Northwest Fly Tyer

The fly tying pages of Monte Smith

The Black Prince

Posted by nwflytyer on July 23, 2009

The Black Prince

The Black Prince

When I first started dressing Atlantic Salmon flies, I was both captivated and intimidated by topping wing flies such as the Black Prince.  Stacking multiple toppings at the head of the fly and finishing it off without the head being of huge proportions seemed impossible.  The crests would surely splay all over the place and have to be held together with superglue or something!

But over the years of participating in tying classes, talking with friends and mentors, and reading the masters’ books (Kelson, Pryce-Tannatt, Taverner, et al), I have gained a little confidence and picked up a few tricks along the way.   A Black Prince, a Duchess, a Spirit Fly (to name but a few) … all interesting and beautiful patterns that are a challenge to tie and add a different look to the collection.

Here’s the recipe for the Black Prince (J.P. Traherne, pattern as per Kelson):

Tag:  Silver twist and dark yellow silk

Tail:  A topping

Butt:  Black ostrich herl

Body:  Three equal sections of silver tinsel (flat) butted above and below, with two black feathers (back-to-back) from the nape of the Indian crow, and black ostrich herl

Wings:  Five or six toppings

Horns:  Blue macaw

Head:  Black ostrich herl

This fly is tied on a Gaelic Supreme Harrison Bartleet #4/0 hook.  I substituted melanistic pheasant feathers for the Indian crow body veilings.   A few tips that might help someone looking to venture into tying this type of fly:

1. Attach you gut loop along the sides of the shank, rather than beneath it, to create a wider “platform” to which to apply your toppings.

2. Size your toppings carefully, meaning size them so that the tie-in point of each is at the base of the crest.  This area is softer than the much harder, slicker areas higher up the crest.

3. Needle nose pliers or hemostats are your friend

4. Feel free to tie in multiple crests at once.

5. Leave room for the ostrich herl at the head and try to leave this area relatively clear of materials so that your not trying to wind the herl over a bulky, blocky mess.

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2 Responses to “The Black Prince”

  1. Great Blog! Cool pictures and very interesting post!

    Regards from Argentina.

  2. nwflytyer said

    Glad you’re enjoying it! Many thanks for the comment.

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