The Flat Spent Spinner was first designed at the drawing board during the winter of 2002. I dressed some to imitate Ephemera Danica and the Red Spinners of the March Browns of the river Usk. Its hooking properties are poor unless the fly is carefully assembled - though it is simply a matter of understanding what is required of the artificial and how we wish to achieve it. The fly always lands on its side with the hackle uppermost; the tails support the bend and point of the hook – in flight and at the surface. The wings and hackle likewise support the thorax and the tippet, which will invariably sink, if degreased.
The cranked hook is vital to presentation, profile and penetration. The fish are almost always hooked in the jaw by the scissors.
- Take a lightweight, slightly long shanked grub/scud hook is required for body shape – if your spinners are not curved, use a straight shank hook.
- Lay the silk, matching the hatch, along the hook from 2mm behind eye to 1/3 way round bend.
- Tie in tails at an angle of 5-10º up from the horizontal. N.B. The hook will be lying on its side.
- Tie in some fine mono for a rib – this will help the abdomen retain its shape.
- Build up the slender body profile. Dub the abdomen lightly with a bright fine seal fur mixture. Wind that half way to the eye and counter rib it. DO NOT CUT OFF MONO.
- Now continue half way up the bed, tying in the mono. Throw a loop into the mono and secure it with two turns of thread at the front, now wind back and take a turn behind the mono loop.
- Take a small springy cock hackle, strip off the fluff and tie in at the base of the loop. Secure with three turns of thread. Wind forward past the loop.
- Take a few turns toward the eye to secure the free end of the nylon.
- Return the silk to the base of the loop.
- Tie in two hackle tips or some clear polypropylene yarn as split wings. Ensure that the wing on the hook point side of the fly is inclined upwards at 10-15º away from the point in order not to mask it.
- In aerodynamic terms, inclining the outer wing also upwards will throw the centre of gravity - remembering that those long spinner tails help - under the abdomen of the fly.
- Groom the wings into shape, figure-8 wrap to secure.
- Varnish base of wing roots. Run silk to rear of thorax. Cut off hackle butt.
- Dub a thorax mixture and wind it to cover the thorax being careful not to upset the wings nor the loop and its shining hackle, which have been waiting for just this moment.
- You left a 2mm gap behind the eye.
- When you arrive at the head, the dubbing runs out and you have a piece of nylon sticking over the eye. Pull the nylon tag up and keep it out of the way.
- Finish the head in the 2mm gap and whip finish. Cut off only the thread. Varnish the head.
- You have a fly with ridiculously long wings if you used Polypropylene. You can cut them to shape in a minute.
- Take the loop round the fingers of your left hand. Take the hackle in small pliers. Wind a full turn round the loop, then take three or four turns around one side only of the nylon loop spiralling it tightly and bring the pliers down to hang below the fly.
- Take a long strong needle and use it to retain upward tension on the loop.
- Pull the tag end of the mono and the needle will lead the loop home trapping the hackle parachute style. Add a tiny drop of varnish to the loop as it goes home. Clip out the hackle tip and excess mono.
- Besides aiding floatation, the hackle makes the fly land more lightly and keeps the centre of gravity where it is supposed to be.
- The wings should be clipped to shape and length as required. Ensure that the wing in the hook gape cannot obstruct the point.
- The centre of gravity is between the base of the wings and the back of the thorax.
I bend the hook up to 30º at the wing base, further emphasising the centre of gravity and skewing the point at an angle away from the wing. A fingernail pushed the tails up to about 15º. These modifications make the fly sit lower where it will be more easily absorbed.
Roy Christie (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a flytyer and Sexyloops' board member, who likes to tie flies backwards, upsidedown and inside out.