Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Purple Gold Hackle; Purple Gold Palmer; or, Purple Palmer

This dressing uses a genetic furnace saddle hackle for the palmer and does not twist the hackle on the tying silk before palmering it forward, as James Chetham recommends.

Hook:

8-12
Thread:

Purple
Rib:

Gold twist
Palmer:

Red furnace
Body:

Purple tying thread





In his Angler’s Vade Mecum (1681), James Chetham reprints the list of flies that Charles Cotton appends to Izaak Walton’s Compleat Angler in 1676. Chetham names the fly and lists the Purple Gold Hackle as No. 4 on his list for June, a dressing “made with a Purple Body, Gold twist over that, all whip'd about with a Red Capons Feather." A fly dressed with a hackle “whip'd about” the body is, for Chetham, “a Palmer-fly” that “is made of a Capon, or Cock's Hackle, twirled on Silk, and warp'd about the Hook, and either with, or without any Wings, and sometimes a little dubbing under the Hackle.” Dressed without the rib, the fly is the Purple Hackle, No. 3 on Chetham's and Cotton's list for June.

John Kirkbride includes the directions for a similar Purple Palmer in his Northern Angler (1837) that resembles the essentials of Cotton an Chetham's dressing: "This palmer is made of purple floss-silk, tipt at the tail with gold, or not, and two fine black hackles fun round the head. It must be made very small."

This dressing substitutes purple angora goat for purple mohair and uses a sparse furnace Indian dry fly hackle for the palmer.



In his Angler’s Manual (1836), John Turton lists the Purple Gold Palmer for June: “made with purple silk: wing, a red cock’s hackle feather; body, purple mohair, ribbed with gold twist.” He recommends the fly because it  “takes large fish in rough streams and dark waters.”

4 comments:

  1. Neil, I have to second the thought of fly tyers using more purple on the bodies of their flies. Trout seem to really like a change up once in awhile. Thanks for sharing this old pattern with us all.

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  2. Neil - also a fan of the purple! Well done on two very nice looking flies

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    1. Thanks, Mark! It isn't often I get to try the patterns I list here - there are so many, and I get to fish so much less frequently than I once did. At Robert Smith's suggestion, I tried the fly on a size 16 hook in the choppy water of an east Tennessee tailrace on Wednesday. It drew far more strikes than anything else. I'm interested to try it in the Smokies.

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