Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Dark Snipe and Orange; or, Dark Snipe



Burnt orange

Orange Pearsall’s gossamer silk

Snipe covert

In his Fly Fishing: The North Country Tradition (1994), Leslie Magee notes that “T. E. Pritt will always be remembered for his dressing of the Dark Snipe (Snipe and Purple); a fly which is likely to be found on the majority of fly casts in the first few weeks of the trout season.” 

While Pritt often gets credit for the dressing, Magee suggests that an earlier manuscript precedent exists. William Brumfitt, whose illustrations Pritt copied directly for the color plates in Yorkshire Trout Flies (1885), listed two dressings for the Dark Snipe. In addition to the purple-bodied dressing Pritt listed, Brumfitt also favored an orange-bodied dressing of the the simple, effective Dark Snipe:

"Body; Orange silk
Wing; Hackled with the feather from outside snipe’s wing."

In the comprehensive catalog of trout flies that Roger Woolley includes at the close of his Modern Trout Fly Dressing, third edition (1950), the Snipe and Orange is no. 115 and it follows Brumfitt's dressing almost to the letter. 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Speckled Dun

This dressing uses an American woodcock primary for the hackle instead of the undercovert assigned by the original dressing, and it substitutes antron for wool.



Golden stone Antron mixed with medium hare's ear

Woodcock primary

John Kirkbride recommends the Speckled Dun for spring fishing, particularly in April and May, in his Northern Angler (1837). He recommends both a winged and a hackled version, the latter of which he dresses “with a portion of pale yellow mohair, mixed with a little fur from the hare’s ear, and a short feather from underneath the woodcock’s wing, near the butt.”