The Storm Crow; a pattern for a wild day…perhaps!
I must admit to not knowing too much about this palmer hackled wet fly, but I believe it was originally a seatrout pattern. I came across it on a fly fishing forum (flyfishing.co.uk/threads/storm-crow.622898/) and thought I should tie a version of this pattern and see how it fished for me. The thing that really jumped out about the Storm Crow for me, was that it looked a great pattern as the name suggests, as a fly for a wild, wet, windy, day on the loch.
The original utilises a partridge hackle but I didn’t have any. I would have to just use the materials I had at my disposal and tie my own version of it! I went ahead with the tying and utilised a natural brown hen hackle with a white/cream tip instead.
The other deviation from the original that I used was dyed red cockerel hackle fibres for the tail instead of pheasant tail fibres. I tend to find that the pheasant tail fibres dont last overly long on my flies, so I often substitute it for cockerel or hen hackle fibres. The body was dubbed using a fine, soft, black natural dubbing and the palmered hackle is claret hen, held in place with a fine silver wire rib.
I liked how the tail on the finished fly splayed slightly when the thread was tightened; this should help increase the movement of the already soft cockerel tail fibres. Combined with the soft, dubbed body and wire rib, that often very effective colour combination for brown trout was combined; black, silver and red. Claret is often a good colour on overcast, rainy days, and this was introduced from the palmered hen hackle. I always add a full turn (or two) at the start of the palmer, as it tends to blend with the head hackle, often creating subtle colour variations as it does so. The head hackle was tied in and the base of the feather had a wonderful, chocolatey brown colour which mixed well (in my mind anyway!) with the initial turns of the claret body hackle, producing a lovely claret/chocolatey brown combination at the head of the fly.
As the name suggests, this may very well be a pattern for the windy, rainy days on the loch that we as anglers, tend to either hate or love. It may also do well on a milder, wet and overcast days given the sombre colouration of the black body and claret palmered hackle while that red tail should prove to be an attractive target for the brown trout. I must admit to liking wild, wet and windy days on the loch, so if you should see someone out bank fishing in such conditions, and think to yourself ‘he should really know better’, it may just be me casting out my Storm Crow in the hope of a brown trout…or two!