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Blue Fly Challenge

The Blue Fly Challenge was a contest for anglers seeking to catch the first, largest, most and smallest fish using a fly tied with the TenkaraBum Blue Fly Yarn. There aren't very many blue flies, but why not? Maybe it's because they don't catch fish, but I strongly suspect it is because they don't catch fishermen. We don't buy blue flies because our friends don't. They don't buy blue flies because we don't. Most people have never tried one, though, so they might really be missing out.

This challenge was an attempt to see if blue flies work. Not just any blue flies, though, but flies tied with the TenkaraBum Blue Fly Yarn. I have done very well with yarn bodied flies - of several colors and body styles, as have many of my customers. I was pretty confident that blue flies would work. I've caught a few nice fish with flies tied with blue silk bodies, and in general, I do better with yarn bodied flies than with silk bodied flies.

The Challenge

1. Tie flies using the TenkaraBum Blue Fly Yarn.

2. Take a photograph of each fish caught and of each fly that caught fish (one photo of each successful fly is sufficient, no matter how many fish are caught with it).

3. Send photos to the Blue Fly Challenge using the submission form below

4. There will be prizes for first fish, most fish, largest fish and smallest fish.

The Details

Flies must be substantially blue - to the point where someone's first thought on seeing the fly would be "that's a blue fly." A  pedominantly gray fly with a few wisps of blue dubbing is not a blue fly. The hackle doesn't have to be blue but something prominent on the flies does. You do not have to use the same fly for all the fish. Send in photos of flies that caught fish.

The flies must incorporate the TenkaraBum Blue Fly Yarn in some way (body wraps, dubbing, tailing material, streamer wings, whatever).

You cannot buy TenkaraBum Blue Fly Yarn. I will give away a bit of the yarn with every purchase made on the site.

Prizes will be given for first fish, most fish, largest fish and smallest fish. This is a fly tying contest, but the fish will be the ones judging the flies. We'll judge the fish.

The first fish is the first photo I receive of a fish, caught after the start of the competition, and of the fly tied with Blue Fly Yarn with which it was caught. Photos of fish that might win largest and smallest fish prizes should have something in the photo to give an estimate of length - the rod, your net, your arm, your hand, etc. Please don't keep the fish out of the water for a long time trying to get a photo with a measuring tape.  If you use a tape, get the tape ready while the fish is still in the net and in the water. (Fish held out at arm's length to make them look bigger tend to make the angler look smaller.) The Micro Photo Box works well for photos of small fish. The prize for most fish will be won by the person who submitted the photos of the most fish (one fish per photo, each photo must be of a different fish).

The contest has now ended and we have winners!

The Winners

First Fish: Won by Ashton Chatelain from Utah.

His prize was a package of Owner Yamame blue eyeless tenkara hooks.

Most Fish: Won by Vic Velasco from Virginia. He submitted way too many photos to show all of them here. I'll just show the one that was a contender in the Largest Fish category.

His prize is a full ball of Blue Fly Yarn (after all, he caught a lot of fish with it).

Smallest Fish: Won by Levi Cain from North Carolina.

His prize is a Shimotsuke Miyako 1.2M tanago rod.

Largest fish: Won by Jackson Dockery from Georgia.

His prize is a Daiwa Kiyose 33SF keiryu rod.

Thank you to all who participated.

I no longer carry the yarn used in this contest, or any yarn for that matter. The "TenkaraBum Blue Fly Yarn" was Jamiesons Shetland Spindrift yarn. The color was Merlin but I wouldn't attribute it's success to magic. Yarn is a very versatile and effective fly tying material.

And, oh, yeah, I guess blue flies work pretty well! The comments below show the contest entries.

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

big ole rainbow has the blues  
The fly: a size 16-18 hook, don't know the exact size, with a cheap craft store bead, peacock hurl thorax, and of course, the key ingredient, an abdomen …

My son Finney loves "stickelbacking" and when I told him about the blue fly challenge he got really excited and said he was going to win and catch 100 …

Most packs of blue yarn from T-Bum 
Is there a category for the most packs of blue yarn from Chris? I have a bunch ( more than ten). Sorry, no pics ...but you know what they look like.

More Carp Action on blue flies 
Pictures of a few more blue flies and the fish they've caught. The foam popper got sucked up by a medium sized carp - I was shooting for it's bigger cousin, …

With Apologies to John Gierach and Blog Readers...... Even Brook Tout get the Blues 
Fly: Blue Killer Bug Rod: Kiyotaki 24 Took my wife's rod fishing for small stream brookies. They preferred dries but after I lost my first fly, I switched …

Saturday Fixed Line Fishing 
I hit my spot along the C&O Canal in Maryland to cast some blue flies to the carp and sunfish that line the banks. The first carp I cast to gave me an …

Arctic Grayling Round 1 
Fly- Standard Killer Bug pattern with supplied blue yarn. Rod- Soyakaze I work several weeks a year in Interior Alaska. I fished part of 3 days this …

Furthest Away 
Biggest, smallest, most. How about furthest away? My son Caleb and myself went fishing on the Waihou river, a spring creek in Waikato province (as seen …

Killer Blueberry Fly 
Chris - If you recall, over the past few months I've been picking your brain about equipment for targeting carp. Well - armed with a Kiyose 43MF, …

Colorado Wilderness Cutthroat on a Killer Blue 
In mid-July, a friend and I horse and mule packed about 12 miles up into the headwaters of a wilderness stream, high in the San Juan Mountains in southwest …

Another couple caught on a blue fly 
I was trying to get some micros to take - they'll chase but I can't seal the deal. I stepped up to one of my "blue sabiki" flies and the baby sunfish …

Micro Blue Fly'in It 
For the last month or two it has rained every day, until this weekend (July 20-21). So my friend Cortez and myself just had to get a hook wet. After spending …

Blue Fly Challenge Entry 
Chris, I figured I might as well enter the Blue Fly Challenge in the most fish category. I fish below my house in the Palouse river in Eastern Washington …

Just a Blue Double Sakasa Kebari 
Just a concept fly that came to me at 'o dark hundred. Haven't fished it yet. It's still dark outside, but I'm sure it will catch some fish this weekend. …

5 lb largemouth with over 120 little bluegills! 
With my friend, we went fishing at the local pond with(me) a tusa ayu and him with the 12 foot iwana.And boy, was I suprised by the strength of the ayu! …

The Blue Popper 
Close up of what is quickly becoming my favorite summer fly

Zak's contest submission 
I actually started fishing with some of my own blue yarn creations before this contest started, so of course I was quite interested when Chris announced …

Right place? 
Is this where I enter my submission for first fish of the season on a blue fly when camera battery is dead? How about most fish per hour with dead camera …

Hickory Shad, Deer Creek, MD - 10 May 2013 
I thought of this fly as soon as the yarn arrived. It's a blue Clouser/Mayfly tied on a size 8 salmon hook. I stopped at Deer Creek on my way to the Tenkara …

1st micro blue 
The fly is an overhand knot on a tanago hook. This is my first intentional micro, first blue fly challange entry, and first fish on my new Kiotaki 27! …

Sunday's Catch 
Tied another blue fly - half hitch on a tanago hook secured in place with a dab of epoxy. The wind was up more so than the previous days - the really …

Blue Killer Bugger Part 2 
Blue Gills have been hammering my Bleeding Bugger in Blue!

Half Moon Blue Fly 3 
Thanks to Chris for telling me he did not think My small bass would hold the Tittle of Smallest Fish, I been trying for some micros. Although I did not …

Red Tailed Blue Killer Bug 
I ran out of my normal orange scuds so I decided to start using the blue yard you sent. I tied up a killer bug (with a red dubbing tail so I could see …

The Royal Smurfman 
The royal smurf is tied on a Dohiku size 16 with tungsten 2mm nickel slotted bead, blue yarn, starling hackle and utc peacock thread. This more than …

On the Board 
I got my yarn and needed to tie up a quick fly for the challenge. I decided to tie a fly I have had good success with in other patterns. I tied up a blue …

(My) First fish on Tenkara using a blue fly. 
I'm sure there has already been a "First Fish", but I wanted to share this one because it was MY first fish. I have always wanted to fly fish, but …

Seeing Blue - ten 
Seeing Blue Part 10 The Blind Turtle Fish Last October I was fishing with my same buddy on the same stream and in the same place. This part of the …

Blue Killer Bugger 
I caught my fish of this challenge, a rainbow trout yesterday using a Killer Bugger tied with your Blue yarn, red wire and a white marabou tail on a size …

Two Minute Brown 
My sweetheart and I spent a half day in the Uinta National Forest. I took a couple of minutes after lunch to catch a brown trout on this blue fly. The …

My First Blue Trout 
I had to try really hard to land a fish but I finally managed to catch a nice colorful rainbow. This is the fly I caught my first fish on with the …

Productive Blue Popper 
That Blue Popper I tied up killed it today! The biggest fish I got to take was this 15" Small Mouth Bass - gave me an awesome run on my 5wt Western rod …

The I Wonder If This Fly Would Even Work Blue Fly 
After work I decided to try and catch a mosquitofish that would be the smallest for the Challenge. And after a couple hours and a few large mosquitofish …

Too Big, Too Little, Too late but still Blue 
Too big for smallest, too little for biggest and too late for first, but I caught this green sunfish on the first cast of my first blue fly (which was …

Biggest fish entry Not rated yet
Well this was going to be the trip to win hands down the biggest fish in the blue fly contest but we got skunked. We set out after blue sharks about 6am …

stickleback fly Not rated yet
Here is the fly conveniently hooked in the fish's mouth.

The Last Blue Yarn Fly  Not rated yet
With Sep 30 around the corner, I figured I'd tie up one more fly for the contest. It's an Ugly Surf Candy using blue yarn for the top instead of hair. …

New Fly for the Weekend Not rated yet
Blue Pencil Popper (checkout the blue yarn tied above the crystal flash) I tied up tonight. I'm going out on the Upper Potomac this coming Saturday morning …

Small Large Mouth Not rated yet
Lately I've been spin fishing with ultra lightweight equipment and soft baits - I felt like I needed to mix it up. I've been hooking into some good sized …

More Bluegill - Part Deaux Not rated yet
Last pictures of the day

More Bluegill Not rated yet
Thursday after work session at the lake. I was casting a size 14 brasshead green weenie and the action was slow - three takers in 15 minutes. I changed …

More fish caught on blue flies Not rated yet
I decided to go try for some striper. Not the huge cows you have to go dredging for, but some of the schoolies that run around the middle Potomac. I …

Last one Not rated yet
The last fish I caught today. Tomorrow bright and early is "fishing for carp" day. Caught on the superglued fly.

Two more flies and the fish they caught Not rated yet
My kids turned down my invitation to go fishing this afternoon. They've been on a spin fishing run lately - so with their temporary distraction from fishing, …

Golden Not rated yet
During the weekend, I hit the creek with two blue yarn flies I had tied before heading out the door. One fly I tied with no glue or adhesive. Using instead, …

And a Couple More Not rated yet
After the lilian broke off from my Daiwa Kiyose 43MF, I broke out the Nissin Fine Mode and started casting a blue foam popper with legs and a tail and …

Dollars and Lines Not rated yet
Always enjoy seeing multiple species of fish caught with a blue fly. So I figured I'd post a few pics myself of a couple species I happened to catch this …

Eastern Mosquito Fish  Not rated yet
I fished a drainage ditch leading to a pond in an industrial park here in NJ. The end of the ditch closest to the pond looked great and had some shade. …

colorado with a blue fly Not rated yet
Went on vacation and caught some nice fish. beautiful little trout from the meadow.

Blue Hopper Not rated yet
The Stimulator has always been a favorite of mine, blue works as well as any other color.

C&O Canal Fishing Not rated yet
Living in Northern Virginia, access to the Potomac and it's tributaries makes for decent fishing. I went to fish the C&O Canal yesterday (Saturday) to …

More Independence Day Bluegill Not rated yet
These were all different fish - there was an entire school packed in the shallows

July 4th Evening Catch Not rated yet
I tied a few more blue flies for fishing over the long weekend. The big one is a gurgler using the blue yard instead of the normal chenille. I tied on …

Bluegill in Philly Not rated yet
Got into a bunch of small bluegill in a local, well known stream nearby Philly. The interesting thing is that I was catching small brown trout on a black …

from Spain about blue flies Not rated yet
Dear Friends, Old european manuscripts like Tegernseer Angel- und Fischbüchlein. (Tegernsee Fisching Advice, ca 1500) describe recipes with blue silk …

Just started tying flies Not rated yet
Just started tying flies last weekend and really wanted to try the eyeless hooks for tenkara so ordered a few different ones. Great day on the water catching …

Blue Popper Not rated yet
Blue Craft Foam doubled over to make a large popping head. The Large Mouth Bass and Bull Bluegill couldn't resist this one!

Bronco Scud Catches Brown Trout Not rated yet
On Bear Creek late this afternoon, caught this brown trout on a Bronco Scud. Blue Body, Orange D-Rib for shellback, and blue wire ribbing. Lost all but …

Long Line casted Blue Wooly Killer Bug Not rated yet
It's been awhile, but I got the "bug" to tie up more flies. This one's got a brass bead head. I tied it up using a size 12 hook - up from the 14's I …

City Pond Small Fish Not rated yet
Went to tenkara fish a city pond before the softball game. Been having a blast pulling out sunfish an crappie this spring after work. Caught this really …

Blue Wooly Bugger - Bass Not rated yet
I've been fishing black flies lately, but when the strikes died down, I figured it was time to get back in the blue fly game. This bass was from the last …

Blue Midge Not rated yet
Received my order today and enclosed was some Blue Fly Yarn. Couldn't help myself; went directly to vice and made two different size Blue Midges. One …

Set 5 of my 18 fish Not rated yet
When I arrived a young boy was fishing with spinning gear. I asked him if he got anything. He said no. I was thinking to myself. The only way to fish …

Set 4 of my 18 Not rated yet
It was a warm day here 86 degrees, but as it got darker, the fish got more active.

Set three of my 18 fish Not rated yet
By the way, I started fishing at 6pm and caught all of these fish in 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Second set of my 18 fish Not rated yet
Here are the next 4.

one of eighteen on my Killer Kabari Not rated yet
I bought some gear from tenkara bum and Chris send me this blue yarn. I'm like what is this. I didn't order yarn. So I read the thing about the blue …

Clear Creek 4/27/13 Not rated yet
Another Brown trout from Clear Creek. The fly is a bead head nymph tied with the blue yarn and Pheasant Tail fibers as the shell back and legs, a silver …

Best Catch of the Year (so far) Not rated yet
I tied up another Red Tailed Killer Bug and let my son Marlon cast it out on his Kiyotaki. On his own, he spotted a bass hanging out in the shallows. …

Blue Scud Part 2 Not rated yet
More takes on the scud

Next Fly - Blue scud, Part 1 Not rated yet
This one worked well - but what doesn't on Bluegill?

First Blue Fly Contest Brown Trout Not rated yet
Lunch time today, first fish for Blue Fly challange and first fish on new Ayu II rod! I've been waiting weeks to get on the water with this rod. The …

No fish but a blue fly - the Killer Caddis Not rated yet
Hope this is allowed (no fish submission), but I have made a few attempts and still no blue fly fish, or even Tenkara fish for me yet. Here's my fav blue …

Half Moon Blue Fly 2 Not rated yet
More Minis.

Half Moon Blue Fly Not rated yet
While I was home for dinner I decided to tie up a Blue Fly on a half Moon Tango Hook. I probably should say glue up since that is what it took. Some super …

Size 26 Blue Fly 2 Not rated yet
More Micro Gills.

Size 26 Blue Fly Not rated yet
It must be intended that I no longer fish the Nissin Prosguare. After replacing the broken sections, it broke again in one of the replaced sections. Not …

Blue Asher Not rated yet
I stumbled across a pattern called the Orange Asher that is supposed to be good for trout fishing on pressured waters. One site said to try it in different …

Killer Caddis Catches 5 Not rated yet
Well, I got my replacement parts for the Nissin Prosquare and decided to do some fishing. I was able to find the crappie in the ponds that wanted to eat …

13 April 2013 - Before the tree ate the Red Tailed Blue Killer Bug Not rated yet
Got another three Bluegill before I caught a tree. I feel like I am cheating by nailing Bluegill (I ended up catching over 20 today - but on different …

12 April 2013 submission, part 4 Not rated yet
Last set for now

12 April 2013, submission part 3 Not rated yet
part 3 of 4

12 Apr 2013 submission, part 2 Not rated yet
More fish

Killer Caddis Catches 4 Not rated yet
Last from today.

Killer Caddis Catches 3 Not rated yet
More Gills

Killer Caddis Catches 2 Not rated yet
More Gills

Killer Caddis Catches Not rated yet
Some More from today.

bluegill on blue fly Not rated yet
The weather report said 18mph winds, felt more like 28mph. I found a fairly calm 12'x12' section of the small pond and was able to cast. Caught several …

Seeing Blue - nine Not rated yet
Seeing Blue Part 9 The Flies. The best fly far and away was the slender one seen against a log. It caught all but 4 or 5 of the fish. The Blue Killer …

Seeing Blue - eight Not rated yet
Seeing Blue Part 8

Seeing Blue - seven Not rated yet
Seeing Blue Part 7

Seeing Blue - six Not rated yet
Seeing Blue Part 6

Seeing Blue - five Not rated yet
Seeing Blue Part 5

Seeing Blue - Four Not rated yet
Seeing Blue Part 4

Seeing Blue - Three Not rated yet
Seeing Blue part 3

Seeing Blue - Two Not rated yet
Seeing Blue Part Two

Seeing Blue Not rated yet
Thursday was a normal trip for my buddy and I as far as destination and time spent on the water. Lately the fishing has been hot on this small Utah stream …

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"Be sure in casting, that your fly fall first into the water, for if the line fall first, it scares or frightens the fish..." Col. Robert Venables 1662

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Could this be the source of the infamous Blue Fly Yarn?