Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Sand-Piper Hackle

This dressing substitutes a barred American woodcock shoulder feather for the sand-piper covert that John Kirkbride recommends.



Orange Pearsall’s gossamer silk

Flat gold tinsel

Peacock herl

Orange Pearsall’s gossamer silk

Barred American woodcock shoulder feather

John Kirkbride listed the Sand-Piper Hackle in his Northern Angler (1837), noting that “some of our old sportsman are very partial to this fly. They use it in the spring when the water is clearing off. Let the body be of orange-silk, ribbed with a fine peacock harle, and tipt with gold; take a small specked feather from the outside of the wing of a sand-piper for hackle—hook, no. 8.”

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Black with Red

This dressing uses black antron for the thorax rather than the “black down,” presumably felted rabbit fur from a hat, in the original dressing. It also substitutes crow shoulder for black hen neck.



Red Pearsall’s gossamer silk

Embroidery thread – DMC 310 black

Black antron

Crow shoulder

John Turton lists the Black with Red as a hackle for “all the season,” no. 28 the second list he includes in The Angler’s Manual (1836). He dresses it “with red silk: wing, black hen’s feather from neck; body, black silk at tail, and black down close under wing.”

Black down is a material Turton recommended that every fly tier keep in a “dubbing  or down book,” which “must be made of a few leaves of parchment sewed separately to the outside leaves, to give room to shut when the downs are put in, which must be done by cutting them across with small pointed scissors, about a quarter of an inch from each other; then the pieces through it;  this will hold them fast and the leaves maybe turned over as to find any color wanted. Small pockets must be made at each end” for the furs with “no skin attached to them.” When Turton assigns “black down” to a dressing, he is apparently referring to the black down he would include in a down book, “from the best stuff hats,” rather than a down feather or after shaft.

The combination of red thread, a black body, and black hackle recalls the James Leisenring’s dressing of the Black Gnat in The Art of Tying the Wet Fly and Fishing the Flymph (1941).