In the early 1970’s I bought a pamphlet from Veniard’s entitled “Wet Flies No 3, Dressings of eighty-two useful wet fly patterns”. I was then very new to fly-tying and the thought of working my way through each pattern – bringing it to life appealed to me. Of course, I didn’t do that, principally because my skill level did not the equal my ambition. As I improved over the years the lack of time and other distractions caused me to forget about it. In fact, I have still to do that. However, I have made many of them, and plenty of associated variations.
In the early days I settled for patterns that were easier to tie, and then later, flies that I would use. As time passed many of these older patterns fell into disuse replaced by even greater numbers of more contemporary replacements. It is only recently that I have re-visited some of my old patterns, or to be accurate, the old patterns of others. I have given them a tweak or two, and made some of the classic wet trout patterns into those for sea trout use. To my great delight they seem to work, and are now dressed on different hooks, singles, wee doubles and trebles depending on where I fish them, but I use them all on rivers.
I have taken three old wet patterns and re-worked them for traditional trout and sea trout patterns – Winged Pheasant Tail, Little’s Fancy & Pheasant & Gold. They mix feathers from Golden Pheasant , Michigan Blue, and a standard Hen Pheasant – hence “the fusion”. The results are more-or-less faithful to the original patterns, although the introduction of some sparkly strands creates a modern twist, so too perhaps the slight variations in how they are tied. The bonus, the fish like them! The draw-backs, well some become unusable very quickly if they are intercepted by a feisty sea trout. Some of the materials are fragile, but I am happy to cope with a fish a fly, and it gives me an excuse to make some more.
The winged pheasant tail I tie on a wee double, but the others are adapted for doubles and trebles. I have yet to catch a salmon on one, but the optimist in me tells me it is only a matter of time. Perhaps it is waiting until I finish dressing all eighty-two patterns, if that is so, I better get on with it ……….
Pheasant & Gold:
Body: Flat gold tinsel, ribbed with gold oval
Wings: Base tail feather from Michigan Blue Pheasant Centre Tail[lower wing] & Golden Pheasant Gold Body Feathers [upper wing]. Two strands of gold Crystal Hair.
Hackle: Michigan Blue Pheasant rump.
Tail: Whisks of Golden Pheasant Tippet.
Body: Flat Silver Tinsel, ribbed with Oval
Wings: Hen Pheasant Centre Tail [lower wing] & Red Golden Pheasant Body Feathers [upper wing]. Two strands of silver Crystal Hair
Hackle: Ginger cock
Tail: Golden Pheasant Crest Feather.
Winged Pheasant Tail:
Hook: Wee Double 10 – 14
Body: Fibres of Cock pheasant Tail, ribbed gold with gold oval
Wings: Woodcock Wing Feather