This pattern is considered by many experienced anglers to be the best of all modern Scottish salmon flies and it is one of only a handful of dressings that might be regarded as indispensable. It is a noted pattern for the Spey and may be tied on doubles, trebles plus Waddingtons and tubes when conditions dictate the need for a big fly.
Black, yellow and orange make a deadly colour combination for salmon and the Munro employs this to good effect with a bi-coloured wing comprising black and yellow hair contrasted by a bright orange hackle at the throat.
A number of variations are to be found. One favoured by Stan Headley in his book Flies Of Scotland has a wing of grey squirrel dyed yellow. Another accentuates the mobility of the wing by tying it as a long tail instead. Yet another adds a strand or two of peacock herl over the top of the wing — the list goes on.
As a general guide to tying variations of this pattern, err towards more black for use in clear water, incorporating more orange and yellow for autumn.
Hook To suit conditions Thread Black
Rib Oval gold tinsel Body Black floss
Wing Black hair over a small amount of
yellow hair Hackle Orange cock hackle
fibres under dyed-blue guinea fowl
1. With the hook fixed securely in the vice run black tying thread on at the eye. Wind the thread down to where the double hook divides and catch in three inches of oval gold tinsel.
2. Ensuring that the waste end is lying straight along the top of the shank secure the tinsel in place with closely wound turns of thread.
3. Carry the thread along the shank until it is just short of the eye. Take four inches of black floss and catch it in at this point.
4. Begin to wind the floss down the hook shank in close turns. Untwist the floss every few turns so that the individual strands separate and help the floss to lie flat.
5. Continue winding the floss until it has reached the catching-in point of the tinsel. Wind it back over itself to form a double layer. Secure the loose end of floss at the eye and remove the excess.
6. With the floss body in place, take hold of the oval gold tinsel and wind on three or four very close turns. This forms a small tag.
7. Still holding the tinsel, begin winding it over the body — this time in open, evenly spaced turns. Five turns are the usual number required for ribbing a fly.
8. Secure the loose end of the tinsel at the eye and remove the excess. Next, invert the hook in the vice then catch in a pinch of dyed-orange cock hackle fibres to form a beard or “false” hackle.
9. Using your thumb, ease the hackle fibres around either side of the body then catch in a small bunch of dyed-blue guinea fowl feather over the top.
10. Return the hook to its original position then catch in a wing consisting of black bucktail with a few fibres of yellow bucktail underneath. The wing should be long — around twice the length of the hook.
11. Secure the wing in place with repeated tight turns of thread then build a neat head and cast off with a whip finish. Finally, add a couple of coats of clear or black varnish to the head.
WHERE, WHEN & HOW TO FISH
W H E R E
This Scottish pattern is used widely throughout the rivers of its homeland and many other parts of the world. A very popular pattern for Irish spate rivers, it will catch fish in all parts of the river — from deep pools to fast, smooth glides.
W H E N
An extremely versatile pattern that will take fish throughout the season. Tied small and light it works well during the summer grilse run but is just as effective in spring and autumn.
H O W
Depending on the water conditions it may be fished on a wide range of line densities.
T Y I N G T I P
The key to tying this pattern correctly is to keep the wing long and not too heavy so that it has plenty of mobility. Wing length should be up to twice the length of the body.