This weeks Fly Friday comes from PRO-Team member Jacques Héroux and it is The Rusty Rat....

The RAT series of flies was originated and introduces in 1911 by Roy Angus Thompson whose initials: R.A.T. represents this oddly named series. It is believed that the fly in the series was either the Rat or the Gray rat.

The incredible Rusty Rat is, in my book, probably the most famous Hairwing Atlantic Salmon fly for the Restigouche and the Gaspe Peninsula Rivers. This pattern was created around 1949 as a collaborative effort between an American angler, Joseph Pulitzer II and a French Canadian famous fly tyer, J. Clovis Arseneault who for nearly fifty years supplied flies and tackles to the well-heeled salmon anglers from Quebec and New Brunswick.  The story says that the angler Pulitzer had been fishing the Restigouche River probably a single Rat, a black body Salmon fly of which was tied with an underbody of dental floss rusty-colored.  During his fishing trip, Pulitzer had a few Atlantic Salmon chewing the black body, and with this unraveled body exposing the rusty colored dental floss.  With that destroyed fly, Pulitzer was able to land a 40-pound + salmon on the "rusty" fly.  He brought the destroyed but amazing fly to J.C. Arseneault’s Fly shop and asked him to duplicate the same fly.  The rest is now history and the Rusty Rat was born!

The Rusty Rat is a very good fly usually tied on a heavy strong up eye hook, single or double. If you fish the Restigouche River, you need strong hooks, especially if you want to land a 30- pond + Giant Bright Atlantic Salmon!

HOOK: Partridge Heavy Single M-2, size #2.

TAG: Fine oval gold tinsel

TAIL: Peacock swords

RIB: Oval gold tinsel

BODY: Rear half: Rusty orange floss; Front half of peacock herl

VEILING: A loose strand of rusty orange floss from centre of body

WING: Grey fox guard hairs

COLLAR HACKLE: Grizzly

HEAD: Red

Jacques Héroux

Jacques is a commercial Atlantic salmon fly tier from New Brunswick, Canada. He fishes and guides mostly on the Miramichi and the Restigouche rivers. Over the years, he has had a few of his salmon flies published in magazines, books and Web sites and he has written articles for magazines and Web sites and won some International Fly tying contests.

Recognised for his fly tying skills, in 2009, Jacques was inducted into the NB Atlantic Salmon Hall of Fame.

He has just published a new book; Salmon Country: great Atlantic salmon Rivers from NB. It is obvious the he would have also qualified as a great fly tier, an angler, conservationist or teacher of the salmon world.

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