Red Tag (version 1)
Text and Photos by Steve Chatterton
|Hook||#12 - #16|
|Tag||Red Poly Yarn|
The red tag is as relevant today as when it was first invented some 140 years ago. It is perhaps the quintessential beetle imitation and is popular worldwide.
|1) Wind the thread from the 95%
position in touching turns to the bend of the hook.
2) Tie in a tag of red Poly Yarn that is about as long as the gape of the hook.
3) Tie in several strands of peacock herl. It is best to tie in an equal number of herl and to tie half in from the butt end after trimming of the white butt section and the other half by the tip/s. By doing this you avoid a situation, particularly with poorer quality herl, of the finished body showing nice wide flue (Flue = the small individual fibres on the Peacock herl or Ostrich herl) at one end of the body and poor thin flue at the other end of the body.
4) Wind the herls around the silk to form a herl rope.
|5) Tie in 1 or 2 red cock hackles depending on their length and quality. The barbs on the hackle should be around 1¼ times the gape of the hook.|
|6) Build up the head whip finish & varnish. Wind the hackle forward in touching turns but stopping short of the eye of the hook so as to leave room for the head. Tie the hackle off and trim the loose end.|
- WET VERSION
Tied with a
couple of turns of hen hackle rather than the cock hackle it is also
Red Tag (version 2)
Text and Photos by Andrew Susani and Andrew Wheeler
|Hook||#10 - #18 (usually #12)|
|Thread||Black or Brown 6/0|
|Body||3 strands of peacock herl, twisted|
|Tail||Red wool or red poly yarn (synthetic)|
|Hackle||Brown or ginger cock|
The Red Tag is an English pattern, designed around 150 years ago. It has become a popular dry fly pattern in both Australia and New Zealand as a general beetle imitation. It can be tied in a variety of sizes and styles and proves effective in a wide range of situations, from small streams to large impoundments. This is definitely a must have pattern for trout fishermen
|1. Start thread at the hook bend. Tie in a short
piece of red wool or poly yarn. You can trim it short now if you wish
(so it extends 2-3mm past the hook bend), but we prefer to leave it
long and trim it at the end once you know what the body will look like.
in the 3 peacock herls at the bend. Gently stroke the herls against the
so they become furry, then twist the 3 herls together and clamp the
some small hackle pliers.
wind the twisted herls forward to form a fat little body. Tie the herls
there is about 4-5 mm of bare hook shank between the body and the hook
a dry fly (cock) hackle feather whose fibres are roughly 1 to 1.5 times
the width of
the hook gape, and tie it in by the butt.
|5. Wind the hackle forward, making sure that all the fibres are perpendicular to the hook shank. Tie off and trim.|
|6. Build up a
small head of thread, then whip finish and varnish head. Trim the tail
if you haven't already done so.
yarn won’t absorb water
like wool will, so it might be an advantage to use it instead so your
float for longer.
gentle with the peacock
herls – take a few wraps of the thread over the formed body if you want
make the fly longer lasting.
the hackle backwards as
it is wound so that you don’t get fibres sticking out towards the front
fly that will get in the way when you are trying to make the head.
that the less weight
you have on the fly, the better it will float, so keep thread work to a
and use nice stiff hackles.
fast water, you might want
to have a few flies tied up using 2 hackle feathers instead of one so
the fly is
more buoyant and won’t get dragged under by the turbulent water.
For all the original instructions and methods, see: "Fur and Feather" by Peter Leuver