John Barr’s Copper John is this week’s TBT fly.
He completed the fly design in 1996 after three years of development.
The Copper John is such an effective fly design, John Barr ties it in many colors and variations. The original fly is tied in sizes 10 – 18. But in his book, Barr Flies, he lists several “family members” including the Tungsten Bead Copper John (sizes 18 – 20), Rubber Legs Copper John (sizes 10 – 18), and a steelhead fly version called the Jumbo John with hot beads (sizes 6 – 10). Each of these flies can be tied with different colored wire. In fact, he shows several two-tone versions.
I’ll fish large and small versions of the Copper John. The size 10 is a heavy fly and one I use to get smaller nymphs into the zone. And I’ve caught fish on size 18 fly using copper, red, and blue wire pattern below. I plan to tie a two-tone version to imitate a green drake nymph.
While it isn’t near as old as many of the classics, it changed the way many people fished. The Copper John is a fly I still tie and use today.