A firm favourite for Sea Trouting on the Solway & Border rivers, (probably elsewhere), is the Brown Turkey Fly. In waters that can adopt that peat stained whiskey colour the pattern can often elicit that desired explosion at the end of your line from a lively fresh fish.
In preparation for a recent trip to the River Annan I was busily tying a stock of patterns for a weeks fishing and a friend had given me a locally tied pattern to replicate as a likely, ‘sure fire’, winner. This preparatory period coincided with the Chatsworth Angling Fair, but a visit to a favourite materials supplier (between demonstrations in the Fly Dressing marquee) found me out of luck. All of the brown turkey had been sold. Mooching through the stall I came across some Shoveler Flank feathers, and the idea hit me how to use this lovely chestnut brown plumage – a Brown Turkey, without the turkey?
The pattern emerged with all of essential ingredients of the original, those particular blends of colour. But with the addition of the new style over wing it moved beautifully, swimming well in the water, with a good profile and a little added zing. That week proved to be hard fishing and all of my takes occurred either between 11 & 12midnight, or as the light re-emerged at around 3am. Takes were on a variety of patterns, but the ‘stand in’ version of the Brown Turkey had its share.
I judge my successful patterns usually on profile, size, colour and movement. … oh yes, and moreover what the fish think of them. I think this has it all, and the old shoveler certainly dug me out of a hole. Maybe it should be called the Brown Shoveler?
Tail: Natural Golden Pheasant Tippet
Rear body: Amber Seals Fur (or sub)
Front body: Red Seals Fur (or sub)
Rib: Gold Oval tinsel
Under Wing: Natural Golden Pheasant Tippet
Over Wing: Brown Shoveler Flank, with a strand of Crystal Flash, or similar, on both sides
The over wing is lightly tied on the top of fly and then drawn through before fully securing it.
Variations include GP Topping for the tail, or no tail for those concerned with tail nipping fish, and various coloured heads. Most of my patters are tied on size 8 – 10 doubles, some black, some silver.
Dr. Simon Wright.