The RAT series of flies was originated and introduces in 1911 by Roy Angus Thompson whose initials: R.A.T. represents this oddly named series. It is believed that the fly in the series was either the Rat or the Gray rat.
The incredible Rusty Rat is, in my book, probably the most famous Hairwing Atlantic Salmon fly for the Restigouche and the Gaspe Peninsula Rivers. This pattern was created around 1949 as a collaborative effort between an American angler, Joseph Pulitzer II and a French Canadian famous fly tyer, J. Clovis Arseneault who for nearly fifty years supplied flies and tackles to the well-heeled salmon anglers from Quebec and New Brunswick. The story says that the angler Pulitzer had been fishing the Restigouche River probably a single Rat, a black body Salmon fly of which was tied with an underbody of dental floss rusty-colored. During his fishing trip, Pulitzer had a few Atlantic Salmon chewing the black body, and with this unraveled body exposing the rusty colored dental floss. With that destroyed fly, Pulitzer was able to land a 40-pound + salmon on the "rusty" fly. He brought the destroyed but amazing fly to J.C. Arseneault’s Fly shop and asked him to duplicate the same fly. The rest is now history and the Rusty Rat was born!
The Rusty Rat is a very good fly usually tied on a heavy strong up eye hook, single or double. If you fish the Restigouche River, you need strong hooks, especially if you want to land a 30- pond + Giant Bright Atlantic Salmon!
HOOK: Partridge Heavy Single M-2, size #2.
TAG: Fine oval gold tinsel
TAIL: Peacock swords
RIB: Oval gold tinsel
BODY: Rear half: Rusty orange floss; Front half of peacock herl
VEILING: A loose strand of rusty orange floss from centre of body
WING: Grey fox guard hairs
COLLAR HACKLE: Grizzly