One of the finest general-purpose dry-flies ever invented, the Grey Duster can be used to imitate a whole host of insects.
Dressed tiny, it is a useful Caenis imitation, a little bigger and it works well when stoneflies and various olive duns are being taken. Dressed on a size 10 hook with a bushier than normal hackle, it will fool trout feeding on Mayflies when more elaborately dressed imitations are scorned.
Many insects are quite light in colour on hatching which probably accounts for the trout’s willingness to accept the Grey Duster as a new adult. When dressed with the badger hackle wound around a wing post in parachute style, the Duster sits flush with the surface of the water providing a life-like impression of both the emerging and spent insects.
The strong contrast of the black and contrasting black and white or pale cream hackle makes it an easy-to-see fly which makes it a staple pattern for those with less than perfect vision when fishing in bubbly water or in the gathering dusk.
Hook Size 10-16
Tail (optional) Badger cock hackle fibres
Body A blend of blueish-grey rabbit
underfur and guard hairs
Hackle Wellmarked badger cock.
1. Catch in the black tying thread.
2. Continue winding the thread in touching turns down to a point opposite the barb. Select a wellmarked and shiny badger cock hackle.
3. Strip a small bunch of fibres from the feather and secure them on top of the hook.
4. Cover the butt ends of the tail fibres with thread and snip away the waste.
5. Take the thread back to the midpoint and offer up the blend of rabbit underfur and guard hairs.
6. Form a thin spindle with the rabbit fur.
7. Start to form the body with the dubbed thread.
8. Complete the body and remove any unwanted dubbing from the thread.
9. Select a badger cock hackle. The fibres should be about twice the width of the gape of the hook.
10. Remove the softer fibres from the base of the hackle and secure it in immediately in front of the body.
11. Grasp the tip of the hackle in the pliers and wind on four or five turns.
12. Remove the unwanted hackle feather and form a small head. Cast off with a whip-finish.
WHERE, WHEN & HOW TO FISH
W H E R E
A reliable all-rounder from the first day of the season to the last.
W H E N
During a hatch of olives or stoneflies, and when dressed on a size 16 hook, during a fall of Caenis. A large version dressed with a slightly thicker body is also an effective imitation of the Mayfly dun.
H O W
Fish it singly on a tapered leader with a 3 lb tippet or finer when the fly is being used to imitate the smaller flies.
T Y I N G T I P
If the fly is to be pressed into service as an imitation of the Mayfly dun, be sure to use a badger hackle with a really dark centre and to increase the number of whisks in the tail and the turns of hackle at the head.