Wings for spey type flies

mike doughty

Honorary Member
I was just wondering what exactly is the purpose of the wings, for say a dee style or wings that are married, is it for a certain profile or what? it doesn't seem that these style wings would have much movement in the water. the reason i am asking is because a while ago i tied a GP fly and just laid a single small mallard feather centered over top of the body. it looked o.k. but didn't know if maybe it was defeating the purpose of a certain wing. :confused:

Matt Burke

Active Member
From John Shewey, Spey Flies and Dee Flies.

"Design elements also dictate the manner in which the fly "swims." Hackles tied in at their root and palmered forward tend to remain open and expressive in the water during the swing. Hackles secured by their tips and wrapped forward tend to collapse around the body of the fly, although this is not necessarily
a negative effect. Again, the tier's expectation of the fly's performance should dictate the nature of its construction. Dee flies offer a classic study in design elements that profoundly affect performance. When tied in the classic manner with stiff, scissors-shaped wings of turkey tail, these flies show a decided tendency to ride true in the water under tension from a taut line. Conversely, Spey-style flies often flip to one side or the other during the swing so that the hook bend faces left or right rather than down. The Dee-style wings produce a planing effect on the fly, working somewhat like an airfoil to keep the fly upright. However, this planing effect works only on large patterns whose wings are long enough to encompass the roots of the turkey-tail slips. In other words, large Dee flies require long wings. Therefore, long slips must be cut from close to the turkey feather's stem where the fibers are thickest, These thick fibers assure that the wings are quite rigid at their base (front of the fly). Small Dee flies, wherein only the soft outer half of the slips comprise the wing, do not enjoy this planing effect simply because the wings lack the rigidity to brace strong currents during the swing. Likewise, if the Dee-wings are mounted to the sides tent style, the flies tend to flip to the left or right like many Spey flies. This planing effect may be one of the reasons that Dee-style flies were tied on long-shank hooks."

Personally, I think it's because they have a shrimp back look to it and the chicks dig it!

Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
Well, with a GP, the feather backs are supposed to simulate the shellback of most shrimp. The golden pheasant tippet that is cut into a V is to simulate the eyes I'd assume. I've heavily modified the GP over the years to fish coastal streams. In fact, now shows virtually no resemblence to a GP (though I do still tie them traditionally).

Matt gave you the best example, where I was going to get my quote too. He beat me to it.

Bob Triggs

Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
Jerry, If you would show us a pix of your modified G.P. here that would be great. I for one am very interested.

Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
I'll tie one up and post it Bob. It's actually it's "own pattern" now. Great pattern for fresh from the salt kings and cohos out in Grays Harbor. Biggest king on a fly came off one. Forgot about a swap, so gotta crank out some flies with a donation set of flies I gotta crank out. So will put one together at the bench.

Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
Here you go Bob

As you can tell, it's heavily modified. Started out looking like a GP. But I wanted one in colors that matched a sandshrimp. Slowly evolved over the years when I found different materials. Had claws on it for a bit, but found catch rate really didn't go up much more with them. So to keep it somewhat simple, just left with the long feelers. But this is my sandshrimp fly. Has put alot of fish in the boat fishing Grays Harbor Rivers. Funny to think this was actually a GP tied to specs at one time. :rofl: