This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is another Pray’s Optic Steelhead Fly.

Pray Optic Steelhead Fly |

This is the second of Pray’s Optic steelhead flies in a friend’s collection with a note on the fly stating it was tied by C. Jim Pray (1885 – 1952) of Eureka, CA in 1947. I did some research but didn’t find a name for the fly. See the other TBT fly HERE.

The Optic series of flies were some of the popular steelhead flies he tied. They were tied on short-shank hooks with a tinsel body, bucktail, and painted brass bead or large thread head. While he didn’t invent Optic flies, he is known for their success catching salmon and steelhead on the heavy winter waters of the Eel River and other Northern California rivers.

Other flies he created include the Silver Demon, Black Demon, Thor, and Carter.

Mike Valla provides a detailed history of Pray in his excellent book The Founding Flies – 43 American Masters – Their Patterns and Influences (2013). It’s a must have book for any avid steelhead fly fisher or fly tyer.

Enjoy…go fish, stay safe!

(John Kreft is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

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