March 2009

Jeffery's Adams

Jeffery Skeate

Jeffery's Adams

Hook: Fine-wire dry fly hook, standard length, #10-#24--the photo is a #12
Thread:8/0 Pre-waxed, black or gray
Wings: Grizzly-hackle, upright and divided--see notes below
Tail: Brown and Grizzly hackle fibers mixed. I prefer a slightly longer and fairly heavy tail. The fly balances on the water better, and a longer tail is helpful when mayfly spinners are present.
Body: Gray Hareline Dubbing, or gray muskrat fur.
Hackle: Brown and Grizzly mixed
Tying Instructions and Pattern History:
Tying Instructions:
  1. Mount thread to hook. Tie in tail fibers.
  2. Dub body towards eyelet, taking care not to get too close to the eyelet. Two-thirds of a hook shank is quite enough dubbing.
  3. Mount upright and divided wings about half-way between the end of the gray dubbing and the eyelet, using the figure-eight wrap. When finished, bring thread back to the end of the gray body dubbing to mount the two hackle feathers. For my upright and divided wings, I use a pair of grizzly hackle feathers from a low-grade rooster or hen neck. (See photo A below.) I buy inexpensive necks of these types for wings only. The feathers can be quite long and extend high above the hook. After I’ve tied them in, I wrap the two hackle feathers in and finish the fly. I then grasp the extended wing feathers between thumb and index finger of my left hand and snip them off evenly just above the wrapped hackle feathers, scissors in right hand. (See photo B below.) The two wing feathers snipped off can be used on the next fly tied. I normally get three pairs of wings from each pair of hackle feathers initially taken from the neck. I then take the fly out of the vise, turn it upside-down and nip the corners from each wing to form a more rounded appearing wing.
  4. As stated, after the upright and divided wings have been secured, mount the brown and grizzly hackle feathers in just above the gray dubbing, and wrap toward the eyelet. Start with the brown grizzly feather, wrap it three times behind the wingset, cross over to the top side of the wingset, wrap twice and secure. Repeat with grizzly hackle feather.
  5. Finish head of fly in whatever fashion you prefer. Remove fly from vise and trim wing corners as stated above.

Traditionally, the wingsets for the Adams fly, and most other mayfly imitations, are tip-feathers only. Some years ago I began using the extended-feather method described above to economize and get more wingsets from the feathers rather than using tips only. That is really the only difference between my method and the standard Adams tying method. I generally do not tie upright and divided wingsets on Adams flies #18 and smaller, and use the above method on flies.from #10-#16 only.

The Adams dry fly is one of the most effective Driftless Area mayfly imitations available. Variations in dubbing colors and hackle feather colors are also effective, depending on the mayfly imitated. Leonard Halliday was the inventor of the Adams dry fly in approximately 1922. The fly was named after Halliday’s friend Charles F. Adams, who initially fished it successfully on Ohio trout streams.



Photograph ©2009 by Marv Slind