Grayling patterns my absolute favourites

Keeping on a grayling theme heres one of my absolute favourites, Not only to fish with but also to tie. All these patterns from bygone days are remarkably simple, but still require a degree of  technique to master them precisely.

grayling flies

One of the peculiar characteristics of the grayling is that they have a preference for flies dressed with a hot spot of red in their make-up, probably the most famous is the red tag, but here are a few more, older patterns that still get the job done.

How to tie Bradshaw’s Fancy 

Bradshaw’s Fancy pattern recipe

Hook: Mustad
Thread: Veevus Red 12/0
Tag: Red floss silk
Body: Peacock herl
Hackle: Grey Cock hackle
Peak: Red floss silk
Head: Red


Secure your dry fly hook in the vice with the hook shank horizontal.



Attach your tying thread and cover the whole hook shank.



For the tag and peak, choose a nice deep red silk floss.



Cut 3 or 4 , depending on size of hook you are using, short strands of silk floss and place them together. Tie in the floss over the full length of the hook shank.



Now take 2 or 3 strands of peacock herl, the best ones for bodies are directly below the peacock eye on the tail feather. These are normally stronger than further down the feather. Tie these in by the points at the base of the tag.



Now wrap the peacock herl in tight even turns along the whole hook shank taking care not to twist or overlap them. This will give the best results.



Make a whip finish and remove the excess peacock herl. Now select and prepare a grey cock hackle and tie this in 90 degrees to the hook shank.



Now wind on your hackle in even turns each wrap tight into the previous. Tie off and remove the excess hackle.

Bradshaw's Fancy


Whip finish and remove the tying thread. Trim down the tag and the peak to the desired length. Place a drop of clear varnish on the head.

Red Tag dry fly

The Red Tag

The Double Badger

The Double Badger

The Grayling Steel Blue Bumble

Steel Blue Bumble

The Grayling Witch

The Grayling Witch

The treacle Parkin

The treacle Parkin

Sturdy’s Fancy

Sturdy's Fancy

Gloire De Neublans

Gloire De Neublans

And last but not least the Gloire De Neublans, this was Charles Ritz’s number 1 grayling pattern.

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