The Black Ghost is an old eastern streamer that has gained a bit of a following with the upswing in classic feather wing streamers. This is really a pretty simple tie but has a few little hitches that can throw you off a bit, so I’ve included it here. I have tied this fly on the new Tiemco 765 TC hook, a loop eye streamer hook with the Tiemco Cutting Point. This hook is sticky sharp and the return wire for the eye makes a great platform for feather wing streamer like this. I have to admit, the charming limerick bend is also a big consideration for me, just because it looks so classy, and the black nickel finish appeals to me too. Tie some of these up and show our western trout something a little different.
Hook: TMC 765 TC #2-10
Thread: 70 denier, Black
Tail: Yellow Hen Saddle Hackle Fibers
Rib: Flat Silver Mylar Tinsel, medium
Body: Black Uni-Stretch Floss
Beard:Yellow Hen Saddle Hackle Fibers
Wing: 4 Chinese Rooster Neck Hackle Feathers, White
Eyes: Jungle Cock Nails
Attach the thread about two eye lengths back from the hook eye and wrap a thread base back to the bend of the hook.
Select a hen saddle feather and preen the fibers so that their tips become even. You want a relatively large clump of fibers for the tail.
Peel the hen fibers from the quill and tie them in at the bend of the hook so the tips extend past the bend about one hook gap width. Wrap forward over the butt ends as shown.
Peel another like-sized clump of hen fibers from the quill. We will use this clump to even out the underbody of the fly in preparation for the floss over body to follow.
Tie this clump of hen fibers in at the front of the thread base by the butt ends. The tips should extend back to just past the end of the tail butts.
Wrap back over the hen fibers to form a smooth, even underbody. Make a couple layers of thread to smooth things out if needed.
Tie in a six-inch length of tinsel on the underside of the hook. Tie this tinsel in with the gold side out/down if it is the gold on one side/silver on the other variety.
Wrap back over the tinsel to the bend of the hook. Return the thread to the front of the thread base.
Whip finish the tying thread and clip it here.
Put the Uni-Floss in a bobbin and start it on the hook at the front of the thread base like you would the tying thread. Clip the tag end.
Build a smooth, even layer of floss from the front of the hook to the bend. You may need to stop and unwind the floss occasionally as you wrap. Try to keep the floss as flat as possible and be sure to wrap it tightly.
Wrap the floss forward again in slightly overlapping, tight turns to the front of the thread base.
Go back over the body with another layer of floss to smooth everything out and build a very slight taper.
Whip finish the floss with two turns and clip the floss free. Re-start the black tying thread at the immediate front edge of the body.
Spiral wrap the rib forward over the body with six to eight evenly spaced turns. The first turn of tinsel will dictate the angle at which the wraps will lay. Maneuver the tinsel at the bend so the tinsel is laying FLAT against the body as you wrap. Make these turns as tight as possible to eliminate the chance of the tinsel sliding.
Tie off the tinsel at the front of the body and clip the excess. Build a smooth thread base from the front of the body to the rear edge of the hook eye and back again.
Invert the hook in the vise.
Even the tips and peel another tail-sized clump of hen fibers from the quill (you’ll probably need to start on a new feather for this part). Measure the fibers from the front edge of the body to about the mid-point on the hook.
Tie this clump of hen fibers in on the underside (now top) of the hook with several tight turns of thread.
Clip the butt ends of the hen fibers at an angle as shown to taper them into the head area.
Replace the hook in the vise with the point down again. Wrap forward over the butt ends of the beard to smooth the base.
Select four Chinese Rooster Neck feathers. You want four feathers that are the same size and shape. If you have a good neck, you can even select two feathers from each side of the neck to get complimentary curves, but straight feathers work quite nicely as well. These feathers should be about half again as wide as the gap of the hook (1 1/2 Gap widths), and at least one and a half times the length of the hook itself.
Prepare the feathers by laying two feathers inside to outside with the tips even. Clip the butt ends to length (about one and a half shank lengths). Prep the other two feathers in the same way. Lay one set of feathers on your work surface with the inside facing up, and align the tips of the second set with this first set.
You should now have a wing blank consisting of four feathers, the inside feathers are inside to inside and the outside feathers are mirroring that on the outer edges.
Peel a few fibers from the bottom side of the wing blank. This will help the wing sit on top of the fly, without sticking up too far. You should also have some bare space on both sides of the quill at the very end of the feathers.
Lay all four feathers on top of the hook shank at the front edge of the body and bind them down with a narrow band of thread. Be sure the feathers don’t twist out of shape as you bind them down.
Full view of wings tied in. Note the length of the wing. They should be about equal to one and a half hook shank lengths.
Clip the stub ends of the wing quills and wrap over them to form a smooth thread base.
Select two jungle cock nails. The size is really up to you. I like a more prominent eye, myself, but I’m sure the Classic Tyers out there will have some set of rules I should follow. Good thing I tie these to please me! Pick a couple of matched feather that appeal to you and proceed.
Strip the fluff from the base of the nails so you have two feathers that are the same length. Measure the nails against the hook so they extend from the base of the wing to about the mid-point on the shank.
Tie one nail in along the near side of the hook with a narrow band of thread. The nail should mirror the angle of the wing quill, slightly elevated.
Repeat the process on the far side of the hook with the other nail. Make sure this nail matches both the length and angle of the first one on the near side.
Clip the butt ends of the jungle cock nails. Build a smooth, tapered thread head over the butt ends. Whip finish the thread and clip. Put two coats of Sally Hansen’s Hard As Nails on the head, letting it dry between coats.
Finished fly, side view. Note the length of the wing, the length of the beard and eyes and the spacing of the rib.
Finished fly, top view. Note how narrow the wing is. This pattern is quite slender from the top and bottom.
Finished Fly, frontal view. Not much there, eh? Did you notice that the eye on the right side is lower than the one on the left? How the hell did that happen? Grrrr!