Spencer Higa's SOS

sos done sideI was first introduced to this pattern while fishing for Apaches on the White River. A buddy was slaying them, and I was struggling to pick them up on my rotation into the "hole". He offered up this little fly and said it was the SOS (Save Our Skin) and boy did it. Changing to this fly as the dropper yielded a fish on almost every drift.

Originated by Spencer Higa and sold by Orvis, this awesome pattern has been a go-to fly for me just about everywhere I've fished for trout with droppers. Give it a try and see if its just the Distress Signal you needed to land more fish.

Materials List
Hook: Size 16-22
Weight:  Appropriate Sized Bead
Thread: Black 16/0
Tail: Melanistic or Black Pheasant Tail Fibers
Body: Thread
Rib:  Silver SM Wire
Thorax:  Black Rabbit
Wingcase:  Red Floss
Legs:  Black Crystal Flash


Quick video at the bottom of the Step by Step.


Tying Instructions

sos step02Start by putting a bead on your hook and laying down an even thread base to the tail tie in point. I like to go down into the bend a little to give the final bug some shape.


sos step01

sos step05Select about 4 fibers from your pheasant tail and tie them in a little long.


sos step03 sos step04

sos step09Tie in your small  UTC silver wire and wrap back up to the bead with nice even touching wraps to build a smooth underbody with no wire showing through.

Wrap your wire forward with nice spaced wraps and tie off behind the bead. We will be dubbing a thorax here so no need to get it too close to the bead.


sos step06 sos step07 sos step08

sos step11Tie in your red floss, securing it back a bit from the bead to make room for the thorax.


sos step10

sos step13Dub a nice fat thorax. The original pattern calls for Black Rabbit, but I like to use a dubbing I found called Quick Descent dubbing. Its a metal dubbing that adds a little extra weight to the fly and dubs nice and buggy with a little sparkle.


sos step12

sos step14Fold over the Red Floss to create the wing split, taking care to keep it centered and on top.


sos step20Tie in 3 strands of Black Crystal Flash for legs. First on the near side and secure with 2 wraps, then fold up and over to the far side securing again with 2 wraps.

Trim to length.


sos step15 sos step16 sos step17
sos step18 sos step19

sos step22Dub a little extra to cover the tie in of the floss and legs and whip finish.


sos step21

sos done side


sos done top

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