There can’t be many Irish lough fishers who don’t have this fly or something very like it in their fly box. Perhaps one of the earliest variations on the Dabbler theme, this one is a good early season pattern for trout.
Use black tying silk, an 8/0 for preference. Hook sizes vary depending on what you will be fishing for and I go all the way from teensy-weensy 14’s right up to gigantic size 4’s for use on Lough Beltra. Tied on a size 8 or 10 it is a great pattern for the salmon in Carrowmore lake.
Start the silk near the eye of the hook and catch in a black cock hackle. Now run the silk to the bend in touching turns.
Make the tail out of a few fibres of nice dark bronze mallard. Tie them in so the tails are about the same length as the hook shank. This is important as short tails will upset the balance of the fly and makes it look odd. I you feel like adding a bit of bling then a couple of strands of pearl flash can be added to tail at this stage.
Tie in a length of oval silver tinsel which will be used for the rib and dub the tying silk with seals fur a similar rough fur. Begin with black at the tail end, then a band of red in the middle and finally black near the head.. Leave plenty of space at the head.
Palmer the black cock hackle down the body and tie it in with the oval silver tinsel. Wind the rib up through the hackle, carefully binding it down in open turns.
I like to add a couple of turns of a long fibred hen hackle dyed red under the wings but you may decide not to bother with this refinement.
The wings are your normal bronze mallard tied in cloak style around the hook. Finish off my making a neat head with the silk and applying your favourite cement or varnish.
The real beauty of this fly is adaptability. It can occupy any position on the cast and can be fished with confidence on a floater of sinking line. It’s well worth tying a few up if you are doing some fishing in Ireland or Scotland.