The Famous Grouse
Inspired by my sons first hunting trip and the beautiful feathers from the female black grouse he shot. In this simple wet fly tutorial I have tried to include as many classic wet fly elements as possible. Tail, tinsel body, oval tinsel rib, palmered body hackle slip wing and throat hackle, but keeping the colours simple.
Thor Edward on a very successful first days hunting, here with a female capercaillie the largest member of the grouse family. One of these birds has enough material to tie flies for fishing, for many many years…
Hook: Mustad S60NP-BR # 8
Tail: Speckled fibres from grouse body hackle
Wing: Slips from two matching grouse tail feathers
Body: Flat silver tinsel
Rib: Oval silver tinsel
Throat hackle: Grouse saddle hackle
Body hackle: Grizzle variant
Cheeks: Jungle cock
Secure your hook in the vice, attach your tying thread and cover the whole hook shank with a foundation of thread.
Tie in a small bunch of speckled fibres from a grouse body hackle. This should be approximately the same length as the hook gape.
Now cut a 10 cm length of oval silver tinsel and tie this in at the tail base. Try all the time to keep the wraps of tying thread to a minimum and the underbody as parallel as possible.
Now cut a length of flat silver tinsel and tie this in onto of the rib at the tail base. Run the tying thread forward towards the hook eye again keeping the wraps as even as possible.
Before you start wrapping your tinsel body give the hook shank a fine coat of fine varnish. This will strengthen the body. Wrap the tinsel in nice even turns until you reach the hook eye and tie off.
Select a grizzle variant cock hackle and prepare this by removing the fibres at the base of the stem. Tie in the hackle at 90 degrees to the hook shank.
Make 5 or 6 evenly spaced wraps of the hackle back towards the tail. Once at the tail while holding the hackle in place with one hand make a turn on oval tinsel to catch the hackle and hold it in place. Continue up the hook shank with the tinsel making the same amount of turns of tinsel as hackle. Tie off the tinsel.
Select a nicely marked saddle hackle from the grouse and prepare as shown.
Before you tie in the throat hackle carefully trim off the grizzle hackle tip at the tail and the excess tinsel rib. Tie in the hackle again at 90 degrees to the hook shank.
Wind the throat hackle, make sure that you take your time and get all the fibres flowing the same way and evenly spaced around the hook. Tie off.
Take a matching pair of grouse tail feathers one from each side of the tail and cut out to similar sized slips for the wing.
Match the two slips back to back and tip to tip, make sure they are also the same breadth. Holding them in one hand measure the wing length.
Make a turn of tying thread and secure the wing in position. While holding tension on the tying thread with one hand adjust the wing if necessary with the other. Secure with two more turns of thread.
Trim off the excess wing and secure trying to keep the head small.
Select two small jungle cock eyes of the same six and tie one each side of the wing.
Trim off the jungle cock stems and whip finish. Give the head a nice coat with glossy black varnish. Take your time with the varnishing and give it several coats if needed, many good fly tyers fall short in this department!