Sal­mon fly of the month

Ross Macdon­ald rec­om­mends a re­gal young fly tied with wool

Trout & Salmon (UK) - - CONTENTS - ROSS MACDON­ALD

Queen's Killer is in­tro­duced by Ross Macdon­ald

THE QUEEN’S KILLER IS A re­cent ad­di­tion to the hair­wing fam­ily and is, to my eye at least, a lovely lit­tle fly. It was cre­ated on the Bal­moral beat of the Dee ear­lier this year, a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween gillie, David Fernie, and one of his rods, David Ed­wards. It be­gan life as a sea-trout fly but has picked up a cou­ple of sal­mon, the first of which came from Queen’s pool on the beat. The story be­gins last year when David was look­ing around a tackle-shop on the West Coast dur­ing his hon­ey­moon – typ­i­cal an­gler, never off duty. He saw a sea-trout fly with a hang­ing treble, which in­cluded a bit of pink on the hook and a bit of green in the main dress­ing. He let this com­bi­na­tion per­co­late for a while as he thought about the ideal fly for his beat. There is a never-end­ing sup­ply of hair­wing pat­terns for the up­per Dee: Crathie, Ex­e­cu­tioner and Sil­ver Stoat are all good medicine, with per­haps a small Ally’s for coloured wa­ter. David was look­ing for some­thing with a longer wing than the other hair­wings, some­thing with wig­gle that could be fished on the swing in the faster parts of pools or han­d­lined as one might with a small Col­lie. Col­lies and Sun­rays get a mixed press on most rivers be­cause they can “put fish down” or are overused thereby re­duc­ing their im­pact. I get this, but as I have said be­fore, poor cast­ing and clumsy wad­ing prob­a­bly have a more detri­men­tal ef­fect. Given my pen­chant for smaller flies, the longer wing on the Queen’s Killer may prove a use­ful ad­di­tion to my box. David’s ideas were re­layed to David Ed­wards and in no time the fly was pro­duced as de­scribed. The first ones were made with the stan­dard squir­rel wing, but I think both Davids pre­fer fox or some­thing sim­i­lar that is soft and mo­bile. There are many op­tions in this re­spect. I would prob­a­bly use Arc­tic run­ner or maybe fox pelt. I don’t know how much difference it makes in prac­tice, but I have a lot of faith in run­ner, which holds its shape well and is highly mo­bile. I might also be tempted to layer the wing. It might seem ex­ces­sive, but it is a good way of work­ing with soft wing­ing ma­te­ri­als. The orig­i­nal fly uses strands of wool for the tags, taken from three-ply, which might not be easy to source. I would sug­gest us­ing Glo-brite floss as a use­ful al­ter­na­tive. The pat­tern re­minds me of the Un­der­taker, which also has a two-tone tag (flu­o­res­cent green and red). The flash in­cludes an­other favourite of mine, An­gel Hair, with blue Krys­tal Flash. I was in­ter­ested to see a few strands in the beard hackle, which is un­usual. The Queen’s Killer of­fers an in­ter­est­ing twist on fa­mil­iar themes for late-spring and sum­mer pat­terns and I am sure it will de­velop a good fol­low­ing. We just need rain.

Tag Flu­oro light green and pink wool Body Sil­ver Lurex Rib Very fine sil­ver wire Wing Two strands pearl An­gel Hair, black squir­rel, blue Krys­tal Flash over Throat hackle Blue with three short strands of blue Krys­tal Flash

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