This week Pro-Team member Arthur Greenwood talks us through 'The Green Peter Evo 4'
Well, the season’s almost over and I’ve been looking through the diary for my most successful pattern on the salmon and sea trout loughs of Ireland in 2016. It came as no surprise to find that my Green Peter variant came out tops once again.
Originally it was tied as a dry fly to represent the big speckled sedges (Phryganea varia and P. obsoleta) which hatch on our big Midland lakes such as Lough Owel and Lough Sheelin. There, it is usual to see boats and anglers setting out at dusk on August evenings to meet with the big browns which feed greedily on the natural insects in those places, often well into the night. The pattern evolved into a wet fly and many years ago it was Peter O’Reilly who tipped me off about its effectiveness fished wet on the top dropper for salmon and trout in the West of Ireland. Peter, if pressed, would nominate the Green Peter as his Number One lough fly for brown trout and grilse which in itself speaks volumes.
I have to confess that, in common with many Irish fly dressers, I am an inveterate tinkerer with old patterns – we can’t just leave well enough alone! The first evolution was the adoption of a red seal’s fur butt. I’m not sure who came up with this idea but it certainly added to the fly’s usefulness. The second innovation was the substitution of the original hen pheasant wing with a folded bronze mallard version. Thirdly, I added a few knotted pheasant tail legs. When tested, this led to a huge increase in my lough sea trout catch rate - and grilse also find these additions very attractive. Finally I experimented with a bushy speckled brown hen hackle at the front of the pattern, which I think enhances the fly’s mobility in the water and also enables the soft entry so desirable in a good wet fly pattern.
I’ve always been an admirer of that doyen of Irish authors, the late T.C. Kingsmill-Moore and have tried to follow his thinking on fly design. Today, his Bumble series of flies is as popular and successful as when they were first developed in the early and middle years of the last century. This quotation summarises his thoughts when the Bumbles and Kingsmills were completed to his satisfaction:
“When [my] flies were examined against a northern light the Irish assortment came into its own. British patterns, because of their opaque construction, lost their hues and became almost silhouettes; but with the Irish, the light found its way through the ragged wings, trickled in and out of the gleaming seal’s fur, was reflected back from the hidden tinsel and turned the whole body into a haze of colour.”
Now, there was a master tinkerer!
Hook: Partridge G3A/L Wet Fly Supreme, size 8 or 10
Thread: Black 8/0
Rib: Oval gold tinsel
Butt: A pinch of red seal’s fur
Body: Green olive seal’s fur
Hackle: Red game, palmered
Wing: Bronze mallard, folded or rolled
Legs: Two pairs of double cock pheasant tail fibres
Head hackle: Brown or ginger speckled hen