Fly Tying Tutorial: Curved Cotton Candy Copper John

This fly pattern actually came about when my daughter asked her father to create a “princess fly.” She asked for a beautiful purple fly that only a princess would use. Little did she know that a princess fly is a deadly variation of the Copper John that most fish chow down on like cotton candy. Hence the name, “Curved Cotton Candy Copper John.” Quite a mouth full, for both anglers and fish alike. This fly takes the traditional Copper John and moves it onto a curved body hook. This gives the fly a more realistic presentation, which I feel can lead to more fish at the end of the link. Without further ado, here is how you turn out a beautiful Candy Copper.


1/8th – 3/32nd Tungsten Bead

Size 10-18 Wide Gap Pupae Hook

Black Thread

Hareline Purple Goose Biots

Blue, Black & Purple Small Wire

Black Hareline 1/8th Scud Back

Hareline Natural Hungarian Partridge Feathers

Peacock Herl

Loon UV Thin

Loon UV Fluorescent (optional)


Step 1:

Begin with pinching down the barb between the vice jaws. After the barb has been removed, slide on the appropriate sized rainbow tungsten bead. Move the bead to the eyelet of the hook and begin wrapping on the black thread before cutting off the tag end. Cover the hook with black thread starting from the back of the bead all the way to the hook shank.

Step 2:

Snip off two purple biots and place them on either side of the hook shank, with the biots curving outwards. Place the biot ends about the length the of hook shank and secure them down with the black thread. Wrapping forward, completely cover the excess biot until you reach the back of the tungsten bead. Snip off any excess

Step 3:

Cut off a roughly 5 centimeter length of black, blue and purple wire. Line the lengths up so they are even and slide them under the rainbow tungsten bead. Secure the wires with a couple of thread wraps before wrapping the thread backward and completely covering the wire back to the biots. Once complete, wrap your thread forward to just about behind the tungsten bead.

Step 4:

Grab all 3 pieces of wire and begin tightly wrapping them forward, being sure that there is no black thread showing through. Continue wrapping the wire until you’re just slightly behind the bead. Secure the wire with a few wraps and then helicopter or snip off the excess wire.

Step 5:

Cut off a length of Hareline Scud Back, enough that maneuvering the material won’t be difficult. For a size 12 fly I cut off about a 5 centimeter length to reuse until it’s finished. Place the scud back just behind the tungsten bead and wrap in your length with the tail end facing the hook shank. Wrap in the scud back, about a quarter of a centimeter back.

Step 6:

Take 2 or 3 pieces of peacock herl and tie the tips on top of where you’ve tied in the scud back, starting from behind the bead and moving towards the hook shank. After the herl is secure, wrap the thread back forward to just behind the bead. Now holding all pieces of the peacock herl, wrap forwards to just behind the bead and secure with the thread before clipping off the excess.

Step 7:

Grab a nice natural colored Hungarian partridge feather and use your scissors to cut a “V” right at the tip. Place the feather on top of the peacock herl with the “V” facing the hook shank. Secure the feather down with a few thread wraps and then pull the scud back forward and secure down with a few loose wraps. Grab the end of the feather and slowly pull forward until the feather is at a nice length under the scud back. Once you’re happy, tightly secure the feather and scud back down with a few tight wraps. Finish the fly with a 3 whip finishes before cutting off the thread from the fly.


Step 8:

Take some UV thin a place a small drop on top of the scud back before hitting it with the UV curing light. For added fluorescent shine in the water, I like to add a very small amount of Loon UV fluorescent over top of the UV thin. This gives the fly a little more sheen and a little more strength.

So there you have it. The next time you’re feeling like tying a fly with a wicked alliteration for a name, the Curved Cotton Candy Copper John is your fly. From being heralded as a princess fly to a staple in my box, this little bug has gotten me out of a few sticky messes.


Tight Lines,