Red Arrow wet fly

by Matt O'Neal of Savage Flies: Find him on his YouTube channel at Savage Flies

This month’s pattern is coming to us from a plate in John Robert’s “Illustrated Dictionary of Trout Flies.” The Red Arrow is a traditional Irish wet fly created by Syl Higgins, a dentist from Longford, Ireland. Originally tied with a two-toned body of red and black seal’s fur, today’s tiers usually substitute with an imitation dubbing.

Luckily for us, several vendors offer a “semi” seal dubbing. Fulling Mill and Spirit River offer a blend called Seal-X which is a mysterious mix of two natural fibers and some synthetic that produces a fair representation of the texture and translucency of genuine seal’s fur. Having tied with real seal and this modern imitation, I can confidently say that they are indeed very similar. In both their properties, and in how challenging they are to spin into a dubbing noodle!

If you want to tie this traditional pattern with one of these materials, you may want to consider using a dubbing loop for your noodle. That will definitely give you a cleaner body. But if you’re like me, and just like the disheveled, buggy looking body, simply spin it onto your thread and have fun with it.

One last note on a traditional buggy wet fly, be it this Red Arrow or something similar, it’ll fish great swung actively as a wet fly, but can be equally as effective fished as a nymph.

How to Tie the Red Arrow Wet Fly

Red Arrow Wet Fly Recipe

Hook: #10-14 wet fly
Thread: Black
Tail: Golden pheasant tippets
Rib: Silver oval tinsel (or wire)

Body: Seal's fur (Fulling Mill Seal X) red and black
Hackle: Black hen

Red Arrow wet fly

1 comment

Terry Donaldson

Terry Donaldson

In a larger size, the Red Arrow screams “steelhead” in a most traditional way.

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