Practical Fly Tying

Guest Fly Dresser and Contributor

North Country Wet Flies by Tony Downing

OK, Spiders are fished as wet flies, BUT, the North Country WETS, are a little different.

Although they retain the wound soft hackle, they also have a WING, this is simply a few fibres of a different coloured feather, set upright immediately behind the hackle.
The basic tying for these superb little flies is the same, only the dressings change.
For this exercise I will give a step by step, followed by a list of my favourites, together with their dressings.

My all time favourite is one that I call ‘Little Olive Watchet’, it evolved from the colour of flies on our local becks & streams. The dressing is :-

Little Olive Watchet

Hook, Hyabusa 572, size 14 – 18.

Thread, Pearsalls Naples, Light Olive, No16.

Hackle, A feather from the secondary coverts of a Coot’s wing.

Wing, A few fibres (12 – 16) from a light dun Hen Hackle.

Body, Natural Mole Fur, dubbed very sparse.

Instruction assumes a right-handed tier,

Mount the hook in the vice and attach the thread behind the eye, wind 5 turns toward the bend and tie in the Hackle feather by the tip, leaving it hanging over the eye.


Select a few fibres from a light dun hen hackle, and arrange them on top of the shank, points over the eye.


With the aid of a dubbing needle, gently lift the wing fibres up to vertical, and pack a couple of turns into the roots, holding them in an upright position. Trim all waste.


Continue the thread along the shank to a point above the barb. Now very lightly dub the thread with natural Mole fur, you should be able to see the colour of the thread through your dubbing. Wind the dubbed thread along the body, ending at the wing tie in point. Remove excess fur, and take thread to a point TWO turns in front of the Hackle, having lifted it into an upright position.


Now carefully wind TWO turns of hackle, making sure all the fibres lie toward the bend. Tie off and trim waste, form a small head, whip finish and add a drop of varnish. Adjust any stray hackle/wing fibres. Your fly is complete.



Little Dark Watchet.

Hook, Std wet fly, Size 14 – 18.

Silk, Well waxed Pearsalls Orange Naples.

Hackle, A dirty whitish brown feather from a hens neck.

Wing, A few fibres from a breast feather of a waterhen, tied upright.

Body, orange silk, sparsely dubbed with mole fur.

The Red Brown.

Hook, Std wet fly 14 – 18.

Silk, Pearsalls Red Naples.

Body, Rough Black/Brown Seal fur, Dubbed onto Red Silk.

Wing, White Mallard feather fibres, tied upright.

Hackle, none, but dubbing can be picked out to form one.

For this one you will need to be a bit nippy !!!!, This dressing is from a book by W.S.Roger Fogg.

Blue Dun
Hook, Std wet fly 14 – 18.

Silk, Pearsalls Grey Naples,

Body, Soft fur from the neck of a Black Greyhound,

Wing, from any White feather,

Hackle, none, pick out dubbing.

Roger Fogg writes, “ take a small toothcomb, and with it comb the neck of a black greyhound, and the down that sticks in the teeth, will be the finest blue that you ever saw

First, catch your Greyhound.

Hawthorn Fly
Hook, Std wet fly 14 – 18.

Silk, Pearsalls Naples, Black.

Body, Black Ostrich Herl.

Wing, The lightest or bottom part of a Starlings Quill feather.

Hackle, Black Hen, from the neck.

These flies can be used all through the year, on still and running water. They excel on Streams and rivers.

Please remember, as with the Spiders, DO NOT OVERDRESS.

Have fun, and Tight Lines.

Caddisman. July 08

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