Friday July 27, 2018

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Snipe and Purple -step by step

Written by Dennis Shaw

In keeping with the early season theme I can think of few better traditional patterns to have on an early season cast than the Snipe and Purple. Coupled with last issues Woodcock and Hare Lug on the point I would be confident of taking fish anywhere. As with all spider type flies, less is better, try to keep the dressing light and slim. I have dressed this pattern in the traditional Scottish style with a full body, but you can dress it any style (Clyde, Tummel, North Country, etc) you wish to suit the conditions where you fish.
As well as differing spider styles there are also differing dressing details. Some prefer the hackle taken from the outside of the snipe’s wing or, as I have used here, the hackle is taken from where the wing joins the body. Being honest, I doubt very much if the fish will care one bit where the hackle comes from or even if it is a snipe hackle or a similar hackle taken from another bird. The body can dressed using either purple Pearsall’s silk or purple floss, I prefer floss for its superior sheen, but it is less durable. The thread is also open to variation. You can use the traditional Pearsall’s Purple silk for authenticity, or as I have done here, a modern synthetic thread, not the same shade as Pearsall’s, but near enough for me…. And the fish!

Instructions assume right-handed tyers~

Materials list
HOOK – Kamasan B170 #16
THREAD - Bennechi 12/0
BODY – Purple Floss
HACKLE – Snipe


STEP 1 Select your hackle. Mine is taken from the edge of wing, where it joins the body. Then prepare it by removing the downie fibres from the base.
STEP 2 Attach the thread and tie the hackle on top of the hook as shown. Taking the thread to the point shown, if you are dressing it the Traditional Scottish style.
STEP 3 Moisten the floss and tie it in, taking the thread back to the shoulder. To keep the fly a little slimmer I have split the floss down to approximately 2/3rd diameter here.
STEP 4 Wind the floss to the shoulder and tie off.
STEP 5 Wrap the hackle and tie off. Here I have taken two turns of hackle which is the most I would give this fly.
STEP 6 Finally, form a small head, whipfinish and varnish for the completed fly.

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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