Fly of the Week – The Dabbler

Fly Of The Week - Dabbler

The Dabbler is a classic Irish lough pattern which was devised to fish high in the water to represent everything from olives and mayflies to shrimp. The Dabbler has been a firm favourite on a lot of traditional anglers casts whilst fishing for brown trout on wild hill lakes. More recently with the addition of micro fine fritz and multitudes of dubbing, the dabbler has become a great fly for rainbow trout, usually tied in more enticing colours than those for browns.

Start off by inserting one of your favourite hooks into the vice. Here I have used a Barbless Fulling Mill Grab Gape hook in a size 12. Run a layer of Black UTC thread down the hook in touching turns to create an even platform for the tying to sit. Take five or six strands of mallard from a feather and secure to the hook with a few turns of thread.

For the body I have used Claret Crystal Hackle from FlyBox, a great material which adds lots of movement to the fly without the added bulk to hassle of using a real hackle. Wind the fritz in touching turns towards the eye, ensuring to pull the fibres back after each turn to get a streamline and neater look. Simply tie off before the eye to leave enough room for a hackle and the cloak.

Strip the excess from the bottom of a hackle stalk and tie in. This additional hackle will support the mallard cloak to sit higher on the fly. Wind the hackle around two or three times so that it gives a bit more life to the fly. Take around an inch or so of the mallard feather and strip from the stalk. Simply fold the mallard in half, place flat over the top of the fly and gently push and hold the mallard on the sides of the shank. With a loose turn of thread secure the mallard in place, this will tighten the mallard to the hook and fill in any gaps, cut off the excess once you are happy. Wind a few more turns of thread over the mallard to completely secure and whip finish off.

Dabbler Tying Materials

Hook: Fulling Mull Grip Gape Barbless Size 10
Thread: Black UTC 70
Tail: Bronze Mallard
Body: Claret Crystal Hackle
Hackle: Black Cock
Cloak: Bronze Mallard Folded

Written by Kieron Jenkins

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Kieron Jenkins

About Kieron Jenkins

Born and raised on the rivers and lakes of south Wales, Kieron Jenkins won his first cap at the age of nine, fishing for the Welsh Youth International team. He has gone on to prove himself as one of the leading competition anglers of his generation, both on the river and also the stillwater scene. Specialising in nymph and dry fly fishing in the small streams and larger, freestone rivers of South Wales, he’s also a highly respected and innovative fly tier. Kieron regularly contributes quality features to online and printed game fishing publications. When he’s not fly fishing, kieron is digital marketing manager at Fulling Mill.