So here I am sat at the vice tonight whipping up a few small Butchers. The normal silver ones, some Bloody Butchers and a few Irish Golden Olive Butchers. A pair of mallard wings were providing me with the lovely blues to make the wings and I was churning the flies out in good style. All the time I was building up a pile of used mallard feathers on the desk beside me. Just as I was about to throw them out it dawned on me I could use the white tipped part of the feathers to make another fly, the Heckham.

It was invented by a fellow Aberdonian, one Mr William Murdoch. Many years ago it was apparently quite popular back in Scotland. It is a nice fly to tie and very pretty once completed. The full name for it is the Heckham Peckham I think. So it is pretty, easy to tie and uses parts of expensive feathers we would otherwise discard. What’s not to like about this fly then? I’ll tell you – it is absolutely useless!

I fished with it a few times years ago but can’t recall catching a single fish on it. Tied on gig hooks, or small ones, stripped fast or inched slowly back to me – it made not a blind bit of difference, the fish wanted nothing to do with the Heckhams. It comes in a range of different colours but none of them worked for me. Maybe it is just my poor angling but the black ones, green ones, blue ones or even the orange ones were equally crap.

I made up a couple tonight just because the feathers were in front of me and simply tying a fly is fun even if it won’t see the water. Here is the dressing as I recall it.

Hook: can be tied on all sizes but 8 to 12 is probably the most common

Tying silk: black usually

Tail: GP tippets

Rib: fine flat silver tinsel

Body: red seal’s fur

Hackle: hen hackle dyed blue

Wings: white tipped part of ‘butcher blue’ mallard feathers


3 thoughts on “HP’s

  1. Very nice looking flies as usual. Sometimes I use just the all-iridescent-blue sections of the wing quills for my Butchers because I have use up all of the white-tipped sections for my Heckham Peckhams and McGinty wet flies.


      1. McGintys are not too difficult and I’m sure you will have no trouble with them. The only snag is that you want the wraps of chenille directly perpendicular to the hook shank, not spiral wrapped at an angle going forward.


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