Practical Fly Tying

Guest Fly Dresser and Contributor

Tony Downing

Tony Downing a North Country man and deeply missed friend

I know practicalfly regulars will recognise the name Tony Downing and some of you may have been lucky enough to know the man.

Unfortunately Tony passed away unexpectedly on Saturday 21st of April 2012 near his home in Preston Patrick Cumbria leaving behind his wife and friend of practicalfly Maeve just ahead of their 38th wedding anniversary.

Tony was instrumental in the development and success of practicalfly and you can find articles from him throughout the site including his definitive articles on North Country Spiders and Wet Flies.

I could never thank Tony enough for his friendship and his generous contribution this site. I feel humbled but hope that practicalfly and his contribution will be a lasting tribute to a fine Nort Country Gentleman.

Tony in his own words;

Born and bred in Derbyshire, I was taught the Art of Fly Fishing at the age of 6 by a favourite Uncle, my first fish was a wild brownie from the Dee at Llangollen. The rest of my apprenticeship was served on the rivers Dove, Derwent and Wye, in the footsteps of Walton, Cotton etc.
I was badgered into fly dressing by my wife, Maeve, shortly after we were married, and all these years later I am still at the vice.

My favourite flies are, as my forum name implies, Caddis flies. Closely followed by North Country Spiders and Nymphs.

I first met Tony and Maeve on a forum day out to Farleton view fishery outside of Edinburgh and will always be grateful to Gameangler for the opportunity to have met such a wonderful couple.

R.I.P. Anthony Downing, North Countryman, Fly Fisherman, Fly Tyer and Friend

Ian Akers

Below is a step by step from Tony................Click for an Intoduction to North Country spiders


Instruction assumes a right-handed tier.

Hook, Any grub hook, size 12 – 16
Thread, Olive Uni 8/0.
Breathers, White Marabou, (front & rear)
Rib, Fine Gold Wire.
Body, Dyed Green Goose Secondary Fibres.
Thorax, Tan SLF Dubbing.
Thorax Cover, As Body.

Set the hook in the vice, and attach the thread behind the eye. In touching turns wind the thread along the shank, just before the bend, tie in 5 or 6 strands of White Marabou, making sure to keep them on TOP of the shank, also tie in the ribbing wire, but keep this UNDERNEATH the shank. Now take all the bindings well around the bend.

Select 4 strands of Dyed Green Goose secondary wing feather fibres and tie them in on top of the shank, trim waste green fibres only. NOW, keeping the fibres flat, wind them towards you along the shank, DO NOT LET THEM TWIST INTO A ROPE. When you get to the Thorax area, tie them off, but do not trim. Now wind the Gold Wire AWAY from yourself until you reach the thorax, tie off and trim WIRE only

Take the Goose Fibres and double them back over the bindings, to where the thorax begins. Select 12 – 14 fibres of White Marabou, and tie them in on top of the bindings you have just made, leave ends hanging over the eye, trim the other ends and bind down.

Your thread should now be at the start of the thorax area, apply the TAN dubbing to the thread and form a nice thorax. Now split the Marabou fibres into two equal sections, and with figure of 8 turns, fix them at right angles to the hook. It may be easier if you dampen the marabou at this point.

Bring the Goose fibres over the thorax and tie down in front of the split breathers, trim the waste green fibres, form a neat head, tie off and add a drop of varnish. Finally trim all the breathers to approx 2mm.

Your Buzzer is complete, tie it on the middle dropper and have fun


Caddisman. Feb 2008.

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