Northwest Fly Tyer

The fly tying pages of Monte Smith

The Pitcroy Fancy

Posted by nwflytyer on October 2, 2011

The Pitcroy Fancy is found in Kelson’s The Salmon Fly: How to Dress It and How to Use It (1895).  He attributes the pattern to Mr. Turnbull, who also originated the Duchess and the Wilson among others. Here is the dressing, as listed by Kelson:

Tag – Silver twist
Tail – A topping and strands of tippet
Butt – Scarlet wool
Body – Silver tinsel
Ribs – Silver tinsel (oval)
Hackle – Grey Heron, from centre
Throat – Gallina
Wings – Tippet (large strips), light mottled Turkey, Pintail, Mallard, and a topping
Sides – Jungle
Head – Scarlet wool

A modern Spey standard

The Pitcroy Fancy

The Pitcroy Fancy is also found in Hardy’s Salmon Fishing (1907), and the dressing is identical to Kelson’s.  One reason I’m drawn to this fly is because it is a bit more complex than the early Spey flies with their long heron hackles and simple wings of mallard.  Subtle brilliance of those classics aside, the so-called “modern” Spey flies often include the ubiquitous heron hackle (or substitute), but also wings built from several different feather sections.  This blending of styles began in Scotland with the invasion of the more gaudy Irish flies in the early 19th century .  Derivative flies such as the Glen Grant and the Rough Grouse are well-known examples.  Count the Pitcroy Fancy among them.

I tied this for a special project on a size 2/0 Harrison Bartleet hook.  The hackle is blue-eared pheasant.  The pintail is a whole shoulder feather, rather than  just a snipped section.  The wool is shredded Berlin wool, which is then dubbed sparsely on the thread and wrapped.

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One Response to “The Pitcroy Fancy”

  1. Clark Lucas said

    Have you fished the Pitcroy Fancy for Steelhead or Chinook? Results?

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