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Moose Mane Spider

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As requested I’ve done a SbS for this fly, well I think the request was for all three but you’re only getting one at a time. As this is the simplest its where I’m going to start.


Hook: Heavy wire wet fly size 14.
(My intention was to use this fly as a point fly in a team of three for fishing still waters. This means I want it a little on the heavy side.)


Thread: UTC 70 Rusty Brown.


Body: Two strands of Moose Mane, one white one dark.


Body Coating: UV resin
(I use Diamond Fine you can use whatever you like. It doesn’t even have to be UV resin; Sally Hanson’s will do if you are willing to let it harden.)


Thorax: A tiny touch of grey squirrel under fur.


Hackle: Brown feather from the back of a grey partridge.

So lets get going.



Start your thread about 1 ½ eye widths behind the eye, ensure the thread is flattened and keep it flat as you wind it. Make mice neat touching turns to about opposite the point of the hook.



Take the two moose mane hairs and tie in under the hook shank as you continue toward the bend. The tips can be brittle so it’s a good idea to trim them off.



A couple more turns of thread will take you to the mid point between point and barb. Then start back. The first turn should be fairly open. This helps with the taper of the body.



Then touching turns back to the starting point. Keep the thread flat and the whole thing smooth.



Wind the two moose hairs together over the thread. Tie of with a couple of turns of thread.



Trim out the excess, and coat the body with UV resin. Zap it with your light to cure it. You don't need a lot, just a smear over the body is enough.



If the resin starts to flow like this you have too much. Wipe a little off before zapping it.



Loosely apply a spot of dubbing to the thread and wind it at the thorax.


Now the fun starts, (not for you, this is the bit where I demonstrate and take a sadistic pleasure in watching you struggle).



Take a brown feather from the back of a grey partridge, really wish I had used a woodcock feather, they are much harder to work with.



Prepare it by stripping away the fluff and stroke the fibres back to give you access to the tip



Tie in by the tip. Bend the tip back and lock down with a turn or two of thread. Trim out the tip.



Now comes the fun part. Double the partridge hackle. Wet the finger and thumb of your “other hand” and rub together until sticky. Then draw the fibres back folding the hackle in half. Sorry, but working on my own I can’t do it and shoot it. I’ve only the standard issue 2 hands. As you fold the hackle fibres back, wind the hackle. Make around 1 ½ turns and secure with the thread.



Trim out the excess feather. Tidy up any errant feather fibres.



Build a small neat head, 3 or 4 turns will be enough. Whip finish and trim out the thread.


I’ll try and anticipate some of the questions.


“Why don’t I tie the hackle in at the start as in traditional spiders?”

As the body is covered with UV resin I don’t want the hackle in the way to get gummed up with the resin.”

“Why tie the hackle in by the tip?”

Look again at the hackle stem. It gets very thick very quickly. You can really only form a wound hackle from the tip section. Either you tie it in by the tip or by the butt. If you tie in by the butt you have to hold the tiny tip. That means hackle pliers. Tools remove sensitivity. If you tie in by the tip you can hold the stem to wind. This means you have direct contact. That helps when doubling the hackle.

If you have any other questions feel free to ask. I’ll gladly try to answer. Have a go at this one, for now, the others I’ll try to get done over the next few days.




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why not strip one side of hackle ???


If I did that I would double, at least, the length of feather shaft to get the same number of barbs in the hackle.


The area I am from is the north of England, the tradition of fly tying that I come from is that of Edmonds and Lee and Pritt. To the extent that, before I moved to the far north of Scotland, I fished the same waters. With the exception of when the hackle is tied in, which I changed for the reasons stated, that is how the spider flies are tied. Doubling as you wind also shapes the hackle as it goes on. I've done it this way now for so long it is just second nature now.




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