Mick Williams invented this fly by accident. He had been asked to tie some flies with long darkgreen goat hair wings. His wife, Carole, who dyes all the fly-tying materials, decided after several attempts that it was impossible to get a pure dark-green goat hair so Mick tied a fly with the imperfectly dyed goat hair. Since its christening on the Tweed in spring, the Eternal Optimist has gone on to take fish in a variety of conditions and rivers. For spring fishing it is usually tied on a 1 in-2 in tube but with a very long wing.
When tying the Mylar piping body of the Eternal Optimist the aim, unlike with most other patterns using the same material, is to have the rear end frayed. This procedure opens up the strands allowing them to impart even more sparkle into the fly’s tail.
When fraying the ends of the Mylar piping don’t try to separate all the fibres in one go as this can damage them. Instead tease the very ends apart first then work back up the piping until half an inch or so of the strands have been separated.
Hook Tubes, Waddingtons and doubles
- size to suit conditions Thread Black
and red Body Pearl Mylar piping
Underwing Yellow bucktail Wing Dyed
green goat hair Cheeks Jungle cock
1. Push a short section of clear silicone sleeve over the end of the tube before fixing it securely on its mount.
2. Take a three-inch length of pearl Mylar piping and remove the core. Fray one end then slide the piping over the tube.
3. Run on the tying thread just in front of the silicone rubber sleeve and use it to secure the rear end of the Mylar piping in place. Cast off the thread with a whip finish and apply a coat of clear varnish.
4. Pull the front end of the piping so that it sits snugly on the tube then secure the front end with turns of black tying thread.
5. Take a bunch of yellow bucktail and remove any broken fibres. Ensuring that the tips are roughly even, position the bucktail on top of the tube.
6. Secure the yellow hair with tight thread turns then revolve the tube 180 degrees. Take a bunch of green goat hair and catch that in position on the side of the tube that is now uppermost.
7. Offer up the green goat hair for length. The wing should reach well past the yellow hair beneath the body.
8. Secure the goat hair with further tight turns of thread then select two
matching jungle-cock feathers. Catch them in on either side of the wing to form the cheeks.
9. Add more tight turns of thread to ensure that the hair and the cheeks are securely in place. Build a neat head and cast off with a whip finish. Finally, add a couple of coats of clear varnish to the head.
WHERE, WHEN & HOW TO FISH
W H E R E
The Eternal Optimist was designed as a fly for the cold water of early spring on the Tweed, where it has become very popular, but it will take spring fish wherever they are found.
W H E N
Tie it on a heavy tube for coldwater fishing and on lighter ones for the summer.
H O W
Fish it deep and slow in cold water. In the summer and early autumn, tie it on a light tube and fish it quickly, hand-lining if necessary, and dibbling it in the
throats of streamy pools.
T Y I N G T I P
When tying the underwing on a tube the easiest method is to apply it to the upperside of the tube. Then simply revolve the tube 180 degrees so the underwing is positioned beneath the tube then add the wing.