This week's Fly Friday is from PRO-Team member Arthur Greenwood, it'sThe Gosling.
This old Irish fly belongs to a group of mayfly patterns known as Straddlebugs, many of which are still in successful use today. It was intended to be fished wet, in the surface film and on no account should it be oiled or greased (an error often made these days by newcomers to the sport).
Straddlebugs in general have a cock body hackle but many old Irish fly-dressers preferred a softer feather and tended towards what was known as ‘henny-cock’ - a softer hackle possessing a more pronounced curve which lends itself to a fine entry when fished and which is more water absorbent – desirable qualities in any wet fly. The front hackle is invariably soft, long and straggly to provide a lifelike and mobile presentation. Mallard flank (often called ‘silver mallard’) is common but bronze mallard is used in many patterns, as is French partridge.
There are literally dozens of Straddlebug variants – E. J. Malone in his book ‘Irish Trout and Salmon Flies’ lists over twenty patterns. The dressing here is perhaps one of the more well-known as it originated from Michael Rogan of Ballyshannon, the last of the legendary Rogan dynasty of Irish fly-dressers who from 1833 famously tied their patterns without the use of a vice. This particular pattern was (and is) used extensively on Lower Lough Erne at mayfly time but still achieves success on Lough Melvin at other times throughout the season, fished as a bob fly in a team or as a single fly in light wind conditions.
Hook: Partridge L5A, size 10
Thread: Black, originally Pearsall’s #3 primrose silk
Tail: Three cock pheasant tail fibres
Body: Golden olive seal’s fur with a pinch of hare’s ear mixed in
(Rogan mixed two parts yellow seal’s fur, one part orange plus the hare’s ear)
Rib: Oval Gold
Hackles: 1) Red-orange henny-cock (originally Rogan specified ‘brick-red’)
2) Grey speckled mallard flank