Over the past few years this American pattern, originated by Al Troth, has become a standard dry-fly on British waters. It is not difficult to see why, as it imitates, superbly, a small- to medium-sized adult sedge.
Shape and buoyancy are just right and, even on fast broken water, it bobs along on the surface like the proverbial cork. The result is that, when required, it may be skated across the surface rather than simply left to drift, thereby imitating the wake of a freshly-hatched sedge fly.
Like so many top-rate patterns it is both robust and reasonably easy to tie. It also uses readily available materials such as hare’s fur and elk hair, the latter giving it a lifelike profile plus a degree of natural buoyancy. Although plain elk hair is perfectly acceptable, the original material was actually bleached elk hock, which is even tougher than elk body hair. Being harder, it is also less prone to flaring and is easier to keep in the low profile required to imitate the roof-shaped wings of a sedge fly.
This is the standard tying with a honey-coloured wing though the Elk Hair Sedge is now produced in a number of colour variations including olive and brown.
Hook Size 10-14 down-eyed, mediumweight
Thread Brown Rib Fine gold
wire Body Hare’s fur Wing Bleached elk
hock or natural elk hair Hackle Furnace
1. Fix the hook in the vice before running the tying thread down to the bend. There, catch in 2 in of fine, gold wire.
2. Take a pinch of hare’s fur where the underfur and stiffer guard hairs are well mixed together. Apply the fur evenly to the tying thread, which can be lightly waxed first.
3. Dub the fur on to the thread to form a thin rope. Wind this rope along the shank to form the body. Keep the turns close together so that no gaps appear.
4. With the body in place, select a well-marked furnace hackle. This should have fibre-length approximately one-and-ahalf times that of the hook gape.
5. Remove any soft or damaged fibres from the base of the hackle to leave a short section of bare stem. Catch the hackle in by this bare stem just in front of the body.
6. Take hold of the hackle with hackle pliers and wind it over the body in evenly spaced turns.
7. Once the hackle has covered the body right to the end, wind the gold wire up to the tying thread. Use open, evenly spaced turns and prevent any hackle fibres from becoming trapped.
8. Secure the loose end of the wire and remove it, plus the excess hackle tip at the bend. Take a pinch of bleached elk hock.
9. Remove any damaged hairs and, ensuring that all the tips are roughly level, catch the elk hock in at the eye.
10. Secure the hair with tight thread turns. Cast off the tying thread with a whip finish before trimming away the excess elk hair to leave a short stub.
WHERE, WHEN & HOW TO FISH
W H E R E
This pattern will work on any river or stream where sedge flies of various species are found. Being a bushy, buoyant fly, it works best on fast- to mediumpaced water especially where the surface is broken.
W H E N
Can be used at any time that small- to medium-sized sedges are either hatching or returning to lay their eggs. Late afternoon through into dusk is a prime time for this type of behaviour and is when the Elk Hair Sedge is at its most effective.
H O W
Generally fished singly on a floating line and a tapered leader. It may be fished in open water or cast under overhanging trees. When used to imitate freshly hatched sedge, giving it a little twitch as it drifts downstream can often induce a take.
T Y I N G T I P
As elk hock is quite smooth and shiny, running a tiny spot of Superglue into the thread turns holding the wing will make it more secure.