Thunder & Lightning

Thunder & Lightning

Viking Lars | Saturday, 2 September 2023

The Thunder & Lightning is about as well known as a salmon fly can become. And for a good reason. There’s no doubt is effective and it’s beautiful. In its origins it’s a classic feather wing full of details. There are plenty of modern iterations and I have my own. Hackle free “spey” versions are popular. Long hackles alone don’t make a fly a “Spey” fly. Spey flies have particular features that identify them as Spey flies - one is very often a mallard wing, but long, flowing hackles are another. The early ones were tied with large, soft saddle hackles from the cock bird in the yard.

But wing free flies with long, flowing hackles can be very effective. I first saw the T&L hackle version on a tying clinic with Swedish Micke Lindström. Light weight with long, soft flowing hackles have a particular mobility and transparency, which is often effective. And they are not commonly used, so they are different.

Rump feathers are perfect for these flies and they are cheap and easily accessible. They can be bleached and dyed for clear, vibrant colours or dyed as they are for more subtle colouring. An orange, a black and a blue hackle, maybe a touch of flash and the fly is done.

These flies will move in even the slowest of currents and when “jumped” in the pools, they open and close.

If your local salmon rivers are fishing as most salmon rivers are this season, you’ll have a little more time at the vice than usual. Put a few in the box - they take 5 minutes to tie.

Have a great weekend!