Fly Tying- a Long Hackled Secret

why ‘secret’ ? well, to start with, this usually reserved for wet fly method of hackling a dry fly is anything but common.

in its finished all-in-one-step legs and wing aspect it closely resembles the layed-back wing and prickly legs/head results one would get with deer hair but without all the fuss and muss plus, generic cock hackle fibres are softer than genetic fibres and a lot less stiff than any deer hair, giving a more life-like movement to those very same fibres while still keeping the pattern afloat. who knows, the softer fibres might also result in less spit-outs compared to the probably unnatural extra-crunchiness of stiffish deer hair but that’s more of a guess than a rule.

long hackled dry D.McPhail

secondly, besides the ingenuousness of the hacking method is Davie McPhail’s enthusiasm about this pattern. after studying what, several hundreds of his tying tutorials with many of them shared here on TLC , apart from the excellence of each one, the common denominator -and i don’t mean this in the slightest derogatory way- is Davie’s droning voice and while his voice is still the same here there’s a certain held-back excitement when he describes this pattern’s merits that i haven’t noticed in any of his other tutorials and that’s telling me that this little secret tie is really special, has been held back long enough and is now ready to be shared with all. thanks Davie.

originally created as a Bibio/Hawthorn/St. Mark’s fly –Bibio Pomonae– imitation, its more than obvious that a little tweaking here and there with different colour schemes and in different sizes will make this pattern an equally effective imitation for a whole lot of other terrestrial species and even aquatic-born sedges. Bibios ‘thighs’ are a very distinctive red, thus the red wool but that same wool can easily be nipped off waterside if need be.

at first glance, this isn’t the most impressive looking fly out there but it’s designed to catch fish, not anglers.  enjoy !

Palmering, Pilgrims, fly tying history, the Worm and the Plague

thanks to this great comment left by reader Phil Foster on yesterday’s brainwashem’ young- Julian’s Wouf-Wouf salmon fly in regards to my mentioning “in the fly tying world, ‘palmering‘ means winding a hackle around the hook shank, not pulling hackle fibres back before winding/palmering the hackle to the hook shank.”

palmerworm 3“Per “The Fly Fisher’s Illustrated Dictionary” authored by Darrel Martin…….PALMER
A forward-spiraling hackle, a running hackle, with or without stem gaps; also called a ‘buzz hackle’; any fly tied with palmer hackle. The tying technique of spiraling a hackle laterally along the shank or body of a fly; the hackled, artificial fly resembling the Palmer worm, dated 1651; an artificial resembling a Palmer-worm, a hairy, wandering tineid moth larva. The term ‘palmer’ comes from the wandering pilgrim-beggar or palmer, “… the Palmer got its name from the pilgrims who walked …to the Holyland in fulfillment of a vow. When they came back home they wore pieces of palm leaves in their hats to signify they had made that long journey and were called palmers….Because a caterpillar , with all it’s legs, does a lot of walking, it likewise became a palmer” ( Harold Smedley, ‘Fly Patterns and Their Origins'[1950]. The medieval Palmer wore crossed palm leaves to indicate his travels.” The Palmer Worm is a small worm covered with hair, supposed to be so called because it wanders over all plants”( Charles Bowlker, ‘The Art of Angling’ [1839]”

which got me to wondering about how the verb ‘Palmering’ originated (actually, i’ve been wondering about this for years but never took the time to do a little research…) and found some interesting if not mostly completely non-fly tying related results yet they’re all related to this very stylish and hairy bug. enjoy !


Dictionary

palmerworm
noun palm·er·worm \-ˌwərm\
Definition of PALMERWORM
: a caterpillar that suddenly appears in great numbers devouring herbagepalmer worm

“I have smitten you with blasting and mildew: when your gardens and your vineyards and your fig trees and your olive trees increased, the palmerworm devoured [them]: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD”

“Ancient Palmer Worm. THE Palmer-Worm, or Pilgrim-Worm, mentioned in Joel i. 4, and Amos iv. 9, was a voracious, hairy caterpillar, which was, with the locust, a scourge of the East. Even before it reaches the winged state it is very destructive, but after it attains that period, its ravages are terrible.”

“That which the palmer-worm hath left hath the locust eaten; and that which the locust hath left hath the canker-worm eaten; and that which the canker-worm hath left hath the caterpillar eaten.”

suffice to say, and for our fly tying purposes, even if it is somewhat amusing to see how our prickly friends where transformed into crawling, earth-sucking  Mothra-esque demons, we can completely ignore all this biblical stuff, safely continue our fly tying activities and sleep well at night knowing how the hackling technique got its name.
 
palmerworm 2 it’s a little sad to see such a lovely creature get so much bad press but in the end, we’re still around to admire its beauty and be thankful for inspiring early fly tiers to create what is one of the most basic tying techniques there is.