The Colonel Fuller wet fly

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One of the beautiful Bergman wet flies that is a treat to tie. There is something I find very therapeutic about tying these classic wets, but if I am doing a dozen or so, in one sitting,  I become totally OCD, about them being absolutely identical. Although the original was tied with a long black quill or hackle fibre tail, I love this version, which is perhaps best known in the UK, and one of the Fly Dressers Guild Gold Award patterns, with the scarlet quill tail. I can’t find any information of who Colonel Fuller was! But if anyone out there knows a little more about the pattern, I would be very interested to know. Please paste any info in the comments below.

 

  • Hook: Mustad 3906B # 12
  • Tying thread: Black 6/0
  • Tip: Fine flat gold tinsel
  • Tail: Scarlet duck quill
  • Body: Yellow silk floss
  • Rib: Fine flat gold tinsel
  • Hackle: Yellow tied throat style
  • Wing: Yellow-Scarlet-Yellow duck quill sections
  • Head: Medium long and black

Additional info from David Hutton: Barry Ord Clarketreats us to a look at a famous, mostly unknown pattern….. The Colonel FullerHere’s one of those lurid patterns that came to be known as, “dazzle flies,” and eventually used for bass.Barry mentions Bergman, in this blog post, but this fly predates predates him by a long shot. After all, he was only cataloguing flies that already existed when he wrote his famous book, “Trout.”While The Colonel Fuller is traditionally a trout fly, it and its wet fly kin were eventually tied large and used as bass flies in the early 20th Century. Such flies had been around for many decades, and it really was no stretch to put them to uses other than just trout fishing. In those bygone time’s, bass were often caught on these enlarged “wet flies.”Remember, this was before we had Wooly Buggers, Gamechangers, Slumpbusters and the endless flotilla of big, bushy bass flies we today think are required.On a side note, the name, “dazzle fly” is derived from the eye-popping colors used – these were anything but subdued by aquatic standards.These flies are what could rightly be called “attractor” patterns!Resembling a circus act more than any living thing, they were tied pretty large to accommodate the bass’s willingness to attack bigger prey. Anything between #10 and #2 would have been appropriate, with #6 being the happy medium.The Colonel Fuller came in two versions – a wet fly and a feathered streamer, but we concern ourselves here with the wet fly.The fly itself was designed in 1894 and is basically a wet fly version of the later, Mickey Finn.According to one famous man in American angling, Mr. George L. Herter, it was… “The Colonel Fuller was a good small mouth fly with a spinner ahead of it… a better than average steelhead fly, a poor trout fly, and a fair bream and crappie fly.”Excerpts from, “The Bass Flies Of A.J. McClane,”

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