Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Yellow Partridge; or, Partridge and Yellow

This spider is dressed with a body of embroidery thread.




Abdomen floss

Embroidery Thread - DMC 307 lemon or, better still, silk buttonhole twist – Coats & Clark’s 157-A, size D

Optional; light hare’s mask from the nose or cheeks

Partridge - gray from the shoulder and breast

As with most Yorkshire soft hackles, tracing the lineage of this pattern to its originator would be impossible – it has been a Yorkshire pattern time out of mind and continues to draw strikes. Sylvester Nemes has recommended the Yellow Partridge dressed on a size 20 hook in his 2006 additions to his original Soft-Hackled Fly (1975). 

In The Soft-Hackled Fly Addict (1973), Nemes reprints the plates and dressings that T. E. Pritt listed in North-Country Flies (1886). Pritt lists the Partridge and Yellow as the “Yellow Partridge, No. 28”:
“Wings.—Hackled with a light feather from the back of a Partridge.Body.—Yellow silk. 
A good killer almost anytime during April.”

Although Pritt does not trace the lineage of the Partridge and Yellow (or Yellow Partridge) like he does other flies, he might easily have credited Michael Theakston's List of Natural Flies (1853) as he does in the case of the Orange Patridge, No. 32. Theakston lists an imitation of the Spiral Brown Drake (No. 29) as having a body of "orange or yellow silk; hackled, for wings and legs, with a freckled-brown feather from the back or shoulder of a partridge; with a few fibres of hare's ear wrought in at the breast." Theakston's dressing is pictured below. 

This spider is dressed with a body of silk buttonhole twist and a light hare's ear thorax. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Welshman's Button; or, The Hazle Fly

This dressing of Richard Bowlker's Welshman's Button uses a blend of raw wool and synthetic in place of camel fur and ties the wing as a hackle.



Natural brown wool – in this instance, the raw fleece of the Polworth breed

Dark, iridescent green pheasant from the neck

In his version of The Art of Angling (1758), Richard Bowlker describes the Welshman’s (Welchman's) Button; or Hazle Fly as one of the flies best for late July and situates the Large Black Ant Fly and the Little Red and Black Ant Flies. His dressing calls simply for a “wing [that] is made of dark hackle feather of a pheasant; and the body of the dark part of camel’s hair.”

This dressing uses wine thread, even though Charles Bowlker does not prescribe a particular color, and it also leaves off the partridge wing.

Charles Bowlker modified the Welshman’s Button for his additions to the 1786 version of The Universal Angler.




2 peacock herls twisted with one strand of black ostrich herl, the fibers of which should be slightly longer than those of the peacock herls, , so that the ostrich creates a halo effect around the peacock

Black hackle

In his updates to his father’s treatise, Charles Bowlker gives this dressing for the Welshman’s Button, or Hazle Fly: “his wings are made with the red feather that grows upon the rump or tail of the partridge; the body is made with a peacock’s harle and an ostrich’s feather mixed, with a fine black cock’s hackle for the legs: The hook, No. 7” Charles Bowlker largely follows his father's etymological description of the terrestrial that the Welshman's Button is meant to imitate. Charles explains that the fly "comes about the latter end of July, and continues about nine or ten days; is in form like a round button, from which he derives his name; he has four wings, the uppermost husky and hard, the under most of a fine blue colour, soft and transparent; to be found upon hazle trees, or fern bushes: He is an excellent fly for bobbing at the bush, or long line, being rather difficult to make, upon account of his shape and form."

Later anglers where influenced by the Bowlkers’ dressings. Ernest Schwiebert described these flies in his Nymphs (1973) as “surprisingly modern versions of standard patterns,” which “apparently began with the Bowlkers,” pointing out that “authorship of so many patterns that have survived for two centuries is an impressive feat.” In his Fly-Fisher’s Entomology (1836), Alfred Ronalds includes the Marlow Buzz as No. 30, giving Hazel Fly as an alternate name, as well as the “Coch-A-Bonddu, and Shorn Fly.” His color plate XIV depicts the insect as a beetle (though Schweibert reads it as a sedge), and he describes a dressing of the fly with an identical body to Charles Bowlker’s, except that he uses a palmered furnace hackle.