Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Blue Dun Hackle




Small gold tinsel

Mole fur with a little of the silk exposed at the tail

Gray hen hackle

While it might have been intended as a separate dressing for an olive mayfly like the Blue Dun, James Leisenring includes the Blue Dun Hackle separately from the Old Blue Dun in his Art of Tying the Wet Fly & Fishing the Flymph (1941). He dressed is with

“HOOK  12, 13, 14.
SILK  Primrose yellow.
HACKLE  Light-blue-dun hen hackle of good quality.
TAIL Two or three blue-dun fibers optional.
RIB  Very narrow flat gold tinsel.
BODY  Mole fur spun on primrose-yellow silk, a little of the silk exposed at the tail.”

Dave Hughes gives a dressing for similar fly, the Blue Dun Wingless, in his Wet Flies (1995 and 2015) and the updated second edition, which he configures like his Hare’s Ear Flymph, in the flymph style  he takes from Leisenring and James Hidy. He dresses the Blue Dun Wingless with:

“Hook: 1x fine or 2x stout, size 12-18.
Thread: Yellow Pearsall’s Gossamer silk or 6/0 or 8/0 nylon.
Hackle: Medium blue dun hen.
Tails: Medium blue dun hen hackle fibers.
Rib: Narrow Mylar tinsel, silver.
Body: Muskrat belly fur.”

This dressing used yellow thread and a found heron’s herl primary that the dressing prescribes as a body variation. It also leaves off the wings in favor of a hackled dressing comparable to Leisenring’s.

Leisenring’s dressing seems to be based on the Blue Dun that G. E. M. Skues includes in Minor Tactics of the Chalk Stream (1910). Skues’s Blue Dun is dressed with:

Wings: Snipe
Body: Water-rat on primrose or yellow tying silk. Vary body by dressing with undyed heron’s herl from the wing, and ribbing with find gold or medium silver wire.
Legs: Medium blue hen.”

Exclusive of the ever-popular peacock herl, herl-bodied dressings are rather rare in soft hackle literature, although they are common in Skues’ own nymphal dressings. Traditional soft hackles tend to opt for simple silk-bodied or dubbed fur dressings. Notable exceptions include Leisenring’s Black Gnat (dressed without the optional wings), the Old Master and Little Black that T. E. Pritt includes in North-Country Flies (1886), and especially Sylvester Nemes’ Pheasant Tail from his Soft-Hackled Fly (1975).

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