Patriot Steelhead Fly
Above, Frank Day & Jacob Noteboom consult the world famous "Fly Snake" in order to bring an end to their lack of luck. Here Jacob holds the snake over Frank's Wheatley fly box so it can pick the lucky fly. The snake (disguised as a common Bull snake) confided that the fly had little to do with their dilemma and that penitence and abstinence were their only roads to redemption. I guess we'll eventually know which angler chose the pure path.
Quoted from Steelhead Fly Fishing by Trey Combs: "The
bright pattern was called the Patriot. I had used nothing else for
three days. My first steelhead of the trip, a hen of nine pounds,
had struck the fly as hard as any steelhead in my memory. The impact
knocked the reel's pawls out of alignment, and only by frantically
palming the free-running spool was I able to prevent a massive
override." -Frank Amato
The pattern recipe in Trey's book calls for a hackle of dark purple, but the one Frank gave to me in about 1985 had a hackle that was blue. It caught several steelhead before I lost it to a big colored-up buck on the Deschutes. Over the years the Patriot has proven to be a very reliable pattern to try when fishing with a floating line while the sun is still on the water. It can be especially good when the water clears in late fall.
The other evening, I opened my fly box just as the sun was leaving the water. The Patriot stood out against the background of darker flies that surrounded it. It was like it was begging for attention. So it got tied to the end of my leader and got a hard pull on the very first cast in water that had already been fished by another angler. Of course it was much different colored that all of the rest of the flies we had used. Sometimes it's good to be different. MB