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Hairwing Coachman

In keeping with our "return to basics" approach, in my view the Hairwing Coachman qualifies as "basic". No one knows for sure why this peculiar fly is so effective, since its unlikely combination of materials and construction looks like no living thing in particular. Personally, I have never seen an insect which is at once sparkling green (peacock herl); orange and black (golden pheasant tippet); red (mylar or floss in body); white (calf tail wing); and brown (hackle). Yet, in its various forms (catskill style, Wulff style, trude style, etc.), its effectiveness is undeniable. Because it is a flybox staple (along with such other creations as the Adams, Muddler, and others), it is important to include it here.


Hook Mustad 94845 or equiv.; # 12-18
Thread Black or dark olive 8/0
Tail Golden pheasant ("GP") crest, 8-10 fibers
Body Peacock herl; midsection of red floss or mylar
Wing White calf tail or calf body hair
Hackle Dark brown, stiff


1. Cover rear half of hook with one layer of thread. Keep wraps to a minimum to conserve weight.
2. Cut 8-10 fibers from GP crest feather, and measure so that tail when mounted is approx. length of shank. Tie it on directly above back of (now smashed) barb, keeping all fibers on top of hook.
3. Run thread forward, laying down a thread layer to just behind eye. Cut small bunch of hair from white calf tail or patch of white calf body hair, brush out shorts and fuzz, and stack.
4. Measure wing to slightly longer than shank, and tie on at point 1/3 down shank from eye. Tips should be pointed out over eye. Hold hair tightly to keep it all on top of hook.
5. Trim butts at shallow angle so that no lump is created; tie butts down securely.
6. Pull wing vertical, and wrap 2 or 3 times around base to gather fibers together. As you apply each wrap, pull thread back toward tail and catch thread behind wing in stubs of butts. This serves to stand wing up without building shoulder in front of wing.
7. Divide wing in two equal sections; figure 8 wrap between them once. Then wrap 1 or 2 times around base of each wing. Return thread to tail area.
8. Tie on 3 strands of herl by tips, and create a "dubbing loop" as long as the herl. Return thread to base of wing.
9. Grap the dubbing loop and herl with hackle pliers, and twist them all together. This strengthens the herl. Twist tight, but not too tight because it will break the strands.
10. Apply 3 wraps of twisted herl to form "butt" just in front of tail, and tie off. Do not cut it off; leave it hanging with pliers.
11. Tie on red mylar strip or red floss, and create small midsection of body.
12. Again twist up the herl, and apply three wraps to just behind wing, to form forward body section. Tie off and trim.
13. Select stiff brown hackle to match hook size, strip fuzz, and tie on dry style just behind wing. Wrap thread forward to eye.
14. Take 3 wraps of hackle behind wing and 4 or more in front of wing. Tie off, trim, and whip finish.

Fish this puppy high and dry, and hang on.

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Copyright 1998 by Granite Bay Flycasters unless otherwise noted.