This pattern is one of the Bumble series made famous by T. C. Kingsmill Moore, author of the classic A Man May Fish. Along with the Golden Olive Bumble, the Claret Bumble is a great fishcatcher, especially on the wild loughs of western Ireland.
Though basically a claret colour, it may be tied in a range of body shades with the darkest a proven killer for seatrout when the sky is dull and the water a leaden grey.
Typical of the Bumble series is the body hackle, which is tied very bushy and employs two colours of hackle. Here the combination is black and claret, and, with the seal’s fur body teased out, it creates an unexpected sparkle with such sombre materials.
As with other Bumbles, the collar hackle comprises blue jay feather fibres, though this may be substituted with dyedblue guinea fowl. The natural jay can be applied by first splitting the feather so that the thick quill is removed. For those who find the process almost impossible, an easier method is to tear the fibres from the quill then tie them in so the tips project over the eye. After they have been flared evenly around the hook the fibres are folded back to create a nice even collar.
Hook Size 8-14 wet-fly Thread Black
Tail Golden-pheasant tippets Rib Fine
oval gold tinsel Body Claret seal’s fur
Body hackle Black and claret cock
hackles Collar hackle Blue jay or
dyed-blue guinea fowl
1. Fix the hook in the vice and run the tying thread down to the bend in close turns. There, catch in a few fibres of golden-pheasant tippet to form the tail.
2. Take three inches of fine oval gold tinsel and catch it in place with two or three thread turns at the base of the tail.
3. Secure the waste ends of the tinsel and tippet feather to the shank with close turns of thread. Then lightly wax the thread and apply a pinch of claret seal’s fur.
4. Twisting the fur on to the thread in one direction only, dub it on to the thread to form a tapered rope. Wind the rope from the tail base up towards the eye.
5. Carry on winding the fur in close turns, finishing at a point just short of the eye. That done, select two matching cock hackles — one dyed claret and one dyed black.
6. Strip away any damaged fibres from the base of both hackles. Place them together and catch them in at the front of the body.
7. Carefully take hold of the tips of both hackles. Ensuring that the two feathers remain close together, wind them over the body in evenly spaced turns.
8. When the hackles have reached the base of the tail, take hold of the gold tinsel and wind it up through the hackles, locking them securely to the body.
9. Secure the loose end of the tinsel at the eye, removing the excess and the waste hackle tips.
10. Tear off a good pinch of blue jay hackle fibres. Trim the butts so that they are level before catching in the fibres so that their tips project over the eye.
11. Gently ease the blue jay fibres around the hook so that they are evenly distributed. Then fold them back and secure with thread turns so they form the collar hackle. Cast off the thread with a whip finish.
WHERE, WHEN & HOW TO FISH
W H E R E
A great fly for any natural lake. Although a noted sea-trout fly, it is also very effective for brown trout.
W H E N
When used specifically for seatrout it is effective from June onwards but will catch brown trout even earlier.
H O W
The Claret Bumble is normally fished as part of a wet-fly team either on a floating or intermediate line. It works well as a point fly but more often is used on the top dropper, its bushy hackle allowing it to be bobbed enticingly through the wave tops.
T Y I N G T I P
If winding two hackles together proves tricky and they keep separating, apply them one at a time. Remember, however, to wind the second hackle so that it sits immediately in front of each turn of the first.