H&L Variant fly tied by Barry Ord Clarke

H&L Variant fly


Heres an American Classic to tie and try over the holidays. The H & L or House and Lot as it is also known was said to be President Dwight Eisenhower’s favorite trout pattern, especially for fishing Eastern streams. Like most of the fat boy attractors this pattern should be over dressed, a little longer, larger and fatter than normal. This pattern should float high and dry, creating and irresistible footprint when drifted  over the feeding window of any trout.  Otherwise I dont know much about the history of this pattern, if  one of you do, please post a little info if you have time, it would be good to know more. Happy holidays to you all.

H&L Variant fly pattern recipe

How to tie H&L Variant fly

H&L Variant fly 1


Secure your hook in the vice making sure that the hook shank is horizontal.

H&L Variant fly 2


Attach your tying thread and run a foundation over the hook shank until the tying thread hangs plumb with the hook barb.

H&L Variant fly 3


Cut a small bunch of calf tail hair and clean with a tooth brush. Once you have removed all the shorter hairs stack the bunch in a hair stacker.

H&L Variant fly 4


Many fly tyers have a problem with exchanging a bunch of stacked hair from one hand to the other! Heres how you do it:

Once you have removed the bunch of hair from the stacker hold it between your right finger and thumb.

H&L Variant fly 5


Now place your left hand thumb against the hair and your right thumb.

H&L Variant fly 6


Once you have trapped the hair between both your thumbs keep the pressure on.

H&L Variant fly 7


While keeping both your thumbs pressed together trapping the hair bunch, remove your right index finger.

H&L Variant fly 8


Now bring your left index finger into the equation and grasp the butt end of the bunch against your left thumb.

H&L Variant fly 9


Remove your right thumb and your hair bunch has been transfered from right to left hand without messing it up.

H&L Variant fly 10


Measure your tail length.

H&L Variant fly 11


Tie in the calf tail on top of the hook shank and about half way between the hook eye and the bend. Leave a few mm of hair flared.

H&L Variant fly 12


Trim off the flared hair at an angle.

H&L Variant fly 13


Tie down the calf hair and apply a drop of varnish to the whippings.

H&L Variant fly 14


Prepare another bunch, a little larger than the first one,  of calf tail hair and tie in as shown on top of the hook shank.

H&L Variant fly 15


Cut off the flared ends at an angle again. This will give a good foundation for a tapered body later.

H&L Variant fly 16


Before you tie them down apply a small drop of varnish to the trimmed calf tail.

H&L Variant fly 17


Now run tying thread over the whole body making a fine taper.

H&L Variant fly 18


Fold the wing back and build a small support of tying thread in front of the wing base.

H&L Variant fly 19


Split the calf tail into two equal wings and tie each one down at the wing base, making a V wing.

H&L Variant fly 20


Take a long peacock herl and strip only 1/3 of the herl from the quill. This will make the abdomen and thorax tying process all in one.

H&L Variant fly 21


Tie in the stripped end of the herl at the tail base. You can give the under body a thin coat of varnish before you start wrapping the quill.

H&L Variant fly 22


Attach a hackle plier to the herl end of the quill. Now wrap the quill in tight even turns over the rear body, when you come to the part of the quill with the herl on it, continue wrapping to form the abdomen.

H&L Variant fly 23


Once you have wrapped the herl abdomen tie off and remove the excess herl.

H&L Variant fly 24


Tie in a nice brown dry fly hackle. This ideally should be a long hackle, but if you only have short hackles you can tie in two. Make sure that your hackle is 90 degrees from the hook shank.

H&L Variant fly 25


Start winding your hackle with one or two turns through the herl thorax and then forward making the hackle as dense as possible. Tie off and remove the excess hackle.

H&L Variant fly


Whip finish and varnish the head. 

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11 thoughts on “H&L Variant fly

  1. Instead of transfering stacked hair from one hand to the other, I was taught to extract it from the stacker with my left hand for tails, right hand for wings. That way its always facing the correct direction

    1. Hi FTF,
      You are absolutely right, and any good fly tyer works to those rules. But many hairs/materials, dont need stacking before tying in and as a rule, a right handed person will cut with the right hand and vise versa, so the technique does have its uses and merits.

    1. Thanks, Hydro,
      The only thing that you have to consider is how much herl to strip for the fly/hook size you are using, but that comes with time.

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