Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Yellow Spiders

I apologise for not posting lately. With work and family commitments I found it very difficult having time for fly tying and blogging. I am trying my best to finish stuff at work before I head off on holiday in Ireland with the family at the end of the month. I am so looking forward to take my baby boy home to see his grandparents and uncles and for some fishing. I manage some time for the bench today - yellow spiders were on my mine. On the last few occasions on the river I noticed a few Yellow May Duns (Heptogenia sulphurea)  and anticpate to see the Yellow Sally (Isoperia grammatica) stonefly in the forthcoming period. So I thought it would be useful to have a few yellow spiders in the box:

Yellow-Legged Bloa
Hook: Partridge, 'TWH, The Wet' Size 14
Body: Primrose gossamar
Thorax: Light olive/yellow fur (optional). I have used light yellow hare's ear.
Hackle: Light Yellow or Ginger Hen. I have used light yellow.

I believe this is a pattern which can be used to imitate the nymph or emergers of the Yellow May duns or the Yellow Sally.

Yellow Sally (wet)
Hook: Partridge, 'TWH, The Wet' Size 14
Body: Light yellow fur. I have used pale watery yellow polyrite dubbing
Hackle: Golden Plover

I bought this Whiting brahma cape dyed pale yellow several months ago which nested in drawer forgotton about.  I think it is a lovely looking cape, striking, has that dyed partridge/game look. My personal niggle is the number of small feathers on the cape. It has not too many hackles for tying size 14 or below. That aside, it will still come in very handy for palmered wets, bumbles and the sort. Anyway, there were enough hackles for a few size 14 flies and therefore tied some yellow-olive spiders for the river to give an idea what the hackle looks like: 

Hare's Ear Spider Variant
Hook: Kamasan B160, Size 14
Body: Olive Hare's Ear plus
Rib: Gold Wire
HackleL Pale Yellow Brahma 

 Yellow Patridge Spider
Hook: Timeco TMC531, Size 14
Tag: Gold tinsel
Body: Yellow silk
Rib: Green thread
Hackle: Pale Yellow Brahma Hen

This is based on an old Irish variant of a Partridge and Yellow.

Brahma Fluff Emerger  
Hook: Tiemco

Body: yellow gossamar
Wing: Tied buble style

This is made from the flue on the base/bottom of the hackle. I am not sure about the floatability but should have plenty of movement.

 Edward's Yellow Spider
Hook: Partridge L3A, Size 12
Body: Yellow sulphur superfine dubbing wound tigthly
Hackle: Primrose or pale yellow hen hackle


This appears to me to be similar to a Pritt dressing for a Yellow Sally. Mr Oliver Edwards features the above in one of his DVDs (Wet Fly Fishing) - he uses this to great effect at this time of the year when Yellow May Duns are on the water and I suspects uses it for Yellow Sallys. He usually fishes this as a team of three, on the top dropper, to ensure it fishes on or the near the water surface as possible.  He ties this on size 12, with his beloved Partridge L3A. I have a 100 size 12 L3A, by mistake. I ordered 100 size 14 and received 12s instead. In terms of the hackle of the fly, I needed to dye a cape for this and again fortunate enough to have a spare white hen cape. I dyed this with veniards yellow dye, a 1/4 teaspoon but kept the cape in the dye bath for a period of say five minutes or so. The result is a very pale yellow/primrose cape.

It was interesting to hear Edwards state how fish take Yellow May Duns, refuting some past authors' speculations or even inisting they may not be interested in them. I have personally never imitated the Yellow May Duns before - as never came across them on my home rivers back in Ireland.  I have used the yellow sally to good effect and of the opinion trout fed on them. On several occasions in June, I failed to notice too many on the water. He makes the point that such a sparse hatch appears to incite the fish to take when they come across an artifical on the water.  We may have passed the time for Yellow May Duns. The above patterns should of use for Sallys and olives. One final thing. On the DVD he commented on 'three greatest books', mentioning the Practical Angler by WC Stewart, Edmonds and Lee, but the third, he failed to say? Maybe he did and I did not pick it up! I would love to know what this third greatest book was and if he was referring to three greatest books on fishing or simply books on north country fishing/wet fly fishing. Anybody know? Thanks for reading this post!


  1. Martin, that really is a nice cape. Ideal for spiders and wets?

  2. Richard, I assume you are referring to the Yellow hen saddle cape. The fibres are soft, but maybe not as soft as you gain from a quality hen neck cape. Yet it is a Indian hen saddle cape so I always find a range of feathers at the head on these capes that could do for spiders or soft hackles. Though, I usually use hen necks for tying spiders but it was only spare one I had left for dyeing. In terms of being ideal, I would say it is ideal for palmered wets for body hackles and head hackles.

  3. I really love the Brahma Fluff you said, it will surely have beautiful movement.