Cheeky Dabblers

There is always room in my box for a few more Dabblers. When I run out of ideas on the lough I often reach for an intermediate line, find some shallow water and tie on a couple of Dabblers. Over the years since Donal invented the original every fly tyer has meddled with the basic pattern and there is now a plethora of variants to choose from.

The claret dabbler is possibly the most effective all round pattern of the tribe. Early season, fished deep, it can winkle out trout in just about any conditions. Later,  during the mayfly it works well before the main hatch starts. In bigger sizes it is also effective for salmon on loughs like Carrowmore.

fire orange 8/0

Some claret dabblers can be a bit dull and lifeless, so I decided to add a couple of cheeks to this one. This is not a new idea and you can see similar patterns in shops everywhere these days. For the cheeks I used goose biots dyed sunburst. I got these particular ones from Cockshill

The rest of the dressing is pretty much bog-standard:

Tying silk: I used fire orange 8/0

Tails: Cock pheasant tail fibres, dyed claret

Body: Seal’s fur dyed bright claret

Rib: fine oval gold tinsel

Body Hackle: claret cock, palmered

Throat hackle: A long-fibred cock hackle dyed claret

Cloak: bronze mallard

Cheeks: one dyed goose biot each side of the fly

the finished fly

While I was at the vice I decided to make some olive dabblers too and give them the cheek treatment.


Tying silk: olive 8/0

Tails: cock pheasant tail fibres, dyed green

Body: Dubbed olive UV- ice dub (I used some made by Hends)

Rib: 1/0 fl. thread, yellow

Body hackle: Grizzle cock, dyed olive and palmered

Throat hackle: A long-fibred cock hackle dyed a bluey-green shade. This is a difficult shade to describe and the photo does not give you the right colour. Both the photos below are of the same cape, the shade varies so much in different light.

Cloak: bronze mallard

Cheeks: one dyed goose biot, dyed sunburst, on each side of the fly

I’ll post some more patterns soon.


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