Tuesday, February 9, 2010
A Spey fly - The Dallas fly
The Dallas Fly, so named for a Mr. John Dallas, the inventor, is a pretty typical Spey fly. It has a short body composed of Berlin wool, multiple ribs, and a hackle composed of black Spey cock. The wing however sets it apart from other more typical Spey flies in that it is composed of strips of cinnamon turkey tail rather then bronze or grey mallard. It also has a woolen head rather then the minuscule plain black one of the other typical Spey flies.
Kelson writes, “This capital fly on the Spey was christened by Mr. Little Gilmore. Like other local patterns, the body is short and begins a full 1/8 of an inch in front of the point of the hook. The description given is from a pattern forwarded by Mr. C. M. Burn's “Fisherman at Pitcroy;” and proved to be correct by one being sent to me by Dallas himself.”
The pattern I am showing here is from George M. Kelson’s “The Salmon Fly” and goes as follows:
Body: three turns of yellow Berlin wool, followed by black wool
Ribs: silver tinsel, gold tinsel (orange, narrow), red thread and blue thread, all running in equal distance apart.
Hackle: a black Spey cocks from the end of the body, but wound the reverse way and so crossing over the ribs.
Throat: a red hackle from the golden pheasant
Wings: two strips of plain cinnamon turkey
Head: orange wool, picked out.
Contrary to the above pattern, but in accordance with Kelson’s own principles of fly construction, I have tied this one with the hackle running with the ribs, except for the fine gold thread, which runs over and across the ribs and hackle, thus pinning them down and helping to protect the hackle. I do not think Kelson would mind this slight alteration given the superiority of the construction compared to the original pattern. I am sure the fish won’t mind.
The pattern found in Hardy corresponds exactly with the pattern above. Hale does not mention it and superficial examination of Francis Francis does not reveal it either. Knox does not list it either. There is a nice photo in Bates's, “Fishing Atlantic Salmon, the Flies and the Patterns.”. 1996, page 202, plate 75 showing a variation, but not listing a pattern for it. The one shown has a tail and topping of golden pheasant crest, and a collar in red cock by the look of it, with what looks like a silver body and black ostrich butt. The hackle is long and black though, as expected of a Spey fly. I can not tell what the wing is comprised of, but there does not appear to be any colour in it.
Mikael Frodin lists this pattern in his book “Classic Salmon Flies, History and Patterns.” 1991, but does not add much beyond what I have written here about the details of it.
I would be interested to get a pattern for the Bates variation, and any other variations of this fly.