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Fly Tying Video: Higa’s SOS with Ben Baxter

Next in our fly tying video series, we’re highlighting a great pattern developed by Spencer Higa, a fly fishing guide out of Utah. Higa’s S.O.S. is an effective baetis imitation, and the buggy appearance of the fly makes it an excellent searching pattern. Check out the video below as Ben Baxter shows us how to tie the S.O.S.

Tips on Tying with Wire

When tying patterns like the S.O.S., some of the most common questions have to do with wire size. If you’ve shopped for Ultra Wire, you’ve probably noticed sizes from extra small through large – plus, a size labeled, “Brassie.” Where does that fit in to the mix? What size wire is appropriate for what patterns?

Here’s a quick guide to Ultra Wire from smallest to largest:

Extra Small: This is the size you’ll want to use when tying midges and small flies, typically size 20 and smaller.

Small: This is a great all-around wire size for both ribbing and wire bodies.

Brassie: This fits between small and medium. It’s a good size for wrapping wire bodies in the 18 to 22 size range, and for ribbing on a wider variety of patterns.

Medium: Medium Ultra Wire makes for a good ribbing material on nymphs from about sizes 8 to 12.

Large: This Ultra Wire will be your go-to material on patterns like streamers and large stoneflies.

Note that not all colors are available in every size. So when you’re deciding between two sizes, it may come down to choosing the right color for the pattern you’re tying.

Tying Higa’s SOS

With a great balance of color, a lifelike profile, and streamlined abdomen, the SOS can be fished as a baetis, or anytime you need a confidence pattern:


HOOK: Tiemco 2487 or 2488. Sizes 16-20

THREAD: UTC 70 Denier – Black

BEAD: MFC Tungsten Beads – 3/32 Silver

TAIL: Pheasant Tail – Black

RIB: Ultra Wire – Brassie – Silver

SHELL: Uni Floss – Red

THORAX: Rabbit Rubbing – Black

LEGS: Krystal Flash - Black

Contact Us With Questions

Have questions or need help getting ready for your next day of spring fishing or tying spring bugs? Visit us at the fly shop in Littleton. Or give us a call at 303-794-1104. We’d be happy to help with fly patterns, rigging or anything else you need. All online and phone orders can opt for either free shipping or same-day curbside pick up.