Monday, December 19, 2016

More "North Country Flies"...."Waterhen Bloa"

While looking through the pages of Robert Smiths book "The North Country Fly" I came upon an interesting pattern with a funny sounding name. The fly known as the "Waterhen Bloa" looks to be as simple a pattern as I've ever seen. The fly a pattern of Mr. T.E. Pritt, a very well known North Country Angler. I believe the Waterhen Bloa was first tied in 1885.

The term "Bloa" refers to the color of which is steely gray. Waterhen is not available to me, but feathers from a California Quail, or hen can be substituted. The body is Pearsall's yellow silk and the dubbing which must be sparse is mole or hare as a substitute. The object is to allow the silk thread to show through.

Below are two "Waterhen Bloa" spiders. The first is tied on a Allen 102BL hook, and the second fly is tied on a Partridge classic "spider" hook.









25 comments:

  1. Very cool looking fly! I will have to try to tie a few and try them up north in the spring.

    Bob Wilson

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    1. Bob W
      Thanks
      Bob the movement will bring about vicious strikes.
      Try them.....

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  2. Alan
    With every pattern you tie, you inspire me to start learning to tie my own flies. I am looking at some fly tying sets to get started soon. Nice work---thanks for sharing

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    1. Bill Trussell
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      Bill, when you start tying you are going into a wonderful part of fly fishing. And that first fish you catch on your own fly will thrill you like no other. Go for it buddy.

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  3. Clean and with movement. Great tie!

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    1. Ralph Long
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      Ralph that subtle movement gets them most times.

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  4. Awesome ties Alan. Simply gorgeous.

    Justin

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    1. MrFishman80
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      Justin as Mark said, "beauty in simplicity"

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  5. Replies
    1. TROUT1
      Thanks
      Pete you for one knows how effective they can be.

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  6. As always, I am all over these beautiful Soft Hackles that you tie and present here on your blog. Thanks for sharing some history on this pattern.

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    1. Grandpa Mel
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      Mel I love those old flies and the history of them.
      By the way these flies are killers on the lakes and ponds I fish.

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  7. North Country Spiders are wonderfully simple but very effective flies. The Waterhen Bloa along with the Partridge and Orange and the Snipe and Purple form the "Holy Trinity" of North Country flies. Some traditional Yorkshire fly fishermen fish with nothing else all season and catch plenty of trout. Spiders have been in continuous use on the Wharfe, Ribble, Ure and other North Country rivers for well over a century and a half. That says something about their effectiveness.Some of names are very interesting and add to their charm-Bracken Clock--clock is an old North Country name for a beetle, the Treacle Parkin--a Parkin is a treacle flavoured cake made in Lancashire. The names often basically tell you what they are made from-- Snipe and Purple--Partridge and Orange to name just a couple.
    After seeing all the wonderful little gems that you tie, I really must start tying my own flies. A friend sent me his old fly tying vise recently and if I begin with North Country Spiders, I only really need to find some hackle feathers maybe from my neighbours chickens and some coloured sewing thread. Dubbing from our cats. Yes, must get started.
    The spiders that you tied for this post and other earlier ones are beautiful.
    Cheers,
    Steve.

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    1. Steve Hynes
      Thanks
      Steve thanks for the extra bits of old history. I never heard of the Holy Trinity of spiders. I could see a fellow just using the 3 flies and having a great season.
      I've got a few feathers from my daughters flock of 6 chickens and as far as cat dubbing, well......

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  8. Doesn't get much simpler. I'd love to see if these work on my waters.

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    1. Howard Levett
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      Howard I have no doubt they would work in your waters.

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  9. I have to discipline myself to keep more sparse on the hackles. I always want to tie on one more wrap. Beautiful flies.

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    1. Parachute Adams
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      Sam I generally take 2 wraps of hackle on the spider patterns. Certain feathers such as starling I may use three.

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  10. Alan I am always intrigued by the pure simplicity of your soft hackles. Do you have a preference as to length of hook or a particular hook style. I'm always torn between a hook like a 3906 short shank or 3906b which is longer. Love your soft hackles,thanks.

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    1. Brad Basehore
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      Brad I have used the 3906 before, it's a good hook but I find it to be a bit heavy for the spider, soft-hackle. I like the Allen D102BL or the Partridge Spider....the Orvis Tactical Barbless Dry is also great but it's double the price of the Allen.

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  11. This fly has accounted for many of my early season trout here in the Yorkshire dales and will always be in my fly box no matter what time of year, nicely tied. Waterhen is becoming quite scare over here but if I can lay my hands on one I will send you a wing across, as thats where we take the feathers from to tie them, my treat to you :)

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    1. George
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      George I was primed to use that fly yesterday but I left it on the desk. It's probably better suited for warmer weather, but you never know.
      I would love to have some Waterhen...then I can tie the "original" pattern.

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    2. Alan, as soon as I can get some I'll drop you a line for your address.

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