The Bloody Butcher Double Hook Wet Fly

How did the Bloody Butcher wet fly pattern get its name? The Butcher wet fly is one of the classic flyfishing fly patterns. It was designed and constructed in the early 1800s and over the years has become a firm favourite and a good fish taker.

Bloody Butcher double hook trout and salmon fly fishing wet fly


DH3 Bloody Butcher Wet Fly Double Hook Size 10   - Quantity: 
DH3 Bloody Butcher Wet Fly Double Hook Size 12   - Quantity: 
DH3 Bloody Butcher Wet Fly Double Hook Size 14   - Quantity: 

The Bloody Butcher Double Hook Wet Fly is shiny sleek and colourful, characteristics that epitomise a good wet fly. For some reason people think that this fly pattern is of Scottish origin. This is far from the truth. It is home is in a very ancient English spa town called Tunbridge Wells in the Kent countryside. The design of this fly seems to have been a joint invention by a Mr Dewhurst and a Mr Moon. The name Dewhurst in England was a famous brand of butchers. In this case it was in fact Mr Moon, who was the butcher. Was the fly named after Mr Moon's occupation? We do not know.

Some have suggested that the colours of the materials used for this fly represent the trade of being a butcher. The silver body stands for the butcher's knife. The dark blue wing are the colours of the stripes on the butchers white apron and the red tail stands for the meat. No one knows how this fly really got its name. There is even talk of it being initially called the Moon fly but later being changed to the Butcher fly. The theory I like the best is that it was named the "Butcher" because it caught so many fish. Butcher fishing flies that have the black original hackle fibers replaced with red ones are called Bloody Butcher flies.

The fish were rising as I tackled up, but my anticipation made me take twice as long as necessary to tie on my three flies. I chose a double hook bloody butcher on the middle dropper, a beaded pheasant tail on point and a Goddard’s caddis on the bob. At last I was ready, but luckily I curbed my impatience to start fishing to more carefully watch for where the fish were feeding.

I was so pleased I did so because they had changed position and were now rising quite close to the bank. If I had cast straight out as I normally do then I would have been casting over barren water and lined the feeding fish which would have resulted in spooking them.

I worked along the bank, but despite the rise, I had no offer for nearly an hour. Then suddenly one trout came over. My reaction was so slow I never had a chance. My concentration had suddenly gone up a gear and I watched the bob fly like a hawk. After five minutes I was into a fish on the Bloody Butcher. It took the line straight out from the shore and clear of the water. It was not a great size, only 1 lb, but it certainly fought well before coming to the net.

My second fish was the same size but my heart leapt as the trout slipped its hook but fortunately directly over the landing net.

Not many people would consider fly fishing and the saltwater fish called a Mullet as being connected. They would be wrong. I have had many a great days sea fishing with a fly for mullet. There are two species of mullet that are of interest to the fly fisherman. The thin lipped grey mullet is smaller than its bigger cousin the thick lipped grey mullet. The bigger of the two fish is the most prolific. Both can be found around moored up boats, dock walls, marsh creeks, sea defence walls and in harbours in Northern Europe. I have found the hotter the weather the easier it is to get the mullet to rise to a floating fly or a sub-surface bait fish imitation streamer.

Mullet are an ideal species to try and catch when you are on your summer holidays with the kids. Whilst on a day trip to the picturesque Victorian seaside town of Broadstairs I managed to hook into a 3 lb Mullet by the pier wall at high tide using a double hook bloody butcher. I have also been lucky with a dry ant fly when there has been a ’hatch’ of those annoying black flies that crawl all over drying seaweed on the nearby rocks.

I use a seven weight nine foot long medium action rod with a floating line that has 9-12 foot of leader with a tippet of 4lb fluorocarbon. Saltwater is very corrosive. Remember to clean your equipment with freshwater when you get back to the car. I carry a large water container just for that purpose. Experiment with the species you go fly fishing for. Actively go hunting for Mullet. You will have a lot of fun.

It depends on where I am fishing, I mostly fish in Norway and a couple of times of the year in Scotland. In Scotland, the rivers might only allow single hooks or barbless hooks. If so, I use what the regulations say My personal choice, and mostly used in Norway, is sturdy, double hooks (with barbs). And I always carry a tool for fast and safe release of the hooks. (in my view, it is far more important to carry such a tool than to use barbless hooks). These are the best solution for me (and the fish) I believe. I do not like trebles, or hooks with thin metal. I find that both can tear the fish, especially if the fish is big and/or the fight takes a long time. And the trebles can cause a mess at times. And I do not like to fish with very light tackle in general, a lengthy drill can be harmful in itself, especially in warm(ish) water. So, a sturdy double is my preferred choice, the size depends on what I expect to catch.- Bjorn Riise

Bloody Butcher double hook trout and salmon fly fishing wet fly
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