Fly Tying · On the Vise

Leave room for The Renegades!

We often find ourselves up late at night, deer hair laden coffee in hand, trying to create flies that imitate the exact naturals of what we bring home from the banks.  While taking that approach is sometimes a necessity, we must not forget about another group of flies; the attractor patterns.  These are flies which merely suggest movement or a commotion on the waters surface, these are the flies that only mimic the insects ‘footprint’ on the waters surface but never get the chance to become the carbon copy of that food source.

We have seen this work time and time again with a Griffiths gnat, the Usual and a White Wulff, but they aren’t the only great attractor patterns. The Renegade is absolutely one of those! This fly was developed somewhere around the late 20s early 30s, and still catches trout today.

Renegade Wet fly on the left, Renegade Dry Fly on the right
Renegade Wet fly on the left, Renegade Dry Fly on the right

When I first started fishing The Renegade, I wasn’t aware that this pattern already had a name. I also wasn’t aware that the fly I had reconstructed and tied as a wet, may have very well been a dry. This pattern found its way to me during one of my first trips to the Catskills. I saw it hanging on a low tree branch on the banks of the Beaverkill still attached to a few inches of sun-faded tippet. The hook was bent and had begun showing signs of rust around the eye. Yet at the time, after a non productive day and being new to the sport myself, I remember thinking.. “.. well if they fished it here maybe it will work here?” (HA! If only that was true of every fly we tied on!) Nevertheless I took it home, dismantled it and tried my best to copy it on my vise.

That wet fly proved to be quite effective on many trips as I continued to tie and fish it.

Photo in Masters On The Nymph

Then one evening while reading through Masters On The Nymph I came across a photo of my ‘mystery fly on a branch’, and realized it had a name! “The Renegade” I  wanted to learn more and after a little research, I found out that there was more than one way to tie and fish a Renegade!

“The Renegades”

This photo below is how I had been tying my version of the fly, and still do. While the body is a little narrower than the ones I have dug up in past literature, as well as my hen hackles longer; it has not stopped it from being productive and so I don’t change it.

Renegade Wet Fly
Renegade Wet Fly

Renegade Wet Fly

Hook: Standard nymph hook size 10-16

Thread: Black

Rear Tag: Gold Holo Tinsel

Rear Hackle:Whiting Hen Hackle in Brown

Body:one strand of peacock herl, wrapped towards the back and then again frontwards over itself

Front Hackle: Whiting Hen Hackle in Cream

As time passed, I started tying it as a dry fly and found it to be just as effective as a bi-visible or Royal Wulff when blindly cast out over faster water. Smaller sizes of this pattern are an effective imitation of a midge cluster yet easier to see than your standard Griffiths Gnat.

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The Renegade

Renegade Dry Fly

Hook: Standard dry fly hook size 12-16

Thread: Black

Rear Tag: Gold Holo Tinsel

Rear Hackle:Whiting Dry fly Hackle in brown

Body:one strand of peacock herl wrapped towards the rear of the hook, then again over itself towards the front.

Front Hackle: Whiting Dry Fly Hackle in Cream

My Step-by-step Tutorial for this Renegade Dry Fly can be found here at the Dette Trout Flies website

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Renegade Dry Fly side view
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Bottom View of the Renegade Dry

Ah Yes! The Royal Renegade! This has a great resemblance to the Royal Wulff.

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The Royal Renegade
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Royal Renegade

Royal Renegade

Hook: Standard dry fly hook size 10-14

Rear Tag: Gold Holo Tinsel

Thread: Black

Rear Hackle:Whiting Dry Fly Hackle in brown

Body:Tied from the rear towards the eye- One strand of peacock herl, Red floss and then another section of peacock herl

Front Hackle: Whiting Dry fly Hackle in Cream

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The Double Renegade

The Double Renegade

Hook: a 2xl Dry or Light nymph hook size 8-12

Thread: Black

Rear Tag: Gold Holo Tinsel

Front and Rear Hackle: Whiting dry fly Hackle in Brown

Middle Hackle: Whiting dry fly Hackle in Cream (One or two sizes larger than the brown)

Body:one strand of peacock herl on either side of the middle hackle

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Closeup of Double Renegade
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Double Renegade
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Leave room for the Renegades!

When fishing these as dry flies, I tend to fish the larger sizes over fast water as a searching pattern and in smaller sizes when fish seem to be taking midge clusters.

As for the wet fly version, I will fish it as the top fly in a 2-fly rig, swinging through the current or I will fish it in the film, with a little bit of dry fly floatant when the fish are rising.

Whatever your favorite attractor pattern may be, leave room for a few Renegades!

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2 thoughts on “Leave room for The Renegades!

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