Tim Babich is a head guide for FlyCastaway and he has caught many big GTs on fly tackle in and around St Brandon’s and Farquhar. He designed the Tan Brush Fly, which imitates mullet and tropical squid, to specifically catch giant trevally. GTs generally come into shallow water to feed on the baitfish and squid that find refuge on the tropical flats on the low tide. He used natural colours in his fly to simulate the pale colouration of these creatures, which is part of their camouflage to ‘blend’ in with the sandy surroundings.
How to tie the Tan Brush Fly:
Step 1: Dress the shank of a 6/0 hook with 140 Uni tan thread for a strong base. Wind the thread towards the bend of the hook and stop above the barb. Tie in a hook-shank-length length of white SF and then a slightly longer bundle of tan SF fibers. The bunch of SF fibers you use must be tapered and not be trimmed off at the ends.
Step 2: Tie in two ‘steps’ of stacked tan fur to form a collar on the hook shank above the SF tail; this is to help prevent the tail from wrapping and to have a smooth transition between the tail and body with no gaps.
Step 3: Take a completed craft fur brush and start tying in a stripped end section consisting only of the twisted wire directly in front of the collar; once this exposed section of wire is tied in securely, the craft fur brush section can be wrapped towards the hook eye. Stroke the craft fur fibers backwards (towards the bend of the hook) as the brush is wrapped forwards. It is important to leave enough room behind the hook eye to tie the brush off neatly. (The brush is not easy to make unless you have a brush-making machine. Otherwise you can buy ready-made brushes from a fly fishing tackle dealer.)
Step 4: You can whip finish the fly at this stage and use a steel brush or the plastic hooks of a Velcro strip to comb out the brush. Stick large eyes on at the ‘head’ of the brush using superglue and secure them with 5 min epoxy after the superglue dried out completely. The epoxy, covering at least the first half of the eyes or the entire perimeter of the eye, will make the eyes stick better and it will make the fly last a little bit longer.
Hook: Gamakatsu SL12S 6/0
Thread: Tan 140 Uni thread
Tail: White and Tan SF
Collar: Tan craft fur
Body: Craft Fur brush
Eyes: Holographic stick on eyes 9ml (the fly is heavy as it is and using any other eyes will add more weight making it hard to cast)