Pattern Tying Spey style

Scott Behn

Active Member
Well here are my closest doings of trying to tie spey style. one is a green-butt lum plum, one is a rendition of a blue charm, and the other one is just something I made up. What do ya think? I still haven't learned to "tent" the wings, Davey I haven't forgotten the invite, so I've been just laying some mallard flank across the back. I did try to use the duck quills, but I'm not liking them as much.

I've messed around a little w/ tying spey flies and mine didn't look anywhere as nice as yours. I'd say you're off to a pretty good start :thumb:
Looks good, Scott. As far as tenting the wings, the best tutorials I have found were sitting next to Davy E or Jerry D. The best I have seen in print is by Ron Lucas. Ron is the "Eric Clapton" of full dress patterns in my book and, as it happens, is a member of this site from time to time. Here is a link from his site that is a step by step of a spey fly. (click) He lays it out in detail and makes it look easy.

Mostly, it's practice and it looks like you doing great!

Scott, Those flies look good to me as well. :thumb: I know that after getting my summer run swap flies I was excited to try and tie some spey style flies as well. I have been practicing them for a little bit and have been getting a little better on each one, I think?? :confused:

Your Speys look nice Scott!

I picked up John Shewey's book, Spey Flies and Dee Flies. He gives a good description w/pictures on tying in the wing. There is a lot of other good stuff in there too. For me it was worth every penny and for the fly shop a good deal with my ever increasing material purchases.



Active Member

Bronze mallard should always be tied in by the "grey" roots of the feather, which are located near the quill. If you tie it in other than by the grey roots, the wing will not stay together, nor will it tent properly.

The easiest way to tie in bronze mallard is Hale's method (found in his book on salmon flies from the 1800's). Hale takes a section from a left and a right bronze mallard feather that is twice the width needed for the wing, and places them one directly on top of the other. He then holds the resultant doubled wing over the hook at the tie in spot (a spey wing is best if it is not shorter than the hook point or longer than the hook bend) with the thumb and forefinger of his left hand (right hand if left handed), and uses a soft loop that is pinched between the thumb and forefinger and the thread is pulled upward to hold the wing in place. You only need 2-3 wraps to hold the wing in place.

After the wing is in place (you may need to adjust it up or down on one side or the other with your thumb and forefinger of the right hand to get it in the proper position), put 2 more wraps on thread on it to lock it in place and cutt the butt ends as close to the thread as you can get. When you cut the butt ends, hold onto the wing with your left thumb and forefinger to keep it from being moved or distorted. And after the wing butts are cut off, put a drop of cement on the butts (flexible cements like Flexament are best for this) and whip finish over the butts. This produces a nice small, compact head and a fly that is very durable since everything is locked to the hook and each other item with the cement.

Quill wings on a spey fly are really a short dee wing tied with goose shoulder feathers. Keep in mind that there will almost always be a small gap somewhere along the top of the quill winged spey fly. The important thing to keep in mind is tie each wing in seperately starting with the far wing first, just like on a dee fly. The difference is that unlike on a dee fly, the a quill wing on a spey fly doesn't extend beyond the hook bend and is between the hook point and hook bend long.

The Shewey book that has been recommended is an excellent resouce for tying spey and dee flies. Bob Veverka's book on spey flies that was published last year is another. Getting both Shewey's and Veverka's books is the best way to go, although either one is excellent.


Hallelujah, I'm a Bum!!!
>"The easiest way to tie in bronze mallard is Hale's method (found in his book on salmon flies from the 1800's). "<

I agree. Hale's book is a masterpiece on tying salmon flies of all types and once you have read it you will realize how much the "modern experts" owe and have used/rediscovered of Hale's work.

There is a relatively new DVD out which has excellent instruction on tying spey flies and the method shown for mounting the wings is excellent (a variation of Hale's method by the way). The DVD is entitled (surprisingly enough) Tying Spey Flies and is by Gerald G. Bartsch a commerical tyer in Canada. At a cost of $24.95 USD it is a very good value. A review of the DVD I did may be found at Spey Flies



phishin phool
Wonderful flies! I do agree with the point about tying deep into the grey feathers of the mallard for durability. You are a really skilled tier.