The Black Jake - A Must Have Stonefly Nymph

This large dark stonefly pattern has claimed top spot in our nymph boxes over the last decade. A great all-round pattern for trout, artic char and larger grayling.


The Black Jake

Hook .......... #10 Nymph
Thread ........ Black
Tail ............ Hackle barbs & Crystal Flash Pearl
Weight ........ 0.10 Lead Wire
Rib (opt) ..... Monofil
Body .......... Peacock Herl
Wingcase ..... Peacock Herl
Throat ........ Crystal Flash Pearl
Hackle ........ Black Cock
Head .......... 3,5 -3,8 mm Black Tungsten

A fly is born

The Black Jake was born in a dimly lit cabin in Swedish Lapland 2011 after a moderate day of fishing one of our favourite spots.

We'd been hooking trout and grayling all day, but for some reason the local char weren't interested in the usual smaller patterns.  At the same time two Belgian guys we had been fishing with, were having a lot of success connecting with char on what seemed to be a huge #8 red-ribbed black stonefly pattern.

We were in a hole, after all the char were definitely the top catch of the area.

That evening, we were looking at our fly tying kits and slightly dismayed, realised that we didn't have half the needed materials between us - so, something very improvised it would have to be.


Black, green & peacock

We knew that a combination of green and peacock herl had been very effective on some smaller patterns - like the Green Tag. The thinking was that maybe if we build the body from peacock herl and just size it up a few notches, it would do. Also, How about we tone down the green to a little sparkle here and there and replace the tail with something like dark hackle barbs?

Great, the body, tail and sparkle green combo looked nice, but not really what we were looking for, yet.

On revision, a big tungsten bead was added for the head. It'll balance the looks and help it to sink fast.

A band of green sparkle to the throat and a lead wire base for the thorax were added, as well as a peacock herl wingcase - seemed to be just what the fly needed. The fly looked nice to the eye, but it wasn't very similar to the Belgian guys’ pattern.

Without much confidence for the fly, only a couple were tied for testing.


Testing, 1,2,3...

The next day fishing another deep pool known for its good char population, the Jake was soon attracting fish - much to our surprise. So far, so good! It seemed that the pattern was right on the money after all. 

As the day turned into a pattern of hook a fish, loose a fly. Hook a fish, loose a fly  - The only regret was having tied only a couple the evening before.

A speciality fly by a half accident it seems.


Maybe for just that reason, in our minds the Black Jake was primarily an arctic char fly for these few particular pools, high up here in northern Sweden.

It wasn't until a couple years later that we began to use the pattern more and more where ever we went -probably as a last ditch effort to turn around a particularly unsuccseful day - and the Black Jake seemed to be an attractive offering when ever fished. 


From arctic chars to browns, rainbows to graylings and even perches showed continued interest in it - so far the only species on our list that the fly hasn't fooled is an atlantic salmon. And even that is probably just a question of time. Such is the confidence in this wouldn't-leave-home-without-one pattern. Tie one on!

Coming soon

A Black Jake fly tying materials kit


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