This month PRO-Team member Allan talks us through the 

Simple spider patterns are as old as the hills and still as effective today than they were way back in the days of horse hair or gut ‘casts’, silk lines and solid ‘Greenheart’ or split cane rods.

Imitating a host of waterborne species and the odd drowned terrestrial for good measure, this style of tying has certainly stood the test of time and, without doubt will continue to do so.  From a wee drift or swing presentation on our rivers and streams, to a slow retrieve or dead drift with the breeze on our lochs and still waters, countless fish have fell to the charms of a ‘wee spider’ that are as simple to fish as they are to tie.

I enjoy fishing spiders; although I admit I tend to do this more on running water than still, I also enjoy tying them with one or two appearing in Partridge of Redditch demonstrations and publications in the past.

This time I’m showing off another of these with the added attraction of it being a good way to demonstrate a wee substitution to using a stripped quill for the body and how to get the best out of oversized hackles hence the name; the ‘Fake Quill Spider’.

Having done ok when pressed into service this year in waters as diverse as the mighty River Tummel in Perthshire and the meandering lower sections of Aberdeenshire’s River Don, this wee fly is certainly worthy of a mention as well as a place in the corners of any trout anglers fly box.


Hook; Partridge Spider or SLD2 size 12 – 18

Thread; Grey Uni 6/0 or 8/0 depending on fly size

Rib; Black Uni 6/0 or 8/0 depending on fly size

Hackle; Natural speckled grey hen (Chevron Hackles) or Natural Partridge

UV Varnish; Bug Bond Lite (Veniards)


Tying Sequence:

Step 1 Catch in grey tying thread and black thread rib.

Step 2 Run thread down hook to a point just short of the bend tying in rib all the way.

Step 3 Form body with the thread.

Step 4 Rib with black thread in even turns.

Step 5 Take small amount of UV varnish.

Step 6 Apply UV varnish to body of the fly evenly taking care not to let it run.

Step 7 Set UV varnish, apply second light coat if required.

Step 8 Take a very sparse pinch of Olive Glister and dub onto thread.

Step 9 Form a very small thorax using Olive Glister.

Step 10 Take a small amount of fibres from the hackle feather, set length to about three quarter the body length and carefully 'roll' them around the fly.

Step 11 Secure the hackle and then trim ends before tidying up with tying thread. Note the hackle will 'sit up' due to the small 'bump' formed by tying in the Glister thorax.

Finished Fly

Allan Liddle

Based in Moray in Scotland's North East, Allan has specialises with the wild trout from the rivers and burns, lochs and lochans throughout Mainland Scotland and the Isles. A strong passion for fishing simple dries he feels there's nothing better than to see the fish take off the top, but isn't slow to fish a range of different styles when mood or conditions dictate. Although trout is his first love Allan occasionally chases the Salmon, Grayling stocked fish and even dabbles in salt water when the chance arises.

Allan has also represented Scotland at international level, is a GAIA qualified trout instructor and a has been a regular contributor to Fly Fishing and Fly Tying Magazine for almost twenty years. Allan’s love of fly tying spans almost thirty years and has been a regular at many tying demonstrations and work shops prior to, and since joining the Partridge Pro-Team in 2013.

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