Flies For May
No. 14. THE BLACK GNAT.--The body is made of black hair from the
spaniel's ear which is fine and soft, or a black ostrich feather clipped
very close, and a small black hackle for legs; the wings are from the
starling's wing feather. No. 13 hook. This is a good fly throughout a
clear day, used as a dropper with the foregoing fly, and wren tail.
It floats on the surface of the water in numbers on sultry days with
mild showers of rain. It may be varied to advantage with blue silk body.
No. 15. THE LITTLE BROWN MIDGE.--The body is made of brown mohair with a
shade of orange mohair at the shoulder, two turns of a small brown-red
hackle for legs; the wings are made of brown mallard and a little strip
of land-rail mixed. No. 13 hook, snick bend.
There appears to be a variety of small flies on the water with the above
fly about the middle of the day, dark browns, pea-greens, and dun flies,
all water insects, which the trout take very freely.
No. 16. THE LITTLE IRON BLUE.--The body is made of a little light
coloured water-rat's fur mixed with a few hairs of yellow, an iron blue
coloured dun hackle for legs, and the wings from a blue dun feather to
be found underneath the wing of a dun hen, or starling wing feather,
tail it with a dun hackle, two fibres. No. 10 hook. It sails upright on
its legs on the water, with both tail and wings cocked up, so that it
would suit best as a bob fly. It will be found a useful fly throughout
the season, varied a little in shade according to the weather, the
darker ones on fine clear days.
The Coachman, Oral, and the Governor flies will be found good ones in
this month towards night, when the beautiful White Moth may be also
No. 17. HARE'S EAR AND YELLOW.--The body is made of the light part of
the fur from the hare's ear, ribbed with yellow silk; the wings are from
the wing of the starling or fieldfare, and two stiff fibres of honey dun
cock's hackle, from the rump for tail, to cock up, pick out the fur at
the head for legs, No. 12 hook. It will kill fish every day in this
month, and will be found good till the end of July. It may be also
called the Little Cocktail.
No. 18. THE GREEN DRAKE.--The body of this beautiful fly is made of
yellow green mohair, the color of a gosling newly come out of the shell,
and ribbed with yellow-brown silk, a shade of light brown mohair at the
tail, and a tuft of the same color at the shoulder, picked out between
the hackle, the whisks of the tail to be of three black hairs of the
mane of a horse, about three-quarters of an inch long; the hackle to be
a greenish buff dyed, (dye a silver dun hackle with bars across it
called a cuckoo), or a light ginger hackle bordering on a yellow. The
wings, which should be made full, and to stand upright, are made of dyed
mallard feathers of a greenish buff, or yellowish shade: a brown head of
peacock harl tied neatly above the wings, No. 6 hook. The wings may be
made of the ends of two large dyed mallard feathers, with each side
stripped off, and the beautiful long ends to form the wings, tie them on
whole back to back, a little longer than the bend of the hook--these
feathers stand up well and appear very natural in the water; large size
ones kill well in lakes, with bright yellow mohair bodies and gold twist
rolled up them; a long honey dun palmer kills well on windy days,
allowed to sink near the bottom, ribbed with gold twist (see the palmer
in the plate with double hook). The trout take it no doubt for the
Creeper or "Cad Bait;" a very small swivel tied on at the head, would
improve its life-like appearance in the water as you move it with the
rod; and the larger size one would also do better with a swivel.
No. 19.--THE GREY DRAKE.--The body is made of pale yellow mohair, or
floss, three fibres of dark mallard for tail, ribbed with brown silk, a
grizzled dun-cock's hackle for legs, or silver grey; grey mallard for
wings, and a peacock harl head.
The body should be made taper, and full at the head, it is a capital fly
on rough days in May and June, and used to advantage on warm evenings.
The body may be also made of dun fox fur, grey at the ends, a silver
grey hackle for legs, and forked with three hairs from a fitch's tail;
the wings grey mallard and widgeon mixed. It is also made of straw body,
grey cock's hackle, and mallard wings--these two methods are very good.
They kill well in Scotland, and in Ireland are called the "Grey
Cochlan." These flies may be seen in "Taylor's Angler."
Mr. Taylor was an angler of no small pretensions, he was very fond of
the Irish coloured flies, and has adopted many of them as standards for
Scotland, England, and many rivers in Wales.