Swedish version


Matthews' Peccadillo
James Matthews

Matthews' Peccadillo, by James Matthews

  All fish, especially grayling, have their little peccadilloes and one is the inability to resist this caddis imitation. It is a generic hydropsyche representation, but it doesn't end there and I make no apologies for the addition of another caddis pattern. All flyfishers like to have a few secret flies for when the going gets tough, a panacea for any situation. This is one such fly.

  Almost ten years ago I had the pleasure of watching Oliver Edwards tying in Glasgow and was infected with enthusiasm to try some of the weaves he demonstrated. Oliver seems to have a weave for every day of the week, and perfecting them is a fiddly and often frustrating business, but the results make it all worthwhile. With all weaving (in fact all flytying!) there will be mistakes and also surprise successes, but with practice even the least nimble-fingered tyer can master the art.

  The pattern for this fly evolved over a period of months, as I continually refined my ideas and experimented using different weaves and materials. The fly you are about to tie is a basic over-hand knot weave; if you can tie a knot, you can tie this fly.  I was delighted with the way the weave gave me one colour on the dorsal  and the other on the ventral side. Once I was happy with the basic profile of the fly I looked for ways to incorporate gills. I thought of my original organza gilling technique but discarded it in favour of a variation which gives tails, gills and segmentation of the body all courtesy of organza, while avoiding the need for unnecessary thread wraps.

  For this fly you will need:

  Body: Flexifloss, Spanflex etc.
Recommended colour combinations: light & dark olive, brown & yellow, black & cream, claret & light brown, lime green & black - with the 40 or so colours available the combinations are endless! The materials take dye readily, so white can be dyed using Dylon or stroked with a permanent marker.

Sparkle organza in white - as well as the body segmentation spirals, this is also used for tails and gills. Alternatively, the body segmentation and gills can be achieved using marabou, peacock, foxtail or cdc - just use your imagination!

  Thread: Powersilk, Dyneema or any GSP.

  Underbody: Jan Shiman square lead in red and white. This comes in various diameters and is colour-coded.

  Legs: Golden pheasant centre tail or Amerhurst tail or fine rubber legs, hot-tip cauterised.

  Hook: Years ago I tied this on a basic grub hook, eg B100, B110, YK4a etc and these work fine but a current favourite is the Partridge Czech nymph hook, size 12 for this example, but larger sizes will work well.

  Thorax: Flytyers Designer Skin or any fine latex (condoms, sausage skin, surgical gloves - Phil has plenty!)

Megashine, Hard as Nails and permanent markers for over body.

  Tying instructions

  Put your hook in the vice and tie on your thread just behind the eye. Wind on to a position round the bend, 1mm past being parallel with the eye of the hook. Wind back almost two thirds of the way back towards the eye. With Jan Shiman square lead (red) catch on at the very side of the hook and secure it to the side of the hook with thread wraps. Don't allow the lead to slip to the underside as you wind back to the end of the fly. Wind the thread back to the position two thirds of the way towards the eye, then repeat to add lead to the other side. Two thread wraps of Powersilk will nip it cleanly.

  Take a dozen or so organza fibres, about 6 inches in length, and tie on on top of your thread wraps, binding all the way down to the end of the lead. Leave about an inch hanging - this will form your tails and snip off the waste tags. The extra organza on the top of the lead and thread windings will help as an additional bit of padding. If you have any lumps and bumps, go over them to smooth them out with your thread.

  Tie on the white Jan Shiman lead, again on the sides of the fly, covering the third closest to the eye. Then catch a strip of Flexifloss or Spanflex and wind down to the bend. Catch another, lighter coloured strip on the other side and tie in securely. Wind your thread back up to the eye, whip finish and tie off. Snip off your thread.

  Position your vice so that it is facing you and prepare to weave!

  Put light over dark and tie a knot. Split your colours and put the dark over the hook eye, snug tightly to the base end of the fly. Repeat three times, the last time leaving the flexifloss fairly loose, not pulling tight, to leave an open loop at either side. Then you're ready to gill.

  Take 6-8 organza strands, again about 6 inches long. Moisten the very tip and feed through the right hand side loop. Come over the hook and feed through the loop on the left hand side. Catch your two strands of Flexifloss and pull tightly. Pull down on the organza you have just tied in. This secures the segmentation and it should  be in two fine rows on the underside of the fly. Hold the organza strands and snip to 2-3mm.

  Depending on preference and materials used, you can now either alternate weave and organza, or weave twice then organza and continue to the start of the thorax section, almost opposite the point of the barb.

  Catch on your thread again and bind down the darker colour of Flexifloss which should be on the dorsal side. Snip off the waste tag. Cut a strip of Flytyers Designer Skin, 4-6 mm wide, and bind down back towards the beginning of the thorax section. Then advance your thread to the hook eye. You are now ready to wind on with the remaining Flexifloss tag. Wind on in spirals, covering the thorax section. Tie off securely and snip off the waste tag.

  With your thread hanging just behind the hook eye, take a piece of coloured thread. Don't attach it to anything. Use the coloured thread as a  horizontal loop round the GSP, hold both ends of the coloured thread and move your hand back so that the GSP lies along the underside of the fly. With your other hand, wrap the GSP a couple of times round the beginning of the thorax. The coloured thread has done its job of transporting the GSP to the desired place without thread wraps showing the journey, and can simply be pulled out and discarded.

  Spiral forward and tie in your Veli Autie legs, pull over your Flytyers Designer Skin thorax and tie off. Whip finish and snip off the tag. Stroke the back with a Pantone or Edding permanent marker, not Kurecolour, as it tends to go green when you add varnish.

  Coat with Hard as Nails and Megashine. Make sure you have the patience to let it dry before you dash out to fish it. It's a graylingtastic pattern, and one that's rarely off my point fly.


 A few years ago, at the tail end of the trout season, I had completed an earlier incarnation of the Peccadillo and rushed down to the river, desperate to try it out. In my excitement and naivety I attached three of them in various colours to a standard Czech nymph rig. Although the Peccadillo is a reasonably heavy fly it's not so heavy. I thought the conditions were just about right and proceeded to work upstream, Czech nymphing in my own inimitable fashion.

  Sometimes you just know when someone is watching you. As I worked my way up to a favourite spot, I was conscious of a figure behind me, watching my every move. As I made my way towards the grayling zone, I could hear this character hurling expletives at me. "You're scaring the fish!" he cried.. "Grayling!" I shouted back. The Old-timer was fishing down and across, spider-style, and although he had only pulled in two or three tiddlers, it was more than I was doing. I was blanking, seriously. A change of tactics was needed. I tied on a Maximus variation on the middle dropper and everything fell into place. The rig was heavy enough to reach the places grayling hide, and boy, did they like the Peccadillo! Soon I was pulling out grayling after grayling, while my sceptical audience watched in amazement. I managed to land thirteen within about forty minutes, and took my largest grayling to date, at over 2 lbs. I know that's far from a monster, but for the River Ayr, it was a serious specimen.

  Later I got chatting with the man who had witnessed my triumph and we exchanged flies. He gave me a badger-variation dry fly and I gave him a couple of Peccadilloes and a stonefly. I also introduced him to the idea of Czech nymphing.

  I later discovered that my new buddy was a well-known contributor to various magazines and an eminent fisherman of many years' standing. I was surprised that he subscribed to the view that grayling are nothing but rats with fins, and also that he was ignorant of a major fishing technique. If he'd only been forty years younger, I'd have given him a knuckle sandwich! I'll spare his blushes since flyfishing is a gentle art.

  So if you want to catch trout (tiddlers!) try a badger-variation, but if grayling are your quarry get down and tie a Peccadillo.

Text & photo: James Matthews, Ayr
December 2004 ©




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