Depending on your cultural exposure, Rock Island Line is a blues, country, or skiffle song. I won’t go into the details of the story, but there’s a railroad and a train involved. It takes place ‘way down south, miles away from the Metro North line, but that’s the route I take when business calls in the City. That train parallels the shoreline, and it goes over plenty of marshy, salty estuaries — you know, the kind stripers like to hang out in. If you’re a bass angler, you can’t help but notice them, especially that rocky island right next to the channel that’s just got to be holding some decent size fish.
The Rock Island is a flatwing bucktail hybrid about 8″ long. Like a lot of the flies I make up, the tying process wandered around a bit before the pattern discovered where it wanted to be. For example, I started with black thread, then switched to purple. Then changed some of the bucktail color blends. I really like the contrast in this fly from bottom to top.
The Rock Island will get fished on a greased line swing on a cool May night when the herring are in. A’board!
A closer look at the head detail:
Platform: Gray bucktail
Tail: Pink saddle, under 2 strands blue flash, under lavender saddle, under blue saddle, under 2 strands red flash, under 30 total hairs royal blue, amber, and olive bucktail (mixed), under 20 total hairs dark blue and red bucktail (mixed), under 2 strands purple flash, under 20 strands purple bucktail.
Body: Purple braid
Collar: Pale blue, light blue, and gray bucktail, mixed
Wing: 15 strands purple and 30 strands black bucktail, mixed
Topping: 7-8 strands peacock herl
Eyes: Jungle cock