Wye Tenkara

Upper Longtown Beat River Monnow

Upper Longtown beat of the river Monnow

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The magic five

By richard adeney, Feb 28 2020 11:37AM

These are my main ‘go to’ fly tying materials when tying flies for trout and grayling. I also have other materials which I use less often. A small pack of high quality hackles, peacock hurl and striped peacock quill for making quill body dry flies. In addition to the materials discussed some fine gold, silver and copper wire, fly tying thread, a range of hooks in various sizes and styles, and some tungsten beads to add additional weight to you nymphs. That is about all you need to make many successful flies and start your fly tying journey.



What are the materials you go to most often when tying trout flies? Do you have a short list of favourite fly tying materials materials’? It seems today every new fly is tied with ever more new and exciting materials. I think that this can be a ‘turn off’ for would be fly tiers who think that to successfully tie flies you need all the latest materials and the correct hook style. I don’t think that this is true. If you look through my fly boxes five materials will predominate.


My Five Magic Fly Tying Materials are:


1. Hare’s Ear Mask: This is an extremely versatile source of dubbing material. The colour range in a hare’s ear mask ranges from bark brown to a cream colour. You will be able to make a wide range of bodies and thoraxes of nymphs and dry flies with this material. The classic fly pattern using this material is the ‘Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear’. This fly can be fished either wet or dry or as an emerger. It is perhaps one of the first emerger patterns even before the term was current. This pattern can be tied with or without a wing and forms the foundation for a great many flies.


2. Pheasant Tail: The tail of the cock pheasant is a very useful material for making fly bodies both dry and wet and so is the tail feathers from the hen pheasant. It is a very readily available material and can even be obtained from ‘road kill’! The simple pheasant tail nymph is one of the classic nymph representations of a mayfly nymph. The original version of this fly has only two materials, which are fine copper wire and cock pheasant tail. This pattern has also lead to many variations and is more usually tied with a dubbing thorax now.


3. Partridge Hackles and Other ‘Soft Hackles’: Partridge hackles are very versatile feather when tying spider patterns. I tend to tie the hackle facing forward in a kebari style for my spider patterns. There are a few other soft hackles I use occasionally and they are; snipe and jackdaw.


4. Deer Hair: Deer is mainly used as a winging material in dry flies and adds structure to the wing. It is particularly useful when tying sedge patterns. One of my favourite sedge patterns has a body and thorax taken from a hare’s ear mask and a wing made up of CDC and deer hair.


5. CDC: CDC is a very good winging material for dry flies. It is easy to tie into a fly and I think that it makes a very realist wing. It also adds floatability to a fly if it is treated correctly. I use it a lot in my small dry flies.


These are my main ‘go to’ fly tying materials when tying flies for trout and grayling. I also have other materials which I use less often. A small pack of high quality hackles, peacock hurl and striped peacock quill for making quill body dry flies. In addition to the materials discussed some fine gold, silver and copper wire, fly tying thread, a range of hooks in various sizes and styles, and some tungsten beads to add additional weight to you nymphs. That is about all you need to make many successful flies and start your fly tying journey.



Selection of fly tying materials ready for use
Selection of fly tying materials ready for use

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