Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Blue-Winged Olive (XVIII); or the Bright Brown

This dressing makes substitutions based on color for the tail, body, and hackle. While it would be more properly dressed in smaller sizes, it is shown here on the size 14 dry fly hook standard for the blog.



Three strands of dark dun dove hackle tied short

Rust sculpin wool and maple plastic canvas yarn

Dove primary

In Nymph Fishing for Chalk StreamTrout (1939), G. E. M. Skues lists various dressings for the Blue-Winged Olive. For fishing at nighttime, he preferred:

Hook.—No. 1 or 2 down-eyed round bend.
Tying Silk.—Hot orange.
Hackle.—Dark but definitely blue hen—as woolly in the fibre as can be had—two turns.
Whisk.—Three strands of dark hen hackle—short.
Body.—Cow-hair the colour of dried blood, dressed fat—the nymph itself being fat and not taper like the other dun nymphs.”

Given the distinctions he draws among ten different styles for dressing nymphal flies at the outset of The Way of a Trout with a Fly (1921), G. E. M. Skues would likely balk at having one of his short hackled nymphs grouped among soft hackles. Nevertheless, its hackling, though short, is dressed in the round with soft hackle. 

Charles Cotton's winged Bright Brown, from part 2 of the Compleat Angler (1676), might also be dressed as a soft hackle. The coloration achieved by the materials in Skues’s dressing is quite similar overall to the second dressing that Charles Cotton lists in his additions to the Compleat Angler (1676): “2. Also a bright brown, the dubbing either of the brown of a Spaniel, or that of a Cows flanck, with a Grayling.” James Chetham corrects what must be a typographical error in Cotton, “with a Grayling,” to “with a Grey Wing” in his Angler's Vade Mecum (1681).

1 comment:

  1. I have been studying and using soft hackle flies since 1995 here in Argentina. Both, classic models and some proper designs with feathers of local birds (legally obtained off course).
    It was a pleasure find your blog, great photos and historical references.
    I will visit frequently, thanks.
    Best regards
    Humberto (