Don's Fly Tying - the Shaggy Coachman

[the Shaggy Coachman]

Here is another Vancouver Island fly described many years ago by Bob Jones. What I find very interesting, aside from the rather novel construction technique, is how it is successfully river fished for steelhead. Bob relates that the heavy fly is cast into fairly quiet water, perhaps in mid pool, and left to sink to the bottom. At that point, it is quickly reefed up and then left to sink again perhaps 10 feet away. When the fly is again jerked away from the bottom, any curious steelhead that ignored the original fly entry to the pool, may then be motivated to strike the creature trying to escape! Sounds a bit kooky but Bob claims it works so why not give it a try? This fly is called a Shaggy Coachman, a name undoubtedly derived from how the body is formed with peacock herl. It is not wound chenille style but rather cut in short chunks and tied at right angles all along the hook shank! An interesting approach!

[ A River Steelhead Delight ]



I tie my shaggy coachman a bit different than the original Bob described but I am sure it should also be effective. I have added a bead head and silver wire rather than tinsel for the rib but the unique peacock herl body construction is the same! First crimp the barb and slide a black bead to the hook eye. Next made a soft feather tail, a gold tone wood duck feather will give a hint of a salmon fry tail. Now tie in a piece of silver wire to the shank and let it project past the tail. The next step is what gives this fly its uniqueness! It is a slow process so patience is required. Select several strands of peacock herl and tie in at right angles to the hook shank. Trim off a bit longer than normal body size and keep using the left over pieces of herl all the way up the shank with new pieces as necessary. The herl will jut out all over but don't worry, this is the required effect as the shine from the herl can be seen from any angle. When the herl is tightly packed, hook bend to eye, wind the silver wire in spaced turns to the bead, taking care to work the wire between the pieces of herl. A white calf tail or polar bear hair wing is now tied in, flowing back to the end of the tail. The final step is to wind two turns of black feather hackle just behind the bead. Cement, tie off and you have finished a very unique steehead fly!

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