Denson’s General Purpose Daddy

Denson's General Purpose Daddy

Hook: Tiemco TMC100BL #10
Rib: Gold wire
Body: Blend of Natural Hare/Squirrel 50/50 mix with pearl ice dub
Body hackle: Grizzly hen dyed golden olive
Wings: Cree Cock
Legs: Knotted pheasant tail
Shoulder hackle: Grizzly hen dyed golden olive
Thread: Danville 6/0 brown olive

A straight copy of Rob Denson’s pattern, though my choice of materials and orientation of the fly in the photograph certainly seems to accentuate the olive colouring more than in Rob Denson’s original. I really like the simplicity of this Daddy pattern, there have been some truly wonderful and complex patterns published over the years for a fly that is a staple for the tail end of the season. With plenty of bulk there’s lots of material to keep it afloat or it would be relatively easy to sink into the surface film.

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Claret and Gold UV Hobbler

Claret and Gold UV Hobbler

Hook: Hayabusa 761 #12
Tail: Pheasant tail fibres, dyed claret
Body: Claret/Gold UV straggler fritz
Legs: Knotted Pheasant tail
Cloak: Bronze Mallard, dyed claret
Thread: Danville 6/0 claret

A simple variation of the black and silver UV hobbler from George Barron’s book [1] At the end of the line. As George notes, the extra dressing on hobblers seems to appeal more to rainbows than wild browns so this variant seems a sensible addition to my Eyebrook box. Tied up a few for this season with different lengths of cloak, this is longer in the Irish tradition for dabblers. Best described as a modern traditional, the legginess of hobblers should make it a particularly effective pattern.

  1. George Barron At the end of the line (Talybont, Ceredigion: Privately published by the author, 2016).

Colonel Downman’s Fancy

Colonel Downman's Fancy

Hook: Hayabusa 761 black nickel
Tail: Teal fibres
Rib: Silver tinsel
Body: Black floss
Wing: Pair of Blue Jay with Jungle Cock on each side
Throat: Black hen
Thread: Danvilles 6/0

A traditional wet fly for which more than one tying can be found in the fly fishing literature, though it is only mentioned in a few of the common 20th Century compendiums of trout flies. The oldest reference that I can find to the pattern is that given as a loch fly by Roger Woolley [1] in 1932. Roger Woolley’s book is a collection of articles first published in the Fishing Gazette in 1930 and 1931. The pattern simply says “Jay Wing”, not specifying whether it is the blue-barred feather or primary wing feather. The rest of the dressing matches that given in later dressings by John Veniard [2] in 1952, with a blue-barred jay wing (the version tied here),  and in his later book Reservoir and Lake Flies [3]. It is also the version beautifully tied by Ken Sawada [4] in his 1995 book “Wet Flies”.

Tom Stewart [5], writing first in 1964, suggests that the pattern has been subject to many variations over the years including the version with teal tail fibres and blue-barred jay wing given here. He then goes onto describe a “usual” tie as being red-dyed hackle fibres for the tail and a blue feather from the jay for the wing. Tom Stewart’s “usual tie” is the one given by Stan Headley [6] in 1997 using a pattern supplied by Davie McPhail.

As to Colonel Downman himself, there would appear to be little mention of him beyond a comment in the French magazine “Le Moucheur” by Maurice Lewkowicz who describes the pattern as having been created by a colonel of the Indian army retired in the 1930s though no citation is given as to the source of this information.

Bibliography

  1. Roger Woolley, Modern trout fly dressing (London: The Fishing Gazette, 1932).
  2. John Veniard, Fly Dresser’s Guide (London: A&C Black, 1952)
  3. John Veniard, Reservoir and Lake Flies (London: A&C Black, 1970)
  4. Ken Sawada, Wet flies (Tokyo: Ken Sawada, 1995)
  5. Tom Stewart, 200 popular flies and how to tie them (London: A&C Black, 1979).
  6. Stan Headley, Trout and Salmon Flies of Scotland (Ludlow: Merlin Unwin, 1997)
  7. Maurice Lewkowicz, Le Geai (Le Moucheur n°46 – Décembre 2001-Janvier 2002).