Last winter I posted a very popular series, James Leisenring’s Favorite Twelve wet flies, from his book The Art of Tying the Wet Fly. What was missing was a single reference list of the dozen. Let’s remedy that. So now you have the list, a photo of each pattern, and a link to the original post with my comments. For those anglers enjoying the Christmas holiday spirit, this certainly beats the snot out of twelve drummers drumming.
Leisenring’s Favorite Dozen. “As every fisherman has his favorite patterns, here are mine…” — James Leisenring
The Yorkshire influence returns. The name “Iron Blue” (Baetis muticous and Baetis niger) is decidedly English. But here’s where I get confused. I don’t ever recall anglers in the states waxing poetically about Iron Blue hatches. Did Leisenring see them (or something like them) on his home streams in Pennsylvania? And it’s hard for me to reconcile this as a BWO with materials like claret silk and honey dun hackle. Or is Leisenring focusing on the iron blue hues he created with silk and fur? Clearly he had great confidence in the Iron Blue Wingless. Leave it to the trout to solve these mysteries — and simply enjoy the pattern’s incongruous colors with a knowing wink as you admire it in the corner of a wild brown’s mouth.
Iron Blue Wingless
Hook: Dry or wet fly, 14-15
Silk: Crimson or claret
Hackle: Honey dun hen hackle with red points, or a very dark honey dun
Tail: Two short dark honey dun cock fibers
Rib: Fine gold wire optional
Body: Dark mole fur spun on crimson silk; very thin at tail to expose silk
Tying Notes: The “honey dun” hackle can be found in a medium or dark ginger hen neck, although you may have to paw through several in search of the precious red points. I made this body a little blockier than the photos in Leisenring’s book and Sly Nemes’ Two Centuries of Soft-Hackled Flies. I intend to tie a few that are sparser, and with the gold rib. You can find a general North Country spider video tutorial here.