The late Brian Dawson, one time fishery manager at Witton Castle in Co Durham, devised this soberly coloured lure. Being basically olive with just a flash of goldenyellow at the tail, it works well fished more like a nymph with a slow, steady retrieve. The marabou, in both the wing and tail, gives it a superb action in the water and, because it sinks quite slowly the fly is often taken on the drop as it flutters toward the lakebed.
To counteract the drag of the marabou, the pattern should be tied with an underbody comprising close turns of lead wire. The aim, though, is not to create a heavily weighted pattern or indeed one designed to dive headfirst. Instead it is merely there so that the Dawson’s Olive sinks slowly on an even keel.
The tail and wing are tied quite full, the wing tips falling almost level with those of the tail. Any fibres which don’t sit level can simply be removed — but remember when trimming away surplus marabou, always pinch away the fibres with a thumbnail. Do not cut them with scissors as this produces a straight, horribly clinical effect.
Hook Size 8-14 longshank or size 12-14
standard wet-fly Thread Black or brown
Tail Golden-yellow marabou Rib Gold or
silver wire Body Olive chenille Hackle
Dyed-blue guineafowl Wing Olive
1. Having wound on enough wire to cover approximately half to two thirds of the hook shank, remove the excess and add a coating of Superglue.
2. Run on the tying thread and at the hook bend catch in a generous pinch of golden-yellow marabou.
3. Secure the marabou with tight thread turns. Catch in a three-inch length of oval gold tinsel at the tail base.
4. Allow the waste ends of the marabou to sit in the gap to the rear of the underbody and secure in place. Next, take four inches of olive chenille and expose a short section of the core.
5. Catch the chenille it at the tail base by this section of exposed core. This procedure reduces bulk and prevents an unsightly bump forming at the end of the body.
6. Wind the chenille along the shank. The turns must be close but should never overlap.
7. Continue winding the chenille until it is just short of the eye. Secure the loose end with tight turns of thread.
8. Wind the oval gold tinsel over the body in open, evenly spaced turns. Secure the loose end of the tinsel at the eye before removing the excess.
9. Select a nicely coloured dyed-blue guineafowl feather. Ensure that there are no damaged fibres. Tear off a generous bunch of the fibres.
10. Invert the hook in the vice and catch the fibres in so that the tips are just short of the hook point. Flare the fibres around the sides of the body to form the hackle.
11. Return the hook to its original position before selecting a large tuft of dyed-olive marabou. Ensure that the tips of the marabou are roughly level.
12. Position the marabou on top of the hook and secure in place with tight turns of thread. Trim away any excess feather at the eye and build a neat head.
13. Cast off the tying thread before pinching, not cutting, off the marabou tips so tail and wing are almost level. Finally, add a couple of coats of lacquer to the head.
WHERE, WHEN & HOW TO FISH
W H E R E
The Dawson’s Olive is not only a good general lure pattern but it also does well when trout are feeding on olive damselfly nymphs. It works well for both rainbow and brown trout on a wide variety of stillwaters, from large reservoirs to small lakes.
W H E N
Fishes best during the summer months, from May through to September.
H O W
The Dawson’s Olive may be fished on a variety of lines, from floating to fast sinking. It works especially well in conjunction with a slow-sinking or intermediate line. The most effective retrieve is a figure-ofeight or a series of short, steady draws. Watch for takes on the drop.
T Y I N G T I P
When tying in chenille, make sure it is caught in by a short section of bare core. This will ensure that no unsightly bump forms at the tail.