Could someone post a picture or two of a spider/reverse spider? I did an extensive search on the site last night, and all the threads that actually seemed to have pictures in them were missing the pictures for some reason.

Thanks for the link. What do you mean "tied the other way"? As in the tips are facing towards and ahead of the eye? I'm a bit confused by that.


Rob Ast

Active Member
One tip on tying the reverse spider - tie in your tail and hackle first, then start the chenille at the front of the fly and tie off/whip finish at the rear.


Active Member
Jeez! I have to post this nearly every year. Mike Kinney's Reverse Spider:
Hook: Tiemco 200 or equivalent, size 8
Thread: 6/0 color optional (but black works just fine)
Tail and hackle: Pheasant tippet (golden, chinese or Amherst ) or mallard, wood duck, teal, etc., natural or dyed.
Body: Chenille (color optional).

1. Prepare the hackle and tie it in by the tip immediately behind the eye of the hook, with the butt of the quill curving forward and down over the eye.
2. Wind the hackle, one turn behind the previous one for about three turns. The hackle fibers should project forward in a cone over the eye of the hook.
3. Clip off the tip of the hackle feather and tie it in for the tail, at a spot just slightly ahead of the point of the hook
4. Start the chenille at about the center of the hook shank and wind it forward to the hook eye, winding over the butts of the hackle, then reverse it and wind it back to the point at which the tail is tied in.
5. Whip finish the chenille at this point and you're done.

Starting the chenille at the middle of the hook shank and winding forward then back creates a tapered body and wrapping over the hackle butts reinforces the conical attitude of the hackle.

I haven't yet been able to figure out how to attach pictures in the new format so I can't add the step-by-step photos.


Hallelujah, I'm a Bum!!!
My understanding is that Mike only used pheasant tippet when tying his reverse spider (most often Amherst pheasant tippet) specifically because it gave better action in the water than duck flank feathers.
Thanks for all the help. Preston that is a great help. On tying with mallard, is there some trick to this? I was tinkering with regular spider patterns last night, and was having a hell of a time wrapping the feather. Wanted to get bunched up on underside barbs when they came around under the hook. I seem to recall years ago, when I was tying alot, using hungarian partridge for little soft hackles and pulling the barbs off one side of the feather and just wrapping it? I can't totally remember, but I was thinking today at work that this may make it easier, or am I way off base? Once I get that figured out I'll give the reverse spiders a try.



Active Member
Not so. Mike tied it with long-fibered chicken hackles at first, then started using mallard, and finally Amherst tippet. Soime of my favorite combinations are: hot orange body/wood duck flank hackle, black body/dyed yellow mallard flank hackle (or yellow dyed Amherst tippet hackle), yellow body/golden pheasant tippet hackle and black body/natural (whiite and black) Amherst pheasant tippet hackle.


Active Member
Hmmm, I'm still unable to attach pictures for some reason. If I could, you'd see the way to handle the hackle fibers. Prepare the hackle feather by stroking the fibers backward along the quill leaving a little more than 1/4 inch of tip (which will later be clipped off and tied in for the tail). Tie the feather down with the tip pointing aft and the rest curving down and over the eye of the hook. Fold the hackle fibers down on either side of the stem and, as you wrap the three turns of hackle (from front to back), stroke the fibers forward with the thumb and forefinger of your right hand. It sounds a little fussy but, with a little practice, it comes quite easily.


Active Member
As Preston suggests tying good looking and effective spiders using mallard or other duck feathers (either standard or reversed) begins with the selection and prep of the flank feathers used for the hackle.

The traditional way of tying those hackles is as Preston suggests is with a fold feather; either folding as you tying or folding prior to tying he feather in.

However one can use a stripped flank feather. I'll try to go through the process for a"standard" Knudsen spider. Assuming that you are a right hand tier; as you face the hook the eye is on the right side of the bend and winding away from you. Once the tail and body is done and ready to tie lay the feather along your side of the hook with the outside of the feather facing you. Strip off the fibers on the top half of the feather. Tying in the prepared feather by its tip and wind it away from you with each turn in front of the previous one. The result should be the longer fibers laying over the shorter ones. It will take a extra turn of two to get the same effect/fiber density as with a fold feather

When you are selecting the mallard feather to use you will find that not all feathes are not created equal. Not only are there different sizes only few from each side of the bird our those prefect feathers with equal sise and shape of fibers on each side of the feather with majority being what I can "right" and "left" handed feathers. The" right" and" left" handed feathers have the nice fibers on only one side of the feather. You want to strip those feathers so that you keep the side with the nciely shpaed/color fibers. The "right-handed" feather work well on the standard spider and the "left-handed" on the reverse spiders. Or of course you can reverse how you wrap the material on the fly to use both right and left handed feathers on either standard and reverse spiders.

I usually use the folded method when tying with those "prefect" feathers and stripping on the others. As tying more spiders having access to lots of feathers is a real advantage so that you can select the better feathers to use. It helps to be or know a waterfowl hunter that is willing to save feathers. It is easy just pluck the flank feathers and once they are dry place in "baggies". I tie lots of spiders and typically use the feathers from 8 to 12 drakes a year. I usually "prep" my feather before tying - putting feathers that have been stripped and sized (large/medium etc) in different bags.

Tight lines
Nick, here's a link to a video of Mark Mercer tying a spider pattern. Just click on the fly in the lower left of the screen. http://northwestoutdors.com/FLY_TIE_LIBRARY.html

Some great tips on tying with mallard flank, including flattening the stem, moistening the hackle, and folding it back. Also check out the shrimp pattern tied with rabbit strip and golden pheasant. I tied a few of these last fall, and they've been really good for me, fishing off the beach for sea-runs.