Of all the fancy flies that can be tied to the point of a wet-fly fisher’s cast, the Alexandra is one of the deadliest for brown trout. But add the trigger points of a pair of small jungle-cock feathers and the fly suddenly becomes highly attractive to their sea-running cousins.
Introduced around 1860 and named after Queen Alexandra when she was a princess, the fly was considered so deadly on some waters that it was banned!
Although originally a fly for stillwaters — hence its other name, the Lady of the Lake — the Alexandra is little used in its original role and is now known more as a sea-trout pattern, especially when sporting the jungle-cock cheeks.
Like many other successful traditional patterns, the Alexandra has not escaped the attentions of those who prefer their sea-trout flies on the large side and it can now be found on everything from a size 12 single hook to a two-inch tube and even longer Waddington shank.
In the smaller sizes its main role is being fished in harness with small flies such as a Teal, Blue and Silver, Bloody Butcher or Mallard and Claret, and presented on a light leader at range or from a concealed position in the early evening when the sea-trout move into the oxygenated runs at the heads of the pools.
Hook Size 8-12 Thread Black Tail Red
duck or swan Body Flat silver tinsel
Rib Fine oval silver tinsel Wing Peacock
sword tail flanked with strips of red duck
or swan Hackle Black hen or cock
Cheeks Small jungle cock
1. Take black tying thread in touching turns down to a point opposite the barb and tie in a strip of red duck or swan feather.
2. Secure in the fine oval silver ribbing tinsel.
3. Form an even base for the tinsel body by covering the ends of the tinsel and feather fibre with close turns of thread.
4. Remove the waste tinsel and fibres. Trim the flat tinsel to a shallow point and secure it in by the tip. Wind the tinsel down the body in touching turns.
5. Cover the shank with a double layer of tinsel. Secure and trim away the waste before winding the ribbing in even turns.
6. Tear a bunch of fibres from a cock hackle feather and secure them in under the hook.
7. Gather half-a-dozen peacock sword herls and secure them in on top of the shank.
8. Snip two equal strips from a dyed-red goose or duck feather.
9. Tie in a strip on each side of the wing.
10. Secure in the jungle-cock feathers, one on each side of the wing. Remove the waste feathers and form a small head. Whip finish and add a drop of varnish to complete the fly.
WHERE, WHEN & HOW TO FISH
W H E R E
Tied on a single or double hook, it is a killing fly in the fast-flowing water where the sea-trout briefly congregate before moving on to the next pool.
W H E N
In early evening, during a moonlit night or in daytime when the water is fining down after a spate.
H O W
Fish the smaller flies on a floating line and fine leader. Versions tied on tubes and Waddingtons of various weights and fished on sinking lines can be used with confidence through the dark hours.
T Y I N G T I P
Be mean with the peacock sword herls or the fly will have a tendency to fish on its side in the slower flows.