The Black Poodle
Russ Symons ties an old-time pattern that is undergoing something of a resurgence
MY research tells me that the Poodle was originally tied by John Wadham from Rutland. It is an ingenious tying, but not too difficult to tie once you have got the first one out of the way. Some say it was tied for fish feeding on shrimp, but in truth, I have some difficulty with that. In my humble opinion it is an excellent representation of a leech, which in my neck of the woods is the accepted reason why black and green flies seem to work so well. Whatever the reason, trout certainly seem to like this fly! It was a couple of seasons ago, a week or two after opening day, when I walked the bank at Kennick Reservoir. The wind still had that keen edge to it so I was wearing my standard winter fishing rig of thigh waders and three-quarter length warm coat. It keeps the wind out, yet is still loose and warm enough to fish in comfort. On the way up in the car I had wondered how I was going to fish the reservoir. I concluded that the sun was warming the water a bit, but the wind was still cold, so I wondered if the fish would be in the shallower water up near the causeway where the water might have been warmed a little. Walking the bank, as I came out of the trees I could see that other anglers had come to much the same conclusion, because there were a dozen anglers spaced out along both banks. The fact that the trees gave some shelter from the wind might also have had something to do with it! Nattering to the first couple of anglers they told me that it was hard going, but that the chap up by the bush had caught several fish. Turns out it was my old friend John Glanville weaving his usual magical spell over the fish. I stood and had a chat with him whilst working out that he was using a slow intermediate line and a black and green fly. After an hour he had caught another two fish and everyone either side of him was getting exasperated – a polite way of putting it perhaps! So on his last fish, which was a stubborn and deep-holding fish, I grabbed my camera and took some pictures and promised to send him some. Whereupon he gave me his fly and said: “Don’t move it too fast, let it sink and swing around in the current, but move it enough to keep it out of the bottom”. You guessed it – it was the Poodle! In the odd weather we have had over the past
How to tie the fly
it all again, in front of the last lot of marabou. Dub the butts and move onto the next pinch of marabou. I generally get four or five pinches of marabou in along the shank of a size 8 Kamasan B120 which makes a great fly. When you have tied everything into place and are satisfied, lift the wing and start pinching out the marabou tips until the length of the wing is near enough three quarters of an inch (2cm) long and shaped to your satisfaction. If you have got a pair of Anvil thinning shears that will make the job even easier. Give it a going over with a stiff toothbrush to remove any loose ends, varnish the head and you are good to go! trim the ends with scissors. Then pinch out the fluff from the marabou stalks – the idea is that you only tie in the stalks and not the fluff as well. Once you have got the marabou tied in with four or five hard turns of thread you need to cover those tied-in butts with some dubbing. You can use something like seal’s fur or SLF if you want, or, if you are a bit of a tight wad like me, you can roll some waste marabou onto your thread and dub that over the butts. Don’t be too tidy with this dubbing because when the fly is done you can pick it out and brush it to make a body which will flare and move in the water. This is a fly which is all about movement in the water. Then pick up another pinch of marabou and do couple of seasons, from baking hot to flippin’ awful, the Poodle has caught me fish just about everywhere I have fished. There is a surprising amount of buoyancy in all that marabou so I wrap the shank of the hook with Veniard’s 0.40mm lead wire (size small) to give some weight to the fly. Then I coat the lead with glue to fix it in place. From what I could see of the original tying it had just a small hotspot of fluorescent floss. I have simplified this by tying in a proper tail of Glo-Brite fluorescent floss, which has certainly worked for me and my pals. Once you have got the tail fixed in place, you can start on the Mohican-style marabou wing. Take a smallish pinch of black marabou and
Black Poodle flies – easy to tie and effective all year round.
Materials Hook: Size 10 or 8 Kamasan B120 Thread: Black Weighting: Turns of Veniard lead wire, small 0.40mm Tail/Hotspot: Glo-Brite floss, No.12 (lime green) or No.13 (green) Wing and body dubbing: Veniard’s Black marabou
Fish caught on a Black Poodle fly. John Glanville has had great success with the Poodle at Kennick Reservoir.“Don’t move it too fast, let it sink and swing around in the current, but move it enough to keep it out of the bottom.”POODLELEADERSET-UP To a slow intermediate line 10-12ft of 6lb fluorocarbon Poodle