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.
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
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!)
Hard as Nails and permanent markers for over body.
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
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
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.
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
So if you want to catch trout (tiddlers!) try a badger-variation, but if
grayling are your quarry get down and tie a Peccadillo.
photo: James Matthews, Ayr
December 2004 ©