i often wonder how fish see our flies.
we know that the vast majority of fish can see but we have no exact idea how they see.
constantly intrigued and amazed that they could mistake our imitations or suggestive flies to the point where they’ll feel confident enough to open their mouths, further questioning their visual capabilities… i guess i’m glad they do because fly fishing would become boring really quickly if they never did.
here’s an imaginative and highly inaccurate yet hopefully, visually pleasant rendition of the last second before a fly is taken.
same hook, same hen feather.
one spider has a yellow abdomen and orange head, the other all orange.
i think they’ll make a smashing couple on the water.
hook & hen cape- TroutLine
hook- Maruto wet fly #18
thread- Veevus 16/0 black
abdomen- tip of a porcupine bristle
thorax- Mad Rabbit dubbing (hare mask)
what else is there to say ?
Moorhen & Gold by Hans Weilenmann
Hook: Grip 14723BL #14
Thread: Pearsall’s Gossamer silk (Antique Gold)
Hackle: Moorhen marginal wing covert – one side stripped
Body: Tying silk
by Roy Christie via UKFlyDressing
Origin of LUG
Middle English luggen to pull by the hair or ear, drag, probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Norwegian lugga to pull by the hair. “Tiny pinch of dark fur from root of hare’s ear”
Plovers (/ˈplʌvər/ or /ˈploʊvər/) are a widely distributed group of wading birds belonging to the subfamily Charadriinae.
“Golden plover hackle, long enough of fiber to reach almost into the bend, NO longer, long enough to reach the barb is fine.”
The plover group of birds has a distraction display subcategorized as false brooding, pretending to change position, to sit on an imaginary nest site…
“This fly is tied here – NOT in the traditional collar hackled version, but Stewart Spider style, it is my preferred spider construction for action and durability.”
by Stewart-style we’ll take the example of his notorious Black Spider where instead of tight wraps of the hackle against the hook eye (collared), the same amount of wraps (and therefore volume) is distributed over a longer section of the hook shank. fish find this sexier.
the tier unfamiliar with traditional UK patters should take note that the wax used is cobbler’s wax which is usually black or brown and not the ‘average’ light-beige or clear wax typically found in the tying section of your local shop. as you might guess, this tints the tying thread in a more irregular buggy tone difficult to achieve with straight store-bought silks and threads. more sexy.
at over two hundred years old and as productive now as ever this fly is well worth having in different sizes as a staple in any trout box.
it’s construction is pretty straightforward but be sure to click either fly’s pic to access Roy’s step-by-step for all the fine details.
not all bobbins are created equal and that can be a little annoying when we want to use ‘out of the norm’ materials such as sexy Pearsall’s silks for tying say, traditional North Country Spiders or nylon or other cool looking threads found at a sewing shop.
here’s a few examples of different bobbin sizes and some work around solutions.
the ‘standard’ bobbin top right is 33mm wide along it’s axis, the tan one from Hends is 25mm and the orange silk, 17mm.
safe to say neither one will comfortably fit on the same bobbin holder, specially any of the tension adjustment types.
in the video below from Jay Nicholas at The Caddis Fly Shop we’ll see a groovy-nifty quick-fix, short term solution that enables us to use our every day bobbin holder to knock out a few flies.
for a longer term use, specially with materials found on bulk spools such as nylon, it might be worth finding an empty ‘standard’ size bobbin, a screw and nut-
(ok, the spool below isn’t empty. just pretend)
and wind it up all pretty and neat with a power drill.
(if you re-spool monofilament nylon be sure to have a rubber band or similar thing at hand to slip over the tag end when finished or be prepared for a big frustrating mess if you let go of the tag… )
if you plan on using smaller bobbins on a somewhat regular basis, i’d highly recommend finding a cheap, bargain-bin bobbin holder as in the first pic at the top of the post and bending the arms in to size.
i’ve had that one for a while but if memory is correct i bought it for something like 2€ (2,60 $ or 1,70£) and it holds the tiniest of bobbins quite well.
not a bad investment.
hook – Maruto D82 # 16
thread- Veevus 12/0 brown
body- Special Emerger Thread light olive
hackle- Whiting hen grey
is yet another take on the North Country Spider style of wet flies. this one will have the job of imitating a chironomid. i’ll see if it’s a good actor soon.
hook- Kamazan #18 barbless Maggot (yes, maggot… )
thread- Veevus 14/0 black
abdomen- peacock eye quill died red
thorax- Hends Spectra reddish black
hackle- Whiting Brahma hen natural
～ W.C. Stewart
so, in W.C.’s honor, here’s a little something i just Fopped up.
greatly inspired by Lucian Vasies’ yummy ‘the Italian Job’, here’s a first (for me) combination of a somewhat traditional North Country style Spider generic emerger pattern with a cdc floating wing puff to keep the main part of the fly stuck in the surface film. the puff also serves to keep an eye on the fly to detect the very gentle takes that often happen when fishing these types of flies in very calm waters or lakes. the scrufy-fluffy body combined with the hen hackle give a strong impression of life and in this case, of an insect struggling to break through the surface film.
hook- Partridge vintage Captain Hamilton barbless #18
thread- Veevus 14/0 brown
abdomen- a cdc mix of fiery red and brown in a dubbing loop
hackle- Whiting Brahma hen, natural brown wound behind and in front of the cdc wing
wing puff- cdc natural
you’ll find most materials used and a lot more at Lucian’s online shop TroutLine
by Lucian Vasies
what a quirky name for such a cool fly !
devised for inciting winter grayling in the crystal-clear waters of Eastern Europe, this simple yet ingenious generic pattern is bound to be a real success anywhere, particularly on calmer waters, tricky flat sections of rivers and lakes.
i love the one-turn hen hackle legs and antennae and the thin, silk-only body reminiscent of North Country Spiders while being a floating fly. you got it, just the CDC wing will be above the water and the rest will be stuck in the surface film: an emerger stuck in and out, a particularly vulnerable moment in an aquatic bug’s (ex) life… irresistible !
click either pic for Lucian’s step by step and materials list, enjoy !
by Niklas Dahlin
we’d already seen a bit of the history of the North Country Spider patterns, including a video of Davie McPhail tying Stewart’s Black Spider and today i thought i’d share a step-by-step tied in Stewart’s manner by one of the best in traditional flies, my great friend Niklas Dahlin from Sweden.
this is a real treat i hope you’ll enjoy.
” The “Stewart Black Spider” is one of my three favourite Spider patterns, both to tie and fish. So this afternoon I tied some “Stewart black Spider” one of three “most killing” spiders from W.C Stewart´s book the “The Practical Angler”, a fly that´s more than 150 years old, and still going strong. W.C Stewart said “we were first shown it by James Ballie, and have never been without it on our line since”.
slim and sparse, the ‘Black’ has a peculiarity that makes it stand out from the ‘Spider-Crowd’. the starling hackle is twisted together with the thread before being wound down the shank making it a very strong construction good for many, many fish. click on either pic to access Nik’s great step-by-step.