Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Gordon Hackle

This dressing combines attributes from two flies that Theodore Gordon described without naming. It uses rabbit underfur to match Theodore Gordon's use of dubbing that is "mouse colored," though much less "light bluish dun," particularly on dark brown thread. The dressing also pairs the mouse color of the underfur with the silver twist of the other dressing.



Dark brown

Fine silver oval French tinsel

Blue rabbit underfur

Brown, mottled partridge hackle

Sylvester Nemes reprints selections from the letters of Theodore Gordon germane to his study of historical soft hackles in Two Centuries of Soft-Hackled Flies (2004). Gordon mentions two, though he gives neither a name. In a letter to G. E. M. Skues dated February 18, 1909, Gordon relayed some of his experiences with soft hackles: “I have tried the hackles of small birds and from grouse, woodcock, snipe, etc., but rarely with much success. A brown, mottled partridge hackle on a light bluish dun body, ribbed with fine silver twist was quite killing.”

Similarly, in a letter to Skues written on March 10, 1912, Gordon recalled “a very small fly with mouse colored body and gray partridge hackle that killed well on slow streams, fished wet.” (This dressing has much in common with Dame Juliana Berner's Donne Flye.)


  1. Neil
    Attractive pattern; could this fly be used as a dry as well as a down under pattern? Do you fish the flies you tie? Thanks for sharing

    1. Bill,
      If you grease the fly and the tippet a bit, it would certainly fish well in the surface on a slow run. Given the webbiness of the partridge and how heavily I dressed the rabbit fur body, I don't you keep it on top of the water for long.

      I fish many of the flies I tie for the blog, though I would hate to have to keep them all in my box. I know what I like to fish in June, for instance, but I also like to dress a couple of the flies older authors recommend for June in my box to try, too.