But as I was then a High Desert country trout fisherman, Brooks early writings didn't leave lasting impressions on me like Ted Trueblood, Ed Zern, and H. G. "Tap" Tappley. An excellent modern selection of some of his stories can be found in Joe Brooks on Fishing, edited by Don Sedgwick and with a forward by Lefty Krey. In it you will find that it was Joe who introduced Lefty to his first fly rod. Joe’s musings are a great read about Blondes for trout and saltwater fish, from Montana... to New Zealand.
Bill Lovelace really needs no introduction to Salmonfly.Net readers. His prolific contributions to the site are now over 120 flies and articles and his eclectic collection on these pages make him a valuable resource to the fly-fishing community, in particular those that wish to see a variety of steelhead fly-tying styles.
What Can I Say About Blondes
By William Lovelace
Blondes have a mixed origin but without a doubt they were popularized half a century ago by Joe Brooks, one of the most influential fishermen of his time and still one of the dominant figures in modern fly fishing in all waters. As a kid, I am sure I read some of his columns about fishing saltwater. A lot of my early fly fishing education came from the pages of Outdoor Life and Field and Stream as well as time on the water.
An excellent book that contains several different Blondes and many species of fish that they have been used for is Joseph D. Bates Jr's Streamer Fly Tying and Fishing. Bates gives some of the credit for this fly to Homer Rhodes Jr. and his Tarpon Bucktail fly. The early origins of the wing style may be in Southern Bass flies and even in early Northwest Steelhead ties.
The Blonde isn't a fly so much as a style of tying anymore. The color combinations are endless as are size variations. It is one of those flies for all waters and all fish. Brooks first developed the Platinum Blonde for fishing Chesapeake Bay Stripers. The fly can be tied in the high tie wing style to fish as a "breather fly" or the wing can be lower to imitate a streamlined bait fish. Since Brooks fished the Blondes before mylar Krystal Flash existed, they can also be dressed up with a little flash as Lefty Krey suggests in his book Saltwater Fly Patterns.