This pattern is a modification of the original Comparadun developed by American anglers Al Caucci and Bob Nastasi more than twenty years ago. The interesting feature of this pattern is the combined wing and hackle, which is made of deer-hair tips tied to form a semi-circle around the top and sides of the hook.
What this achieves is a fly that creates a very natural footprint on the water’s surface. It is also extremely durable because the deer hair is far tougher than delicate feather fibres.
The pattern may be tied in a wide range of sizes and body colours to imitate anything from the largest Mayfly to the tiniest pale watery dun. However, it is as an imitation of a small- to medium-sized olive that the pattern has become so well-known.
In the original Comparadun, the tail consisted either of bucktail or the same deer-hair tips as used for the wing. An alternative, especially when tied in smaller sizes, was to use hackle fibres tied outrigger-style to form a V-shape that supports the rear of the fly in the surface film.
In the Sparkle Dun, a few strands of clear Antron are used in the tail to suggest the nymphal shuck from which the dun has just emerged. It is an effective ploy which makes the Sparkle Dun, if anything, even more effective than the original pattern.
Hook Size 12-16 down-eyed dry-fly
Thread Olive Tail Clear Antron yarn
Body Fine, olive synthetic dubbing
Wing Deer-hair tips Head Fine, olive
1. Fix the hook in the vice and run on the tying thread at the eye. Wind it a short distance down the shank then back on itself to form a solid base for the wing.
2. Take a generous pinch of plain deer hair with nicely mottled tips. Remove any fluff and broken hairs.
3. Ensure that the tips are even by using a hair stacker or removing any wayward hairs. Catch the bunch in with loose thread turns so that it projects well past the eye.
4. Secure the bunch with further tight thread turns, allowing the hair to flare around the top and sides but not underneath the hook.
5. Begin to trim away the waste butts of deer hair. Rather than simply cutting it off flush, stagger the cuts to produce a taper.
6. Cover the waste ends with tying thread to form a tapered base for the body.
7. Carry the thread down to the bend and catch in a few strands of clear Antron yarn to suggest the nymphal shuck of the hatching dun.
8. Take the thread down the body and dub on the body material.
9. Form the body by winding the dubbed thread in touching turns.
10. Complete the body and remove any unwanted dubbing. Divide the wing into two equal bunches and wind the thread in a figure-of-eight movement to fix them in place.
11. Winding the front section of the body tight against the base of the wing helps to support it in the required semicircular profile as the Comparadun pattern.
WHERE, WHEN & HOW TO FISH
W H E R E
This Sparkle Dun is an effective fly for any river or stream but especially those with a good hatch of small- to medium-sized olives. It will work both in broken water and glides and is a great all-round imitation of a number of upwinged duns.
W H E N
As a specific dun imitation, it is most effective during a hatch of the naturals. This period can be from early spring, if the insect is the large dark olive, through to late autumn in the case of the blue-winged olive.
H O W
The Comparadun is fished singly on a floating line and a tapered leader. It works best when cast upstream and allowed to drift over a fish that has been spotted feeding on olive duns.
T Y I N G T I P
When tying a wing in this style, it is important that it is properly balanced by spreading the deer hair evenly around in a semi-circle.