Though this pattern looks as if it has been around since time immemorial, it’s actually a relatively modern fly, having been devised by John Kennedy from South Uist. The giveaway is the tail formed from two colours of fluorescent floss, the red and yellow contrasting with the black and red of the rest of the fly to create a deadly brown trout and sea-trout pattern.
The Clan Chief uses two body hackles wound together, in conjunction with a collar hackle, to create a very dense profile. This makes it a great “water-mover” and because of this fact it is a superb fly for the top dropper — especially effective when dibbled through a rolling grey wave.
Though not unique to the Clan Chief, the use of two different coloured hackles for palmering the body is quite unusual. It produces a very interesting effect but be careful when selecting the hackles to ensure that both have the same fibre-length otherwise the effect won’t be balanced. Care, too, must be taken when winding them as it is all too easy to allow the hackles to separate and for unsightly gaps to appear.
Hook Size 8-12 wet fly Thread Black
Tag Flat silver tinsel Tail Yellow and red
fluorescent floss or hackle fibres
Rib Fine oval silver tinsel
Body Black seal’s fur or substitute
Body hackle Dyed red and black cock
hackles Collar hackle Black hen hackle
1. With the tying thread at the bend, catch in two inches of flat, silver tinsel. Wind on three turns to form a tag. Secure the end of the tinsel then fold four inches of fluorescent yellow floss to form eight strands and catch in at the tag.
2. Repeat the process with a four-inch length of fluorescent red floss. Fix this in place on top of the yellow floss to form a bi-coloured tail. Ensure that the red remains above the yellow.
3. Secure the tail materials in place with further tight thread turns. With scissors cut the ends of the floss to produce a tail approximately half the length of the hook.
4. Catch in three inches of fine oval silver tinsel at the base of the tail. Cover the waste ends of the floss and tinsel to form an even base for the body.
5. Wax the tying thread then apply a good pinch of black seal's fur. Dub it on to the thread to form a thick, tapered rope then begin to wind it toward the eye.
6. Carry the dubbed fur along the shank, in close turns, so that it forms a dense, quite full body.
7. Select two dyed cock hackles: one black, one red. Ensure that they have fibres of equal length. Place them together and tie in just in front of the body.
8. Keeping the hackles together, grasp their tips with hackle pliers and begin winding along the body in evenly spaced turns.
9. Once the hackles have reached the tail, begin winding the oval silver tinsel up through them. This ribbing locks the turns of hackle in place.
10. Secure then remove the excess tinsel. Select a long-fibred black hen hackle. Choose one with plenty of soft, webby fibres.
11. Draw the hackle fibres back away from the tip. Catch the hackle in at the eye by its tip. Wind on three or full turns to create a dense collar.
12. Secure the hackle tip then remove. Stroke the hackle fibres back over the body then position with thread turns. Cast off with a whip finish.
WHERE, WHEN & HOW TO FISH
W H E R E
A great fly for most natural lakes, it is especially good as a brown trout or sea-trout fly. In the right conditions it will work for reservoir rainbows, too.
W H E N
The Clan Chief works well right throughout the season but is at its best on a wild grey day with a big, rolling wave.
H O W
Normally fished loch-sytle from a drifting boat, as part of a team. Being big and bushy the Clan Chief makes an ideal topdropper fly, worked though the wave tops. Can be fished on a floating or intermediate line.
T Y I N G T I P
When two are wound together, body hackles can sometimes separate, leaving a gap. If this does occur, give them a slight twist before grasping them with the hackle pliers.