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Hickman’s Fish Taco – Tying Instructions

Posted on June 22 2015

How to tie Jeff Hickman's Fish Taco Fly for Steelhead
Hickman’s Fish Taco. Photos: Stuart Foxall.

Yesterday, we kicked off our 2015 season at BC West. Therefore, we thought it would be appropriate to present you with a step by step of one of the more commonly used steelhead patterns at our lodge over the last few years, Hickman’s Fish Taco.

The Fish Taco was developed by Alaska West alum and steelhead guide, Jeff Hickman, and incorporates a bunch of features we like in a steelhead fly; it’s a breeze to cast, can be tied in virtually any color combination, and looks scary life-like in the water. We’ve seen it take both steelhead and king salmon alike, and would highly recommend it wherever anadramous fish are found.

Hickman’s Fish Taco – Tying Instructions

Tied by Stuart Foxall

How to tie Jeff Hickman's Fish Taco Fly for Steelhead
Step 1: Tie in a stinger loop of wire to a waddington shank (or any other 35 mm shank). I’ve doubled the wire over and super glued it to secure. Please make sure that the loop isn’t too long as this could lead to deeply hooked fish.
How to tie Jeff Hickman's Fish Taco Fly for Steelhead
Step 2: Wrap in a dubbing ball of Ice Dub as a large hot spot. I’ve used chartreuse here but you can use any color combination that you like.
How to tie Jeff Hickman's Fish Taco Fly for Steelhead
Step 3: Tie in a length of oval silver tinsel.
How to tie Jeff Hickman's Fish Taco Fly for Steelhead
Step 4: Tie in a long cock hackle by the tip.
How to tie Jeff Hickman's Fish Taco Fly for Steelhead
Step 5: Wrap on a dubbed body of UV purple Ice Dub. I’ve done this by just spinning it onto the thread between finger and thumb as opposed to using a dubbing loop.
How to tie Jeff Hickman's Fish Taco Fly for Steelhead
Step 6: Palmer the hackle along the body of the fly. I’ve used very close wraps to give the fly some substance around the body.
How to tie Jeff Hickman's Fish Taco Fly for Steelhead
Step 7: Counter wrap the the body with the silver tinsel to protect the hackle stem from sharp fish teeth.
How to tie Jeff Hickman's Fish Taco Fly for Steelhead
Step 8: Tie in some ostrich feather fibers all around the shank. I like to alter the lengths of the fibers so that the fly looks more “natural” and tapered in the water.
How to tie Jeff Hickman's Fish Taco Fly for Steelhead
Step 9: Tie in some strands of holographic Flashabou around the shank of the fly. I like it tied all round so the fish can see the flash from whatever angle it sees the fly from. I’ve used red, blue and purple here, but color choice is up to you.
How to tie Jeff Hickman's Fish Taco Fly for Steelhead
Step 10: Tie in a nicely marked guinea fowl feather by the tip.
How to tie Jeff Hickman's Fish Taco Fly for Steelhead
Step 11: Wrap the guinea fowl feather around the shank as a hackle. This stiffer feather gives the fly some “shoulders” in faster flows.
How to tie Jeff Hickman's Fish Taco Fly for Steelhead
Step 12: Build a clean head, whip finish, cement, and get fishing!

This is another fly that’s relatively simple to tie and utilizes materials that are both easy to obtain and to work with. But don’t let this fool you into thinking it’s not an effective pattern. You would do well to have a selection of these babies in your steelhead or salmon box to cover all light and water conditions.

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