Northwest Fly Tyer

The fly tying pages of Monte Smith

The Orange Goshawk

Posted by nwflytyer on May 7, 2011

Orange Goshawk

The Orange Goshawk – an Irish pattern for County Mayo

(I found a reference to this fly in E.J. Malone’s Irish Trout and Salmon Flies, 1984)

Tag:  Silver tinsel and blue silk

Tail:  A topping

Butt:  Black ostrich herl

Body:  Orange silk

Rib:  Oval silver tinsel

Hackle:  Golden olive

Throat:  Jay

Main Wing:  Six toppings

Horns:  Blue and gold macaw

This is another fly pattern given to me to dress last winter. There was no reference cited, but I found mention of it in Malone, as I noted above.  The hook is a simple Partridge Bartleet CS 10/3 # 1/0.  Topping wing flies are challenging, and this fly offers no cheeks or shoulder accoutrements to “hide” the wing construction.  You’re on your own!

The Orange Goshawk is a beautiful little fly.  The jay throat – common on Irish patterns – is a nice touch.  The trick to working with jay is to carefully split the feather to

a) remove the “bad” side (the grey, non-blue side) that is not wanted, and

b) make it thin enough to wrap as a hackle.

The stem, left unsplit, is rather thick and will not wrap well at all.  Jay is small and delicate, so one must take care in the splitting process. I start at the tip and work my way back carefully pulling the two sides apart.  This is the method as described by Kelson in Salmon Flies.

I find it helpful to lay out the fly before starting to tie it.  I select and steam my crests while “fitting” them to the hook and to each other.  Then it is just a matter of stacking them on top of one another to complete the wing.  Carefully snip away the waste ends – one at a time – to avoid having one crest slip and taking the rest of the wing with it!  Enjoy.


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