Originally tied as a salmon fly, the Haslam has since achieved far greater fame as a highly effective sea-trout pattern, especially on the rivers of Wales, its adopted home. In appearance the original Haslam is very similar to a Silver Invicta, the main difference being the lack of a body hackle plus the addition of a white wool butt and horns of blue and yellow macaw.
Incidentally, if the latter is unobtainable, strands of dyed-blue goose make a reasonable substitute. Over the years the Haslam has been tied in a number of variations, though all retain the light, sparkling tones that make the fly so effective as the water clears after a summer flood. Some are even more like a Silver Invicta, having not only the blue jay throat but also a hackle running the length of the body. Others, including one regularly used today, swap the white wool tag for one of orange.
Though not the originator, the man largely responsible for the popularity of the pattern, back in the ’40s, was Machynlleth tackle-dealer Peter Vaughan. It was he who claimed that it was the best fly to use for salmon on his local River Dovey. Such was its effectiveness in a whole range of water conditions that the pattern also became known as the Universal Provider.
Hook Size 6-12 Thread Black Tag Flat
silver tinsel Tail Golden-pheasant crest
Rib Oval silver tinsel Body Flat silver
tinsel Wing Hen pheasant centre tail
Hackle Blue jay or dyed-blue guinea
fowl Horns Blue and yellow macaw
1. Fix the hook in the vice and run the tying thread from the eye down the shank to the bend. Take two inches of flat silver tinsel, cut one end to a point and catch it in at the bend.
2. Wind on two turns of the flat tinsel to form a short tag then secure the loose end. Remove the excess tinsel then catch in a small golden-pheasant crest feather with a couple of winging loops.
3. With the crest feather in position, curving upwards, fix it in place with tight thread turns. That done, form a short butt by dubbing on a small pinch of white wool.
4. Take two inches of medium-width oval silver tinsel and catch it in place just in front of the wool butt. Allow the waste end of the tinsel to lie along the hook shank.
5. Wind the tying thread up towards the eye, using close turns to cover the waste ends of the tinsel and GP crest feather. At the eye catch in three inches of flat silver tinsel by one end that has been cut to a point.
6. Take hold of the flat tinsel and begin winding it down the shank. Ensure that the turns are closely butted together but do not overlap.
7. Wind the flat tinsel to the wool butt then wind it back to where it was first caught in. Secure the loose end, then wind the oval silver tinsel over it in five evenly spaced turns.
8. Secure the loose end then remove the excess of both tinsels. Invert the hook in the vice before catching in a bunch of blue jay hackle fibres torn from the quill.
9. Return the hook to its original position in the vice. Select a slip of hen pheasant tail feather three times the width of the intended wing.
10. Fold one third of the slip into its centre then fold it again to create a rolled wing. Trim the slip to length then catch it in so the tip falls just short of that of the tail.
11. Secure the wing in place with further tight turns of thread. Take two blue and yellow strands of macaw and catch them in either side of the wing to form the horns. Build a neat head and cast off with a whip finish.
WHERE, WHEN & HOW TO FISH
W H E R E
The Haslam is a great fly for both sea-trout and salmon and is used most widely on the rivers of Wales. It is also an effective, if seldom used, pattern on lakes.
W H E N
Renowned to be an effective fly in a variety of water conditions but as a sea-trout pattern it works best in medium to low water.
H O W
The Haslam may be fished on a floating, intermediate or sunk-tip line. Cast slightly across stream it should be fished steadily around in the current.
T Y I N G T I P
The butt of this fly may be varied from white wool to orange floss. A touch of fluorescence never goes amiss.