Icons of the Fly Vest: Borchers’ Special

Yet another famous fly born from the waters near Grayling. “Ernie Borchers was one of the very best fishermen, maybe even the best fisherman on the river,” recalls Jerry McClain. “He was a nice fella and he tied a beautiful fly, really a top of the line fly tier.”

Ernie Borchers started Borchers canoe livery in the 1930’s and was the first husband of Zoe Lapka, who owned the lodge that is today’s Gates Au Sable Lodge. The Borchers Specials’ roots “are very local to the Stephan Bridge area,” says Gates. The dark-bodied Borchers’ Special was developed to mimic the mid-sized drake flies of the area and works in a wide variety of conditions.

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Article Comments

  • Flyflkr

    Jerry McClain is mentioned by Jeff Smith in his notes on the Borcher’s Special. Jerry was noted by the late Bob Smock, one of Grayling’s most prolific fly tiers, as perhaps the finest, natural fly caster on the the AuSable. Jerry ties an awesome drake with an extended body and I would offer that it should be included in the “Icons of the Vest.” Jerry is my uncle. After spending his entire life fishing knows the AuSable and South Branch as well as they can be known.