Here is a useful little fly that does not get the attention it deserves. I use it on the smaller loughs around here where it does well when the trout are taking midges.
Most of you will be very familiar with patterns such as the PT nymph or the hackled Pheasant Tail. These staples of the European fly fishing scene have been around for years and there can’t be many fly fishers for trout or grayling who don’t have a few tucked away in their box. By simply adding wings and playing around with the hackle and tails you can create a great fly for fishing wet during a midge hatch on still water.
I like to use red silk for making this fly and being a bit of a traditionalist I reach for a spool of crimson Pearsal gossomer , but can use whatever brand you prefer. Starting an the eye I catch in a small red game hackle. This can be cock or hen, depending on your preference. I normally use a small cock hackle. Proceed down the shank catching in a few fibres of grey or blue dun cock hackle to form the tails. A length of fine copper wire is also tied in as you run the silk down to the bend. Gold wire can be used instead if you prefer.
At the bend, catch in three fibres of cock pheasant tail which will be used for the body. Try to use some brightly coloured herl (there is some pretty awful stuff out there so keep a look out for better quality tail feathers). Now run the silk back up to where the hackle is tied in, trapping the end of the pheasant herl as you go.
Apply some varnish to the bed of silk to give the body a little extra strength. Then twist the herls into a rope and wind them in touching turns up to the hackle and tie them in with the silk. Remove the waste ends. Take the copper wire and wind it in the opposite spiral in open turns to form the ribbing. Now tie the wire in as well and remove the waste.
Wind the hackle which you previously tied in, Only a couple of turns are required as you want to keep this pattern light and delicate. Tie in and trim the waste end of the hackle in the usual manner.
Now for the wings, a pair of matching slips from starling secondary flight feathers. I know this is very old fashioned but trust me, this pattern works well with these wings on it. Don’t make the wings to broad, keep them narrow and light. All that remains is to trim the waste and whip finish a neat head before varnishing.
I prefer to fish this fly on the dropper of a wet fly cast and it does great work early in the season. It has also produced the goods for me on summer evenings. Some of you may be muttering that this is all a waste of time and that buzzer fishing will be more effective during a midge hatch. In calm conditions I would agree but here in the west of Ireland we often fish on days when the wind is a blowing hard and buzzer fishing in a wave is not much fun. Then a team of small wets come into their own and this wee fly can be a useful addition to the cast.