This traditional wet-fly pattern is designed to represent the black midge, or duckfly. It is still much favoured as a point fly on many Scottish lochs. The word “blae” refers to the blue-grey colour of its wing, which is tied from slips of mallard or starling primary feather. To create this type of wing, thin strips of equal width are taken from opposing wing quills. Each has a natural inward curve that is cancelled out when the two slips are placed together so that the finished wing sits straight.
When positioning the wing on top of the hook the first few turns of thread should always be made with a direct, downward pull. This prevents the tendency of winding the thread to twist the wing around the hook.
The body is tied with black floss, or simply black thread in smaller sizes, while a fine rib of silver wire or tinsel gives a segmented effect.
As with many other wet-fly patterns, a few strands of golden pheasant tippets are used as a
tail. In the case of the Blae and Black this appears superfluous, as the natural is totally black, but it could suggest the brief orange flush of the hatching midge and certainly makes the fly stand out.
Hook Size 12-14 wet-fly Thread Black
Tail Golden-pheasant tippet Rib Fine
oval silver tinsel Body Black floss Hackle
Black cock hackle Wing Mallard or
starling grey primary feather
1. Run the tying thread on at the eye and carry it in close turns to a point opposite the barb. There, catch in a few strands of golden-pheasant tippet.
2. Take three inches of fine oval silver tinsel and catch it in at the same point as the tail, allowing the waste and to lie along the shank.
3. Using close turns of tying thread, cover the waste ends of the tippet and the silver tinsel to form an even base for the body. Trim off the excess materials.
4. Take a four-inch length of black floss. If you are using real silk floss it must first be divided into its two component strands.
5. Catch in the strand of floss just behind the eye with two or three tight turns of thread.
6. Begin winding the floss toward the tail, ensuring that it flattens, thereby creating a smooth effect.
7. Once the floss has reached the tail, wind it back up to its catching-in point. This double layer will help create a smooth, slightly tapered body..
8. Catch in the loose end of the floss with thread then remove. Next, take hold of the tinsel and wind on five evenly spaced turns.
9. Secure the loose end of the tinsel and remove. Then select a black hen hackle and prepare it by stroking the fibres away from the tip.
10. Snip the tip of the hackle away to leave a short stub, catching in this part of the feather just behind the eye.
11. Take hold of the hackle by it base and wind on three full turns. Secure the loose end of the hackle and remove before stroking the fibres so that they sit beneath and to the sides of the body.
12. Select two slips of starling primary feather taken from either side of a matching pair of feathers. Place them together, so that their tips are level, and position them on top of the hook with two or three loose winging loops made with the tying thread.
13. When the wing is positioned perfectly upright, secure it in place with further, tight, thread turns. Trim away the excess feather and finish with a neat head.
WHERE, WHEN & HOW TO FISH
W H E R E
When loch-style fishing with a team of traditional wet-flies the Blae and Black makes a great imitation of a black midge. If this is the preferred method, as it is on many natural lakes, the pattern can outscore imitations designed to be fished static. Works best in anything from a small ripple to a rolling wave.
W H E N
Although other, more imitative, midge patterns are now in use, the Blae and Black still catches a lot of fish, especially early in the season, around April and May, when big black midges are most prevalent.
H O W
As the Blae and Black is tied in the style of a traditional winged wet-fly it is normally fished as part of a three- or even a four-fly team. A floating line is the standard technique though a slow sinker has become popular, especially early in the season or in rough conditions. Being quite slim and quick sinking the pattern is usually tied on the point or middle dropper of the leader.
T Y I N G T I P
When tying in paired wetfly wings, always make the first two or three turns with “soft” or winging loops. To do this, hold the wing while making a loose turn of thread. Only pull tight once the thread is directly below the hook – preventing the wing from twisting out of line.