From "The fishing gazette" - July 19h, 1884
In pursuing the subject of hackles, perhaps it would be well to come to some definite understanding for future reference regarding cock-a-bonddus. A coch-a-bonddu is a black-pointed furnace hackle. The red part cannot be too red for winged flies unless required for dark water, though the deeper shades are generally reserved for grubs, neither can the black list up the centre be too dark and shiny, nor the black points of the fibres too long. Evenly-tapered hackles having these qualities, with a good under colour, are, in my opinion, most valuable.
Then there are those something similar in character which have natural blue dun points, and that colour running up the middle of the feathers; these we will will term "natural blue coch-a-bonddus". One just dipped in Bismarck brown aniline dye is, perhaps, the best of all hackles in low water everywhere; at least, as far as my experience goes.
And there are those I call "white coch-a-bonddus," having central black lists and points, but white where the red is in an ordinary one; they may be dyed any colour, and will be found to be much more attractive and killing than any plain white hackle stained. The black list enriches and "stands out" over any lightish body, and is very effective, as it is with "Childers," which is an old standard pattern.
That class of "naturals" which are most rare are, perhaps, the "Kneecaps," but they may easily be recognised. Except that they are reversed in order, the colours are red and black as with a coch-a-bondd - that is to say, instead of black centres and points, they have red; the black part being the streak running up in the middle of the fibres.
Farlow purchased the whole of these birds - I know of no othersin the kingdom; and the fly called "Kneecap" can only be obtained at this establishment, correct to pattern.
With regard to Fiery Browns, I consider those dyed and supplied by Mike Rogan, Ballyshannon, the best. Upon this, the whole of my friends who have a voice in the standard colours agree.
Plain white hackles maybe purchased anywhere of almost any shade and size.
It will not be necessary, I think, to say any more about these feathers, if I may refer my readers to the article of the 8th March last, where particulars are given in detail how to double hackles. They should, however, be kept flat and not allowed to get twisted.
It is astonishing what quantities of valuable feathers are damaged in keeping, and, therefore, I particularly call attention to the letter in another column from a special correspondent relating to the Fllymaker's Box. I have tried all sorts of plans, but have found nothing so suitable, convenient, and I may almost say, necessary, as the cabinet which he advocates.
When this fly is wanted smaller than the illustration, natural black hackles should be used instead of the feathers on the body, which, though flaccid, are not weak, but malleable, and have a yielding, leech-like appearance in water terribly seductive. Whole feathers, though, are not often used as hackles, because they are inanimate in the water; but the discoveryhere was indeed a grand one.
Many of the whole feathers that are used in wings are not only to a certain extent stubborn, but are intended to be stationary, simply to form a background for fibres of other varied shades over them to be shown to greater advantage - take, for instance, the tippet in the "Butcher." But in this pattern, as in other of these novelties, these "legs" are left to do duty alone without other facial union. The golden topping element, in dark water, when the "B. P." is always more successful, can claim but a trifling share of commendation; but in bright water, the sting of disappointment may often be averted. especially in a tumbling torrent, by this admirable contrast - these life-like, beguiling "decoy ducks" in the wing. Having the illustration, the fly may be described:
Tag: Silver twist and golden silk (the same shade as toppings).
Butt: Black herl.
Body: Three equal divisions of silver tinsel, butted, and with two black feathers from the nape of the Indian Crow at the top and bottom at the termination of each section, V-shaped, as illustrated.
Wings: Five or six golden toppings.
Horns: Blue Macaw.
Head: Black herl.
Wherever salmon take a fly, at one time or another this bewitching "Circe" would be sure to tempt; but if required spring size - or say, double, as large - these black feathers would be useless, and those from close under the blue striped feathers in the wing of the jay should be selected, and they will answer admirably, especially if the aqngler has faith and takes pains But persistence is often forged hard in the flame of fashin; in fact, the facination for old standard flies - used, too, in the same customary way - is almost universal, and with some of us almost irresistible.
It is, however, astonishing how a "new acquaintance" will take at times; dressed in sombre array, or even gaudy glitter - a decided change - a "sometehing that have never before seen," is unquestionably the fly to use in any fantastic way when salmon are immovable. Allaw a quarter of an hour's rest if you can get in front of your fish, and, a yard from the fly, fix two or three swan shot; cast and let the fly remain perfectly still a few feet before and in a line with the fish for three or four minutes; then drag it gently, say a couple of feet, and give it a short, sharp snatch; if that fails, try a prawn. Great care must be taken to see that the fly is perfectly made, so taht it fishes evenly, for if it wobbles the least atom there will be no recognition.
Messrs. Farlow, London; Bernard, Piccadilly; Malloch, Perth; and Wright, Sprouston, supply these flies.