Fly of the Month

Bob Ireton brings together his experience in fly fishing, aquatic entomology, and knowledge of fly tying techniques and materials, to design and tie durable and effective flies.

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   Volume 6,  Issue 7                                                                  JULY   2005


Fly, Text, and Photography by Bob Ireton 

The Hornberg is an older pattern, like the Mallard Minnow. In fact, these two flies resemble one another, except the Hornberg is a longer fly, and has a rather full hackled collar between the mallard flank feathers and the hook eye. This is one of those patterns, like the Muddler Minnow, that can be fished wet or dry. When treated with dry fly dressing and fished dry, the tented wing of mallard makes it resemble any of the many caddis flies, especially the large Salmon fly. Without dressing and fished wet, it can imitate any of a number of the baitfish, and could be classified as a streamer.


Hook – Daiichi 1750, Mustad 9674, Orvis 0167, TMC 9395, or equivalent.
Size – 6-12.
Thread – Black 6/0.
Body – Flat silver tinsel.
Wing – Dyed yellow calf tail hair flanked by two mallard flank feathers.
Hackle – Brown and Grizzly, tied as dry fly hackle.

 TYING STEPS click on pictures for larger view

1 – For this fly, I am using a Daiichi 1750 hook, in a size 10. This hook has a ‘micro’ barb, so I leave it ‘as is’. You may mash down the barb if you are so inclined. Place the hook properly in the vice, and attach the thread behind the hook eye. Lay on a base rearward, stopping above the barb. Tie a half hitch. Now, using well-spaced wraps, bring the thread forward, stopping 1/3 shank length behind the hook eye.

2 – Tie in a piece of the flat silver tinsel. Tie a half hitch.

3 – Palmer the tinsel rearward. When you reach the end of the thread base, reverse direction, and palmer forward, forming a nice body. Stop where you started, and tie off the tinsel. Snip off the excess tinsel, and tie a half hitch.

4 – Snip a small bunch of the hair from a calf tail, and tie it in on top of the hook where you tied in the tinsel. The length of the wing should be approximately the length of the hook shank. Of course, as you tie it in 1/3 shank length behind the eye, the wing will extend this much behind the end of the shank. Snip off the excess hair, and finish tying in. Tie a half hitch.

5 – Pick two mallard flank feathers of equal size for the feather wings. Dip them in some water to make them moist. Don’t put them in your mouth to do this. Who knows where those feathers have been! One at a time, stroke the feathers from stem to tip. This will make the feather much easier to work with. Tie them in on either side of the hook at the same location as the other materials. Cut off any excess feather shaft, and finish tying in. Tie a half hitch.

6 – Select a brown and a grizzly dry fly hackle of the proper size, and tie them in adjacent to the mallard feathers so they will palmer with the shiny side facing forward. Tie a half hitch.
7 – Palmer the hackle forward, one feather at a time, and tie off behind the hook eye. Snip off any excess hackle. Form a head, and tie a couple of half hitches, then a whip finish. Cut off the working thread, and apply head cement to the head.

© 2005 Robert R. Ireton, II


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