Black Heron

Partridge CS10/1 #1/0
Rear 2/3 - Flat Silver Tinsel
Front 1/3 - Black Seal Dubbing
Silver Oval Tinsel
Black Heron
Guinea Fowl
Black Goose Shoulder

A Syd Glasso pattern. Also tied with a natural grey wing and hackle know as a silver heron.

Step By Step:
Place your hook in the vice and attach thread just behind the return eye. I'm using flat waxed Uni-thread, which will help keep the thread base nice and flat.
Tie in your ribbing tinsel on the underside of the hook shank and just slightly to the far side.
Bind down the rib as you wrap back to the end of the body, making sure the rib lays flat and straight along the shank. I like to keep the body a little bit short, ending just above the tip of the point. The reason for this is simply because steelhead teeth play havoc with tinsel, and tying tinsel bodies down into the bend is a recipe for a 1 fish fly. Now wrap forward back to the return eye. Make sure you keep the thread spun flat and that the thread base is flat and smooth.
Take your silver tinsel and cut the end to a rather sharp point.
Tie in the tinsel by the tip on the near side of the hook shank. Make sure that the gold side of the tinsel is facing out towards you.
To begin wrapping the tinsel, fold it over the shank at the tie in point, which will cause the silver side to be on top.
Now wrap the tinsel to the end of the body, change directions, back to the tie in point and tie off. You can un-wrap a few turns of thread from the initial tie-in in you're starting to get a bit of bulk to the underbody. You want all of your wraps to butt up tight against one another but not overlap. This will create the smoothest looking body. At this point you should also trim off your tag ends, and switch threads to a small diameter black thread. I'm using 8/0 Uni-Thread.
Now you'll want to select a hackle feather with fibers long enough to extend just past the bend. If you're lucky you'll have a secret stash of Heron feathers somewhere. If you're like most of us, you'll need to use a substitute. The most commonly available are burned goose shoulder (also called burned spey hackle, pictured left) and ringneck pheasant rump feathers (on the right). Most of the time you'll find the spey hackle is to dense, and the ringneck is to short to dress a larger fly. Hunt around a bit untill you find a good long but sparse hackle.
Prepare the hackle as shown. With the good side of the feather facing out, strip the fibers from the left side of the quill, and trim the fibers from the quill at the tip. Trimming the fibers at the tip (rather than stripping) will make the tie-in more secure.
Tie in the hackle on the near side of the fly, 1/3 of the way down the body. Make sure the good side of the feather is facing out and that the stripped side is up. Trim the tag.
Move the thread back to the 1/3 point. Select a coarse black dubbing for the body. I'm using seal fur, which is what the pattern calls for, but angora goat dubbing is a good readily available substitute. Wrap the dubbing around the thread a few times, slide it up untill the tip meets the fly, and take 1 thread wrap to lock it in place.
Now wrap the dubbing to the eye, making sure to leave enough room for the collar, wings, and head. Don't wrap the dubbing to tight, as we want our hackle to seat itself down into the body a bit.
Use a wire brush or bodkin (.22 caliber bore cleaner shown) to pick out the dubbing a bit.
Wrap your hackle to the front. If the hackle looks to sparse you can take 1 extra turn in front of the dubbing, but remember that most people's tendancy is to overdress their spey hackle. Make sure the hackle fibers are facing rearward, but don't worry if some of the fibers want to fluff out or look strageley, especially on top.
Counter-wind the ribbing tinsel to the front of the fly. You'll have to use a bodkin to carefully pick a path through the hackle. Many people will first wrap the rib, and then follow the rib with the hackle. By wrapping the hackle first, and then counter wrapping the rib you get a much more durable fly. If a steelhead manages to break the fragile hackle stem or body tinsel, the counter rib will hold everything in place instead of unraveling.
Select a natural guinnea fowl hackle for the collar. It can be difficult to find feathers long enough, so just use the biggest you can get your hands on. Prepare the feather as shown, by stroking the fibers back and trimming the tip.
Tie the feather in by it's tip with the good side facing out. Fold the fibers on the upper edge of the feather back using your fingers and a little bit of spit. My preference is to fold the feather after tying it in, but it is perfectly acceptable to fold it before.
Take 2-3 wraps tight against one another, being carefull not to over dress the collar. Tie off and trim the tag ends.
Pull the collar fibers down around the sides of the fly and take several wraps back over the front of the collar to lock the fibers down and back. What you end up with should look more like a very full throat than a collar.
Now lick your fingers and stroke the hackle fibers down and back. You want to make sure that the fibers are well out of the way of the top of the fly so there not in the way when tying in the wing. Don't worry if the fibers are all pulled to the bottom (as pictured), many of them will spring back into place once the spit dries. If a fiber or two insists on sticking straight up, you can remove them one at a time by gently plucking them out with hackle pliars.
When selecting your wing feathers it's best if you can find one that is nearly symetrical. If not, you'll have to find a matching pair of feathers for the near and far wings. If you have it available, use a good dyed turkey feather. Goose shoulder (pictured) is less expensive and more readily available, but is often of poor quality and not nearly as easy to work with as good turkey.
Tie in your wings so they extend just a bit beyond the body, but not as long as the hackle. Set them low and tent-like. There are several methods of setting spey wings which I'll cover in a future article. On this fly I reversed the thread and set the far wing first, then mounted the near side wing.
Once the wing is firmly tied in place, carefully trim away the excess fibers and wrap a small neat head.
No good salmon fly is complete untill the head is finished. Coat the head with a nice smooth layer of clear lacquer. I used a clear nail polish on this fly to save a bit of time, but you can see how it pooled up in areas and didn't fill in others very well. Now go swingin'!

Additional Tips/Photos:
  • I've recently tied this fly using purple hackle/dubbing/collar/wings. It looks great but I've yet to fish it.
  • This is a very good fly for swinging at night. Take it out on a clear evening with a full moon and hold on!
Tied By: Brian Doelle.