Northwest Fly Tyer

The fly tying pages of Monte Smith

Speys Revisited

Posted by nwflytyer on August 30, 2009

I have been working, once again, on a few Spey flies.  These simple and elegant flies are a favorite of mine to tie.  I just think they look great in a display case, a fly box, and in the water!
Red King

Red King

I just set the wings on this, so the head is not yet finished.  What I have been working on is getting the schlappen body hackle to look less matted, and not too thick (a matter of preference to each, I suppose).  Employing the technique of Dec Hogan in thoroughly wetting the feather with saliva and then working the fibers apart (I use a brush to help with the job), I am getting more of the look that I want out of these feathers.

In setting the wings, I employ a couple of techniques.

1. Matching strips of bronze mallard, cupped slightly, and applied as a single unit.  Taking care to spread the wing out across and slightly around the shank and not bunch it in at the tie in point is the key for me when I employ this winging method.

2. Apply the strips of mallard one at a time.  When using this method I apply the far side wing first, holding it with a couple of loose wraps.  Then, I apply the near side wing using the far side as a brace.  They key to this method for me is to really having thread control and use just enough pressure to move the wing into place and not pinch it too much tying it in.  Once in place, you can then push down on the slips a bit and spread them across and slightly around the hook shank. Then secure your wing with a few tight turns of thread.

I strive for having the wing closely hugging the body with a slight curve downward to the body.  It does not extend much past the body.

Here’s a view of the top of the fly:


Here is a Silver Speal, with a view from underneath the fly, showing the width of the wing and how it envelops the body:


An evening’s work…

An evening's work...

One Response to “Speys Revisited”

  1. A very promising fly!


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