This is an adaptation, by Stan Headley, of an original pattern by Orkney angler and fly-tyer Sandy Nicholson. Although first intended as a buoyant wet-fly it soon proved to be a worthy imitation of a range of small to mediumsized sedges.
It can be tied in a variety of body colours including the claret seal’s fur, which is used here. In every one, however, the wing is the same and is formed by layering bunches of deer hair tips. The mottled hairs make a great imitation of the wing of the natural sedge while their buoyancy helps the fly to float even when it is twitched across the surface to imitate the action of the freshly hatched fly.
When tying this style of wing it is important to control the hair. As it is applied, firm thread wraps are used to lock it in position while the fingers prevent the bunch from spinning around the shank. Once securely in place, looser turns are made around the base to ensure that the bunch sits low and doesn’t flare too much. A short section of dubbed body is then applied before another bunch of the hair is added. The process is continued until the entire hook is covered, after which the head hackle is added.
Hook Size 10-14 wet-fly Thread Black or
brown Tail A bunch of deer hair tips
Body Claret seal’s fur, applied in sections
Wing Bunches of dark deer hair Hackle
Light brown cock hackle
1. Fix the hook in the vice and run the tying thread down to the bend in touching turns. From a piece of deer hair remove a bunch of well-marked fibres, ensuring that all the tips are level.
2. Offer the hair up to the hook then, using tight turns of thread, fix the bunch of deer hair in place so that its tips project past the bend to form the tail.
3. Wind a few softer, looser turns back along the tail. These softer turns will control the hair and stop it flaring out of place. Now remove exess hair.
4. Dub on a generous pinch of claret seal’s fur to produce a thick rope.
5. Wind the fur over the base of the tail, making the first turn quite soft so that the deer hair, again, doesn’t flare.
6. With the first body section in place, take a second bunch of deer hair and position it with soft thread turns so that its tips are slightly in front of those of the tail.
7. Once this first winging section is in place, secure it with further, much tighter, turns of thread.
8. Add a second body section in exactly the same way as the first. Using the approach of making the first turn quite soft, use it to further position the hair.
9. Continue adding further sections of wing and body until the entire shank has been covered. On a hook of this size three of each is about right.
10. Remove the excess hair at the eye before catching in a brown cock hackle. Using hackle pliers, wind on three full turns.
11. Secure the hackle tip, remove the excess, and finish with a small, neat head. Finally trim away the hackle fibres beneath the hook.
WHERE, WHEN & HOW TO FISH
W H E R E
The Sedgehog will catch fish on most types of lake — both natural and man-made — though it is on the larger waters where it is most successful.
W H E N
The pattern will take fish right through the season but is particularly effective in the summer. It is a great fly for a summer’s evening when trout are taking hatching sedges.
H O W
Normally fished on a floating line as part of a team, the Sedgehog works well either as a point fly or on the top dropper. Can also be fished as a dry-fly either left static or twitched slowly to imitate the movement of a newly hatched sedge.
T Y I N G T I P
When using deer hair as a wing first secure it in place with tight thread turns. Then use softer turns, which don’t cause the hair to flare, to control and position it.