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A Description Of The Fifteen Salmon Flies Engraved In The Plates

These fifteen Salmon Flies may be considered by my readers as specimens

of real perfection, and the "dons" of the present time amongst the great

Salmon fishers. There is such a combination of colours in them

throughout, that they will be found most killing in the rivers of

Scotland and Ireland, if made on hooks of sizes to suit each, and their

proper seasons.

I have taken the greatest pains imaginable to
ake them in proportion,

and of the most choice materials, which will greatly amuse the amateur

in his leisure hours to imitate them, and if he goes by the models, and

their descriptions, he will find them, when completed, what may be

termed by a Salmon fisher, magnificent. Their life-like and alluring

appearance, when humoured attractively with the rod and line, will cause

them to be very deceptive to the Salmon, and they will rise out of the

water at them with such greediness (the fun of it is) as to mistake

them for living insects. I have seen them swim after the fly for some

distance, as quietly as possible, before making a rush at it, then seize

it, show their back fin, and then the points of their tail--the break of

the water they have made closes--you "rise your hand," and the hook is


No. 1. I shall name this THE SPIRIT FLY, in consequence of its

numerously-jointed body, its fanciful, florid, and delicate appearance.

Its colours will be found most enticing to the fish, and is a sister fly

to Ondine, in the "Book of the Salmon," by "Ephemera."

The wings are made of six toppings, with a broad strip of wood duck on

each side, a red Hymalaya crest feather at top, a cock of the rock

feather, blue kingfisher feather at each side, a black head, and feelers

of macaw. The body is made of joints of black, orange floss, and a tip

of gold tinsel at the tail, tail two small toppings, a tag of puce silk

and ostrich, (it must be tied with very fine silk that the body may not

be lumpy, but to show gradually taper from the tail to the head, and the

hackle to be stripped at one side to roll even), and at each joint a

scarlet hackle, with a tip of gold tinsel under each joint, to make it

lively looking. There is a purple hackle, or very dark blue, struck

round the shoulder. The size of the hook is No. 6 or 7. Salmon, B or BB.

No. 2. The wings are composed of golden pheasant tail feather, mixed

with the following: strips of bustard, scarlet macaw, wood-duck,

mallard, yellow macaw body feather, silver pheasant, and a topping over

all, extending a little longer than the other feathers; blue and yellow

macaw feelers. The wing, as above, should be laid out on a piece of

paper, ready to tie on after the body and legs are formed, the jay

rolled over the head in this fly, and the head tied on last, of black

ostrich. The tail is a topping, mixed with a strip of wood-duck feather,

tipped with silver twist, a tag of gold-colour floss, and black ostrich;

the body puce floss to the centre, and the remainder orange pig hair or

mohair, ribbed with broad silver tinsel, and a guinea-hen rump feather

rolled over the orange beneath the jay hackle. This is about as fine a

specimen of a Salmon fly as ever was thrown into the water, and will

kill Salmon and Grilse, made small, in every Salmon river in Great

Britain. The hook No. 6 or 9, Limerick.

The best Irish hooks are numbered from No. 1, largest Salmon size, to

No. 10, Sea-Trout size.

No. 3. This is another of the Spirit Flies that kill so well in the

rivers of Ireland and Scotland, at high water, particularly the Spey and

Tweed. The wings are made of the following mixtures of feathers, each

side of the wings to be alike: Brown mallard, bustard and wood-duck; a

topping, scarlet macaw, teal, golden pheasant neck feather, a strip of

yellow macaw, and feelers of blue and yellow tail; a head of black

ostrich; the tail to be a topping, mixed with green and red parrot tail;

the body is composed of joints, first a tip of silver, a tag of morone

floss, a tag of black, a joint of brown, green and brown-red hackle,

puce and red, green and yellow, blue and orange, with a tip of gold

tinsel at each joint, a very small red hackle, and two red toucan

feathers round the shoulder, and blue kingfisher's feather on each side

of the wings. The hook No. 6, and No. 10 for Grilse.

No. 4. A celebrated Claret Fly, of very killing qualities both in

Scotland and Ireland, and in the Thames as a trout fly. The wings are

composed of two wood-duck feathers wanting the white tips, and two

strips of the same kind of feather with white tips; the head is made of

peacock harl; the tail is two or three strips of hen pheasant tail, with

a short tuft of red orange macaw body feather or parrot, tipped with

silver, and gold ribbing over the body, which is formed of claret pig

hair, over which roll two richly dyed claret hackles, struck in fine

proportion from the tail up. The hook No. 6 or 10. It is a capital fly

in lakes for large trout, as a breeze or gentle gale only causes a

ripple, and a strong wind does not do so well in lakes with the fly, as

it makes waves, although good for a large size minnow.

No. 5. A brown fly, a general favorite among the "old ones," on every

salmon river in Ireland and Scotland, particularly the latter, and in

rivers a good way up from the sea, on a dark day, with a good breeze

blowing up the stream. The following fly, No. 6, may be used in a

similar manner. The wings are made of the golden pheasant tail that has

the long clouded bar in the feather, rather full, and two rather

broad strips of light brown white-tipped turkey tail feather at each

side; a good size peacock harl head, and feelers of scarlet macaw

feather; tipped at the tail with gold tinsel--the tail a small bright

topping, and a tag of gold-colour floss silk; the body is made of

cinnamon, or yellow-brown pig hair or mohair, ribbed with double silver

twist; over the body roll a real brown red cock's hackle, and round the

throttle roll on a bright red-brown small-spotted grouse hackle, or a

brown mottled feather of the hen Argus pheasant's neck or back. BB hook,

or a No. 8.

No. 6. A Silver Grey Fly, a great favorite on the lakes of Killarney for

Salmon and Grilse, and at Waterville, in the County of Kerry, for Sea

and White Trout, made small on a No. 10 hook, about the size of a No. 6

Trout hook of English make. The wings are made of golden pheasant tail

feather, mixed with mallard, red macaw, blue and yellow body feathers of

the macaw, guinea hen, and golden pheasant neck feathers, with feelers

of blue and yellow macaw, a black head; tipped at the tail with silver

and orange floss tag, the tail a topping mixed with red and blue macaw

feather, (those blues that are found under the wings of that bird which

are of a very light hue) and guinea hen: the body is made of the silver

dun monkey if it can be got, light dun fox or squirrel fur, or dyed blue

dun mohair mixed with yellow,--all these are good for a body, ribbed

with broad silver tinsel, and a hackle of a real dun cock that has a

yellowish motley shade throughout it, rolled up to the head, and round

the shoulder a bright orange dyed hackle, underneath which tie in a

little orange mohair. It may be varied with a claret hackle at the head,

or a fiery brown one. No. 9 hook. A small grilse or sea-trout hook, for

small rivers in either Scotland or Ireland, and also in the rivers of

Wales, where it is a native dun colour among the anglers. It will be

found a "don" to rise them.

No. 7. A large dun palmer with a double hook, which, will be observed,

is of a tortuous shape in the body, as it appears in the plate. The

shape may be obtained by tying the hooks back to back, the top one to be

tied about quarter way down the shank of the end one, and the gut tied

tightly on each, (twisted gut of course when you form a loop).

It will be found a "killer" in large pools surrounded with trees in

stormy weather, and in rapid streams running into or near the sea, where

they take it most likely for a shrimp, as it corresponds in color. The

legs are composed of about six hackles of a real blue dun old

cock-saddle feather, having a motley yellowish hue, and peacock harl

head, rather full; the body is made of orange pig hair and yellow mohair

mixed, the former drawn out amongst the fibres of the hackles, which

must be struck on two at a time, commencing at the tail, till it is all

built up to the head, where there may be three hackles to make it

fuller,--it would be as well to have a small swivel at the head, that it

might spin gently round when moved in the water. No. 9 hook, or small

grilse size for large trout. It may be varied with gold, old dun cock's

hackles, and red body.

No. 8 is a beautiful specimen of a gaudy fly. The wings, which are

finely mixed of rich feathers, are made of the following sorts:--orange,

yellow, and blue macaw body feathers, three strips of each; teal,

bustard, and golden pheasant neck feathers broken in strips; silver

pheasant tail, light brown golden pheasant tail feather, and a topping

over all a little longer; a peacock harl head, and blue and yellow

feelers. The body is formed in three joints, a tip of gold twist at the

tail, a tag of peacock harl, and a bright small topping for tail; first,

a joint of yellow floss, a joint of peacock, and two feathers of the

red-tipped feather of the crest of the cock of the rock tied short above

the harl and ribbed with gold; the next is a blue floss silk joint

ribbed with gold, a peacock harl rolled on close, and two feathers of

the crest of the cock of the rock tied close above it; and the third is

an orange floss silk joint, a peacock harl tag, and ribbed with gold,

two of the red-tipped feathers tied on close as above, and a blue jay

round the shoulder. No. 8 hook on B. This is a famous grilse fly.

No. 9 is another great beauty, and a capital grilse or small salmon fly

for any river under the sun. The wings are made of two jungle-cock

feathers, and two shorter feathers of the golden pheasant neck, the

white ends of the jungle-cock to show well beyond the golden pheasant

neck, two broad strips of wood-duck, one at each side, and a topping or

two extending longer than the other feathers for feelers, a black

ostrich head; a tip of gold at the tail, a tag of yellow-green silk, a

tag of black ostrich, and a bright topping for tail, above the ostrich a

blue tag, and the body made of claret floss silk, ribbed with gold

tinsel, and claret dyed hackle struck over the body, with a blue jay

feather at the shoulder. The hook B or BB.

No. 10. This is a famous high water fly for all salmon rivers,

particularly in Scotland, and is not unlike the once celebrated "Parson

Fly," the favourite killer in all rivers of the Reverend St. John's;

there is no salmon can resist its attractions in rapid pools in rivers

near the sea. The preceding fly, No. 9, will be found to kill better a

few miles higher up from the sea, as all plain flies do. If the No. 9 is

winged with brown mallard or brown turkey tail feather, it will be found

just the thing.

The wings are made of two golden pheasant neck feathers, with a broad

strip of peacock wing feather on each side, and a strip of scarlet macaw

tail feather, the latter to be a little longer than the other feathers,

a black ostrich head with a full brilliant blue jay feather round the

shoulder. The body is made thus:--a tip of silver twist, a yellow floss

silk tag, two small toppings for tail, the body is of golden yellow pig

hair or mohair, ribbed with silver twist, with two golden yellow dyed

hackles with a black streak up the centre, rolled from the tail to the

head. No. 9 hook, B, or BB.

No. 11 is a fly that will kill grilse or salmon in the light running

rivers of the North of Scotland, and in all rivers where the salmon and

its varieties haunt, and is made of different sizes. The wings are made

of a few fibres of each of the following feathers: black and white small

spotted bustard rump feather, teal, wood-duck, silver hen pheasant tail,

and the silver cock pheasant tail black and white spotted feathers, the

neck feather of the golden pheasant, and the red spear feather of the

same bird, and at each side two small feathers of the black and white

jungle cock, a black head, and topping. The body is made half yellow and

half purple pig hair or mohair, the latter colour next the head, over

which roll close up two black heron feathers off the crest; a tip of

gold, and a small topping for tail, and over the yellow or purple body

roll double gold twist. No. 7 hook, or BB.

The Sea-Trout Fly underneath No. 11 in the same plate, will be found a

killer either for sea-trout or grilse, in the rivers in Scotland, and

the South of Ireland. The wings are made of a dark brown grouse hackle

that grows on the rump of the bird, just above the tail, mixed with a

small quantity of light brown turkey tail, or kite tail, which is the

salmon tail glede of the north, and two feelers of blue and yellow

macaw; a black head; the body is made with a tip of silver twist at the

tail, and a tag of black ostrich; the tail is a mixture of golden

pheasant neck feather, and brown mallard, two or three fibres of each;

the body is blue floss silk, rather light, with an old black cock's

hackle rolled over it, ribbed with fine silver twist; round the shoulder

roll a claret or scarlet hackle. The hook No. 10, or C, double CC, or B,

for grilse. There may be three or four varieties of this fly made

thus:--body blue, with blue jay, same wings, with a little neck feather

of the golden pheasant; orange body, same coloured hackle, and same

wings, blue jay at head; a dun body, with fiery brown hackle at the

head; a claret body--a yellow body, and small grouse; blue body, and

guinea hen; and a yellow body, with guinea hen; a black body, black

hackle, and the same wings and tail; a black fly, with teal wings; a

brown body, brown hackle, and "glede" wings, two fibres of the same for

tail. All these are the choicest colours for sea-trout and grilse flies

in every salmon river in the kingdom.

No. 12. Is a large SPRING FLY used generally in the Shannon, and the

Tweed, when the rivers are very high and rapid. It will be found a

magnificent specimen of a gaudy salmon fly, and is the proper size for

March and April, when the fulness of the stream prevents the fish from

seeing smaller ones. This fly will be seen to perfection in the Plate.

With this, I will describe three or four others of the same size, of

different colours, which came into my possession from Castle Connell, on

the Banks of the Shannon.

The wings of No. 12 are made of the small spotted brown Argus tail

feather, golden pheasant tail, and the black and white peacock wing

feather; scarlet and blue macaw, and in the centre an orange macaw

feather whole, those that are tipped with blue and green--they are found

on the shoulders of the red macaw and down the back; a tuft of broken

neck feather of the golden pheasant at the head, and feelers of blue

and yellow macaw; a black head; a tip of gold at the tail, a tag of

blue, another of orange floss and black ostrich, a good sized topping in

the tail, and at its root a tuft of red spear feather of the golden

pheasant rump; there is about half an inch body at the tail end, made of

yellow mohair, and yellow hackle over it, ribbed with gold, the

remainder of the body is made of puce floss silk, with a dark

wine-purple hackle struck over it, ribbed with silver twist and flat

gold, and a yellow body feather of the macaw rolled round the shoulder.

The hook, No. 2 or 3, large Salmon size.