A simple but very effective (well, I would say that…I invented it!) fly that isn’t just restricted to use when olives are about. Originally developed for use at Coniston Hall where olive patterns can excel, I quickly found that this pattern was a ‘must have’ in my fly box.
For stillwaters fish it on either floating or intermediate with a slow figure of eight retrieve, although steady pulls can also work. On a river, fish it ‘down and across’ on the dropper with a slightly heavier fly on point, or on its lonesome if you like avoiding tangles!
Hook: Size 12 Scorpion wet fly
Body: Orvis Fine and Dry Blue Wing Olive Dubbing
Tail, Wing & Throat Hackle: Silver Mallard (Dyed yellow)
1. Start by catching the thread in at a point just behind the eye and run down to just before the bend in close touching turns.
2. Catch in some of the mallard fibres with a couple of turns and form a tail.
3. Lightly dub a couple of inches of the body material onto the thread (some wax may help here) with a view to forming a tapered shape. Don’t get carried away, less is better than more and when you use your thumb and finger to ‘pinch and twist’ it on don’t overdo it. The last thing you want is a spiral rope…..it will make you very angry whilst trying to create a neat body.
4. Form the body of the fly and as mentioned above, taper it so the front is a bit fatter than the tail end.
5. Trim off the waste ends of the tail fibres lash down the tips with a few turns of thread.
6. Cut about 6 to 8 mm of adjacent fibres off a nicely marked (dyed yellow) silver mallard feather. Fold, roll or ‘double’ them to form a durable wing shape and catch them in using the ‘pinch and loop’ method. Don’t get too pedantic about this (as you can see from the photos, I don’t) just make sure the tips are fairly even and that the overall wing isn’t too bulky.
7. Trim the ends of the fibres and lash down.
8. Reverse the hook in your vice, or rotate it if you have a rotary vice!
9. Catch in some more mallard to form a ‘beard hackle’, try to keep them on the ‘centreline’ of the shank. This bit can be quite tricky because when you tie them in, even using the ‘pinch and loop’ method, they want to spin round the shank but stick with it.
10. Trim the waste ends, return the hook to the normal position in the vice and form a nice head (don’t go any bigger than the one I’ve tied!). All that remains now is to whip finish, apply a coat or two of clear varnish then stand back, light your pipe and admire your tying skills.