Bruce’s Houdini Fly

Written and tied by Justin Bruce (@justinbruceflies)

I fish for fun. If we are fortunate, we might experience a rare moment, a “spot in time” as the poet, Wordsworth calls it, outside where we want to pause the clock and just sit in that moment. For me, such moments have resonated more and more on the water. An afternoon on the river seems to create a better version of myself because I drive home and open the door a more focused and intentional husband and father.

This past year, I’ve become obsessed with tying and testing my creations. Since I usually have multiple flies in my “I wonder if they work” box, I have a huge incentive to invite my friends to join me in the ripples to do a little “research.”  When I get the chance to take a first timer with me, he will almost always say “there’s too much to consider” or declare that he’s overwhelmed with “too many options.” Fly fishing certainly opens up a rabbit hole. The decision of what to toss and how to fish can seem endless. But in all honesty, for me, finding the right fit is only as complicated as we want to make it.I’ve poured over magazine articles and watched too many videos discussing everything from the perfect water temperature to which color tail fibers to use on a crippled dry fly. On one hand, we can certainly try to break the forever held secret formula that equals fish catching bliss. On the other hand, we have the ability to keep the sport simple and just tie on a fly that looks buggy, moves, and seems to be a reasonable size for the water we are fishing. Too many schools of thought on matching the hatch vs. attractor patterns bog us down because, in the end, all ideas can and do work. I have to always remember to use my go-to line with my first time fishing friends: “Just have fun.”

That is  why I love this Houdini Fly. I’ve sent samples across the country and have received reports back informing me how anglers had Euro nymphed the fly; others mentioned they had dropped, dead drifted, swung and stripped it. The darn bug seemed to catch hold of fish everywhere. Do I think I cracked the formula? No. I think these anglers fished a fly that had a buggy profile, movement, and was the right size for the water they were fishing. This fly has somewhat of a jack of all trades quality along with a durable, segmented, two-toned body. Simply put: the fly can be fished however or wherever one wants. When we take a moment and attempt to stop the clock, we free ourselves from the clutter and the rabbit holes of too many options. So, if we are just starting out, hold off on sliding down rabbit holes. I recommend we keep it simple, tie on a Houdini, and have fun!

….And don’t forget to check out Bruce’s DDP Stone in the Summer issue of Fly Fusion.  On stands now!