Palmered Hackle Wet Flies

tying and fishing palmered flies


bumbling around

Palmered hackle wet flies. I love seeing these in a fly box as I find there is just something magical about them. I like the profile of the palmered wet fly but I find it is the use of colour in the materials and how they are used that is really exciting. Depending upon the ambient light at any one time, the individual colours of the materials seem to be emphasised or dulled down, merged and blended into one another or shine through each other and almost create new colours by doing so. The use of tinsels and wire add that magical sparkle to your palmered wet flies and can be over-dubbed with some sparse dubbing creating a halo type of effect when wet. Brighter coloured materials can be combined with more sombre colours. Many palmered hackle wet flies have an overall brighter orientation of colour towards the rear of the fly with a darker and more sombre front half. Even the more sombre hued flies often have some sparkle added. This could be in the form of a tinsel tag (or rib), a wire rib, or perhaps a brighter feather or touch of brighter coloured dubbing.

Palmered hackle wet flies are versatile too. They can be fished dry, the angler often waiting until they begin to sink before beginning the retrieve and fishing the fly back as a wet fly. They can also be fished in or just under the surface film. When retrieving your palmered wet fly in or just under the surface, the fly can be made to create a small surface bulge as the fly pushes the water ahead of it: a good attractor technique for trout. They also seem to draw fish up from the depths during quiet days when there is not much surface activity. Palmered wet flies can be used effectively deeper down in the water column too of course and they also work well in a wave.

When I first began flyfishing, I used to think palmered hackle wet flies had to have a cockerel hackle as the palmered hackle (the hackle that runs down the body of the fly). But this is not so: hen hackle can be used instead for added movement. I compromise by using a soft cockerel hackle for the surface or just subsurface flies and a palmered hen hackle for flies fished a bit deeper down. I also believed that hen hackle was to be used at the head of the fly but you could use a game hackle in place of the hen hackle: partridge for example. You can also allow yourself a slightly loner than normal hackle if you choose to.

My plan for next season is to fish more palmered hackle flies. This gives me a wonderful excuse (if any were needed) to stock up on materials and add some new palmered flies to my fly box and refresh some of the older patterns in there too.

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