Holiday weekend (1) a Dabbler pattern


Outside, there is only what can be described as a storm blowing. Trees are bending in the wind and sheets of cold rain are filling the gutters to overflowing. While the east coast of Ireland is just breezy and cool we here in the west are being well and truly battered and soaked. It is so bad that all of the local St. Patrick day parades have been postponed (Castlebar, Westport and Louisburg). Not a day for fishing then, so I am making some flies instead.

The Silver Dabbler, a great pattern in it’s own right

Two of my favourite early season trout patterns for the lough are the Silver Dabbler and the Fiery Brown. Like many other anglers I place great faith in both of these fished deep to entice browns who are grazing on the bottom on hog louse and shrimps. At the vice today I hit on the idea of combining them both into one fly and here is the result of that particular Eureka! moment. This is a nice, easy dabbler style fly to make, demanding no special skills or new-fangled techniques or flashy bits of plastic which seem to adorn so many new patterns.

The dressing is as follows:

Hook: a size 10 wet fly hook

Tying silk: I use brown 8/0 but please yourself, black, red or even fl. orange should be just as good.

Tag: Globrite no.4 tied under the tail

Tail: a few bronze mallard fibres, roughly the same length as the hook shank.

Rib: fine oval silver tinsel (I use Veniards no. 14)

Body: flat silver tinsel

Body hackle: good quality chocolate brown cock hackle, palmered. (Note that this is a lot darker and ‘richer’ in colour than the red game hackle used on a Silver dabbler)

Cloak: bronze mallard, tied around the hook

Front hackle: long-fibred cock hackle dyed Fiery Brown

Lovely rich dark brown cape
This colour is called Coachman Brown in the states
The finished fly, just nededing a lick of varnish on the head

Since this fly has only just been dreamt up I can’t say if it will be a success but it looks good and inspires confidence in me. It may need a bit more ‘tinkering’ to get it exactly right and I am already thinking along the lines of a red head formed of more Globrite floss as an additional trigger point. I will let you know if this one does work later on when the weather has settled down again.

North West view
Lough Mask, the new dabbler should work well here

Plans are afoot to launch a couple of boats this weekend and I’ll post some pics if we make it out tomorrow or Sunday.



5 thoughts on “Holiday weekend (1) a Dabbler pattern

  1. Nice blog you have here, stumbled across it while searching for soft hackle patterns.
    I am in Newfoundland Canada and am of Irish ancestry. We fish for many of the same fish here as you do there. Rainbows are not overly common but available is some areas. Sea run browns are also limited geographically but some large trout have been caught here. There are lots of Atlantic Salmon rivers here and the fishing is decent,
    however we must release any Salmon caught but can keep a limited number of grilse by a tag quota system. I am going to tie your Green Peter variation and expect it will be a good fly for our native Brook trout. I am a self taught fly tier of fifty years practice. We also have a sea run version of this char as well. Nice chatting, hope you have a good season! Tight lines!


    1. Hi Mike, Nice to be in touch with a fellow fisher across the pond. Sounds like you have a wide range of different species to fish for, we are much more limited here I am afraid.


      1. Hi,
        Good to hear from you. After reading many more of your entries,
        I was surprised to discover we are close in age, with me being 63.
        A bit more info. about the angling here…single barbless fly only for
        Salmon, no spinning hardware or bait allowed.
        I neglected to include Landlocked Salmon in my list, some quite large oneS have been caught in Labrador. Typical size on the island of Nfld. is 1-3 pounds. these are not restricted with method to catch as are their sea going cousins.
        A wet fly I have found quite good here is the Picket Pin, on a #12 hook….not that different from your Green Peter but definitely not the same…perhaps you will do a search and tie some to try. I generally use it as a top dropper with a bucktail streamer on the point. This is my go to rig and usually does not fail me. A very good day here can yield a hundred trout, most of which I live release, using pliers to grip the fly and detach it from the fish without touching it. I do like some for the pan but usually don’t keep more than a dozen unless they are larger specimens. I look forward to following your blog! Keep it going!
        All the best this season and good luck!

        Mike L


      2. I always liked the look of the Picket Pin and tied some up many years ago (also tied on a size 12 if my memory serves me). I gave them a swim but without enticing any trout so they didn’t feature on the end of my leader after that. Maybe it’s time to give it another go? I love the sound of those land-locked salmon!
        The trout and salmon fishing is very slow here this season but I will be starting to do some sea fishing later this month. Watch out for more posts.

        best, Colin


      3. Sorry to hear the Picket Pin was a failure for you…it has caught me 1000’s !!
        The salmon fishing is also very much down here as well…numbers entering our rivers are way way down this year! An exceptional amount of ice and icebergs around could be a factor by keeping the water temperature lower than normal?

        I have been doing a major Reno on a house I bought so no time this year so far to wet
        a line but hoping to complete my nine month project soon! Cross your fingers, perhaps the fishing will improve! Nice chatting!



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