Tying Gartside's Sparrow

By Mike Hogue

Mike Yeager's Flies of the Southwest ( For Lakes and Streams) is a book which reminded me of the success I have had fishing Jack Gartside's Sparrow. The Sparrow was a fly I first learned about from Blue Ribbon Flies and Craig Mathews. Craig fishes this fly for a variety of nymphs and has used it with great success. When I first saw the fly, I finally figured out what to do with all of those ringneck pheasant skins I get each year from well intentioned hunters. I have used this fly effectively in lakes, streams and rivers. Several of my friends have reported similar things to me after I showed them the fly.

The hardest part of this fly is figuring out how and which hackle to select. The entire fly is made from parts of the ringneck pheasant and some of the parts used are items which are normally discarded as junk. The tail of the sparrow is made of pheasant marabou which is usually found near the sides of the tail end of the skin.

From L to R: R-Neck Marabou, Church Panes, Filoplumes

The above picture shows the marabou. The collar of the fly comes from the saddle and is normally called the Church or Window Pane feather. It is easily selected from the others because it is the only blue-green metallic feather. The front of the fly is made using the aft-shaft or filo-plume. This feather is attached to the back of a ringneck saddle feather and is actually a small, undeveloped feather. ( Note: all feathers have an aft-shaft feather attached, normally these are too small to be of much use. You may use these for ostrich or tiny marabou. It is an ideal material for gills on nymphs.)


Tying the Sparrow

Hook: Mustad 9672, size 8-12

Thread: 6/0 Black

Bead: 3/32, Gold

Tail: R-N marabou

Rib: Copper Wire

Body: Natural Fox Squirrel Dubbing, Collar: R-N Church Pane, Collar: R-N Filoplume

Begin by slidding the bead up the hook shank. Tie in the tail, set the length equal to the hook shank.

(Note: In Yeager's book he mentioned that he pinches off the tail due to short strikes and to keep the hook from getting fouled up. I STRONGLY disagree with this! If you pinch marbou off, it completely alters the action. If you are getting short strikes, change the length of the hook.by using a 2xl or 1 xl hook.......Daaa!. If the marabou keeps getting fouled, underwrap the marabou by making several turns with the thread, forcing the tail up a bit.)

Tie in the rib, dub the body. Wrap the rib forward and tie off. Tie the Church Pane feather in by the middle tip with the shiny part sticking up. ( You may have to stroke the feather back and strip all of the downy stuff off first.) Make 2 wraps. Tie in an aft-shaft or filoplume and wrap. The filoplume is a very soft feather and it will break easily if you do not use care. Tie off the head.

That's about it for the standard fly. You can make some variations using dyed pheasants, different kinds of pheasants or changing the body. The following examples show you how to make different styles for different uses.


Buff Sparrow: I found a buff colored ringneck skin and this is the result, a lighter version of the same fly.

Hook: Mustad 9672, size 8-12

Thread: 6/0 Black

Bead: 3/32, Gold

Tail: Buff colored R-N marabou

Rib: Copper Wire

Body: Australian Opossom Dubbing, Collar: Buff Colored R-N Church Pane, Collar: Buff R-N Filoplume

 

Lady Power Fly: Yeager lists this fly as one of his most effective flies in windy conditions. He used Arizona Sparkle dub for the body, I used Glister from Venaird's. You may wish to try Lite Bright or chopped Angel Hair spun in a loop. The fly looks like a killer to me.

Hook: Mustad 9672, size 8-12

Thread: 6/0 Black

Bead: 3/32, Gold

Tail: Red Aunt Lydia's Sparkle Yarn

Rib: Copper Wire

Body: Peacock Glister or Arizona Sparkle Dubbing, Collar: Colored R-N Church Pane, Collar: R-N Filoplume

Green Power Fly: This is a green version of the sparrow from Yeager's book. It is basically a damsel or dragon nymph pattern. My preference is to make the tail longer and fuller for more action. I used seal fur for the body, but you can use angora goat if you wish. I also used a dyed golden pheasnt for the feathers since I didn't have a green pheasant.Yeager also makes the same fly in olive.

Hook: Mustad 9672, size 8-12

Thread: 6/0 Black

Bead: 3/32, Gold

Tail: Green strung marabou

Rib: Copper Wire

Body: Highlander Green Seal Fur, Collar: Dyed Green Golden Pheasant Church Pane, Collar: Golden Pheas Filoplume

Mike's Orange Sparrow: For fun, I made the same fly in Hot Orange to show you how to use different colors of dyed golden pheasant skins. While I am not a steelheader, I suspect this would be a great fly for steelhead. I am going to fish this one for bluegills and smallmouth.

Hook: Mustad 9672, size 8-12

Thread: 6/0 Black

Bead: 3/32, Gold

Tail: Orange Golden Pheasant Marabou

Rib: Copper Wire

Body: Hot Orange Seal Fur, Collar: Dyed Orange Golden Pheasant Church Pane, Collar: Golden Pheas Filoplume

Tragopan Sparrow: I used some tragopan pheasant and made a rust colored sparrow. Note that the marabou has 3 natural colors!

Hook: Mustad 9672, size 8-12

Thread: 6/0 Black

Bead: 3/32, Gold

Tail: Tragopan Pheasant Marabou

Rib: Copper Wire

Body: Rust Squirrel Dubbing, Collar: Tragopan Eyed Church Pane, Collar: Tragopan Pheas Filoplume

Other variations: Olive, Golden Pheasant & Yellow, Red, Purple, Black etc........ I think you get the idea. If you need help selecting materials, I carry most of this stuff if you need it! My whole point was to show you one fly and how to change it somewhat to make new patterns. Mike


 



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