Friday July 27, 2018

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Woodcock and Harelug - step by step

Written by Dennis Shaw

The trout season is over for another year. Roll on April (or March for some) I hear you say! Time to prepare for the challenges just around the corner. This fly, the Woodcock and Harelug, is one of the great early season patterns. The dressing and name given are the traditional Scots versions. The fly is also known in some places as the Hares Fleck. Tom Stewart (200 popular flies) attributes this dressing to James Ogden of Cheltenham, Inventor of the Invicta. But it is not clear by the wording whether Ogden invented the fly, or merely gave the dressing. Ogden’s dressing did not have the gold tag and some versions have a little pinch of pale olive seal’s fur mixed with Hare’s Lug dubbing. Lug is a Scots word meaning ear.

Instructions assume right-handed tyers

Materials list
HOOK – Standard wet fly 12 – 16
THREAD – Yellow 6/0 (or yellow silk)
TAIL – 3 or 4 Bronze Mallard fibres
TAG – Fine flat Gold
BODY – Hare’s Lug (Taken from the tip of the ear)
WING – Woodcock ( Tied in with the dull (inner) side outwards)


STEP 1 Attach the thread and wrap to the bend, catching in the tail fibres as you go.
STEP 2 Cut a point in the tinsel.
STEP 3 Then tie it in.
STEP 4 Take 2 or 3 turns of tinsel to form the tag and tie off.
STEP 5 This picture shows the Hare’s Lug. This one has had most of the dubbing used removed.
STEP 6 Apply a pinch of dubbing to the thread.
STEP 7 Then wrap to form the body.
STEP 8 Prepare and tie in the paired Woodcock wing slips in.
STEP 9 Trim the wasted wing butts, form a neat head, whipfinish and varnish. To complete the fly, use a dubbing teaser to pick out some of the dubbing nearest the wing to represent legs.


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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