Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Gray Hackle

This dressing follows James Leisenring’s in that it uses a true furnace hackle (which had less to do with the predominate color than the stem and tips of the hackle), characterized by “a very dark, black, or blue dun list next to the stem and on the tips of the fibers.”



Light yellow

Narrow gold tinsel

Bronze-colored peacock herl

Yellow or white creamy furnace

James Leisenring listed the Gray Hackle second on his list of favorite patterns in The Art of Tying the Wet Fly and Fishing the Flymph (1941). He noted that the hackle, particularly if it was a poultry hackle, should be tied according to the water where it would be fished: the slower the water, the softer the hackle and vice versa. 

In discussing the history of the Red Hackle and the other hackle flies she illustrates on Plate A of her Favorite Flies and their Histories (1892), Mary Orvis Marbury notes that, unlike the Red Hackle, the “White Hackle, Yellow Hackle, Black Hackle, and a number of others are named simply after their color.” At the close of her discussion on the history of hackles, she cites a contemporary Colorado angler who recommends the Gray Hackle ahead of the Brown hackle, noting that the Gray Hackle “was to the trout what bread was to civilized man.”

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