This is the palmered, wingless version of the Watson’s Fancy, a popular trout fly on large natural lakes. Especially during the early months on the season black and red is a deadly colour combination for brown trout and this pattern is no exception using a two-sectioned body to great effect. The pattern includes a modern touch in the form of a pinch of pearl Lite Brite blended into the black seal’s fur section at the front. This gives an extra little sparkle to what, otherwise, is a rather dark fly.
A further addition, which again differs from the winged Watson’s Fancy is the collar hackle of blue jay, giving this fly its typical Bumble profile. This, along with the palmered black cock hackle running the length of the body, gives the fly a dense profile.
Hook Size 8-12 wet fly Thread Black
Tail Golden pheasant topping Rib
Fine, oval silver tinsel Body In two
sections: Rear half red seal’s fur, front
half black seal’s fur blended with a
little pearl Lite Brite Body hackle
Dyed black cock hackle Collar hackle
Blue jay. Cheeks Jungle cock.
1. Run the tying thread down to the bend. Catch in a small, golden pheasant crest plus two inches of fine, oval silver tinsel.
2. Cover the waste ends of feather and tinsel with thread and remove the excess. This forms a solid base for the body.
3. Waxed the tying thread and apply a pinch of red seal’s fur evenly along it. Twist together to form a dense rope.
4. Starting right at the base of the tail begin winding the red seal’s fur in close turns over the shank. Stop when halfway along.
5. Dub on an equal amount of black seal’s fur blended with a little pearl Lite Brite. Wind along the shank to form the front half of the body.
6. Select a dyed black cock hackle with fibres approximaterly one and a half times the hook gape. Catch in in by its base just in front of the body.
7. With hackle pliers, take hold of the hackle tip and wind the feather over the body in open, evenly spaced turns. The number may be varied to alter the hackle’s density.
8. Once the hackle has been wound as far as the tail, hold the silver tinsel and wind it along the body. This locks the turns of hackle in place. Ensure that no hackle fibres are trapped.
9. Secure the loose end of the tinse with thread and remove the excess. Select a blue jay feather where the fibres are long and brightly coloured.
10. Tear off a generous bunch of fibres arnd catch them in on top of the hook so that the tips project over the eye. Use loose tunrs at this stage.
11. Draw the thread tight. As this is done, ease the fibres of blue jay around the body so that they are spread evenly into a collar.
12. Add two or three tight thread-turns to lock the fibres in place then carefully remove the butts with scissors. Take care not to cut the black cok hackle fibres.
13. Stroke the blue jay hackle fibres back so that they lie over the body. Secure in place with tying thread wound close to the hook eye.
14. Add a small jungle cock feather either side of the hook to form cheeks. Secure in place, creating a small head and casting off with a whip finish.
WHERE, WHEN & HOW TO FISH
W H E R E
Black and red is a very effective colour combination, especially for brown trout. This makes the Watson’s Bumble a great pattern to use on the large, natural Loughs of Ireland and Scotland.
W H E N
It is a very effective general pattern at its best during either end of the season when conditions are quite cool and insect hatches less prevalent.
H O W
Although it is a blend of traditional and modern the pattern is fished in the standard loch style - over the front of a drifting boat. The line used can vary from a floating to an intermediate one, depending on the conditions. The Watson’s Bumble is also a versatile pattern working well either bobbed on the top dropper or when used as a point fly and retrieved in steady pulls.
T Y I N G T I P
As splitting the quill on a blue jay feather is a tricky, and inconsistent method a far easier way to apply it to the hook is to first tie the fibres in so that they project over the eye. They can then be eased around the hook until they form an evenly spread ruff at which point they should be positioned to lie back over the body using turns of tying thread.