Raspberryfisher's Blog

notes on fishing & travel

Black Demons – working on my style and techniques

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My attempt to try new techniques and materials, and further my skills, preference and style, using the Black Demon pattern as the standard. This note is as much for me, to assist me with future ties.

Lets start, what is my definition of a black demon? A derivative of the New Zealand Golden Demon, which in itself seems to a variant of the Dunkeld.

1. Dunkeld is British-Irish Wet with:
a. Tail: Golden Pheasant Crest
b. Body: Gold Tinsel
c. Body Hackle: Orange Rooster
d. Wing: Bronze Mallard
e. Cheeks: Jungle Cock.

2. Golden Demon, the Orange Rooster is tied in as a collar.
a. Tail: Golden Pheasant Crest
b. Body: Gold Tinsel
c. Collar: Orange Rooster
d. Wing: Bronze Mallard
e. Cheeks: Jungle Cock.

3. And the black demon, the body is primarily black:
a. Tail: Golden Pheasant Crest
b. Body: Black Floss with Tinsel
c. Wing: Bronze Mallard
d. Collar: Orange Rooster
e. Cheeks: Jungle Cock.

Now the visual study of the form begins.

Golden Demon

What works for me?

  • Hook: Partridge CS42 (2)
  • Collar: Full, with tips between bard and point.
  • Jungle Cock: Small and pointing to point.
  • Looks: After tying many black demons, I am appreciating the glow from the gold tinsel body.

What needs improvement?

  • Minor: Tail (a little shorter – 20%) and stacking.
  • Wing: To large on the far side (did not pretty it up for the picture, it was pushed down).

The Black Demon – Bronze Mallard Wing

What works?

  • I really like it!
  • Hook: Daiichi 2441 (2)

What could be improved?

  • A thicker tail.

Black Demon – Bronze Mallard Spey

Changes from Bronze Mallard:

  • Hook: Alec Jackson Spey 2051 (1.5)
  • Hackle: Whiting Spey Hackle, tied in half-way at the base.
  • Rib: Counter Rib
  • Collar: Orange Guinea
  • Wing: Effort to tie in Bronze Mallard as far into the dark as I could.

I have three spools of marked as Medium Largatun Flat Silver Tinsel, exactly the same, two are embossed and one is not.  I prefer the plain tinsel.

What do I Like?

  • Proportions are good.
  • Hook: Large and sleek.
  • Tail: Well stacked.
  • Wing: Mounted Low, clean and ends at the barb.
  • Head: Short (my preference)

What could be improved? (Shows promise, but wings needs works! often it slips-frays at the end.)

  • Tie the Hackle in my the tip, and allow it flow past the bend.
  • Black Collar for contrast.
  • Another coat of head cement.

Black Demon – Hackle Tip Wings

Changes from Bronze Mallard Spey:

  • Hook: Daiichi 2441 (2)
  • Hackle Tips added, but mounted high.
  • Body: Front third is black seal.
  • Hackle: Mounted by stem & tip wrapped forward.Checks: Mounted High.

What do I like?

  • Definite yes!  Wrap Hackle from full base to the tip!
  • Front third with Black Seal

I am still debating on the best order for the body, when the front is dubbing.  Floss is first, but then what?  Dub then tinsel?  Or Tinsel, then dub?  I see some more experiments. (Note: Medium Flat Tinsel broke on wrapping and was thus removed.)

Change next time?

  • Black Collar.
  • Lower Hackle Tips. (Hackle Tips were initially mounted high with the concern that it hide the body and tinsel, with the flat tinsel breaking and on review of the complete fly, this was not a comprise I wanted).
  • Tilt Jungle Cock Down.

With improvements in wing mounting >

Black Demon – Goose Wing

Changes from Hackle Tip (besides the wing):

  • Ribbing: Just the Oval, as a counter rib.
  • Orange Seal for front third of the body.
  • Black Collar.
  • Hook: Partridge CS10/1 (2)


  • Body with simple ribbing and black collar.
  • Yes, bring the wing tips to the bend.


  • Smaller hackle and return to black seal front.
  • Mount wings lower.
  • Go back to the black seal.
  • Prefer the AJ 2051 Hooks.Note: This is my first fly using goose for wings.  As I did the whip finish, I went to far back and pulled down the left side.

Taking a break and the above lessons, I did an “Orange Top” on a AJ 2051 (3)

I like it!

And now for the west coast hair wings.

Hair wing 1 – Sparse

Now, I tried many different hairs, Black Bear, Squirrel, Calf Tail and Deer Bucktail, and different techniques, I have settle on Deer Hair with Calf Tail as an acceptable alternative.  And while I recognize the Ed Haas Reverse Wing, for a floss body, I kept to a simple trimmed top mount.

Referencing the Black Demon Bronze Mallard Wet above, the changes are:

  • Hair wing, and illustrated below is squirrel.
  • Hook: Daiichi 2441 (4)

And though I like the body, there are several improvements to be considered:

  • Collar (it was intentional) is too thin.
  • Prefer the Jungle Cock to point down.

So, Hair Wing 2 with Deer Hair.

And last, my affinity for Spades on an AJ Steelhead Iron (5) with a calf tail wing.

Did I want the collar to be as long as the wing (as above hair-wing), currently, I say not.

D on a cold September Labour Day


Written by raspberryfisher

2011/09/05 at 23:28

Posted in Fly-Tying, Spey, Wet Flies

One Response

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  1. […] represent the spectrum. Above the Herons flies are my dark flies – Lady Carolines, Conversions, Black Demons and a few that I have picked up […]

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