As much as I really enjoy the art of tying complex Intruder Style flies and getting all fancy with materials that include the name lady and cost a pretty penny, there’s something to be said for the blue-collar patterns that are quick and relatively inexpensive to tie. I’ve been tying some version of this critter for darn new two decades and find you just can’t beat a rabbit strip when it comes to getting the most bang for your buck. These days I tie most of my big winter steelhead bugs on tubes, which offer a ton of flexibility as far as hook sizing and placement. You could even incorporate a cone or Flexibead onto the head of this fly for more weight or simply slide one on the leader after the fact. My preference, however, is to fish this fly unweighted to really maximize the mobility of the rabbit and marabou, relying solely on a short stout leader and sink tip to get the fly down to the desired depth. I tie these things in various colors: blacks, purples, blues, pinks and oranges to suit the water conditions and time of day, as well as incorporating more flash for glacial or off color water. Tie up a few GTBT’s this season in your favorite flavor and give them a swim on your favorite steelhead river. You won’t be disappointed!

GTBT Recipe:
Tube: Pro Sport Fisher Flexitube Clear
Thread: 70 Denier Ultra Thread Fl Pink
Body: Pearl Flat Diamond Braid
Wing: White Rabbit Strip
Collar 1: Fl Blue Speyquill Marabou
Flash: Pearl Krystal Flash/Opalescent Lateral Scale
Cheeks: Natural Grizzly Saddle Hackles
Collar 2: Medium Pink Schlappen
Hook: #2 Aqua Talon

Confluence Beer Pairing:
We’ll slip one more wintery dark beer into the mix before spring changes things up and recommend Kulshan’s Mossy Rock Dry Stout as our beer of the month. If you like Guiness (and with St. Patty’s Day coming up you probably should), you’ll find this one pretty familiar. Indulge in one more glorious dark beer for the dark days before the sun starts shining on a regular basis and we begin to lighten things up.

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