Fishing during a fall of spinners can provide some exciting, if at times frustrating, fishing. Spinner is the angling term for the imago or sexually mature adult of the various species of Ephemeroptera.
These insects include the Mayfly, the blue-winged olive, the pale watery plus many other upwinged flies.
The females of these insects must return to the water to lay their eggs and once this task is complete, they fall exhausted and dying on to the water’s surface. Trapped in the surface film and at the mercy of the current they are funnelled into runs and eddies. With such an easy source of food, the trout often sit right at the surface sipping in the spinners as they drift towards them.
The trout can also become very selective at such times and a good imitation is required, one that is sparsely dressed and, like the natural, sits with its wings outstretched on the surface.
The Amber Spinner is one such pattern which, with its orangey-brown body, imitates many of the small- to mediumsized species. It uses polypropylene yarn for the wings, teased out and trimmed to length. This man-made fibre is lighter than water and, as long as it is treated with a good floatant, can support the fly even without a hackle. The inclusion of a few strands of fine pearl tinsel gives the wing a glint very similar to the clear, sparkling wings of the real spinner.
Hook Size 14-22 down-eyed dry-fly
Tail Blue dun hackle fibres
Body Amber finely-textured fur
Wing White Polypropylene plus fine pearl tinsel
Thorax Brown fur
1. Fix the hook in the vice and run the tying thread down to the bend in close turns. Take a very small pinch of amber-coloured dubbing and apply it to the thread.
2. Dub the fur on to the thread to form a short thin rope. Wind this on at the bend to form a tiny ball.
3. Select a large natural or dyed blue dun cock hackle with long straight fibres.
4. Tear off four to six fibres and catch them in just in front of the ball so they project well past the bend.
5. Take a second much-larger pinch of the same amber-coloured dubbing. Apply it evenly to the thread.
6. Dub it on to the thread to form a thin tapered rope. Wind the first turn over the base of the tail to push the fibres against the tiny ball of fur, causing them to splay out.
7. Carry the dubbed fur along the shank in close turns to form a slim body.
8. Stop the body a short distance back from the eye. Take a length of pale grey polypropylene yarn plus a few strands of fine pearl tinsel and place them together.
9. Catch the yarn and tinsel on top of the hook so that both ends are roughly equal. Secure with tight thread turns.
10. Twist the yarn so that it sits at right angles to the hook shank. Fix it in position with figure-of-eight turns of thread.
11. Dub on a small pinch of brown fur and wind it around the base of the wings to form the thorax.
12. Cast off the thread at the eye with a whip finish. Tease out the wing fibres then trim to length so that each is slightly longer than the body.
WHERE, WHEN & HOW TO FISH
W H E R E
This type of spinner imitation can be used with confidence on any chalkstream or rainfed river that has good hatches of small- to medium-sized olives.
W H E N
As the spinners return to lay their eggs from late afternoon into the evening, it is at this time that the Amber Spinner is most effective. This is definitely a pattern for a warm summer’s evening.
H O W
Fish it singly on a floating line in conjunction with a finely tapered leader. It must be cast accurately to drift into the path of a feeding fish. Trout feeding in this manner will only take a fly which floats, drag-free, almost into their mouths.
T Y I N G T I P
Ensure that the tail fibres are well spread so that the pattern sits flat in the surface film.