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erin_go_braugh6a 

Happy St Patricks Day to my friends and visitors!!! 

   Breac à linne, slat à coille is fiadh à fìreach – mèirle às nach do ghabh gàidheal riamh nàire.
a fish from the river, a rod from the woods and a stag from the mountain , thefts ne’er a Gael was ashamed

                                                                                            …an old gaelic proverb….

 

                …”Erin Go Braugh”or “Ireland forever”, is my own version of a pattern  based on a classic style “carron” salmon fly. “Carron” is thought to be an old Gaelic word, a name used for a “shrimp or prawn”, its also a section of a river with the same name…whatever its precise origin, it is a popular imitation fly pattern of a species of  food for Atlantic Salmon & Steelhead …a fly pattern that has been made in many different styles and has been tied for centuries in Ireland and Scotland to “try and convince a fish to come ashore for supper”… I named it what I did in deference to my Irish friends that shared this pattern with me originally…and being of that descent , it is a friendly way to say thank you.

             I think this pattern is pretty unique in its appearance…this and a few other pics remind me of a “bird of prey” in flight…with its wings in a downward stroke…somehow the wood duck feathers morphed into a pair of hawks wings, ready to catch a nice steelhead!  indeed, art does truly imitate life  in more ways than one…being a true  “double entendre”, a fly pattern meant  to fool a fish into taking a bite, and  a creation of feathers that looks like a raptor aloft…all made by human hands with assorted materials…the essence of fly tying and angling…

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… this is the same “bug” tied with rooster hackle for the tail, dyed red…this picture reminds me a of a “bird of prey”in flight with its wings in a “down stroke”…I used a darker brown color wool for the dubbing too…this is the fly used for the SBS below…

             This pattern uses a method I call “three feather”, where I only use three feathers, hence the name…in this case two from a wood duck, for the wings, and one from a goose, the tail…there is also some buffalo dubbing for the body, however sometimes with this style I use a hackle feather for the tail and dont trim away any down, then tie it down on the shank  to act as the dubbing too…giving an interesting look, and super simple …I also use what I call a “cheater wing”, this is using the wing  feather to act not only the upper wing, but also for the veil or “drops”. This is done by positioning the upper wings, then splitting off some barbs before final tightening thread on the head…giving double useage and imitating the shrimps legs…This pattern  is being used by some friends as I type this, fishing  for Atlantic Salmon, that are making  their annual sojourn up “The River Dee” from the ocean… good luck lads!   

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…here with a dyed blue goose quill for the tail…

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                       and with a yellow dyed quill…this color is ” the real dope” for steelheads in spring & summer…the size head shown here is optimal, small is best in this style …but requires leaving a bit of room behind the eye when tying on the dubbing and wings, so the thread dosen’t pile up, making the head get too big…

                 The patterns I am listing here from my own vise, and material cache…some are new creations, and some are re-worked or really old ones too. All focusing on using “homegrown” materials…that term “homegrown” refers to either feathers or fur collected from game harvests, livestock or any humane method that gives you ingredients for tying flies with other than store bought stuff.

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    …”indeed, art does truly imitate life  in more ways than one”…

            This tie is probably the best out of the batch, maybe 21st  0r 22nd out of 24, I actually ran out of hooks getting it just right…I will trim all the tails like the length here…the throat or “drops” have the right proportion too, half between the tail and hook. The ribs came nice an even too, the dubbing is the right thickness…something that can really make a huge difference on everything, especially how the wings lay down. The head is the right size, and the wings are even and lay down good…its easier to trim lengths after the fact, than trying to water them and make them grow longer…to really get a pattern down you need to tie at lest 10-15…then come back a week later and you would be surprised at how much the results are  improved when you try it again…

                       Lots of times I dont even see this stuff until I take some pictures…those digital cameras are very unforgiving! We all get a bit carried away with “super details” sometimes…dont get sloppy, and imagine every drift or cast will be the one that does it, and expect something too. I think that has more to do with it than anything most times…and try to match the natural food chain, colors to the sunlight and water color & depth…shallow and faster water is very different than darker and deeper…in my experience fish are more aggressive on the super sunny days, but are easier to catch on the cloudy…darker and more demure on the clouded…and the colors on those bright sun shiny ones…on the cloudy days the natural/demure color materials really do great…

          Occasionally there are some added items from shops etc…I jokingly refer to them as the “little baggies”, but it is kept to a bare minimum…personally I try to only use hooks and thread I purchase for these special patterns…I still tie stuff with the other items mentioned…and enjoy that too, there are somethings that just cant be found in “my neck of the woods” that can make some really special flies…but this page is for the more “organic” variety…

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                   This is the same tie using a few different materials…a proper salmon hook…with a down turned eye …also some gadwall flanks here instead of “the woodie”. The longer hook and the gadwall make a very different appearance. This is the more traditional way of tying this imitation, except it still has a tail, something not present with the versions from Ireland etc…The gadwall has longer barbs, and hangs down some more, also it is a bit darker…most “euro” style ties use dyed mallard …I like to use materials natural, whenever possible…letting nature pick the hues, but dying stuff can be pretty cool too…I dyed some “yard bird” for a few of these…with a few different materials, different duck feathers, dubbing, tinsel or wire you can create an entirely differnt “bug”…

            After a brief description on the tie and its origins…and maybe how its been used I will have a SBS (step by step) below to show folks how to tie it themselves…sharing these, along with substituting other items you have is hardily encouraged…actually I would love to see them,and maybe even make up a gallery for them in the future…these will all be archived to so you can go back if you like to see older ones…

            Some months there might even be more than one, like in the winter…I also have a few friends that will be contributing too…either angling friends, guide buddies or new folks I’ve met that share the concept of using materials found in these ways to havest trout and salmon…

        I started doing this 40 years ago…it helps me feel more connected with the creation and my pursuit…”there is nothing more fun than catching a nice fish with a pattern you created & tied”…and I can add to that with materials you harvested or colected by yourself or a friend…

below is the SBS of this pattern…good luck…wm

materials list…

a pair of wood duck feathers for wings…
 goose quill or rooster hackle for tail…
buffalo wool or similar for body dubbing…
.015″ lead or silver wire…
 

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                      I didn’t have the proper curved shank hook in stock…so I just made one…if you use the salmon hook with a down turned eye you will have a slightly longer body…I used a stainless steel hook…these are going to be fished near saltwater anyway, so extra resistance wont be bad…if you need to do this, because the hook should be a curved downard shank & eye, take some forceps and just start in the middle…bend a little, then come to the eye…and bend it where you like…

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…tie on some .015 wire…and pull it back straight out of the way…

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…pick out a rooster hackle and wax it good about 1 1/2″ down from tip…

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…give it a nice point…

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                            …tie it on about 1/8 -3/16″ back from eye, to leave plenty of room for nice and small head…this is where you can screw up the size of the head by jamming to much material to far forward already…

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…tie it down well all the way to where tail begins, trim away any extra behind the eye…

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                           …get out the dubbing material, shown here is my buffalo wool…twist out a few inches…I usually take two – three times what I want so when I tie the next one it will be ready for me already…

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                              …spin out a nice clump about 1/8 – 3/16″ in diameter…always more than you need to keep the size bunch equal, lay it up to right behind the eye and keep it on top, and tie it back to tail point…

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…twist the bunch evenly to the eye…it should take about three, remember to keep some room behind eye for the head and wings…tie it off with 3-4 twists of the bobbin…fairly snug, then trim off extra, and begin to wrap head…

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                      …start to make spiral wrap with wire around the dubbed body…try to keep spacing as even as possible, usually its about 6 turns…the shoulder here is for tying the wings to…not a base for the head…if this gets to far forwrd the head wll be too big…its probably the most important thing to remember with these style patterns…

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…tie it off with just enough to hold, maybe three twists of thread…clean up the head and dubbing at this point…

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                             …pick out a pair of duck feathers…these are non barred wood ducks, if you like darker stripes maybe try gadwall…an evenly matched   pair is important to make sure wings are balanced…

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…take your dubbing wax and slick these down nicely and to a soft point…

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…this is where it gets fun!…tie on the first wing at a complimenteray angle , thread at about 45 degrees one way, the feather the same the other way…pull out any barbs that get in the wrong place now…once the angle and length is right snug it up…but not completely…

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…do the same with the back wing, match up lengths and angles…the feathers should fold together on top of the flys back leaving a gap underneath, and a slight lap on top…take a little dubbing wax and pull it down both feathers together, joining them up with the tail…if you have the balance done well, tie it off with three good snug wraps of thread..trim away all excess at this point…and put on one half hitch to secure, and let bobbin hang…

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…pull back on both feathers gently , but firmly…trim away all that can be had at this point…take your thumb and finger off, and moisten them well…then reapply…

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…if you still have some leftovers at this point…even small amounts of fuzz(I always do, especially with shorter duck feathers), take a lighter or match(lighter works better), turn down the flame and barely touch the eye area of the hook…this will trim away any remaining fuzz…and leave the room with a very different smell…LOL…

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                         …a small drop of head cement or super glue shold finish off the head at this point…smaller heads are always best…enough to hold on the wings, and thats it on this bug…

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 …pull down some of the barbs from the wing…enough to use them for some legs…add a little wax if needed…

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…take out a pick to seperate the barbs better…

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get the final shape you want…then tie off head securely with a whip finish or three half hitches , and trim…

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…and from above showing the finished matched wings…

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…a little wax, a very fine wire brush and some patience …now drop it in the jar…and tie up another…wm