Friday July 27, 2018

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Black Brahan - step by step

Written by Dennis Shaw

This is the Black Brahan. A salmon fly used primarily as a low water summer fly, discount it as a back end fly at your peril though.

According to Tom Stewart in his series of books “Popular Flies and how to tie them” this fly was invented by John McKenzie, a gillie on the River Connon.

Dressed in the appropriate sizes and hooks it is suitable as a Salmon fly, Sea Trout fly and even as an attractor style Trout fly.

Instructions assume right handed tyers.

Materials list
HOOK– Singles, Doubles, Trebles, Tubes and Waddingtons
THREAD– Black 6/0
TAIL– Golden Pheasant Topping
TAG– Oval Silver Tinsel
RIB– Oval Silver Tinsel
BODY– Red Lurex
HACKLE– Black Cock (tied beard style)
WING– Black Squirrel


STEP 1 Mount the hook in the vice, attach the thread and wrap towards the tail catching the Oval Silver rib in under the shank as you go. Two things to note here, the tag end is left the length of the body which will help achieve a smooth under body and also note where I have finished wrapping the thread.
STEP 2 This method of tying in the tag is applicable for Double and Treble hooks only. Take the Rib and wrap, over the bare shank, towards the hook bend.
STEP 3 Then pull the end up between the hook bends
STEP 4 Over the top of the rib and pull tight as shown
STEP 5 Finally tie the end down and trim off then reattach the rib under the shank. Note again that all tag ends have been left the same length as the body.
STEP 6 Tie in the tail, again, trim the tail waste to the length of the body.
STEP 7 Trim the Red Lurex to a point
STEP8 Then tie in on the side of the hook shank and wrap the thread to the shoulder, catching in the waste ends as you go.
STEP 9 Wrap the body in neat touching or slightly over lapping turns.
STEP 10 Followed by the rib in evenly spaced turns. Tie off and trim waste.
STEP 11 Invert the hook in the vice and tie in the beard hackle.
STEP 12 Turn the hook back to its normal position. Select a bunch of Squirrel fibres and align the tips in a stacker. The following description is, for me, a new way of tying in hair wings and I think an easier way than the more traditional method. Try it and see how you like it. Measure the wing for length and cut it to length before tying in. After cutting hold the wing on top of the shank as shown.
STEP 13 Then take two wraps over it to secure it and soak the roots with varnish.
STEP 14 Then take two or three wraps at an angle through the roots working towards the eye. Finishing with the thread at the point shown.
STEP 15 Finally wrap back over the roots and whip finish.
STEP 16 Varnish the head with Black varnish for the completed fly.
A small selection of the many variations you can try.

Dennis Shaw was born into a fanatical fishing family at Dalbeattie in Southwest Scotland. He graduated from the local "Barr Burn", with the proverbial cane, wool and bent pin for eels, to fishing the local rivers and lochs. Now married with a son and daughter and fishing the chalkstreams of Southern England, Dennis is always yearning for "home". He has been tying flies for over 35 years yet still learns something new every day.

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