Black Ghost Special

Bucktail streamers have been largely—and unfairly—forgotten. Fancy feather-wing streamers are not so common as they once were, but they have not disappeared to the same extent as bucktails.

Bucktail has the same inconveniences (some might say weaknesses) as many natural materials. Fiber length, stiffness, and the ability to compress under thread tension varies from tail to tail, and the color can change between dye lots. Also, you must clean out any underfur before stacking a clump of bucktail. Nonetheless, bucktail is an effective ingredient you can incorporate into the right pattern using only basic fly tying skills.

Today, some tiers make the classic bucktail style of fly, but they fashion the wings using softer synthetic materials. These ingredients come in a dizzying array of colors, textures, and with varying stiffness. If using real bucktail seems bothersome, substitute a synthetic hairlike material you find in your local fly shop.

Al Brewster tied the Black Ghost Special for the Spring 1978 issue of Fly Tyer.

black ghost special

Hook: Mustad 9575, sizes 12 to 4. I substituted a Partridge CS17-7X Heritage Streamer Hook.

Thread: Black Monocord. I substituted 8/0 (70 denier) thread. Tail: Red hackle fibers.

Body: Black wool or floss. Hackle: Red.

Wing: White bucktail.

Shoulder: Jungle cock or an imitation.