in a stacker.  Keep the bundle very sparse.

Once prepared, tie the bundle in on top of the shank, right in front of the green floss, with the tips extend a hook gap length past the bend.  Trim the butt ends halfway between the tie-in and the hook eye.  This will give us a foundation for the wings and hackle.

 

11)  For the wings, we need to be a little selective.  While sifting through the bag it is useful to collect enough pairs of feathers for the whole batch of flies.  Looking at a flank feather, you'll see where the barbs are more "fluffy" nearer to the butt end.  Separate the barbs just above this area so you are left with the fine, marked, fluff-free barbs.  This is what is needed for the wing.

To get the right shape, it needs to be the right size.  Look for feathers where the usable portion (fluff-free) is about twice the hook length.  Any longer and the wing will end up too narrow, and shorter and you'll either get some of the fluff in the wing, or the wing will just be too short. 

Ideally, find matching pairs... where one curves to the left, the other to the right.  If this is not possible, look for those feathers that are naturally more straight.

 

Once you have your feathers collected, strip the fluff portions off.  Hold a feather against the fly to measure for length... the wing should extend half a hook length past the bend.  Mark the length by separating the barbs on one side of the feather at the butt end beginning at the very front of the fly's body.  Do the same for the other side and trim these bards off.  Trimming here instead of stripping will give us a little more insurance against the wings pulling out later.  Clip the trimmed portion of the stem so it is half the length of the head area.  Tie the feather against the bucktail on the far side, then repeat the procedure for the feather on the near side.

The result should be two flank feathers forming a tent shape over the bucktail.  Check the wing for alignment... look at it head-on from the eye to make sure the wing is straight.  Take a couple more tight turns of thread to secure, then add a good drop of cement for security.

 

12)  If you choose to, you can now add the Jungle Cock cheeks.  I generally do not use these for fishing flies, due to the cost and the status of the natural species. They are extremely nice for display flies and special circumstances, so I will add them to this pattern.

The original Hornberg specifies the Jungle Cock feather be tied to the "second eye."  I honestly don't know what that means.  So I choose a size of feather that looks proportionately appropriate, about 1/3 as long as the wing when tied in at the "point" of the enamel as shown here.  These are tied in much like the wings... stroke back the barbs on either side of the stem just below the enamel point and trim.  Lash one to each side.

If you don't have Jungle Cock, I personally do not recommend the artificial versions... they just don't look good to me.  But that is just my opinion, for what it's worth.  For other options, you can use a short section of floss, either red, or in yellow/orange + white + black to get Jungle Cock colors.  You could also try other types of feathers for different looks, such as starling body feathers, hen, grizzly hackle tips of various colors... use your imagination.  Finally, you could just omit the cheeks altogether.

13)  The hardest part about the hackle is finding the right size in feathers near dry-fly quality... that is, with very little or no web near the stem.  You could use two or three feathers from a grizzly neck, or sometimes you can find good enough feathers on lower grade saddles.  Size the hackle as for a dry fly, about one and a half the hook gap width.  Trim the barbs from either side at the base of the feather and tie this in just in front of the wings.  Bring the thread forward to about half a hook eye width behind the eye and wrap the hackle forward.  Stroke back the long barbs as you wrap to avoid trapping any down.
Try to get at least 10-12 wraps of hackle.  Not only does this balance out the overall look of the fly, but it will let you take advantage of the dry-fly features of this pattern.  Tie off the hackle, clip the excess, and form a small rounded head with the tying thread.  Whip finish the thread and clip.  Coat the head with lacquer and stroke/primp the hackle forward into the proper shape.
14)  To get the wing into shape, use water to wet your fingers and gently stroke the feathers back.

 

Underside of Hornberg 88.Hornberg 88 without cheeks.

 

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This site was last updated 08/23/05