Fly Friday #97 Bradshaw's Fancy by Stevie Munn

This week's Fly Friday is from PRO-Team member Stevie Munn, it's Bradshaw's Fancy...

This unusual fly was first given to me when I was very young by a fantastic local angler that we all called Old Matt, his real name was Mr. Matthew Houston, he was a local fly fishing legend when I was growing up on the rivers that we fished.

Matt was an innovative angler and he was the only angler I ever seen that fished up to eight flies on his cast, these where not tied on using conventional droppers but some sort of knot that put them directly on his leader (I have no idea of the knot he used ). Matt had a twitch when he retrieved his flies that I remember as local kids we even tried to copy to see if it would catch us as many fish as Matt, it never did.

Sadly Matt drowned on the Sixmile Water in Co. Antrim in 1981 while fishing, when the river was rising into a spate apparently slipping while wading, perhaps a fitting end to a great angler, at least he was doing something he loved when he was taken to fish the great river in the sky. The Bradshaw’s Fancy is originally from Yorkshire in England and was first devised by Henry Bradshaw sometime in the 1880s; it is still used in England, although mostly as a grayling fly, I have found it to be a good fly to use on size 18s or 16s when fish are smutting, it also works when there is little sign of any fly life as a searching pattern for trout on sizes 12s and 14s, fish it like a nymph, just in the surface film.


Hook: 12-18 Partridge.

Thread: Black or purple

Tag: Red wool or floss

Body: Peacock herl (I rib with very fine wire)

Hackle: The original pattern asks for Norwegian or

Hooded crow but a soft blue dun hackle is a good substitute.

Head: Red wool or floss like a small tag at the front.

Fact File

Stevie Munn works full time as a fishing guide, writer and qualified game angling instructor in fly casting and fly tying, he has also appeared in many angling books, magazines and DVDs and gives casting and fly dressing demonstrations at angling events all over the world. He has fished many places in the world and grew up fishing on rivers and loughs of Ireland where he often guides. He runs teaching courses in Ireland and host groups to fish in BC Canada, Norway, Argentina and other parts of the world. You can contact him via email and for more information visit