I am guessing that most of you reading this are already very familiar with the Beltra Badger salmon fly. Although it is a pretty easy fly to tie in its original form I make a simplified version for tying on small hooks such as a size 10 trout fly hook. This makes a very useful grilse and sea trout pattern which works well on rivers as well as loughs.
Other anglers have no doubt done the same thing and so I’m not breaking new ground here! All I am looking to do is reduce the amount of dressing on the small hook while at the same time retaining the critical features of the fly.
I used either blue or black tying silk for this fly. The tag, tied slightly around the bend of the hook, is 6 turns of size 14 oval silver tinsel. This will replace the normal tag of tinsel and yellow floss and also the butt of black ostrich herl which I don’t thing is required. A tail made of a golden pheasant topping and body of flat silver tinsel are just the same as in the original. The palmered body hackle is either a lemon cock hackle or one dyed fluorescent yellow (I get mine from Veniards) which is held in place with more fine oval silver tinsel.
Three turns of a hen hackle dyed blue are wound at the throat. I prefer a hen hackle but you may decide on one from a cockerel. The wing is fashioned from a pinch of squirrel tail dyed crimson under a small bunch of natural grey squirrel tail hair. I find badger hair is too stiff for small flies like this one. I don’t bother with a topping over the wing. Note that the blue hackle can be wound either under or in front of the wing – you decide which you prefer.
There you are, a simple but effective fly for a bright day in the west of Ireland. Carrowmore, the Erriff or the Bunowen – it will tempt you a fish from any of these and more besides.
Oh, just in case you think it is strange I am not fiddling about even more with this pattern I can assure you I am tinkering with different tinsel colours for the body. A green version looks really nice!