To Make The Winged Larva
Tie on the hook and gut as before (say a hook about No. 8) and form a
brown body of mohair on it, wing the fly with a portion of hen pheasant
tail feather and woodcock wing; having the yellow brown body formed on
the hook, and the wings ready to tie on, take a piece of the shrivelled
larva you will find attached to the ends of the lengths of salmon gut,
choose those that are nice and taper, and at the fine end tie on two
fibres of golden pheasant neck feather for tail, clip off the end of the
gut, lay on a little varnish at the end of the tail to keep it from
coming off; now tie on the larva close to the shoulder, cut off the end
of the gut, lay on a little varnish there, take some mohair of the same
colour as the body, and roll it over the throat to cover the tying,
leaving at the same time enough of the hook to receive the wings, you
then take a light brown grouse hackle, off the neck of the bird, and
roll it twice round the shoulder for the legs, or a woodcock feather, to
be found at the root of the wings, outside, the latter I think is
best. Now tie the wings on a little longer than the bend of the hook,
clip off the ends at the head, and form a head with a piece of peacock
harl, of a bronze colour as usual, fasten with the silk, and cut off all
the superfluities. It would be well to draw out a little of the mohair
at the shoulder to hang over the larva body, and to flatten the end of
the gut a little where you tie on the tail, which keeps it on. Tie the
larva at the side, so as it may appear like a double body to the fish in
the water. It may be made by tying on the wings first, and let them
remain until the body, the larva, and the hackle, are all tied in their
proper places, and then turn back the wings over the body with your
thumb nail, and tie them firmly down with the silk, taking two laps over
the roots, and finish with two knots on the end of the shank immediately
above the head.
Do not neglect to tie in the larva tightly below the wings at the
shoulder, to prevent it drawing out from the mohair body. You must hold
on tight and press it well down with the nail of the right thumb, as you
do the wings when tying them on last. It is best to look at the larvas
engraved in the plate occasionally, to give you an idea how it is done.
When the wings are turned up last, and a head formed of the root of them
with the tying silk, you next roll on a piece of brown peacock harl at
the root of the wings, a harl with long pile or fibres is best, as you
can press it up with your fingers to hang over the root of the wings.
The great nicety in making this fly to look well is, in tying on the two
fibres of the golden pheasant feathers at the tail with fine silk, and
the tying on of the larva itself at the shoulder of the fly, and then
covering the silk that appeared bare with a little mohair twisted round
the tying silk, and then rolled over it; it is over this bit of mohair
the hackle should be rolled, and secured with two knots.
The wing of the small larva in the plate is tied on last, and a most
curious and killing looking fly it is; the other one does best in deep
water, or for grilse or sea-trout in July and August, particularly in
the latter month.
The Salmon Fly, No. 11, in the centre of the plate, with the larvas, is
a capital specimen for the light streams north of the Tweed, and would
kill well in that splendid river at low water in summer, particularly
at the "Throughs," three miles above the town of Kelso.
The above fly I will describe hereafter, with the other engravings in
To proceed regularly with the various methods of Fly Making, before
touching on another subject, will be much more convenient to the tyro as
he proceeds, so I will finish this branch of an "Angler's Education"
with a Catechism, which will be found instructive and very curious to
the beginner. It is accompanied with a copper-plate engraving of six
flies, showing the whole process to the eye, which cannot fail to give a
lasting idea to the fly maker who will properly study it.
In this last process, the reader should lay out every thing necessary
for making a single fly in a piece of folded paper, so that he can look
at the various articles as he rehearses them over in the book,--this
will keep them more strongly in his mind.
Have each article to suit the size of the hook exactly, that when the
fly is completed, it will appear in strict proportion: for instance, the
hackle should be chosen small to suit the legs of the trout fly, and the
large flies to have hackles off the saddle of the cock, that are old
and stiff, to withstand the motion of the water; and fine silk, both
floss and tying for the bodies of the small flies, and every thing in
unison, as you read in the book; handling every thing sparingly,
delicately, and nicely in the fingers. There is a good deal of the
"battle fought" by letting the nails grow to a pretty fair length so as
to hold on grimly.