The effectiveness of claret as a colour when used in wet flies, has been well documented in the past and is just such a wonderful colour to incorporate into your wet fly dressings. Perhaps more commonly, you will see an image of a Claret Bumble incorporating a blue hen or guinea fowl hackle but in this palmered wet fly, I opted for a badger hen hackle instead. The result was a fairly sombre, understated, Claret Bumble and one I would be happy to fish on those grey, wet and windy days.
After tying in the pheasant tippet tail and gold wire rib, I dubbed the body using claret SLF. I wound the claret cockerel hackle towards the tail of the fly and secured the palmered hackle with the rib. That just left the badger hen hackle to wind and the head to form using the wine 8/0 thread. I hadn’t tied bumble or palmered hackled flies for a while, so I had one or two practice attempts before putting these patterns together. One thing I needed to remember was to leave enough room at the head of the fly for both the palmer and head hackles, as they take up a bit more room than the one or two turns of hen hackle used when tying a soft hackle type pattern.
One thing I have learned over the years when tying your own flies, is that if you are not happy with the result, don’t put it into your box. Confidence in a fly pattern is just so important and if you are fishing a fly and thinking ‘that head is too bulky’, ‘that hackle is too long (or short)’, ‘that rib is awful’, ‘I wish I’d sorted out that dubbed body when at the vice’ or any other negative thought about the fly, it will be changed after a mere cast or two. The other thing that may happen is you become so focused on what you perceive to be bad about the fly that you loose concentration on actually fishing and presenting the fly well…or because you are so focused on its ‘defects’ you miss the take entirely when it does come! At least, that is what happens to me and it has led me over time, to only give space to patterns in my box that I am happy to fish and that I will have confidence in using.