The day we walked the Erris Loop provided me with a couple of new fly tying feathers. As we neared the end of our walk I spotted two snowy white breast feathers from a gull just lying there on the sheep nibbled grass. Picking them up I pondered the possibilities and the seeds of an idea for a mayfly pattern were sown in my imagination. The feathers were slipped into a jacket pocket for safe keeping.
Adding a white hackle to the front of lough flies is not a new idea. The White Hackled Invicta has been around for years, a proven killer to some anglers and a waste of bloody time to others! The White Hackled Green Peter is way more reliable in my opinion, a great fly for both trout and salmon here in Ireland. I turn to the WHGP on dark, scoury days when I like to imagine the head hackle stands out in the inky black water. Both of these patterns feature white cock hackles but I thought that using the highly mobile gull feathers might be just as good (if not better).
What I had in mind for this new pattern was a fly to use on the top dropper in a big wave when the mayfly are hatching. I know that the last thing the angling world needs is yet another wet mayfly pattern but I get huge enjoyment out of just tying flies so even if this one is not an instant hit with the fish I’ll have some fun at the vice.
There is a bit of tying goes into making this one but the secret is to leave plenty of space at the head for winding all those hackles.
Hook: 8 or 10 wet fly
Silk: brown, 8/0
Tag: mirage opal
Tails: some cock pheasant tail fibres or moose main hair, either natural or you could dye them black
Ribs (2): a length of oval silver tinsel. This is closely followed by a piece of Glo-brite red floss (no. 4)
Body: In two halves. The tail half is dubbed golden olive seals fur. The front half is crimson seals fur.
Shoulder hackle (1): French partridge, dyed yellow
Shoulder hackle (2): A mallard duck flank feather dyed golden olive, one turn is enough
Shoulder hackle (3): A golden pheasant yellow body feather
Head hackle: white breast feather from a gull or tern
With nature running so late this season due to the cold spring I’m expecting the mayfly to start hatching in about two weeks time. I normally see the first ones on Cullin during the last week in April but the water temperature is still too low for the nymphs to make the hazardous journey to the surface.
This fly is very much intended for classic Irish wetfly fishing, ‘stroking the water’ with a team of three flies. I will fish it on the bob, trailing it through the waves to leave a wake which will attract the fish. That gentle rhyme of the waves, the warm, soft Irish air and the swish of the fly rods as you drift over shallow water is a balm to any fisher’s soul. I’ll curse at the fish who miss the fly and smile when the rod bends into a wild fish. Any day now…………………….