Leisenring’s Favorite Twelve Wets: Pale Watery Dun Wingless

We see the North Country influence again in Leisenring’s Pale Watery Dun Wingless. Leisenring chose the noun dun wisely, as this is clearly more adult than emerger — heck, you could even go spinner. It’s a far different pattern than the Pale Watery Wingless (AKA The Magic Fly) I tie; my version is more Usual than Poult Bloa, and I use it almost exclusively for the emerger stage. For Farmington River anglers, the Pale Watery Dun Wingless has Light Cahills written all over it, and I know of a certain pod of trout on a certain stretch of river that will be driven absolutely out of their minds by this fly on an early June evening.

Pale Watery Dun Wingless

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Hook: Dry or wet fly, 12-14
Silk: Primrose yellow
Hackle: Pale honey dun
Tail: Two or three pale honey dun cock fibers
Body: Natural raffia grass, lacquer optional
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Tying Notes: A light ginger hen neck makes a lovely pale honey dun. Use it for the hackle and the tailing material. I went all in on authenticity and bought a bundle of raffia grass online; you’ll need to strip or cut a strand so it’s about 1/16th of an inch wide. Treat it like tinsel: attach behind the hackle, wind to the tail, then back, making a nice segmented body. I can’t imagine this fly would last without some kind of lacquer, so I used Sally Hansen’s HAN. If you don’t want to bother with raffia grass, the fish will not object to straw colored silk or thread or even Swiss straw. You can find a general North Country spider video tutorial here.

Leisenring’s Favorite Twelve Wets: Black Gnat

Holy North Country spider, Jimbo! The Yorkshire influence comes through loud and clear on this American classic. I’ve not yet tried the Black Gnat for the late summer black caddis hatch on the Housatonic (it’s been the very well-received Black Magic) but this pattern would surely be eaten. I like the contrasting head on the Black Gnat, and the use of iridescent feathers. Think a steelhead would eat this fly? One way to find out…

Black Gnat

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Hook: Dry or wet fly, 14-15
Silk: Crimson or claret
Hackle: Purplish black feather from the shoulder of a cock starling
Body: Black silk or two or three fibers from a crow’s secondary wing feather
Wings: Dark starling optional
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Tying Notes: If you have a starling skin — and you should if you’re serious about soft hackles — you can easily find the kind of metallic feather Leisenring specifies. The body is way sexier with the feather fibers — it creates the effect of silk dusted with a fine fur. I don’t have crow, so I used jackdaw. I see no need to complicate this fly with wings. So there it is. You can find a general North Country spider video tutorial here.

TGIF Currentseams Odds & Ends

Those paying attention to this sort of thing will notice that we have reached and passed the 700 followers mark. So it’s time for a celebration fly giveaway. Thank you, everyone, for your loyal readership. Details to come shortly!

If you’re a member of the Cape Cod Flyrodders, I’ll be speaking at your meeting next Thursday the 21st. The topic will be Targeting Big Stripers From The Shore: Fly Fishing Tactics and Techniques. If you’re a Currentseams follower, please let me know.

I’ve gotten a lot of praise for my Housy piece in the current issue of Eastern Fly Fishing. Thanks for all your kind words. The Farmy piece for the same pub is in the can, out later this year.

I hope you’ve been enjoying my recent intensive series on North Country spiders and (still ongoing) James Leisenring’s favorite wingless wets and soft hackles. It’s a good warmup exercise for my wet fly gig at Legends next Saturday.

Finally, I went striper fishing Wednesday night. One touch, no hookups. But it’s coming.

Tight lines and good fishing karma to all.

The big girls will be showing up soon.

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My Favorite North Country Spiders: the Winter Brown

Best is relative, but if I were compiling a list of the best North Country spiders, the Winter Brown would be near the top. While legacy fishers of this fly may have intended it to represent a stone fly, the Winter Brown is for my purposes a caddis imitation (and the trout have agreed on occasions too numerous to mention). Much to like here, including a not-so-common hackle feather and the delectable secret sauce that is peacock herl.

The Winter Brown

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Hook: Wet or dry fly, 12-16
Silk: Orange
Head: Peacock herl
Hackle: Woodcock under covert

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Tying notes: The head is tied in first (I tied this fly “wrong” for years). Two or three close wraps are all you need. Next, attach the hackle, then wind it rearward, secure, and clip. Stroke the hackle fibers toward the head (this makes it easier for you to construct the body), then wind the body with two layers of silk. Tie off just behind the hackle, and stroke the fibers back to their natural position. You can find a general North Country spider video tutorial here.

Thank you, LITU — and future currentseams content

What a great job last night by the Long Island chapter of TU. The presentation was “Wet Flies 101,” and the post-talk Q&A session was one of the best I’ve had in all the years I’ve been doing this. So nice to see some familiar faces, and to make new acquaintances.

I have been remiss in bringing you more meaningful content — hey, I have a life, too — but my hope is to get back to more reports, articles, videos, and useful information. Some of my diagrams need updating. Even if it seems like days, months, or years go by, I’m not ignoring your requests, and I appreciate it when you send me a note asking for a particular fly video or tactical explanation — or just to say hello.

As a burger and beer snob, I can give you my full endorsement for Black Label Burgers in Westbury, NY. Three words: Yum. Yum. Yum.

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