Tying Soft Hackle Irish Mayfly Patterns
By Mike Hogue

In the spring of 2002 I was contacted by John Williams from Wales. John saw several of my international flies and wondered if I would be interested in publishing some of his patterns. After exchanging several emails I finally recieved a package from overseas marked, "Gift". What a gift it was! Enclosed was a wonderful set of Irish wet fly patterns.

John tells me that he mostly ties flies for a hobby. He does some limited commerical tying for local shops. John prefers to tie mayfly patterns and bumbles ( which are wet flies most often used in lough or lake fishing). He loves the Irish patterns because they are large, colorful and interesting. He also feels that the Irish patterns have colors that work together creating a nice light refraction that fish find attractive. The flamboyance of these patterns with the large bodies and brash style are more reasons John enjoys tying these patterns.

The patterns shown are mostly imitations of what we would call " Green Drakes". This style is useful for our Eastern Drakes and could be modified for Midwestern Hexes and Western Drakes as well. These wet patterns are mostly used on lakes and are often used together with large dry patterns such as: American Wulffs and Stimulators. I have used a similar pattern which is a wonderful fly for panfish. The large sweeping front hackles are a reminder of the spey style of flies which are wonderful steelhead and salmon flies.


In making these flies John using French Partridge and English Partridge which he gets from Cookshill Fly Tying. French or Red Leg Partridge is similar to the US chukar and the flanks are used as a front soft hackle. John prefers using full skins of partridge and he does the color dying himself. By using full pelts, he is able to select the correct sizes and quality of hackle to correctly tie these patterns.

( As a side note: I am one of the few USA Cookshill dealers and I have most of the materials on hand to make these flies. If need some help in selecting materials, please contact me. You might wish to sub the seal and the French Partridge with goat and chukar which will come pretty close. In a a pinch cock pheasant feathers would also work for the French Partridge. )

 

Yellow Widgeon May

Hook: Kamasan b175 #10

Tail: 5-6 Pheasant Tail Fibres

Rib: Small Oval Silver Tinsel

Body: Yellow Seals's Fur

Body Hackle: Ginger Cock Palmered

Shoulder Hackles: Widgeon Flank Over French Partridge Dyed Olive

 

Grey Corrib

Hook: Kamasan b175 #10

Tail: 5-6 Pheasant Tail Fibres

Rib: Small Oval Silver Tinsel

Body: Nat Raffia ( Try as a sub tan swiss straw which is close)

Body Hackle: Silver Badger Palmered

Shoulder Hackles: Grey Partridge & French Partridge [both doubled]

 

Lough Arrow Green

Hook: Kamasan b175 #10

Tail: 5-6 cock Pheasant Tail Fibres

Rib: Small Oval Gold Tinsel

Body: Nat Raffia ( Try as a sub tan swiss straw which is close)

Hackle: Medium Olive Cock [palmered]

Shoulder Hackles: Medium Olive Partridge Over Olive French Partridge Over Golden Olive Partridge [all doubled]

 

 

Flaming May

Hook: Kamasan b175 #10

Tail: 5-6 cock Pheasant Tail Fibres

Rib: Small Oval Gold Tinsel

Body: Golden Olive Seals Fur

Body Hackle: Light Ginger Cock [palmered]

Shoulder Hackle: French Partridge Over Over Orange Cock [ Both doubled w/ Orange Cock over sized].

 

French Partridge

Hook: Kamasan b175 #10

Tail: 5-6 cock Pheasant Tail Fibres

Rib: Small Oval Gold Tinsel

Body: Nat Raffia ( Try as a sub tan swiss straw which is close)

Body Hackle: White Cock

Shoulder Hackles: Olive French Partridge Over Golden Olive Cock [Both doubled w/ Golden Olive Cock Oversized].

 

 

Yellow May

Hook: Kamasan b175 #10

Tail: 5-6 cock Pheasant Tail Fibres

Rib: Small Oval Gold Tinsel

Body: 1/2 Donegal Olive &1/2 Light Yellow Seals Fur ( See below for Donegal olive mix)

Body Hackle: Dirty Yellow Cock [palmered]

Shoulder Hackle: Yellow French partridge

 

John tells me that Donegal Olive is a mix of the following colours in equal parts seals fur: Green, Bright Yellow, Scarlet, Light Blue, Golden Olive, Orange.




Email: Mike@eflytyer.com

For more Info Contact:

Mike Hogue / Badger Creek Fly Tying / 622 West Dryden Road, Freeville, NY 13068

Phone: 607-347-4946