Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Irish oldies spliced with dabbler and ice

This was fun! E.J Malone's book on Irish Trout and Salmon Flies contains hundreds of flies from as far back as the 19th Century. I find it very enjoyable dipping into the book and seeing any potential gems. Indeed, I thought it would be fun to take a selection of lough wet flies from the book and modestly adapt each pattern - largely with a dabbler style wing and with some flash. I do like the 'Ice Head' here and think it complements the dabbler wing. I know other tyers have incorporated Ice dub, Lite Brite etc on Dabblers. So here are a few of my examples:

Mallard and Green Variant
Hook: Ken Sewada - Old Limerick Wet, Size 10
Tag: Silver Holographic tinsel
Tail: Orange dyed GP Tippets
Body:Grass Green seals fur
Body hackle: Sootly olive cock saddle
Wing: Bronze mallard dabbler style
Head: Caddis Green Ice Dub

Black Olive Variant
Hook: Ken Sewada Old Limerick Wet, Size 10
Tag: Orange Holo tinsel
Tail: Orange dyed Golden Pheasant Tippets
Body: Black Seals Fur
Rib: Fine Olive Gold
Body Hackle: Golden Olive Cock
Wing: Bronze Mallard Dabbler style
Head: Black Ice Dub

 Olive Partridge and BrownVariant
Hook: Ken SewadaOld Limerick Wet
Tag: Silver tinsel
Body: Med Olive seasls fur
Rib: Fine oval silver
Body hackle: Med Olive cock
Thorad hackle: Brown Patridge
Wing: Bronze Mallard tied dabbler style
Head: Olive Ice Dub

Torc-Lan Variant
Hook: Ken SewadaOld Limerick Wet Size 10
Tag: Orange Holo
Tail: Orange Golden Pheasant Topping
Rear: 1/2 Orange Holo
Front: Black seals fur
Body hackle: black cock over black seals fur
Hackle: Blood red cock
Wing: Bronze Mallard
Head: Orange Ice-Dub

Guinea WickhamVariant
Hook: Ken Sewada
Tail: Natural Guinea Foul
Body: Gold holo 
Rib: Fine gold wire
Body hackle:Ginger cock
Thorat Hackle: Natural Guinea foul
Wing: Bronze Mallard
Head: Pearl Ice blue Dubbing


Just in case the dabbler is a new fly to some readers, the following extract from Peter O'Reilly's book may be of value:

"The Dabbler is one of the great Irish wet fly patterns of recent times and has several variants as well. It was invented by accident when Donald McClarn of Co.down phoned a freind for the dressing of the Gosling. The fly took the trout angling competiion by storm in the early 1990s and was the cornerstone of the success of the Dromore trout-fshing teams. It is without doubt a great killing pattern when stripped fast and then dibbled, on an intermediate, sinking or floating line in a good wave. It, and its variants, have accounted for numerous big wild lough brown trout, many into double figures" (O'Reilly, 1995; p.16).
Malone, E.J. (1984), Irish Trout and Salmon Flies, Colin Smythe, Gerrards Cross.
O'Reilly, P, (1994), Trout and Salmon Flies of Ieland, Merlin Unwin Books, Ludlow.


  1. All fantastic, but the Torc-Lan Variant especially is eye catching. Great flies, Martin, really great flies.

  2. Really nice flies you've tied. It's always an inspiration digging into a good book about flies. I especially like the Olive Partridge and Brown Variant.
    Have fun putting your own touch on old patterns,

  3. Thank you Erin for your very kind comment - that means a lot. It was a lovely holiday day off work to research, tie and post. Yes, I like the Torc Lan as well. It is a very old sea trout pattern but I can see this also taking Rainbows on a sunk line.

    Thank you Jassid Man for your kind comment. Yes, I do enjoy the research side as well. What reference material would you commonly use yourself? I would be interested to hear of any notable texts in your part of the world.