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Fly Tying Empie's Golden Shiner

Updated on December 25, 2015
Empie's Golden Shiner
Empie's Golden Shiner

Background on Empie's Golden Shiner

This is a very unique, modern, and unconventional fly that relies on frayed braid material. Because the braid is tied initially in large loops, it appears to be an intimidating tie. Relax, after about half a dozen ties you realize that it is not too difficult. The braid I use in the linked video below goes by the trade name Bill's Bodi Braid. It is expensive, but use it. I've tried other braids, but none of them have flared out as well as Bill's Bodi.

Bill's Bodi Braid on the left, common braid on the right.
Bill's Bodi Braid on the left, common braid on the right.

Tying Empie's Golden Shiner

The linked video shows and describes tying the fly. A few things to keep in mind are:

  1. Because you are tying looped braided material on a bare hook, wrap the thread tightly.
  2. There are two collars of looped braided material. The first collar you tie is about 2/3rds up the hook shank and forms the bulk of the fly's body, while the second, smaller collar is behind the bead head of the fly. Between the two collars use another brand of gold braid. Why? Because Bill's Bodi lies too flat on the hook and does not build up the body well. You want some body build-up between the collars so the the second collar behind the bead head presses against the body build-up and flares out.
  3. Don't worry about getting the loops even. You cut the loops anyway and can trim them to get even collars.
  4. Do use nail polish on the thread tie-off behind the bead head. If this fly design has a weakness, it is the thread unraveling and losing the collar behind the bead head.

Bass Fishing Empie's Golden Shiner

Empie's Golden Shiner was originally developed for trout. It has become my most versatile and productive wet fly for largemouth bass. Bass strike at it in all water conditions: clear, murky, or tannic. It is productive in low light or well lighted conditions. It is a fairly heavy fly. In deeper water I fish it with a sinking or sinking tip fly line. Shallower water I will use a floating line. I typically fish it with frequent, sporadic strips. If vegetation or obstructions are on the bottom of the lake or river, I increase the speed of the retrieve to avoid snagging the fly.

This is a tough fly that can hook many bass before wearing out. Also, it lends itself well to the application of fish attractant oils if you are so inclined.

In the video I used a size 6 hook because larger specks and bluegills will take it as well. Keeping the fly smaller also allows you to cast it with a 5wt fly rod. You could tie it on a larger hook if you are trying to target bass specifically.

Dick Empie

The late Dick Empie developed the Golden Shiner or "Goldie". No doubt this fly will become a traditional fly that will stand the test of time. As is often the case with dedicated outdoor sportsmen, Mr. Empie blended his sport of fly fishing to conservation efforts. He initiated a volunteer effort to inventory creeks that held brook trout in New England.


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