The Green Goblin scares up wary trout
If you want a fly that’s proven itself over thousands of hours of fishing, the Green Goblin’s the one. The first year I fished it, the Green Goblin saved the day time and again and it’s saved the day many times since. As a guide, I want flies that work and I’m always tinkering with tying new patterns, so my clients have the best odds of getting into fish. I need patterns I can count on, as much as you can in fishing. The Green Goblin is one I count on time and again.
I’m on the water day in and day out in Southwestern Montana, and I’m usually fishing with two clients, which is the perfect way to test one fly against another and learn what new patterns work best. The first year I tested the Green Goblin, I fished it against another, flashier successful fly on one angler’s rod, with the Goblin on the other angler’s rod on a regular basis. The other fly, as always, performed well. But the Green Goblin seemed to do a bit better. As the season progressed and the water got lower and clearer, and the fish all the spookier and educated, the Green Goblin really turned on and became far and away the leader. On days when the water had warmed and I thought the fish were just “off” I’d tie on a Green Goblin and it produced fish.
Where I fish, flashy beadheads and flashback nymphs are staples in every guide’s fly box. Thousands of fish succumb to them on the Madison and Yellowstone rivers. But after a while, such successful patterns begin to loose some effectiveness. In fact, I believe that it’s their very flashiness that can sometimes start to work against them. They become easier to identify as patterns to avoid for educated trout. I created the Green Goblin to be different than these otherwise successful, flashy little flies while still playing on their success.
The Green Goblin is more natural looking than its flashier counterparts. And day in and day out, I think trout are more convinced to strike that. The Green Goblin stands out to trout because, well, because it doesn’t stand out. It looks more natural. I gave the Green Goblin a slimmer Mayfly nymph profile with just enough subtle flash that the trout can pick up on, and a darker, more natural color than some of the flashier flies. Trout key in on that subtle flash, but, especially in clearer water, they won’t snub it nearly as much because it looks more like a real nymph. The smaller sizes work great as a baetis nymph imitation too. On cloudy days in April and May, before the runoff when the water is often still clear and somewhat low, the Green Goblin gets strikes. Though the Green Goblin really “shines” in clear water, it produces in large tail waters to small spring creeks, and in turned up water, too. It works for browns, rainbows and cutthroats alike, across the board.
Plus, not only does the Goblin get strikes, but you’re more likely to turn those strikes into hook ups and landings. Why? Because the Goblin is tied on a scud hook. This means the gap is wider than on a conventional nymph hook for better hooking power and greater hold in a trout’s jaw.
You’ll have the most luck with this fly in a conventional dead drift beneath a strike indicator. I usually drop it off the back of a stonefly nymph or a Woolly Bugger. Even if I don’t catch fish on the big bugger or the stone, I believe that those big flies stimulate the attention of lazy fish and get them to notice the Green Goblin. Those big patterns hit the water and fish take notice. They see the Green Goblin behind it and think it’s easy pickings.
When all the flashy flies you have are beginning to feel more and more like a flash in the pan, go to the Green Goblin and scare yourself up some good fishing. Pick up a selection or two today and get see for yourself.
- by Rick Weisend