if we take a quick look at the fly below we’ll see a really nice looking pattern but we also might think ‘nice but old hat’. now, if we take a look at the video and pay close attention to how it was made we’ll notice two super-duper easy-peasy tricks to get it just right and gorgeous and the second easy-peasy part just might bring some tiers over to the winged wet world where they might have been put off by the more traditional fuss and muss of having to pair left and right feather wing slips.
first up, the use of a two-toned Pearsall’s Gossimer thread
wound in touching turns down the hook shank then back up and that’s it. all the colour separation segmentation trigger points a fly and its tier could ever want or need in one simple step.
using the very same abdomen technique for standard non-winged wets, nymphs, emergers or dries instantly comes to mind. should you need a bulkier or asymmetric body simply create a base with standard thread and cover over with the silk. simples.
secondly- this is where this tutorial is absolutely brilliant !
construction of the wing itself using a single covert feather that’s tied on in one piece without having to deal with slips. put simply, you can’t go wrong and that’s a real bonus for those who like it sweet and simple and don’t have the patience for a possible wrong. i have no idea if Davie came up with the idea himself but i and i’m sure many others will be grateful he shared this great tip once they’ve checked out the vid and tried it out for themselves. enjoy !
in the UK the ‘traditional’ way to fish Spiders/North Country Wets/soft hackles is upstream or across stream and that’s how i like to fish them best. it doesn’t have anything to do with the tradition aspect because i couldn’t care less about tradition but because this manner presents the fly(s) in a dead drift/natural way just as one would with a typical dry fly. from that perspective, the two, wets and dries are fished exactly the same, the only difference is the unweighted wets are either drifting just under the water’s surface film on faster water or just a little bit deeper on slower flows.
Luke Bannister‘s great just-out video shows us the up and across on pretty slow water to sighted fish holding under the surface and not rising to eat. true to form, Luke’s videos are always in gorgeous settings with gorgeous trout, all to the soundtrack courtesy of some lovely little winged musicians: a real treat.
watch it to relax, get excited or to learn, whichever way, it’s all good. enjoy !
‘A fly no angler should be without is a small black midge. Summer or winter you will always find them on the water, and so will Mr. Trout.
The beauty of midge patterns is that they don’t need to be complicated, a bit of dubbing and a hackle is all that’s needed.
Stick one on anytime you can’t see what the fish are taking, chances are it’ll work.’
and i couldn’t agree more with Dennis Shaw. these sweet little simple to tie and unpretentious things do good and do good really good.
at first it might seem like a spider but it isn’t. the cock hackle keeps this pattern in the surface film with the body/hook-bend hanging down and the whole thing’s appearance when fished looks similar to an open umbrella in the same manner as emerging midges do when trying to break through the water’s surface tension.
the bug above is on a straight shank size 20 hook but on bigger patterns i’ve found great success using light wire grub style hooks. when sitting in the film, real midges are are twisting and turning so i guess the curved hook reproduces this profile a little more realistically. with teeny-tiny hooks my thought is the hook bend itself reproduces this curved body but then, once again, that’s just a guess.
a very sweet and just as effective just-under-the-surface variant to Denis’s Black Midge would be to replace the cock hackle by just a turn and a half of hen hackle and fish this spider on a degreased dropper attached to the bend of the hook of the dry. a double treat !
click the image above for the materials list and complete sbs on UKFlyDressing and be sure to check out their homepage for hundreds of other groovy flies. enjoy !
as a reminder, Dennis Shaw is the author of the seminal A Complete Dubbing Techniques Tutorial. if you haven’t seen this yet you’re in for a real and unique treat.
both classics, both at the extremes of fly profile volume yet both equally effective.
to start off, a lovely paired waterhen winged Iron Blue Dun from Davie McPhail for when the fishes want something big(ish).
for more wet flies previously posted on TLC click here. enjoy !
by Davie McPhail
well, Davie’s magpie wing hardly fits in with the description above but it hardly matters because many other references to this style of fly have the same big-winged generosity. thing is, it’s hard to find any universally accepted definition to the Clyde style fly as most authors tend to have their own vision of it but i believe we can basically break down its most distinctive feature of it being: a spider with a wing sitting pretty on top.
if you’ve been visiting here for a while you’ll most certainly be pretty familiar with the North Country Spider style. this North Country happens to be in the north of England and the Clyde style originated on river Clyde, close to southern Scotland. what connects the two is a line on a map and seeing that fish don’t care about boundaries and it’s the same part of the world, and that even way back then people travelled and drank beer and whisky, it’s all too easy for me at least, to see how fly style mixes occur and people being what they are and proud of their place and country of origin and somehow what happens after all this beer and whisky is a a whole new fly is given birth.
my point here isn’t to propose that someone copied another and even less to take sides (although i tend to like Scots, specially the ladies. must be their accents… ) but, i felt like introducing Davie’s great tying tutorial (that doesn’t really need one after all) in a somewhat grumpily manner as an attempt to get over my recent three-days out and three days blanking.., that for some reason keeps on nagging me to the point that i’m not even really enjoying all this xmas chocolate that’s laying about the house.
since i’m sure that last part has amused you at least a bit, i feel better.
i hope you’ll enjoy the video, it’s a really nice fly.
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.