I’ve seen a few hawthorn flies about recently so I thought it woud be the right time to post this pattern which I had a decent amount of success with last year. If you’ve seen a Hawthorn fly that’s been blown onto the water you’ll know that it looks like a gangly black mess - so that’s what I set out to imitate using only black organza ribbon (plus a bit of foam for the head).
Hook: Tiemco TMC2499SP-BL size 10 to 14
Thread: Uni 8/0 black
Tail: Furled organza
Head: Foam cord
1. Catch the thread in at the eye, take down to the bend in touching turns and secure along shank with a thin coat of superglue.
2. Cut two 10cm lengths of 1 cm wide black organza ribbon. Cut the ribbon lengthways about 3mm in from the woven edge. Strip out the long fibres from each length and then trim the remaining short fibres for 1cm at either end of the strips back to the woven edges. Melt the ends of these sections with a cigarette lighter, this will prevent any risk of the prepared strips unravelling at the next step.
3. Place the prepared strips on your bench lying back to back with the woven edges together. Now pick up the two strips together with the ends pinched between finger and thumb of each hand. Twist the strands together by rolling the ends, this will make the short fibres splay out from the twisted core strands. Once the strands are tightly twisted bring your hands together to form a loop and place the loop over the hook in the vice. The hook makes a handy ‘third hand’ at this stage; the trick now is to pull down on the loop and transfer all of the strands to between the finger and thumb of your tying hand.
4. Lift the twisted loop off the hook and while gripping the base of the loop use the fingers of your other hand to encourage the loop to twist together to form the furled body. Now transfer the furled body to this hand keeping a tight hold at the base of the furled loop, place on top of the hook and catch in with a pinch and loop with the furled body hanging behind the bend. Keep a firm grip on the end strands and bind down tightly along the shank, trim off the excess organza and return the thread to the bend.
5. Cut another 10cm length of black organza, cut to 5mm wide and strip out the long fibres. Trim the short fibres from one end to make a tying in tag and catch in at the bend with the strip hanging behind the hook with the short fibres pointing down. Bind down the tag and take the thread up to 5mm from the eye.
6. Cut a 2cm length of foam cord and tie in with the foam projecting over the eye.
7. Cut a 10cm length of black organza and cut strips from both sides 1mm in from the woven edge and discard the centre section. Melt both ends with a lighter and tie an overhand knot 1cm from the end of each strand to form legs. Tie in two legs either side of the shank with the legs trailing back under the furled body. Take a few figure of eight turns behind the legs to pull them out from the body, bind down the leg roots and trim away the excess. You can add more legs if you want, but I’ve not noticed that it makes any difference to fish attraction; as Richard Walker observed, fish can’t count and four legs make the fly more accurate to cast than more generously endowed versions.
8. Lift the furled body and take three turns of organza around the shank under the body, take a turn over the body and then wrap the organza up the shank through the legs using a turn between the pairs of legs to separate them. Continue up the body, lift the foam head and take a couple of turns before tying in and trimming away the excess.
9. Apply a thin coat of superglue to the thread next to the hook, make a whip finish behind the eye under the foam head and cut the thread.