The hackle is taken from the neck of the grey partridge - preferably the male bird. Unfortunately there is no shortcut to this: you need to take the plunge and buy a full skin as the packets of hackles often seen in tackle shops just don't contain enough of the little spoon shaped feathers you need. To tie this spider in sizes 14, 16 and 18, the feathers required are the ones right off the back of the bird's head and neck. By the time we are down between the 'shoulders', we are in stillwater wet fly territory and not much use for spiders at all. So get yourself a full male partridge skin - it'll set you back about 20 quid and will last a hell of a long time. Steve Cooper at Cookshill does first rate skins for anyone interested.....
Some tyers like to wax the silk on this pattern. As usual, lazy bones here doesn't bother - I find the absorbtion of water darkens the silk to my liking, giving that nice sherry-orange hue which seems to make the pattern so effective. It would be obvious to suggest therefore, that the orange partridge was designed to imitate the spinner stage of the blue-winged olive and similar; but I'm sure it has much broader appeal and could well be taken for the pupal stage of amber/brown coloured caddis, small terrestrials and such-like. Either way, its effectiveness as a summer fly cannot be denied and it rightly remains the most famous of our north country spiders.
Hook: Mustad R50 14,16,18
Silk: Pearsalls orange
Hackle: Male grey partridge neck feather
As previous posts, plus see above notes regarding hackle choice.