The Green Peter is a classic Irish wet-fly tied to represent a large, speckled-wing caddis fly of the same name. It is tied full with a palmered hackle running the length of the body and wings, which envelope the body rather than sitting proud in the normal wet-fly style. To help the wing sit in this very low position the hackle fibres on top of the body are trimmed off first.
Tied originally as an imitative fly, the Green Peter now has a much wider role and is often fished when no naturals are present. The shade of olive used for the body also varies greatly and it seems that no two anglers agree on what the perfect colour should be. Over the years a number of Peter variants have been developed, the most popular of which is a version with a butt of red seal’s fur.
The winging material was originally oak speckled turkey tail but today it is usually substituted by strips of hen pheasant secondary feather, due to the scarcity and cost of the turkey. To create the right amount of bulk, four rather than two strips of feather are often used. These are applied first with a soft, winging loop for position followed by firmer, normal turns of thread to lock them in place.
Hook Size 8-10 medium weight wet-fly
Thread Black or brown Butt Red seal’s
fur Rib Fine oval gold tinsel Body
Green-olive or medium-olive seal’s fur
Body hackle Ginger or brown cock
hackle Wing Hen pheasant wing or oak
speckled turkey tail Hackle Ginger or
brown cock hackle
1. Run the tying thread down the shank, stopping at the bend. Dub a small pinch of red seal’s fur on to the thread. Wind on to form a short tag then catch in three inches of oval gold tinsel.
2. Secure the waste end of the tinsel along the hook shank to form an even base for the body. Take a large pinch of olive seal’s fur and apply it to wellwaxed tying thread.
3. Using a simple twisting action between finger and thumb dub this fur on to the thread to form a thick, slightly tapered, rope. Wind this along the hook shank in close turns.
4. Carry the dubbed body towards the eye, stopping far enough back to allow space for the wing and hackles to be added.
5. Select a brown cock hackle. The fibres should be quite soft and their length roughly one and a half times that of the hook gape.
6. Remove any downy and broken fibres from the base of the hackle stem. Leave a short stump of bare stem and catch the hackle in by this in front of the body.
7. With hackle pliers, grasp the hackle by its tip and wind it over the body in open, evenly spaced turns.
8. Without removing the hackle tip, wind the oval gold tinsel over the body so each turn locks a turn of hackle in place.
9. Once the rib has reached the front of the hackle, secure the loose end and remove. Now, carefully cut off the excess hackle tip.
10. Trim away the hackle fibres projecting from the top of the body. These will prevent the wing from sitting flush. Select one or two matching pairs of slips from opposite wings of a hen pheasant.
11. Place the slips of feather, “curves in”, with all their tips level with one another. Offer the wing up to the hook and position with two or three soft turns of thread.
12. Fix the wing in place with tight turns of thread so that it sits low over the body. Remove the excess butts then select a long-fibred brown cock hackle.
13. Catch in the hackle in front of the wing. Wind on three or four full turns to form a collar. Secure the tip and remove. Build a neat head and cast off with a whip finish.
WHERE, WHEN & HOW TO FISH
W H E R E
This insect is found on the lakes of the Irish Midlands and the great limestone lakes, including Lough Mask.
W H E N
Used as a specific imitation, the Green Peter is most effective during late July and early August when these big caddis flies hatch off in greatest numbers. Evening is when these insects can be seen skittering across the surface.
H O W
The pattern can be fished as part of a team during the day in a good ripple. In such circumstances it can be used either as a point fly or, because it is nice and bushy, bobbed along on the top dropper. During calm evenings, when used to imitate the hatching Green Peter, it works best fished singly and cast to rising fish or twitched gently across the surface on a floating line.
T Y I N G T I P
Ensure that the wing is tied full and low so that it envelops the top and sides of the body.