Sunday, February 21, 2010

Mopping up exercise: a last few spiders.

I'll bring a conclusion to this north country spiders theme with a few recent tyings (which may be familiar already to members of

Winter Brown 
Hook: Mustad R50 #14,16
Silk: Pearsalls red, well waxed
Hackle: Woodcock
Head: A few turns of peacock herl
I think this is intended as an imitation of small stonefly species. It does come in handy as a generic willow fly/midge pattern.

Grannom Spider
Hook: As above
Silk: Pearsalls olive, lightly dubbed with short staple hare mask on the upper two thirds.
Hackle: Partridge neck
This is my own interpretation of the old 'green tail' spider and is equally effective with a woodcock hackle. I don't put much stock in the oft-used bright green tag which is seen on many grannom patterns to represent the female's egg ball, but have made a cursory reference to it here by leaving the bottom few turns of the olive silk un-dubbed. This one works really well paired with a grannom pupa pattern in the early stages of the hatch.


Black Magic 
Hook: As above. This is one of the patterns where a black wired hook could be used to no detriment.
Silk: Persalls brown, well waxed
Thorax: Peacock herl
Hackle: Black hen or starling neck
A Yorkshire pattern I believe, probably derivative of the 'little black'. It's a deadly fly for smutting/midging trout and grayling when tied in small sizes.


Yellow Partridge
Hook: As above
Silk: Pearsalls yellow
Hackle: Grey partridge neck
Basically the same as the previously featured orange partridge, except the colour of silk lends it to imitation of summer olives - pale wateries, spurwings, small darks etc - and small yellow stoneflies. It's an underestimated fly, but well worth having a few in the box I've found.

No name yellow partridge variant
As above but with a thorax of red holographic tinsel, lightly over dubbed with hare mask.
This is a spidered version of a copper head nymph I use and it has been effective over the last couple of seasons for reasons I can't really explain. Works very well in brisk water towards the pool heads where the flash of the red tinsel must work as an additional trigger.....

That's pretty much it on north country spiders from me. I could go on delving into ever more obscure patterns and history, but I won't because you probably got bored ages ago. What I can say is that all the flies featured here over the last few weeks have done the business for me consistently and I would recommend any of them without hesitation.....and if like me you are a painfully slow tyer of flies, it makes a nice change occasionally to knock out a couple of dozen patterns with the minimum of effort, knowing that when you tie them on the leader, they will definitely catch.

I often wonder if these marvellous creations of Brumfitt, Swarbrick, Pritt et al will still be seen on our northern river banks in another hundred years to come. I wouldn't be surprised at all.

Thanks for looking,


ssj said...

When I put a fur thorax on my North Country spiders, I usually make it pretty solid. The thought behind that (as you probably know)is to provide a "backstop" for the hackle barbules to make them less likely lay flat over the hook shank. I notice that on yours, the thorax is very sparse. The flies look like they'd be very effective, especially in slow water or fished upstream. Do you tie your flies in different ways to suit the expected water conditions and fishing styles.

Matthew Eastham said...


That's a good point. I sometimes tie them with a little peacock herl thorax in behind the hackle - as you said, it looks very nymphy when the fibres 'zip up' when wet.
The sparse thorax dubbing on the yellow variant is just to take the edge of the red holo tinsel so it doesn't look too garish.....and in answer to you question, yes I tend to pick the smaller, sparser versions for slower water and vice versa....although I don't deliberately set out to tie them that way, they just occur - natural variation resulting from the tyer being incompetent!!

Thanks for the comment,

Tony said...

Really nice set of posts on spiders. I like to fish them upstream, tied with a little "kick".

Have you read Bert Sharp's "Let's Fish the Clyde"? Some really interesting thoughts on fishing and tying wets, but very difficult to get a copy.