The Polar Conehead

By Mike Hogue

I was looking through an old magazine I had and discovered a pattern that I tied and fished several years ago. I caught some smallmouth on this fly, some largemouth and more than my fair share of browns, rainbows and yes a few bluegills too.I had forgotten about the pattern ( more likely the name and the inventor ) and remembered it was a kind of a cool fly after rereading the article. This is a muddler design type of fly so I don't think that the originator can really claim that this is an innovative pattern, it is more or less a derived idea based on something that has been copied many times. In any case, my pattern is not exactlly idenitical in a sense this is my version of something.

The original pattern I copied was called the Polar Muddler. It was created by Paul Miller for an article about fly fishing in British Columbia. This article was called," Winter Ghosts of Lower B.C." and was contained in the now defunct , Art of Angling Journal, Volume1, Issue 4. I selected this pattern to show you because it teachs several things about working with hair. This is a very difficult pattern for many tyers so don't become too frustrated if you aren't able to master this pattern right off. I think it is an excellent design and has some great looking qualities. My pattern is a bit smaller, more dense and contains different materials. The original Polar Muddler was made of polar bear, which is almost impossible to get. If I had some, I would feel bad about using the stuff and I would also perfer not to use such a rare material just to make some fishing flies. I substituted buck tail and used all of the most common basic materials so I don't think you should have a hard time finding the stuff to make this.


The Polar Conehead

Hook: Mustad 9674 or Daiichi 1750 size 4 or 6

Cone: Silver 1/4" or Large Size

Thread: 6/0 White

Tail: White Bucktail

Body: Pearl Tinsel

Underwing: Pearl Krystal Flash

Wing: White Bucktail with Grizzly Hackle tied on each side

Collar: White deer belly hair spun

( Sorry about the odd camera does a color balance and I couldn't correct should be fine as you can see each step quite well.)

Begin by putting the cone on the hook. Slide the cone with the narrow end over the hook point first.






Start thread and wrap thread back along the top of the hook shank. Stop when you get to a spot even with the point of the hook.





Next I cut a bundle of bucktail about the size of a pencil, maybe 20 fibers or so. Using one of my giant Terra saltwater/bucktail hair stackers I even the ends. I drop the hair in the flared end and tap it on the table top. Next I slip the top piece up while tilting the base.





As I pull the hair out of the stacker, I move the end over. I will grab the evened bundle out of the top end. If you mess this up, put the top half back in the bottom, tap on the table a few more times and try removing the hair again.





Take the bundle and measure the length of the tail. You want to set the tail equal to the hook shank. Miller's original had very long tails ( which you might try). In any case my tail is equal to the hook shank and wrap the fibers along the top of the hook shank. I clip the end tight the edge of the cone and wrap over the butts to level out the body. If you make the body lumpy or odd shaped, the tinsel used in the next step won't cure a mess of a body. Keep the body level and even.




Next I tie in a strip of tinsel about 2 1/2" long. Catch the strip with your thread and tie flat along the shank of the hook. It helps to pull back with your other hand to add tension and keep the tinsel tight.





Wrap the tinsel forward in even touching turns. I use my other finger on the back of the hook to keep the tinsel from slipping. When you get to the head, make a few wraps and tug on the tag to snug it up. Clip off the tag and make a few wraps to cover the cut end.





Cut a small bundle of Krysal Flash by folding it over several times. I fold about 5 strands, 4 times and cut the loops. I cut the size of the bundle down by using only about 7-10 strands. Tie the bundle on top of the hook so that the tips touch the end of the tail. If your flash is too long, you can pull it forward or nip the ends off with your scissors.




Cut another bundle of bucktail. Again even the tips by stacking the hair. Tie the wing on top of the Krystal Flash and make sure that the tips of the wing are even with the end of the tail. This will help your fly look neater.





Tie in one hackle on each side of the wing. You want the tips of the hackle to touch the edges of the wing with the good sides facing out on each side. I tie in one side, than the other. I also look for hackle that has round tips. Some of the tailing material on some necks such as spade hackle is ideal for the wings. Pointed or narrow wings look bad, try to use about a size 6-8 hackle if you can. In a pinch just omit this if you wish.

After I tie the wing in, I pull all of the fibers together and pull the wing over the cone. I want the wing to slant up. Make a few wraps and the wing will be locked in.



Next I cut and clean a bundle of deer belly hair. I stack it to even the ends. I tie in a bundle about the size of pencil on top of the hook. I leave about 1/2" sticking out as a collar and tie the tips facing the tail. I make about 2-3 firm wraps with the thread. If you find that you are breaking the thread off, you can use a heavier thread of say 3/0 before you begin making the head.




Next tie another bundle on the bottom side of the hook. You want the tips of the second bundle to be even with the tips from above.





I make several tight z wraps by wiggling the thread back and forth abit and making firm wraps. The uneven, odd shaped wraps will force the thread into the hair and lock it down firmly. I then make several wraps behind the cone and force the thread to lock the collar back. It helps if you stroke the hair by making a small circle with your right hand, while pinching the tail with with your left. If you do this the bundle will flare out.






Next make a whip finish around the cone. I make a large triangle and whip around the back of the cone. Be careful or you can cut your thread by pulling against the edge of the cone. Cut the thread off after you make your whip finish.





Again stroke the fibers of the hair.I try to get the longer hair to stand out at right angles. Next I use a pair of curved scissors and clip the hair in a circle. The smaller collar hair is compressed against the body and is shorter. I clip only long hair that sticks out. I tied commerically for many years and I can make a small round head in about 10 cuts. Nip the packed hair tight. If the head is uneven try making a small twist to cock the head even. I add some drops of head cemment to the spun hair. This is another secret to making it " feel" dense". I use that is how you get a really tight head? Yeap! You cheat and glue it.


Stuff I sell for making this fly:

Polar Conehead Kit: Includes all the stuff you need to make this fly. Kit has: Terra Bucktail Stacker: $13.50, Deer Belly Hair: $2.50, 6/0 Thread: $1.50, Daiichi 1750 Hooks: $5.75, Pearl Tinsel: $1.50, Pearl Krystal Flash: $3.50, White Bucktail Pieces: $1.50, Large Silver Coneheads: $3.00

Total Value: $32.75, Kit price: $28.50 Email me by clicking below and tell me you want a kit, I will tell you how to order.


For more Info Contact:

Mike Hogue / Badger Creek Fly Tying / 622 West Dryden Road, Freeville, NY 13068

Phone: 607-347-4946