Community Featured

Spring Fly Showdown: The Circus Peanut vs. the Hornberg

Editor’s note: The biggest sporting event of spring, the NCAA basketball tournament, is simply not happening this year thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. Anglers, though, can still effectively “social distance” and go fishing in areas where it’s safe and legal to leave the house, using their favorite flies. In that spirit, TU and our friends at Loon Outdoors are teaming up to offer the Spring Fly Showdown—a vote-to-win tournament featuring some of the best-known fly patterns out there. Over the course of the next two weeks, we’ll pit great flies against each other in a “March Madness”-style bracket. You pick the winners of each “game,” and any who vote will be entered in a contest to win great Loon fly-tying equipment. 

The first matchup in the first-ever TU-Loon Spring Fly Showdown features a modern-day articulated streamer against a classic wet-fly swinger. The Circus Peanut faces off against the Hornberg.

Tying the Circus Peanut.

Among the first patterns tied in the initial “wave” of articulated streamers, the Circus Peanut does two things: it moves water, and, quite often, it moves fish. 

The Circus Peanut. Find an Umpqua dealer here.

First tied by Russ Madden of Traverse City, Mich., and made famous by Kelly Galloup on the Madison, the Circus Peanut is a fly built for streamer junkies who go after big brown trout. The fly is a wiggler and a darter when stripped in, and injured-baitfish appearance can be irresistible to hungry brown trout. 

First tied in the 1920s, the Hornberg is an old-school classic pattern that can be fished by dry or wet on the swing, or even stripped back like a baitfish imitation. 

Tying the Hornberg.

Named for the man who tied it first, Frank Hornberg, it features classic materials, like bucktail and mallard (or wood duck for the purists). Fished wet, it’s an excellent attractor/swinger. I’ve had some excellent days on the Firehole River using the Hornberg. Fished dry, it probably imitates a caddisfly more than anything else. 

Buy the Hornberg here from Orvis.

The beauty of the Hornberg? You can fish it dry and then swing it in the current on the same cast. Versatility at its classic finest.

Voting starts at 1 p.m. ET. All who vote will be entered to win some great fly-tying prizes from Loon Outdoors.