Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Light Spanish Needle; or the Light Needle

This dressing uses a snipe covert as a hackle rather than undercovert.



Red Pearsall’s marabou silk floss

Snipe covert

Peacock herl

T. E. Pritt included the Light Spanish Needle in both his Yorkshire Trout Flies (1885) and North-Country Flies (1886) as No. 23, the complement to the Dark Spanish Needle, No. 22, that is "more suitable for warm days. The shades of the natural flies vary considerably.” Pritt dressed it thus:

“WINGS.-Hackled with a feather from inside a Jack-Snipe’s wing, or the breast of a young Starling.
BODY.-Crimson silk.
HEAD.-Peacock herl.”

This dressing uses orange Pearsall’s marabou silk floss for the body.

In their Brook and River Trouting (1915), Harfield Edmonds and Norman Lee recommend the Light Needle, No. 15, which seems to roughly correspond with Pritt's Light Spanish Needle in its emergence. Their dressing uses orange silk for the body and head and the webby hackle “from a young Starling’s thigh or flank.”

Leslie Magee includes a dressing of Pritt’s Light Spanish Needle among his favorite dressings in Fly Fishing: The North Country Tradition (1994), but he also includes dressings from an 1898 manuscript by Sylvester Lister, whose fly is dressed using a “feather from under snipe’s wing or under starling’s wing. Head, magpie herl. Body, orange silk. Remarks Capital standard fly all through the season.”

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