Tying the Magic Fly (Pale Watery wingless wet variant)

The Magic Fly (Pale Watery wingless wet variant)
Hook: 1x fine, size 16-20
Thread: Pearsall’s Gossamer silk, primrose yellow
Hackle: Light ginger hen
Tail: Light ginger hen hackle fibers
Body: Rabbit fur, color to match the natural

I will be the first to tell you that I don’t believe in magic flies – you know, flies that you tie on and you automatically start bailing fish. This pattern is the closest I’ve found to being the exception. The Sulphur hatch is notorious for producing stillborn flies and frustrated anglers. The same could be said of the summer stenos, which have left me muttering to myself and spitting oaths on numerous occasions. The first time I fished this fly, it was a classic June Sulphur night on the Farmington. I had a whole pool of trout at my command. They rose to the fly with such confidence that I couldn’t believe what was happening. It must be magic! I treat this fly with silica floatant (my favorite is Frog’s Fanny) and fish it like a dry, on a long leader on a dead drift. The soft hackles and spikey body create a must-eat-me-now illusion that turns trout stupid. Alter the size and color and you’ve got a fine match for dorotheas and stenos.

The Magic Fly is based on the old English Pale Watery wingless wet pattern.

If there is a downside to this fly, it’s that it is a victim of the materials that make it such a success. The wet fly hackle quickly absorbs water, sinking the fly deeper into the film. Sometimes this is a good thing. Most nights, though, I find the trout want the fly a little higher on the surface. Even repeated shakes in a floatant canister and a re-dusting of silica won’t keep the fly where it needs to be. So make sure you tie up a half dozen in each size. Speaking of size, of the trout aren’t taking the fly, try going down one size. Sometimes that makes all the difference.

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The Magic Fly Rogues’ Gallery:

Brown PWWwet

 

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High-teens long, fat Farmington brown taken 7/21/14 on a size 20 Magic Fly

Big Brown on Magic Fly

 

6 comments on “Tying the Magic Fly (Pale Watery wingless wet variant)

  1. Walter Engelke a/k/a idryfly says:

    Steve – I tied up some magic flies just altered a little to suit my own tastes but I have to say they did an awesome job on 6/16 on the farmington……it outperformed my prior favorite CDC emerger I tie…… thanks for sharing this gem with us.

  2. Jack Wolbach says:

    I have seen a similar sulphur emerger pattern. It’s tied with groundhog post wing and dubbed body. It’s called a groundhog usual. I showed the fly to Fran. He did not buy the usual name, but he loved the fly.

  3. Doug DeFanti says:

    Hi Steve,
    Had very good results with the pale watery wingless on the west branch of the Delaware last week when the trout were on the sulphurs. However, when the trout switched over to the bwo we had a very tough time fooling them on our bwo imitations. I plan on tying up some of Part Torrey’s tiny bwo to try next time, but I was wondering if you tie or know of a bwo pattern in the pale watery wingless style?

    Doug

    • Steve Culton says:

      Great job, Doug, and a good question. I think your answer may be as simple as tying a Magic Fly in the appropriate size with blue/grey dun hen hackle/fibers and an olive or olive brown dubbed body!

      Let us know how you do.

  4. […] hour. From 7:30 to just past 9pm, the river simmered with rises. I switched over to dries (size 16 Magic Fly, size 16 Usual, size 12-14 Light Cahill) and took trout after trout, mostly rainbows and […]

  5. […] height. I tied up the same three fly wet team as yesterday: a Squirrel and Ginger top dropper, Magic Fly middle dropper, and Leisenring’s Pale Watery Dun Wingless on point. First cast, BANG, and […]

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