With the festive season now upon us, I thought it would be appropriate to tie a palmered hackle wet fly with a bit of festive sparkle in it. And what could be more festive than a bit of tinsel and some cheerily bright (well bright-ish) colours? While on the subject of the festive season, each year I like to buy a good flytying or flyfishing book for the long winter nights, a book where there may be some inspiration hiding between the book covers as a little bonus. This year if that book could have palmered hackle wet flies as its subject, so much the better! And so it was that I purchased George Barron’s At The End Of The Line. Plenty of inspiration in there I thought. And that proved to be the case. The only problem though was that rather than read it through the winter months, I read it that day: I just found I had to keep reading. There was a few discrepancies in some of the photographed fly patterns and their listed tying materials but the photography made up for that: the images are stunning.
When tying this palmered wet fly, I did stray a bit from the listed dressing of the Mrs Malone pattern dressing on page 37 in the book. For example, I used brown hen hackle fibres for the tail rather than pheasant tail fibres as listed. I find that hen hackle fibres are more robust than pheasant tail fibres and that using hen hackle makes no difference to the effectiveness of a pattern. That said the pheasant tail fibres probably look better! I didn’t have any chartreuse wire for the rib and so I used copper wire instead. The golden olive dubbing listed in the dressing looked more like an orange in the photograph, so I went with fiery orange SLF. Like the Mrs Malone, I wanted a pattern for a brighter day, one with a bit of sparkle. Initially intended for brown trout, but with its shine and bits of sparkle, I suppose that the pattern may prove tempting for a rainbow trout too. The tail then is brown hen fibres, the rib is copper wire, the rear body is mirage tinsel, the front body is fiery orange SLF, a brown-olive hen palmer hackle and a badger hen hackle complete the fly.
I would like to try this palmered hackle wet fly pattern during a hatch of olives or buzzers and fish it just subsurface to suggest a hatching insect. I will continue to refer back to the book over the coming weeks and see what patterns emerge off the vice from it. I will keep you posted (…pun fully intended!).