Invented by Stan Headley and first fished on the River Thurso in the early ’90s, where it quickly gained a reputation as a taker of salmon, the Fast Eddie is unusual in a modern salmon fly insofar as it incorporates green in its dressing.
Green, as in the Green Highlander, was once a popular colour in salmon flies fished in the rivers of the far north of Scotland, and Stan's fly has mirrored this.
Originally dressed on a Waddington shank for the Thurso’s springers, the Fast Eddie can also be tied on singles, doubles, trebles and tubes.
It was named after Thurso river superintendent Eddie McCarthy, whose bold driving style down the back roads of Caithness became legendary among Thurso fishers.
Stan Headley’s original fly had a head of red and black thread, but it is doubtful whether the salmon noticed this!
Hook Size 6-12 doubles and trebles
Thread Red Tag Flat gold tinsel
Rib Medium oval gold tinsel Body Flat
gold tinsel Hackle Orange cock hackle
Wing Green hair over yellow,
squirrel or bucktail
1. Fix the hook in the vice and run the tying thread down the shank in close turns. Take two inches of flat gold tinsel and, having cut one end to a point, catch it in at the bend.
2. Take the tying thread back up the shank in close turns then wind on two or three turns of the gold tinsel to form a tag. Secure the loose end with thread.
3. Remove the excess flat gold tinsel then take three inches of medium oval gold tinsel. Catch this in at the front of the tag so that the waste end lies along the shank.
4. Using close turns of tying thread, cover the waste end of the oval tinsel so that an even bed for the body is formed. Stop the thread a short distance from the eye.
5. Take four inches of flat gold tinsel and cut one end to a point. Catch it in just behind the eye and wind it down the shank in close, but not overlapping, turns.
6. Once the flat tinsel has been wound as far as the tag, take it back over itself to form a double layer. Wind the tinsel right back as far as its catching-in point.
7. Secure the loose end of the tinsel with tying thread then wind the oval gold tinsel over it in evenly spaced turns.
8. Keep winding the oval gold tinsel until the tying thread has been reached. Five turns is ample. Secure the loose end of the oval tinsel and remove the excess.
9. Invert the hook in the vice and catch in a bunch of dyed-orange cock hackle fibres to form a throat hackle. Ease the fibres around the sides of the body.
10. Return the hook to its original position before selecting a slim bunch of yellow bucktail. Position it on top of the hook so that its tips project well past the bend.
11. Add a second, larger, bunch of green bucktail, fixing it in place so that its tips are level with those of the yellow bunch.
12. Secure the bucktail in place with tight turns of thread. Build a neat head with tying thread before casting it off with a whip finish.
WHERE, WHEN & HOW TO FISH
W H E N
Although designed as a spring fly, in smaller sizes (down to size 10) it has proved very effective with summer salmon and grilse.
W H E R E
The Fast Eddie can be fished with confidence on all the northern Highland rivers. It has also done well on England's River Tyne, where, unusually, flies with a touch of green have always been popular.
H O W
Tie it as a Waddington or tube in the spring and autumn and fish it deep and slow. Tied on a single or double hook for summer work, it is best fished on a floating, intermediate or sink-tip line.
T Y I N G T I P
When tying bi-coloured hairwings, it is a good idea to apply the colours separately. This not only ensures that the colours are aligned on the hook properly but they also remain in distinct bands.