Raspberryfisher's Blog

notes on fishing & travel

Spectrum Spider

with 2 comments

Wow, it took me several attempts to get what I would accept, but here it is.

Lets acknowledge Walt Johnson who is credited for this design, and recipes published by Bob Veverka and John Shewey. Now, I will note that there are differences with these recipes, and this is my interpretation.

The recipe, Wilson’s variant:

  • Hook: Alec Jackson Spey Silver in Size 3.
  • Thread: White Danville Flymaster 6/0.
  • Tail: None
  • Body: None
  • Wing: Arctic Fur, stacked with Red, Orange, Green and Kingfisher Blue.
  • Throat: Arctic Fur, Yellow
  • Side: Thin Silver Badger.
  • Collar: Mallard Flank.
  • Cheeks: Artifical Kingfisher.

My notes, lessons and recommendations:

  • Recipe: There are several recipes, with many similarities and small differences.  Given the greatest and earliest known discussion is in Trey Combs’ “Steelhead Fly Fishing” Book, I will be using this reference as my master for the following.
    .
  • Hook Size: AJ Spey 3 > I started with a AJ 1.5 and simply (after some tries) I came to the conclusion is was too big. Doing a little more research, I came across a reference that Walt typically tied on hooks less than size 2 (Partridge). Given this and some work, a good size is an AJ Size 3.
    .
  • Hook Model: AJ Spey in Silver > References indicate that Walt used Partrdige Salmon Hook (Black), but most modern day interpretations or samples from Walt are on AJ Spey Hooks in Gold. Noting that one recipe referenced a silver body, I went to a silver hook (I also do not keep “gold” hooks).  Silver compliments the rainbow colour pattern to and does reflect a Wilson (me) style – minimalist body (though a gold hook to emphasis the yellow would be a fine choice).
    .
  • Tail and Body: Some recipes refers to a yellow tail and-or silver tinsel-mylar (maybe under white floss) body. Acknowledging my minimalist tendancies, I moved the yellow tail to the under body.  As stated above, in keeping in my minimalist style, I transition the body to the silver hook itself.
    • 20120217 Update: I further migrate the yellow up the hook, and has become a part of wing.
      .
  • Wing: Arctic Fox – Pink, Red, Yellow, Chartreuse, Kingfisher Blue >
    • This was my fly to experiment, evaluate and learn how to use Arctic Fox Tail. You can acquire patches in brilliant colours. What did I learn? Arctic Fox has a usable mix of very long guard hairs and impressionistic fur which can be used, but you need to decide what look you want and be very aggressive in pruning to the effect you want. In this case, I was aggressive in thinning out guard hairs, maintain the length I wanted and keep each colour
    • All of the recipes refer to synthetics – Craft Yarn or Antron. I have not found Antron in the desired spectrum, nor Craft Yarn (I am sure it exists). Rainy does have a Craft Fur in the appropriate colours, but rather than put out another 20-30USD for more material, currently, I am keeping to Arctic Fox.
    • Colour names are not an accurate reflection of the hue of a material, nor can be carried over from one product to another. Then there are changes from dye-lot to dye-lot, different call-outs in recipes, and variations given the substrate.  What I am using is 
      • Cerise > Eumer Arctic Tail – Pink (1908)
      • Orange > Using Eumer Arctic Tail – Red (1968)
      • Flourescent Yellow > Eumer Arctic Tail – Yellow (1911)
      • Green > Eumer Arctic Tail – Chartreuse (1902)
      • Blue >Eumer Arctic Tail – Kingfisher Blue (1913)
        .
  • Side wing: Silver Badger > No change, keep it small and the tip ends at the bend.
    .
  • Collar: Mallard > My challenge was the Mallard Flank that I had that was long enough had stems to thick for a nice head, so I eventually used a dubbing loop (and no grizzly hackle). 
    .
  • Overwing: None > There was a recipe, not Trey’s, for a light blue dyed GP Crest. My attempts to bleach a GP did not produce any positive results that would enable a light blue crest.  
    .
  • Cheek: Dyed Imitation Kingfisher > My imitation has a greater and darker saturation than the define natural of Blue Chatterer or Kingfisher-Blue.

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Written by raspberryfisher

2011/12/10 at 17:46

Posted in Fly-Tying, Wet Flies

2 Responses

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  1. […] interest to me, relative to my earlier work and review, is that the wing has Cerise and Red. Early study said Cerise or Red. Whether it was the […]

  2. […] and-or mine), which is link to a photograph of a Walt Johnson Spectral Spider, my first  go, or a critical […]


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