Friday July 27, 2018

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Alexandra - step by step

Written by Dennis Shaw

This is the Alexandra. This dressing is, as far as I am aware, the original one. As you will see at the end, like most patterns it has its fair share of variations. At one time this fly was deemed too deadly and was banned. While I don’t agree that it is so deadly as to warrant a ban, I do rate its ability enough to class it as one of my “fail me nots” during the warmer months. Only the trout can answer for definite, but I believe they take it as a Corixa or possibly a buzzer.

Tied in various sizes the Alexandra is suitable for both Brown Trout and Sea Trout. The Peacock Swords used in the wing are the immature tail feathers.

I have shown the tail as paired feathers, if you prefer, simply cut one section and fold it in two.

Instructions assume right handed tyers.

Materials list
HOOK – Wet Fly 6 – 16 (can also be tied on tubes and tandem mounts)
THREAD – Black 6/0 or 8/0
TAIL – Red Ibis substitute
RIB – Oval Silver
BODY – Flat Silver
HACKLE– Black Hen
WING – Peacock Swords
CHEEKS – Red Ibis substitute


STEP 1 Mount the hook in the vice, attach the thread and tie in the hackle. (If you prefer, you can tie the hackle in after the body is completed. If so proceed to step 2).
STEP 2 Tie in the rib under the hook shank.
STEP 3 Prepare and tie in the tail, by first selecting paired sections from two Ibis substitute feathers.
STEP 4 Then offer up for length with your right hand.
STEP 5 Finally transfer the grip to your left hand, without moving the tails position and tie in with a couple of pinch and loops.
STEP 6 Trim the butts from the tail to the body length, this will help you achieve an even body with no bumps.
STEP 7 Trim the tinsel to a point.
STEP 8 And tie in, take the thread one turn past the hackle.
STEP 9 Then wrap the tinsel forward and tie off in front of the hackle.
STEP 10 Then follow with the rib.
STEP 11 Wrap the hackle. I have done three turns here, and tie off.
STEP 12 Then sweep the hackle fibres down the side as shown and take a few turns or thread to hold them in this position.
STEP 15 Select a small bunch of swords and tie in on top of the shank with a pinch and loop. As with the tail, hold them in your right hand to judge length.
STEP 16 Select the Ibis substitute for the cheeks. You can use folded sections, or as I have done here, use one small section for each side. Offer up for length, I like the cheeks to be about ¾ the length of the wing.
STEP 17 Then tie in. Form a small head and whip finish for the completed fly.
A few variations.
A clue as to her other name.

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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