Odd Fly Dressings

The Southern Fly Fishers' Fly Tying School and this Manual set out to describe the basic principles of fly tying rather than detailing theories of particular flies. However the end product is the fish-catching fly and here are a few ties which have found favour at least with the Australian fly fisher.

1. Ant Red, Brown or Black

A most important fly to have in your box. An occasional insect often attracts a big specimen, and if you are lucky enough to strike a "hatch" or a swarm of flying ants you will be in business. As in figure 10

tJse silk to build up the abdomen and thorax leaving a waist.

Add two white hackle tip sail wings. These could be flat if desired.

Wind on two turns of hackle. Black if you wish, but you will find it very difficult to obtain a good stiff natural black. It is generally better to tie in a red furnace or dye up a black, the best cape to use for dyeing is a good quality red. Use a good coating of Veniards black varnish on the body to produce an ant-like finish if you are tying a black. The fly floats almost submerged. You could figure eight the hackle below the hook. (Tum upside down in the vice.)

An urgent need for all tinsel bodies is an even, tidy underbody. This fly has a tag of red wool. If this is tied directly at the bend, a bump will be formed in front of this and will spoil the body of the lure. (In salmon flies this is commonly disguised by winding one turn of ostrich herl as a "butt').

Figure 10.67 The Ant

Figure 10.67 The Ant


If the wool is tied down the shank, the bump is avoided and a smooth body ensured. So wind with tying silk over a length of red wool to the bend. Tie in silver lurex half way down the hook.


Figure 10.68(i) Big Alex

Figure 10.68(i) Big Alex




Figure 10.68(ii-vi) Big Alex

Figure 10.68(ii-vi) Big Alex

Wind the tinsel to the tag evenly then back to the half way mark. Tie the tinsel in.

Strip a piece of peacock sword about 1k" 1" wide. Keep the quill membrane attached to the herl. (perhaps cutting with a sharp razor blade will help). This will allow the herl to sweep in one direction. Loose strands will tend to twist when tied in. However fly tiers' lubrication will smooth these back. Tie this sword herl in as a single wet wing at the half way mark. Clip off the rubbish.

Take the tying silk to the usual lU distance from the eye. Take a turn or two of Lurex beneath the base of the half way wing to cover the black tying silk and then spiral the Lurex forward to the eye. This part of the body will be hidden in the main by the winging material, but if you are fussy, you will wind the Lurex back to mid-wing and forward again.

Tie in another bunch of sword herl as another wing reaching to the end of the mid-wing. Do not be miserly with the amount of sword herl. This should be a rather bulky fly. Underwater the beautiful sword herl will be compacted to a thin line unless you do tie in a relatively large number of herls.

Reverse the fly in the vice and tie in a beard of black hen, or black cock. Tie in a bunch of red wool on the top of the hook.

A strand of clear Korbond nylon thread could be used as an invisible "rib" for the fly. Despite all reports of a mangled fly still catching fish, a trailing length of silver lurex does spoil the fly. In fact the complete fly could be tied using this thread. This will obviate the showing of black thread beneath the first wing. Black tying silk could be used to tie in the wool at the head and whip finished and coated with black varnish to complete this most effective trout-taker.

3. Tom Jones

This is one of the most successful flies in the book. Originated by member John Lanchester, the tie was described for the Fly Fisher in May, 1972 by Mick Hall. Mick gave the dressing as:

Hook 10

Tail Black Squirrel Tag Red Floss Body Olive green chenille Wing Olive green kangaroo fur Rib Gold lurex or twist.

1. Tie in black squirrel tail fibres

2. Tie in red floss silk tag short and very sparse.

3. Tie in green chenille body material

4. Tie in gold lurex or twist

5. Wind on half body, tie in and rib. Tie in bunch of kangaroo fur

6. Wind in second half of body and rib over.

7. Tie in second bunch of kangaroo fur as first wing. Figure 10.69 The Original Tom Jones

Figure 10.70 The Tom Jones

Once the body has been tied in, clip the chenille produce a thinner body.

The tie is now simplified with a black squirrel tail, a body of olive green spinning wool and two wings of olive green wallaby fur tied as in the original. The tier must tie the wings sparsely. John Lanchester says the fur should be wallaby rather than kangaroo.

Phil Buttress uses a large fly with the body ribbed with copper from a scrub mitt.

A Tom Jones tied on a No. 10 was fished by Southern Fly Fisher David Barry when he was a junior aged 15 and he captured a 101b brown from the Kiewa (1974).

The dye used for the fur and the spinning wool is discussed in Appendix A. 4. Rabbit Fly

Although Robert Sloane in his outstanding book "The Truth about Trout" indicates that this should be tied with a strip of rabbit skin, I have found this to be rather awkward to handle and use just rabbit fur.

Hook in vice and clip a bunch of rabbit hair from the skin. Hold this on the far side of the shoulder and tie in. Add another bunch on top of the hook and a third on the near side.

A fibre from an ostrich feather is tied in and wound as a head.


Figure 10.71 Robert Sloane's Rabbit Fly (Body Optional)

5. Large Black Gnat and The Fair Maiden

When we first saw this fly at Tawonga we doubled up with laughter and sneered at the imagination of the tier of such a monstrosity. It took no seconds flat to straighten us up, undo the sneer and go searching for the object which had inspired this most effective night and even daytime fly. The closest we could come was the large moth which brushed our faces after dark on the Kiewa. But the fly, and its near cousin the F.M. or Fair Maiden has been extremely successful on the Goulburn and in various lakes. This latter fly was named by a group of Southern fly fishers - Jim Bushby, Dave Gibson and Bob Williams being amongst them, Dick Hanmer another member designed it.

The original fly was designed by the late Arthur Keebles of Bogong. He was known as the best fly fisherman in the North East. He thought that there were too many fly patterns

____"many flies fool the fisherman but few fool the fish." He used his large Black Gnat -

on either a 4 or 6 or an extra large Zulu tied on a 4 after dark. For the daylight hours he used dries - Red Ant on hooks from 16 to 20 and a size 10 Greenwell's Glory.

This Black Gnat needs skill to cast it, to fish it, and to detect about 9/10ths of the gentle plucks on it in the dark. We class this fly as being a notch or two better than the Black Muddler.

Tie in a few strands of ostrich herl as tail.

Make a fairly thick black body from either velvety yarn or chenille. Taper it at each end.

Tie in a matched pair of wet white duck quill wings.

Tie in a large black cock hackle fold it and tie it back well over the body.

Whip finish.

The F.M. variation uses a bunch of sword herl as an under wing with strands of white feather over this. Follow this with the large black folded cock hackle.












Figure 10,72 Arthur Keebles Large Black Gnat

Figure 10,72 Arthur Keebles Large Black Gnat

6. The Jassid

This is a small fly to represent the Leaf-hopper. Tied on a size 20 it is one fly that will impress the non-fishing observer - "Can you catch fish on a fly as small as that? And aren't you clever to tie a fly THAT small!!"

A body of silk is made on the small hook and a small nail from a jungle cock neck is tied in flat. See pages 47 and 140 for a method of manufacture.

7. Roy Wharton's Special

This was tied by Roy's friend and is now deceased. We do not know his name, but we are certain that he would applaud attaching Roy's name to this taker of rainbows. All fish in unbelievable condition - Roy has taken the Southern Fly Fisher Trophy, the Noel Clifford Memorial Trophy for the Best Conditioned Fish each year since the inception of this Trophy - all rainbows fat and thick.

Tie in a tail of black calf hair on a size 10 as whisks. A yellow chenille body is formed and the wings are two or four green rump feathers (those used in the Mrs Simpson) tied concave surfaces inwards - not as a fan wing.

Figure 10.74 Roy Wharton's Special

Figure 10.74 Roy Wharton's Special

8. The Shrimp

John Reed tied in close palmered white cock hackle on a small hook. This was trimmed closely on top and level with the point of the hook beneath. The back of the shrimp was formed from a succession of coatings of a material available at hobby shops called Dipittyglass. When dry this formed an excellent shrimp pattern - the Reed Shrimp. Tiers could try Five Minute Araldite or some similar materials to form such a curved back. A beetle-type "wing case" of either feather fibres or latex could also be used.

An effective shrimp pattern can be tied in the following way. A hook No. 10 is used and a bunch of fibres from a turkey wing carefully gauged and tied in. The bunch of fibres is tied at the bend in the first instance and should be folded over and the length of fibre used to be such that the points project over the eye by about 5 mm when finally tied in.

A length of wool of the appropriate colour - white or cream in this case is tied in at the bend. The silk is taken to the shoulder and there a well marked grizzle cock is tied in. The fibres of this hackle should be shank length.

Using the method shown on page 59, but with the folding taking place to make the fibres project forward of the eye, fold the grizzle hackle.

The folded hackle is carefully wound back to the bend where it is trapped by the wool. The wool is carefully wound up to the eye and see-sawed through the hackle to avoid trapping the fibres.

The wool is tied off at the shoulder and the palmered cock fibres carefully sorted out and solicited to assume a forward slope over the eye - again stroking and using fly-tiers lubricant.

The turkey feather is brought forward to the head of the fly where whip finishing will produce a neat head with the tips of the feather projecting in front of the head. See Figure 10.75

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  • gerardina bergamaschi
    How to tie a red ant fly?
    8 years ago
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    How to tie a green tag zulu?
    8 years ago
  • mulu
    How to tie a tom jones trout fly?
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    How to tie the Sloan's Fur Fly (Black)?
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