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 4,  Issue 10                                                                October 2003

MALLARD MINNOW

Fly, Text, and Photography by Bob Ireton

In the March 1985 issue of Fly Fishing Magazine, the Mallard Minnow was referred to as an 'old fashioned soft-hackle streamer'. I really couldn't find much information about this fly in all my reference material. Nothing in the pattern books, and I don't think it is carried in the fly shops anymore. I remember some of the veteran fly fisherman spoke highly of this fly, though. It looks like a nice minnow imitation to me.

The most difficult aspect of this fly is finding nice Mallard flank feathers. Luckily, I had a supply that I harvested from a fresh skin someone obtained while hunting. The actual tying process is rather simple. Fish this pattern just like any other streamer that is a minnow imitation.



MATERIALS
.
Hook - Daiichi 1750, Mustad 9674, Orvis 0167, TMC 9395, or most any 4X
streamer hook.
Size - 12 to 1/0.
Thread - 6/0 Black.
Weight - .025 lead wire.
Body - 2 pairs Mallard flank feathers.

TYING STEPS - click on pictures for larger view

1 - Place the hook properly in the vice, and bend down or rollover the barb, if desired. Attach the thread behind the eye of the hook, and lay on a base of close wrapped thread rearward, stopping above the barb. Tie a half hitch.. Mallard1.jpg (14432 bytes)
2 - You will need to weight this fly because the Mallard flank feathers are buoyant. Apply the lead wire to the mid section of the hook shank, leaving room on each end of the lead to form a thread ramp. You want the weight to cause the finished fly to ride in a horizontal plane, like a minnow. Mallard2.jpg (15430 bytes)
3 - Build a ramp of thread on each end of the lead, and cover the lead wraps with thread in the process. Bring the thread forward, and tie a half hitch. Apply head cement to cover all the thread. Mallaed3.jpg (16583 bytes)
4 - The pair of Mallard flank feathers should be of equal size, coloration, and barring. When observing a pair of feathers from above, the cupped surface should be facing inward, as the tips fall inward and downward. You need two matching pairs for the fly. Mallard4.jpg (23878 bytes)
5 - The two matching flank feathers for the side of the fly facing the tyer will fit closely together, and look like the picture example. Mallard5.jpg (21250 bytes)
6 - We will do the pair on the back side first. Line the two feathers for the back side together. We want the feathers to become more compact and tightly fitting within each other. Do this by wetting your fingers with clean water, and stroke the feathers from the shaft to the tips. They will look as pictured. Note: do not use your mouth to dampen the feathers, because you don't know what might be on them! Mallard6.jpg (21341 bytes)
7 - Place the feathers against the back side of the hook. You want the tips to extend approximately 3/8 inch past the hook bend. If they extend much beyond this, the fish will 'short strike' the fly. Initially, let the feather tips extend slightly beyond this amount. Secure the feathers using a couple of soft loops, then carefully pull the feathers forward till 3/8 inch extends past the hook bend. Secure with several more firm wraps of thread, and leave working thread hanging in place. Mallard7.jpg (33865 bytes)
8 - Snip off the butts of the feathers, and tie a half hitch. Take the pair of feathers for the front side of the fly, and prepare them as you did the pair used on the back side by moistening your fingers with water, and stroking the feathers together and rearward. Mallard8.jpg (27009 bytes)
9 - Lay the pair of flank feathers against the front of the fly, and attach in the same way you did the back side. Snip off the feather butts, and form a thread head. Tie a half hitch on the head next to the feathers, then tie a whip finish knot going forward to give a strong and attractive result. Snip off the working thread, and put head cement on the head. Mallard9.jpg (22873 bytes)

 

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