Given just two colours on which to base a killing seatrout fly for employment during the dark hours, few fly-dressers would look further than black and red with a dash of silver for good measure.
But when the fly is intended for work in daylight, things become much more problematical, especially on those rivers where the sea-trout are notoriously reluctant to co-operate in anything but a slightly coloured water or on the blackest of nights.
However, there is one fly that can fairly lay claim to be deadly for daytime sea-trout. Invented by Bob Thompson, then a bailiff on the English side of the Border Esk, the Thompson’s Terror has proved its worth on a host of rivers.
Usually dressed on a size 10 hook — and in low water a size 14 — it is traditionally dressed on a double, whose additional weight below the body acts as a keel, preventing it from spinning in a fast flow.
Although loosely based on the Greenwell’s Spider, a traditional pattern long regarded as a useful fly for daytime sea-trout (albeit the smaller ones) the Terror has a reputation for producing the calibre of sea-trout usually only expected after dark.
While Bob Thompson’s original Terror had no tail, later versions have a pearl body overwound with the primrose silk or a fluorescent-yellow floss tail.
Hook Size 10-14 Thread Pale primrose
Tail Fluorescent yellow floss (optional)
Body Flat silver or pearl tinsel crisscrossed
with the tying thread to leave
the tinsel glinting through
Hackle Greenwell saddle hackle with a
shiny, greenish centre
1. Catch the hook in the vice and run the thread in touching turns to a point just opposite the barb.
2. Fold the floss into two or three loops and tie them in.
3. Trim the ends of the loops and cover them with close turns of the tying thread.
4. Trim the end of the flat silver or pearl tinsel to a shallow point and tie it in just behind the eye.
5. Start to form the body with taut and slightly overlapping turns of the tinsel wound down the hook shank.
6. Wind the tinsel back to the head, secure and trim away the waste.
7. Working in tight, open turns, take the tying thread down the full length of the body and back again to the eye.
8. Strip away the fluff from the base of the saddle hackle and tie it in with the best side facing you.
9. Make two or three full turns with the hackle.
10. Secure the hackle and remove the unwanted feather. Trim the floss loops so that they form a short, stubby tail. Form a small head, whip finish and add a tiny drop of clear varnish to complete the fly.
WHERE, WHEN & HOW TO FISH
W H E R E
The Thompson’s Terror is a highly effective fly for daytime seatrout. It works best in a deep flow with a rippled surface, although in smaller sizes it will take fish lying in a smooth glide.
W H E N
It can be used with confidence at any time during the day although it probably gives of its best where the fish are confidently lying in shade or deeper water.
H O W
In shallow water it can be presented singly or as part of a team of small flies on a long leader and a floating line. Best results, however, are gained with a sink-tip line or a full slow-sinker.
T Y I N G T I P
The fly’s mobility is enhanced by using saddle hackles, which are not as stiff as those plucked from a cock cape.