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A classic - Grey Duster (Variant)

 
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Lighthouse
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:38 pm    Post subject: A classic - Grey Duster (Variant) Reply with quote

As a 'go to' dry fly and a passable imitation of much of the trout's floating diet, the Grey Duster is probably without peer. A simple to tie, hackled dry fly that uses only two materials what's not to like! The original dressing specifies a badger hackle and blue rabbit underfur dubbing but, as a personal preference I prefer the subtlety of a champagne badger hackle - the contrast of the true badger I find rather 'stark' and rabbit underfur is a bit of a sponge when compared with the Snowshoe Rabbit dubbing I favour.



Hook: TMC 103bl Size 15
Thread: Veevus 16/0. Mid-grey
Tail: Champagne Badger hackle barbs
Body: Snowshoe Rabbit, Muskrat Grey
Hackle: Champagne Badger

Step 1
Take the thread to opposite the point of the hook and tie in half a dozen hackle barbs on top of the hook shank. Continue the thread to a point above where a barb would be.


Step 2
Take a small pinch of the snowshoe dubbing and dub it tightly onto the thread. Advance the dubbed body to a point where the hackle will be tied in. You need to decide how much hackle you want. Much of my river fishing is on small, rough streams and I do favour a fair bit of hackle. On this example I've left space for 6 / 7 turns of hackle.


Step 3
Select an appropriately sized hackle, one with barbs up to one and a half times the hook gape and tie in.


Step 4
Wind the hackle and tie off, taking care not to trap hackle fibres, tidy up and whip finish.


And there you have it, tied in sizes from 10 to 18 it's a brilliantly simple pattern that cover many of the htaches we're likely to encounter.

Quite often, before fishing the fly, I'll trim the hackle below the shank as from time to time the fish seem to prefer the fly sitting lower in the water.
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fossil-fish
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 05, 2018 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Really like that. For the very little river fly fishing that I do, mostly on wets or nymphs, that is probably the only dry fly I ever need. That or a parachute version. Like the choice of materials in your version, especially that hackle. I think the original didn't have a tail but it is something I usually add as well.
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2018 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fossil-fish wrote:
Really like that. For the very little river fly fishing that I do, mostly on wets or nymphs, that is probably the only dry fly I ever need. That or a parachute version. Like the choice of materials in your version, especially that hackle. I think the original didn't have a tail but it is something I usually add as well.


Thanks for your response. Very Happy

It's difficult to talk about 'original' for the Grey Duster as it's origins aren't known, despite its historic popularity. Courtney Williams in his encyclopaedic 'Dictionary of Trout Flies . . .', first published in 1949, makes eight references to his love of the Grey Duster, its effectiveness when used to imitate a variety of flies and its apparent ability to out-fish other patterns - he describes the dressing without a tail.
John Veniards', 'Further Guide to Fly Dressing', (1964), describes the dressing as, "One of the best all-round dry-flies, which will take fish throughout the season, being particularly good during the mayfly hatch." Veniard lists the pattern without tails but goes on the say, "Tail whisks can be added on smaller patterns if the "Duster" is to be used during a hatch of olives."
However, T Donald Overfield in his 'Fifty Favourite Dry Flies', (1980) instructs, "At the bend tie in well marked badger hackle fibres for the whisks, . . . " and says, "I like 'em. The choice is yours."

Like you I prefer the tails as I think they provide 'balance'. Going through my fly boxes you'd find very few 'original' patterns, mainly because the vast range of materials both natural and synthetic available today are far superior to what was available to the originators of some of our most famous patterns. If R S Austin had access to the Funky Fly Tying catalogue I doubt he would have persisted with urine stained wool from the scrotum of a ram for his Tups Indispensible or with the choice of genetic hackle from Whiting, the Reverend Edward Powell would have turned up the lapels of his coat to hide his Dog Collar before disappearing into the back rooms of the poulterers in Craven Arms to disguise himself before rooting through the stock hunting for an illusive Coch-y-Bondhu neck!
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see grey dusters quite often tied sans tailing fibres - surely these can't sit right. Is the original pattern with or without tail?
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apologies, I have just seen tails have been covered.
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 1:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My go to dry fly for brownies.

Also excellent as a parachute.
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