Northwest Fly Tyer

The fly tying pages of Monte Smith

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Spey Plate 2015 – The Delfur Fancy

Posted by nwflytyer on March 22, 2015

In September 2014 I invited some tyers to participate in the 2015 Spey Plate, an annual project that I donate to the Oregon Council of the IFFF at the NW Fly Tying & Fishing Expo.

For this year’s display, I have selected a rather obscure Spey fly – The Delfur Fancy. John Ashley Cooper, in his 1980 book The Great Salmon Rivers of Scotland, documented the history of this lovely pattern. Invented in the late Victorian era, it was named after one of the most prolific beats on the Spey. It was one of the first built-wing fancy patterns to appear there, battling for supremacy against the traditional somber patterns. The following recipe was confirmed by Cooper in the article cited below:

Tag:  Silver tinsel

Tail:  Golden pheasant topping and Indian Crow, no butt

Body: First third lemon yellow wool, followed by black wool

Ribs:  Flat silver tinsel, round gold, and silver tinsel tied in the opposite direction

Hackle:  Gray and black heron

Throat:  Golden pheasant red breast feather

Wing:   Two golden pheasant tippets (back-to-back), in center married yellow swan, mottled turkey, red swan, Amherst pheasant tail (at top)

Cheeks:  Jungle cock

Topping:  Golden pheasant topping over all

Source: “The Delfur Fancy,” Jurgen Preylowski, The American Fly Fisher (Fall 1997)

The Delfur Fancy appeared in early 20th century tackle catalogs such as Farlow’s in 1908 and 1912 and Garden’s in 1917. I have included a couple of pictures in the attachment, which seem to show a fly slightly different from the previous recipe. Here is another pattern, again supposedly attributed to Cooper:

Tag:  Silver twist and yellow floss

Tail:  Golden pheasant topping and Indian Crow

Butt:  Black ostrich herl

Body:  First third yellow floss, rest black floss

Hackle:  Gray heron over front third

Ribs: Broad silver with two fine oval silver tinsels (1 counter wound)

Throat:  Brown Spey cock (or red golden pheasant rump)

Wings:  Tippets with married yellow, red, white, red swan, teal; topping over

Cheeks:  Jungle cock

Spey Plate_Delfur Fancy (11)_edited

Spey Plate_Delfur Fancy (5)


One Response to “Spey Plate 2015 – The Delfur Fancy”

  1. Frank Dalziel said

    Beautiful flies. Really interesting to note how each tyer interprets the pattern. Very nice Spey Plate.

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