Friday, November 23, 2018

The February Red... Does It Work In November?

The February Red soft-hackle fly that I found in the pages of Dave Hughes book "Wet Flies". This pattern has been in my box for quite a few years and that is because it produces. It's a simple pattern requiring few materials which are red silk, hares mask, and a grouse feather. The grouse feathers come from the wing. As seen in the photo the feathers seem to be quit nice and to be honest they usually are. There are times when these feathers are deformed, broken and lacking that nice mottled look. Some examples of these feathers are below.



Here are two wonderful feathers. As you can see they are uniform in their shape and while one possess a more mottled effect the other is perfectly acceptable. These feathers will wind on almost perfectly to create a lovely hackle presentation.


These are also feathers from the wing that are not the best. You see imperfect shape and broken tips. These feathers will not work well as they are. Do I throw them away, no I save them and I have found use for them...


The February Red soft-hackle fly. As you can see the best feather makes for a nicely shaped fly.


...now for those broken misshaped feathers. I take and select the better side. Then I'll strip the broken fibers from the stem and create a usable feather for tying.


I trim the tip so as to be able to tie it in. I'll take one and a half to two turns of the feather to create a very nice spider.


The February Red spider.


And yes the February Red fly works well in November, as it does in every month. This fellow took the fly as it was swinging through a pool.











12 comments:

  1. Hi Alan
    The February Red is a fly that only makes a rare appearance on my leader, however I always carry a few patterns in my boxes for those little stoneflies that hatch in the colder months.
    Your tying of this old pattern is superb......
    Alistair

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    Replies
    1. Alistair Corbishley
      Thanks
      Alistair I carry it and will fish it when the mood strikes me. Most times it will receive some interest and there are times when they will really take it.

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  2. Great SBS for saving less-than-perfect feathers, Alan. Next to the Hungarian partridge, I consider the Red (English) grouse to be the most versatile feather for soft hackle flies. If one is able and willing to purchase a complete grouse skin (they are quite pricey), there are sufficient smaller feathers in the neck and shoulder areas to tie ten or twelve dozen lovely soft hackles.

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    Replies
    1. William Shuck
      Thanks
      Bill the quality of the materials are always foremost for me, but price enters a very close second. As you have said buying the complete skin will benefit the tyer in a good many ways.

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  3. Hi Alan, Am I missing something? You mention Hare's mask in your mat'ls list but I fail to see it in the finished fly. I have a couple of golden plover wings that are not unlike grouse wings relative to mottling, only more so. They make some of the nicest soft hackles I have ever seen (pls excuse the self complement).

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    Replies
    1. John Dornik
      Thanks
      John it's tied sparsely but it's there. Compliment yourself anytime.

      Delete
  4. Yeah, I'd say it works just fine.

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  5. Won't argue there ... golden plover is excellent. Hard to get your hands on though; the waiting list is a long one.

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    Replies
    1. William Shuck
      Long waiting list, I guess it carries a hefty price.

      Delete
  6. Alan
    One of my favorite fly patterns is the hackle---nice job at the vice! Thanks for sharing

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    Replies
    1. Bill Trussell
      Thanks
      Bill these flies catch fish all year long.

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