I am not too sure when this fly acquired its name, but I am indebted to my friend Lee Sennington for sharing it with me, and the rest of the Bristol Reservoirs team, back in the days when we used to fish the old "Benson and Hedges" competition on Wimbleball. Over the years this fly has become somewhat unusual in that so many new patterns come onto the scene and oust the older ones. Nevertheless, this fly remains a good standby on our waters throughout the season. When I had a trip out on the Great Lake in Tasmania it was this fly which produced the one fish caught by the three anglers fishing!
The fly itself is simple to tie and, like all good simple flies, it relies on basic materials that everyone should have. I like to use a size twelve hook, though Lee himself prefers it on a size ten. I use claret coloured silk, but that is irrelevant: use any natural colour.
Wind the silk in close touching turns down to the point opposite the hook point. Here, trap in a length of oval silver tinsel underneath the hook shank. As you carry on towards the bend, tie in a short length of peach coloured wool, and two strands of peacock herl.
Take the silk back up the shank until you are a couple of millimetres behind the eye of the hook. Now wind the peacock herl up carefully to this point and secure it with the silk. Tie in a red game cock hackle, but donít use a top quality one. There is more movement in what the old tyers call "henny-cock" hackles. Once this is secure, wind in even spirals down the hook shank to the tail and then wind the silver tinsel back up the opposite way and thus trap in the body hackle. Tie off the tinsel, trim the waste of the hackle, whip finish and that is it! As I said, simplicity itself!
If you want to try some variants of this fly how about one with a bright orange tail, or for early season a lime green tail? A darker hackle also makes for a tidy looking variant.
I generally use this fly as a top dropper on a three fly cast, and I have found that it is a good one to use on a sinking line. I believe that the palmered body hackle causes a disturbance in the water and this is an attraction itself. Other anglers opt for disturbance flies like boobies, but I stick with more traditionals.
Materials for "Leeís Palmer":
Hook Size twelve B175 Kamasan.
Body Peacock herl.
Tail Peach coloured wool.
Rib Oval silver tinsel.
Hackle Red game cock (poor quality).
I will start looking at some dries and later season flies in the next few weeks. Keep on stocking your fly boxes; you wonít regret it once the season gets going.