Pritts Flies

North Country Flies, 1886 Pritt

Hook Sizes for these patterns are the Pennell or “new” scale. We of Course use the Redditch or “old” scale today. The new scale never caught on!

Redditch or Old Scale Pennell or New scale
16 00
15 0
14 1
13 2

1. WATER CRICKET. Hook No. 1.

WINGS.- Hackled with a feather from the Golden Plover’s breast, in its summer plumage, or the wing or back of a Starling.

BODY.- Yellow or orange silk. It is sometimes ribbed with black silk.

2. LITTLE BLACK. Hook 0, short.

WINGS.- Hackled with a feather from a Black Cock’s hackle, or Starling’s neck.

BODY.- Purple silk, dubbed sparingly with Magpie herl.

HEAD.- Purple.

For the latter part of the season the following is often used:

WINGS.- Hackled with a feather from the outside of a Green Plover’s wing, or a Swift’s back.

BODY.- Black silk, sparely dubbed with black Ostrich herl.

3. WINTER BROWN. Hook 2.

WINGS.- Hackled with a feather from the inside of a Woodcock’s wing.

BODY.- Orange silk – not too bright.

HEAD.- Peacock herl.

4. LITTLE WINTER BROWN; OR, LIGHT WOODCOCK. Hook 1.

WINGS.- Hackled with a feather from the outside of a Woodcock’s wing.

BODY.- Orange silk, with a spare dubbing of Hare’s ear.

5. BROWN OWL. Hook 1.

WINGS.- Hackled with a reddish feather from the outside of a Brown Owl’s wing.

BODY.- Orange silk.

HEAD.- Peacock herl.

6. FIELDFARE BLOA. Hook 1.

WINGS.- From the bloa feather on a Fieldfare’s rump, or failing that from the Tern, Bluetail or Jay.

BODY.- Yellow silk.

LEGS.- From a feather of the Golden Plover.

7. DARK MOOR-GAME, OR ORANGE GROUSE, OR FRECKLED DUN. Hook 0.

WINGS.- Hackled with a black and orange feather from the Red Grouse, the hen bird for preference.

BODY.- Orange silk.

HEAD.- Either orange silk, or Peacock herl.

8. WATER-HEN BLOA. Hook 1.

WINGS.- Hackled feather from the inside of a Water-hen’s wing.

BODY.- Yellow silk, dubbed with the fur of the Water-rat.

9. DARK BLOA. Hook 1.

WINGS.- From the Starling’s quill.

BODY.- Dark claret silk.

LEGS.- From the black feather of a black hen’s neck.

10. DARK SNIPE. Hook 1.

WINGS.- Hackled with a feather from the outside of the Snipe’s wing.

BODY.- Purple silk.

11. MARCH BROWN (Great Brown, Brown Drake, Dun Drake). Hook 3.

WINGS.- From the tail of a Partridge.

BODY.- Pale orange silk, dubbed with a little Hare’s ear and yellow mohair, mixed; ribbed over with a little yellow silk.

TAIL.- Forked with two strands from a Partridge’s tail.

LEGS.- From the back of a Partridge.

12MARCH BROWN Hook 2.

WINGS.- From the quill feather of a hen pheasant.

BODY, TAIL, and LEGS as in No. 11.

13. MARCH BROWN Hook 2.

WINGS.- Hackled with a reddish feather from the outside of a Woodcock’s wing.

BODY.- Orange silk, dubbed with over with a little fur from a Fox’s ear.

14. MARCH BROWN Hook 2.

WINGS.- From the tail of a Partridge..

BODY.- Orange and yellow silk twisted, dubbed with fur from a Fox’s ear.

LEGS.- From a Wren’s tail.

15. MARCH BROWN

WINGS.- From the hen Pheasant’s wing.

BODY and LEGS.- Same as No. 14.

16. RED CLOCK OR PHEASANT. Hook 1.

WINGS.- Hackled with a golden feather from a Cock Pheasant’s neck; or from a small red cock’s feather.

BODY.- Yellow silk, with a twist of Peacock herl next to the hackle.

HEAD.- Peacock herl.

17. RED PALMER. Hook 1.

BODY.- Green herl from a Peacock, with a red cock’s hackle wrapped over it.

18. LITTLE DARK WATCHET (Iron Blue Dun). Hook 0, short.

WINGS.- Hackled with a feather from a Jackdaw’s neck, or outside a Coot’s wing.

BODY.- Orange and purple silk twisted, dubbed with down from a Water-rat.

HEAD.- Orange.

19.Iron Blue Dun Variant Hook 0, short.

WINGS.- From a Water-hen.

BODY.- As in No. 18.

HEAD.- Ditto.

LEGS.- From a Coot.

20.Iron Blue Dun Variant Hook 0.

WINGS.- From the breast of a Water-hen.

BODY.- Orange silk dubbed with Mole’s fur.

HEAD.- Orange.

LEGS.- A dirty whitish brown from a Hen’s neck, or hairs from a Calf’s tail, dyed yellow.

21. Iron Blue Dun Variant Hook 0.

WINGS.- Hackled with a feather from Water-hen’s breast; or, if you can get it, from a feather from a Bluecap for preference.

BODY.- Orange silk dubbed with Mole’s fur.

HEAD.- Orange.

22. DARK SPANISH NEEDLE (Needle Brown). Hook 0.

WINGS.- Hackled with a feather from the darkest part of a Brown Owl’s wing.

BODY.- Orange silk.

HEAD.- Peacock herl.

23. LIGHT SPANISH NEEDLE. Hook 0.

WINGS.- Hackled with a feather from inside a Jack-Snipe’s wing, or from the breast of a young Starling.

BODY.- Crimson silk.

HEAD.- Peacock herl.

24. LIGHT WATCHET Hook 0

WINGS.- From the Jay.

BODY.- Straw-coloured silk

LEGS.- Fibres from a Yellow Plover.

25. OLIVE BLOA. Hook 1.

WINGS.- From a Starling’s quill.

BODY.- Greenish yellow silk.

LEGS.- Light hackle from a Hen’s neck, stained to olive in onions.

26. OLIVE BLOA. Hook 0.

WINGS.- Hackled with a feather from a Lapwing’s back or rump.

BODY.- Yellow silk.

HEAD.- Orange silk.

27. YELLOW-LEGGED BLOA (Yellow Dun.) Hook 1.

WINGS.- From a young Starling’s quill feather.

BODY.- Yellow silk, waxed well, so as to make it nearly olive.

LEGS.- Ginger hackle from a Cochin-China Hen’s neck.

TAIL.- Two strands of the above.

28. YELLOW PARTRIDGE (Grey Gnat). Hook 1.

WINGS.- Hackle with a light feather from the back of a Partridge.

BODY.- Yellow silk.

29. SNIPE BLOA. Hook 1.

WINGS.- Hackled with a feather from the inside of a Jack Snipe’s wing.

BODY.- Straw-coloured silk.

30. SNIPE BLOA. Hook 0.

WINGS.- Hackled with feather from under Snipe’s wing.

BODY.- Yellow silk, with a spare dubbing of Mole’s fur, but not sufficient to hide the yellow body.

31. BROWN WATCHET (Little Brown Dun.) Hook 1.

WINGS.- Hackled with a well dappled feather from a Partridge’s back.

BODY.- Orange silk.

HEAD.- Peacock herl.

32. ORANGE PARTRIDGE. Hook 1.

WINGS.- Hackled as in No. 31.

BODY.- Orange silk.

33. GREENTAIL (Grannon Fly). Hook1.

WINGS.- Hackled with a feather from the inside of a Woodcock’s wing, or from a Partridge’s neck, or from under a Hen Pheasant’s wing.

BODY.- Lead coloured silk, twisted with a little fur from a Hare’s face.

TAIL.- Green silk, wrapped over lower part of body.

34. SANDFLY. Hook 1.

WINGS.- From a sandy feather from a Landrail’s wing.

BODY.- Light brown silk, ribbed with sandy fur from a Hare.

LEGS.- Dark ginger hackle.

35. DOTTEREL. Hook 1.

WINGS.- Hackled with a feather from the outside of a male Dotterel’s wing.

BODY.- Straw-coloured silk; some anglers prefer Orange silk.

HEAD.- Straw-coloured or orange silk.

36. YELLOW SALLY. Hook 0.

WINGS.- From a Green Linnet’s tail.

BODY.- Yellow silk.

LEGS.- White feather from a Hen’s neck, dyed yellow in onions.

37. POULT BLOA, or LIGHT POULT BLOA. Hook 0.

WINGS.- Hackled with a feather from under the wing of a young Grouse.

BODY.- Light yellow silk

38. POULT BLOA, or LIGHT POULT BLOA {fancy dressing}Hook 0.

WINGS.- Hackled with a feather from under the wing of a young Grouse.

BODY.- Straw-coloured silk, with a twist of purple silk round it.

HEAD.- Peacock herl

39. OLD MASTER. Hook 1.

WINGS.- Hackled with a feather from the inside of a Woodcock’s wing.

BODY.- Ash-coloured silk, wrapped over with Heron’s herl.

40. STONE MIDGE. Hook 0.

WINGS.- Hackled with a feather from a Pewit’s neck, breast, or rump.

BODY.- Ash-coloured silk, dubbed sparsely with Heron’s herl.

HEAD.- Magpie herl.

41. GREY MIDGE. Hook 0.

WINGS.- Hackled with a feather from a Woodcock’s breast.

BODY.- Yellow silk.

HEAD.- Peacock herl.

42. KNOTTED MIDGE. Hook 0.

WINGS.- Hackled with a feather from the back of a Swift or Martin, or from the shoulders of a Pewit’s wing.

BODY.- Ash-coloured silk, dubbed with Heron’s herl, rather more fully than in No. 40.

HEAD.- Magpie herl.

43. SANDY MOORGAME. Hook 0.

WINGS.- Hackled with a dark reddish-brown feather from the back of a Grouse.

BODY.- Dark brown silk.

HEAD.- Ditto.

44. BLUE PARTRIDGE. Hook 1.

WINGS.- Hackled with a feather from a Partridge’s back.

BODY.- Blue silk dubbed with a little lead-coloured lamb’s wool.

45. RED OWL (Brown Owl.) Hook 1.

WINGS.- Hackled with a red feather from a Brown Owl’s wing; shorter in the fibre than that used for No. 5.

BODY.- Orange silk.

HEAD.- Peacock herl.

46. STONE BLOA. Hook 0.

WINGS.- From a feather from under a Jack Snipe’s wing.

BODY.- Yellow silk.

HEAD.- Fibres from a Jack Snipe’s feather.

47. SMALL STONE BLOA. Hook 0.

WINGS.- From a feather from Bluecap’s tail.

BODY.- Orange silk.

LEGS.- Pale yellow fibres.

48. GREENSLEAVES. Hook 1.

WINGS.- Hackled with a feather from the inside of a Woodcock’s wing, or from a hen Pheasant’s neck.

BODY.- Bright green silk.

HEAD.- Ditto.

49. THORNFLY DUN. Hook 1.

WINGS.- Hackled with a Landrail’s feather, taken from under the wing.

BODY.- Orange silk.

HEAD.- Peacock herl.

50. CURLEW. Hook 0.

WINGS.- Hackled with a small feather from the outside of a young Curlew’s wing (August at latest).

BODY.- Orange silk for preference, but maroon or yellow will sometimes kill equally well.

51. STARLING BLOA. Hook 0.

WINGS.- Hackled with the lightest feather from a young Starling’s wing.

BODY.- Straw-coloured silk. Some anglers prefer white silk.

52. SMALL ANT. Hook 0.

WINGS.- Hackled with a feather from a Tomtit’s tail.

BODY AND HEAD.- A bright brownish Peacock’s herl; body dressed full.

53. FOG BLACK. Hook 0.

WINGS.- From a Bullfinch’s wing.

BODY.- Dark purple silk, dubbed with Heron’s herl; or, more sparingly, with black Ostrich herl.

LEGS.- From the Starling’s neck.

54. CUBDOWN BLOA. Hook 1.

WINGS.- From the inside of a Swift’s wing, or from a Lapwing’s apron.

BODY.- Yellow silk, dubbed with down from a Fox cub, or fur from a Water-rat.

LEGS.- From a Plover’s feather.

55. CINNAMON. Hook 1.

WINGS.- Hackled with a feather from a Brown Owl’s wing.

BODY.- Yellow silk, dubbed with fur from a Water-rat.

HEAD.- Peacock herl.

56. SMOKE FLY. Hook 1.

WINGS.- Hackled with a feather from a young Grouse.

BODY.- Bright brown Peacock’s herl. It is sometimes dressed with a twist of silver round the body.

57. GREY PARTRIDGE. (Grey Watchet.) Hook 1.

WINGS.- Hackled with a light feather from a Partridge’s breast.

BODY.- Straw-coloured silk.

HEAD.- Peacock herl.

58. LARGE ANT. Hook 0.

WINGS.- From a Starling’s quill.

BODY.- Orange silk wrapped over the lower part, with three turns of a copper-coloured Peacock’s herl.

HEAD.- Peacock’s herl.

LEGS.- Fibres from the light part of a Starling’s quill feather.

59. SEA SWALLOW. Hook 0.

WINGS.- From a very light feather from the outside of a Sea Swallow’s wing.

BODY.- White silk.

LEGS.- Fibres from the wing feathers.

60. JULY DUN. Hook 1.

WINGS.- From a Starling’s quill.

BODY.- Yellow silk dubbed with a little Mole’s fur.

LEGS.- Fibre from a bluish dun Hen’s neck.

61. BLACK GNAT. Hook 0, short.

WINGS.- None.

BODY.- A little ostrich herl.

62. BLACK SNIPE. Hook 0.

WINGS.- Hackled with a Jack Snipe’s feather from under the wing.

BODY.- Dark green peacock herl.

Pritts Flies

FLY TYING

HOW TO DYE FLY TYING MATERIAL

Dyeing your own feathers and fur is often the only way that you have to get the exact colour that you want for that special pattern or even that old traditional that you want to tie. If you use a well proven dye like Veniards fly tiers dye it is not difficult or messy and can develop into an interesting pass time for when you are not sat at the fly tiers bench.

The old traditional methods while effective were very complicated. If you have an interest in trying the old methods then can I suggest that as a starter you get hold of a copy of Irish Trout and Salmon flies by E J Malone which has just been republished in paperback. Not only does the book contain a fabulous array of traditional fly patterns but has a good chapter on dyeing by the old methods. Using modern dyes like Veniards you will find the process simple and economical.

Veniards Dyes are widely available around the world from the wide range of fly shops that sell veniards fly tying products. There is a full range of colours, around forty, which have been designed to meet the needs of both traditional and innovative fly tiers. The dyes are very strong so are very economical to use. Veniards sell them in 15 gm tubes and a tube will last the average tier years.

The equipment you will need is very simple and can be “stolen” from the kitchen. Veniards recommend that two aluminum saucepans are used a small one which can fit inside one slightly larger. The smaller one is perforated on the bottom and sides so that it becomes like a colander an alternative is a cooks wire mesh sieve or a wire mesh potato chip (french fry) basket. The colander holds the material to be dyed and stands inside the larger saucepan of dye holding the material. It will hold a good amount of small feathers or larger feathers cut in pieces. The idea in using the colander or perforated saucepan is that it allows easy inspection of material which can be lifted out of the bath inspected and then resubmerged. It also helps keep you clean as contact with the dye bath is kept to a minimum but you should wear rubber kitchen gloves anyway. Veniards recommended colander method is probably best if you are new to dyeing.

Most of my dyeing is of loose fur and I use a different method. I have a shallow aluminum pan ( its actually part of an old egg poacher!) which holds the dye and I put the material loose in the pan and to separate material from the dye bath when its dyed pour the dye and loose fur through a fine mesh cooks sieve. Alternatively you can put material like loose fur in a length of nylon stocking tied up at each end. The dye easily works through the stocking. I find the large shallow pan easier to dye capes (necks) and saddles and get a nice even dyeing of loose furs like seal. It is more difficult to add extra dye if the strength is wrong though.

There is no doubt in my mind that the key to successful results is the proper treatment of the material before dyeing. This simply means ensuring that the material is clean and free of grease. Veniards recommend using a solution of soap powder or any good detergent to soak the material for a few minutes which should then be rinsed well. Waterfowl feathers will need a longer soaking to help remove the natural grease that they are gifted with. The usual process is quite simple. Using the larger saucepan, prepare a solution of soap powder or any good detergent. Place the feathers to be dyed in the smaller perforated saucepan (colander) and soak for a few minutes. (Waterfowl feathers must be soaked considerably longer to allow penetration of the natural oil coating). My preferred way of preparing loose seal fur dubbing, capes and saddles is to use cheap supermarket own brand shampoo with a conditioner in it and work it well into the material. Yes the conditioner does make a difference!

Once the feathers or fur have been washed in your choice of soap, detergent or shampoo a thorough rinsing needs to take place. I do this by placing the material in the wire sieve or colander and rinsing thoroughly under the tap.

Veniards also market a special super strength detergent called venpol for extra dirty or greasy materials. I normally do not need to use Venpol. But if you are dyeing extra dirty greasy materials like Buck tails you will find it useful. It is very concentrated so the amount you need to use is quite small. Veniards recommend 1 part in 160. Half a fluid once of venpol is enough for 4 pints of water. Hackles only require a soaking of a few minutes but buck tails may benefit from a few hours or an overnight soak.

Once you have prepared your material you can move on to the dyeing process which is very very easy. Put water in your pan to a little above the half full mark and gently heat on the stove . Add dye to the water which should be usually at the rate of a quarter of a teaspoon of dye to 2 pints of water for ordinary feathers and furs and double the amount of dye for waterfowl feathers. Allow the dye solution to come to the boil stirring the mixture so that all the dye is dissolved. To fix the colour you must add vinegar one tablespoon full per quarter teaspoon of dye to the solution. If you are dyeing dark colours you will find you need a stronger solution of dye and pro rata more vinegar. Black is a very difficult colour I use a teaspoon of dye per 2 pints of water.

Put your feathers in the dye bath and bring the solution back to the boil. Simmer the materials gently keeping the material moving all the time. You must allow time for the colour to develop. The dyes are all a mixture of three colours which do not fix and penetrate at the same rate time so if you remove the material too early you will not get the shade you want. Feathers when they are wet look darker than they are so bear that in mind when examining them. Most shades develop in 3 or 4 minutes.

If you are using a “colander” then inspection is made simple. You lift out the colander the dye runs through the holes back into the pan leaving the material for inspection in the bottom. Remember when you are looking at your material that it will dry to a lighter shade. If you are not achieving the correct shade then it is a simple matter to add more dye and vinegar to the dye bath if you are using a colander. Try holding a feather up to the light to get a better idea of its shade.

You will find that bright shades like red yellow and green highlander are achieved very easily. The more subtle colours can be spoiled by using too much dye so for delicate olives and shades of dun start with a little dye and add more if needed. You will quickly learn, believe me nothing about dyeing with Veniards dye is difficult

As mentioned above black needs special attention. I use nearly a full teaspoon of dye and leave the dye bath cooking for as long as possible at the simmer. Once I have given the material a good simmering I do not remove the material from the bath but leave it overnight to go cold before straining the dye off in the morning. This usually results in a nice rich glossy black

When you have reached the shade you want remove the colander from the dye bath and put under the cold tap to rinse. Keep rinsing until the water has run clear. Blot the material to remove surplus moisture. I then place on paper till air dried.

One trick advocated by Veniards is to put partially dried hackles in a cardboard lid which is then held over a gas ring and shaken gently until dry. A fierce heat can be used if the material is kept on the move. I like to use my wife’s hairdryer!

You will find that there is an infinite range of shades available to you by varying the strength of dyes and by experimenting with mixing dyes. Remember that you cannot dye something lighter you can only dye things darker. So a Red hackle from say a rhode Island red chicken will dye Black Claret and Purple but for the shades of dun and olive you need a white hackle.

Key points to remember

1. Always remove all traces of detergent from material by rinsing thoroughly

2. Keep feathers on the move when the dye bath is at boiling point or just under

3. Do not add more dye to a bath when there is material in it. Use the colander to lift the material out first.

4. Its better to start with a weaker dye bath and add dye to it if needed

5. Make sure that material is rinsed properly after it is dyed.

6. Do not dry with fierce heat as it will “kill” the material

7. You cannot dye a dark material light. Start with white material for subtle and bright colours

FLY TYING