Friday, March 15, 2013

Butterflies - Part I

A variation on Ingalls' original pattern

Another Miramichi River oddity is Maurice Ingalls' Butterfly and its progeny. In the late 1950s, Ingalls designed this fly as a slow water fly for the Main Southwest Miramichi River. It has since become a common and effective pattern in the boxes of North American salmon anglers. The splayed wings are a highly unusual addition to a hairwing salmon fly, though splayed wings have been used for the better part of two centuries (on Dee flies). In addition to being a killer salmon fly, the Butterfly works well on trout.

It is said that the Butterfly's main attribute is the way the wings pulsate in the water, especially when the rod is pumped lightly. For me, it has been effective enough on a straight swing. I like to use this fly when the water is slightly stained. The fly has a bit of a wobble to it, which I think the fish can feel.

Ingalls tied his Butterfly with a stiff cock hackle, though I use hen most of the time. Sometimes I sub red Krystal Flash for the hackle fiber tail, which has proven effective at times. The original calls for goat hair wings. When available, polar bear is a common substitute. I like to tie this fly with long, widely splayed wings for maximum wobble.

A yellow-winged Butterfly is another popular variation. The possibilities are endless. I have thought about tying an Undertaker inspired Butterfly with dark wings, but have yet to try it.

Butterfly Variation #1

Hook: Mustad 3399a #4-#10
Wing: White kid goat hair, splayed
Tail: Red hackle fibers (or a few strands of red Krystal Flash)
Butt: Chartreuse and Chinese red Uni-Yarn
Body: Peacock herl
Hackle: Brown hen or cock
Head: Black

Stay tuned for another variation...

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