I usually tie spiders on #12 or #14 hooks but occasionally tie up a few on size 18's. these are tied in a range of colours and all have a starling hackle.
Dead easy to tie, perfect for tempting wild brownies and very effective on heavily fished waters.
The lady of the stream can be a fickle mistress. A couple of weeks ago she dined on pink spider and dry fly patterns, but just a few days later her craving was for something citrus.
Pull apart a net bag, the sort satsumas are sold in, stretch it a little, use it as a body wrap and lightly varnish before adding a rib and hackle. Grayling love them, well they did this week!
After guiding a client in the morning I had a cracking few hours on Monday afternoon. Three fish in my first ten minutes fell for the charms of a pink and red spider. I was so impressed with it's catching abilities I tied a load more this morning. I've also tied a few as a dry fly variant and will give that a go over the next few days.
This cracking late winter wild brownie was caught on a clients first freestone river fishing trip. The fish took a spider pattern fished high in the gin clear water.
Now I start by admitting the flies I tie are not works of art (and I greatly admire those that tie amazing patterns) they are functional and tied to catch fish.
So what do I look for in a good wet fly? A few things come to mind: size, colour and contrast, and movement. So when tying flies I choose materials that provide these fundamentals and are easy to use:
In terms of size I tend to use size 14 -18 hooks (I find smaller flies work well). Hook sizes frustrate the hell out of me, but that's another story! And I try to be sparing with the dressing often using just a few turns of thread and a hackle, as in spider patterns.
Colour and contract are important especially in clear water. I like to tie flies that are not too garish but have a small hot spot or a strand or fritz to make the fly more visible without being ostentatious!
Movement too is key is getting a fish interested and a nice soft hen hackle and sometimes a few tail fibres can achieve this. In deeper water where light diminishes and colours are of secondary importance movement becomes paramount.
The result is a simple pattern but one with plenty of interest to whet a fishes appetite.
So my advice is to keep wets simple but interesting.
Fishing for me has never been about catching the biggest fish or the most fish, though I accept it feels good to catch a big one occasionally. Because I'm not under any self imposed pressure to catch I often set myself challenges when I go fishing, only use dries, or spiders, or nymphs etc. Today's challenge was to only carry with me 12 flies I'd tied myself. Well 12 was plenty, I caught all the fish mentioned in a previous post on just 5 - 1 dry, 1 spider and 3 nymphs.
My tying isn't particularly pretty but the fish don't seem to mind!
Below are the flies I used. I'm not aware that these patterns have names (please tell me if you know otherwise) so the names are my own.