This is a brilliant little fly that will catch fish that are turning up their noses at more lifelike patterns.
Not only is it an extremely effective general pattern, it also works well when both trout and grayling are feeding on small black midges — a situation that occurs on rivers more often than many anglers realise. Indeed, if you take a good look at the Griffith’s Gnat, it is easy to see how the combination of the peacock herl body and grizzle hackle make a good representation of the “buzz” of an adult midge. It is normally tied small from a size 16 down to a 24.
The smaller sizes really do work and can be quite deadly when the fish are feeding on very small terrestrials or midges.
While the original Griffith’s Gnat comprises simply peacock herl and a shortfibred grizzle hackle, a very successful variation is created by adding a small tail of Antron or Pearl Twinkle.
Various colours of Antron may be used though fluorescent orange and green are probably the two most effective. The Sparkle Gnat, as it is known, is fished in exactly the same manner as the original.
Hook Size 16-24 down-eyed dry-fly
Tail (Optional) Orange or lime-green
fluorescent yarn or Pearl Twinkle
Body Peacock herl
Hackle Short-fibred grizzle cock hackle
1. Fix the hook in the vice and run the tying thread on at 1 the eye. Carry it down the shank in close turns.
2. When the thread has reached the bend take a small bunch of fluorescent range yarn and catch it in to form the tail.
3. Tie in the waste end of the yarn to form an even base for the body. Select a well-marked grizzle cock hackle with fibres about one-and-ahalf times as long as the gape.
4. Stroke the hackle fibres back so that they sit at right angles to the stem. Leave a section of the tip alone at this stage.
5. Trim the hackle tip to leave a short stub and catch this section in with tying thread at the tail base. At the same point, catch in a single fibre of peacock herl, by its tip.
6. Wind the tying thread down the shank, stopping just short of the eye. Take hold of the peacock herl fibre and gently wind it to the tying thread in close turns.
7. Secure the loose end of the herl with thread and remove the excess. Take hold of the hackle, by its base, and wind it up to the eye, this time in open, evenlyspaced turns.
8. Secure the hackle stem at the eye with thread and remove the excess with scissors. Build a small head and cast off the thread. Finally trim the tail to length.
WHERE, WHEN & HOW TO FISH
W H E R E
The Griffith’s Gnat will work on literally any river or stream.
W H E N
As it is a very small fly, it is best fished when there is obvious surface activity. Great when the fish are taking small midges or terrestrials. A pattern to try when other, more “obvious,” imitations are being refused.
H O W
Fish it singly on a floating line and a leader tapering down to a fine tippet. Works best when fished upstream and allowed to drift drag-free with the current.
T Y I N G T I P
When tying the Griffith’s or Sparkle Gnat in very small sizes, stripping the fibres from one side of the hackle will make it easier to apply while still leaving enough to help the fly to float.