WHAT ARE SPI­DERS?

Trout Fisherman (UK) - - Advice -

North Coun­try, or soft- hack­led flies, are of­ten re­ferred to as ‘Spi­ders’, yet this term can be mis­lead­ing to those start­ing out as it sug­gests they’re de­signed to copy spi­ders, as in arach­nids! How­ever, the phrase is a col­lec­tive ti­tle for de­scrib­ing a group of sparsely-hack­led wet flies that prin­ci­pally use soft game­bird feath­ers and nat­u­ral furs like mole or hare, which are bound to­gether us­ing a nat­u­ral thread, namely Pearsall’s gos­samer silk. Plenty of the time-hon­oured dress­ings call for ma­te­ri­als from wildlife that is ei­ther pro­tected or en­dan­gered these days, like the tawny owl, wa­ter rail and wa­ter vole. Ob­vi­ously, if we stu­diously copied old pat­terns, we’d be po­ten­tially break­ing the law and/or threat­en­ing na­tive wildlife. We must re­mem­ber too, that in a by­gone era, fly-ty­ing ma­te­ri­als weren’t read­ily avail­able (or not so ad­vanced for that mat­ter) so those wish­ing to dress flies sourced their ma­te­ri­als from the fields and hedgerows. Back then too, wildlife seemed much more plen­ti­ful when it was nor­mal prac­tice to shoot, or trap any num­ber of dif­fer­ent species. These days how­ever, with so many fly-ty­ing com­pa­nies out there, we have any num­ber of al­ter­na­tives to hand.

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