video - Partridge & Orange

Discussion in 'Fly Tying Step by Step' started by Hans Weilenmann, Mar 16, 2013.

  1. The Partridge & Orange is one of the true classic North Country, or Yorkshire, Spider patterns. As effective today as it has been for many generations of anglers before - anglers who understood these sparsely dressed patterns, and fished them with confidence.


    Partridge & Orange
    Hook: Kamasan B405 #12-18
    Thread: Pearsall's Gossamer #19, hot orange
    Hackle: Hungarian Partridge, brown
    Body: Tying silk

    Video here - please view in HD, if able:

    Hans W
    Kcahill, bitterroot and McNasty like this.

  2. Do you ever apply any head cement to your 3 turn whip
  3. Daryle,

    There is no single answer. I view it as visible vs "invisible" heads.

    The visible heads are those which consist of more than a mere three turns of thread of synthetic thread- those patterns where the head is built up for a specific reason - either to tie down material, because a more prominent head is an integral part of the pattern, or is the thread used calls for a touch of varnish. Here I apply varnish. The pattern in this thread has a visible head and yes, I will apply a coat of clear varnish to the Pearsall's Gossamer whip finish.

    The 'invisible' head I have on many of my patterns just has the three turn whip finish by the thin polyester Benecchi 12/0 I do not apply varnish at all. I have not detected any loss of durability here on account of it over the past couple decades of fishing these flies.

    The followup question might be why I only rarely show the application of varnish in the videos - this is simply a case of keeping the running time in check. How many times does one have to see that operation and get something new out of it? What I settled on is to show the first coat of thin varnish on those larger patterns, mainly steelhead/seatrout/salmon/salt patterns. With most of the trout patterns I will not make it part of the video.

    Does that address your question?

    Hans W
  4. I stopped using head cement on my smaller flies years ago. I will use it for larger salmon/steelhead patterns but not often. Hans uses the 3 wrap whip-finish and I do the same but twice. I don't have a problem with the head thread wraps coming loose during use. Normally, something else will come loose before the thread wraps at the head. I think the new tying threads have made the use of head cement for most trout patterns obsolete.

    Around these parts, the Partridge and Orange is the most popular of the soft hackles.
    Some guys tie them in larger sizes during the October Caddis hatch. It was the first soft hackle pattern I was taught to tie. The difference is the addition of peacock herl "ball" at the thorax.

    It can be very effective in a wide range of sizes on The Metolius in Oregon. ... but that's a secret so keep it under your hat :)
    Jeff Dodd likes this.
  5. Gene,

    When these spiders crossed the Big Pond and were taken up by new groups of anglers, I have the distinct impression that their original way to be fished was either not understood, or disregarded, or (feeling charitable) the conditions fished were quite different.

    These skinny patterns are meant to be fished dead drift, in or just under the surface. The mobile hackles are free to move. Almost all takes are visual takes - it is a close cousin of fishing dries.

    In North America anglers started using them on a classic wet fly swing, on a taut line. The current transforms these skinny patterns to just a thin line, barbs pressed tightly against the body. The net result is mediocre results at best, major disappointment more common.

    This is why I believe the thorax was added - it gave the patterns a shape which was retained even swung across the current. A workaround, where in fact the solutionis more a better understanding of the true nature, the true strength, of North Country Spiders.

    Hans W
    Dave Evans likes this.
  6. Sylvester Nemes was responsible for making the spider (or what we call soft hackles) popular in the US. He literally wrote the book on the subject but had to publish it himself because he couldn't find a publisher for the first printing.

    I talked with, may he rest in peace, at a FFF Conclave long ago. He mentioned the fact that the patterns were best fished just below the surface during a hatch and were meant to represent an emerger. He fished his the same as you would a dry fly with a dry line but just below the surface.

    He also used silk for the bodies and did not include the thorax for his traditional patterns. He did include it with patterns of his own design.

    He was a soft spoken guy and one of the last of the Gentleman Fly Anglers. He also had a great sense of humor so of course was tops in my book.
    Jeff Dodd likes this.
  7. I've been tying these in purple with a Starling hackle (lacking snipe feathers). It's one of my favorites on the streams in the Idaho panhandle.
    I've also tied some in orange, primrose and lt. olive using either brown partridge or bleached partridge for hackles.
  8. Hans
    Thank you for another great SBS video. I have tied this fly but not yet fished it. You and Gene have provided a lot of information and history in this thread. What a great resource!


    Sent from my GT-P3113 using Tapatalk 2
  9. Thanks for the excellent SBS.
    Always a big fan of the soft hackle. In addition to tying them in the traditional manner, I also enjoy tying them in an Amercanized version a la Charlie Craven. Hungarian partridge hackle, silk body, silver tag, and an obvious visible head.
  10. Gene,

    I spent two days tying side by side with Sylvester at one of the FF Conclaves. Here is a snippet from one of the conversations - Syl speaking to the Lowlander:

    When my parents arrived in this country from the old world their last name was Nemesh (pronounced: Neh-mesh) and this caused a lot of articulation problems with the immigration services - so they changed it to Nemes (pronounced: Neems). So I grew up as Nemes... which is Semen, spelled backwards - but then you probably do not know what that word means...

    Hans W
  11. LOL... I told you he had a great sense of humor :D

    Hans, how come you never wrote a fly tying book? I had a contract to write a beginning fly tying book in cartoon form but could never get into it.

    Jack, great patterns!
  12. I have actually been wondering the same thing. Hans has so many SBS videos and photos that they could easily fill a book that many of us would buy. I am really thankful for the information and have been looking on a regular basis. They have really made a difference in a short time.
  13. I suppose he could compile his videos for a DVD. That would sell.
  14. Partridge and Orange works in stillwaters also. My technique is to cast it out, let it settle to the bottom, and pull it up thru the water when fish swim near.

    Sorta like the banjo fly.

    Truthfully I am not sure if they take it for an emerging caddis, a mobile scud or backswimmer, or what. But it works.
  15. Thanks Hans and all, great thread! Backward semen, origin of the added thorax, a suggested Hans DVD or book...all great stuff. I have to admit I regularly comb through the flytier's page to pick up ideas and patterns (can't wait to fish the PCE, CDC & Elk and CDC & Elk Sculpin this season). I watch every Hans video (even if it isn't a fly I would necessarily tie) just to pick up tips. I suspect a book or DVD, particularly with Hans' Nat Geo narrator's voice, would do very well. Never drop "trim away the waste" as your trademark!

    I've read Sylvester's books and paid particular attention to the description of his version of greased line fishing. His books are particularly good at describing which type of water to fish with a soft hackle. The best description of his technique that I've found, however, was Dave Hughes description of the Nemes' mended swing written after personally watching him fish.
  16. I like the "touching wraps". I used "trim the waste" when writing my fly tying column but the "touching wraps" is something I wish I was aware of when describing the steps for the column.

    I think you should all send me a dozen flies because I "lured" Hans to this site :D
  17. *chuckle*

    Are you overlooking the two other ones?

    "towards the waiting thread"


    "worry away the wire"

    Hans W
  18. Oh, yeah.... I forgot about those two... those are also good.
  19. I have a couple of the North Country fly books and one thing I couldn't understand is why the head on the fly was so big. It seemed the tyer could be neater. My guess is that "neat" is valued to the North American tyer and bulbous is valued to the British Isle tyer.
  20. I think any of those four would be a good title for the book.

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