Monday, December 3, 2012

Polish Quill Flies

With the 2012 season officially over I can concentrate on preparing for the next one.
This particular fly is a good start - an excellent Grayling catcher originaly coming from Poland. I was told it was first tied by folks fishing the fabled river San, where the Grayling grow fat and spoiled by the heavy Baetis hatches. As they age they develop discerning tastes, and the wise old lunkers require a special kind of fly and approach - an emerger of a very slim silouhette, gently fished from upstream so neither line nor leader ever crosses the cone of vision of the fish. The angler is granted just one pass.

The fly is a very simple one, but there are some aspects worth special attention:
  • The hook is of a slightly heavier gauge than most dry fly hooks of its size - this will help to sink the hook bend and "cock" the fly up like a true emerger. The CDC wing will keep the fly afloat, the coarse thorax will create footprint in surface film and the quill body will be sunk below.
  • The body of a peacock quill is tied over a layer of wet tying lacquer. This will make the fly slightly more durable (though still better suited for fishing for gentle Grayling than Trout with their spiky teeth). 
  • The thorax is made of my special homemade mix of Hare and Fox Squirrel hair. The squirrel is very spikey, and by itself rather coarse for smaller flies. Mixing it with hare much improves its appeal and ease of dubbing.

The tie:

#18 Dohiku dry fly hook
#70 UTC Ultra Thread, color Tan
Peacock quill dyed Olive
thorax of mixed Hare & Squirrel fur
CDC wing tied facing upwards


  1. Nice looking pattern Jindra,

    The sparsely tied approach definitly has merit and is one I subsribe to as well. I usually use poly yarn for the wing but when a slimmer profile is desired, the CDC is certainly the way to go.


    1. Thanks Rob!
      I find I like the CDC much more than synthetic yarn for several reasons:
      - it is much finer, an important factor for flies of this size
      - it is highly mobile, increasing appeal of the fly
      - it is translucent, making a better imitation of an insect wing
      - it is much cheaper, as it can be harvested locally, provided you have a duck shooting friend; the various yarns are produced either in the US or Japan and have to support scores of middlemen before they reach my tying desk

      Now having said that there are some areas where yarn can not be replaced, such as chironomid breathers and parachute posts. CDC just won't do in these...



  2. Hi Jindra!

    A really nice fly. Simplicity is something that I try to maintain in my flies as well. The best flies are often the most simple ones. I like the collar of dubbing that makes a foot print in the water surface. Most truly a pattern that will give a lot of grayling.

    Kind regards,

    1. Thanks MO,

      I appreciate you like the footprint from the coarse dubbing. I was using plain Hare in the past and only recently started to mix it with squirrel. I am most satisfied with the result



  3. An addition worth considering is a butt of pearl tinsel to represent a shuck. Beautiful tying as it is though. Pat