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Tying the Duck's Dun by Charles Jardine

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I was moved to tell the tale behind the dear old Duck's Dun in the Fly Dressers' Guild's splendid little magazine. My fly tying "Guru" Terry Griffiths (the editor of this august little journal) specifically demanded that the truth be told - the "truth" was indeed told. I won't bore you any further - other than (there is always a caveat isn't there!) suffice it to say this has been in my fly box for nigh on twenty years and the trout have shown no reluctance to take it in that passing of time and yet the whole concept behind it was a mistake - I had no idea of the actual properties of CDC.  The only reason I used them was that I was given a packet to try by Roman Moser on a trip to his native river Traun, all that time ago, and it was exactly the profile, colour and "texture" of feather I was looking for to wing an idea I had based on the Marinaro thorax dun concept.....thus this little character was born. And seemingly much copied!
I have never claimed an invention of a fly - adaption "yes". Out and out invention: "no". Too many historic things to trip you up.  But the idea of the overall profile was (back then) pretty new -and some startlingly similar designs seem to follow. Oh well. So now the record is set straight and that is the reason that Terry (who has been plagiarised himself in terms of designs) urged that I put the piece in the FDG journal - and now I am doing so in this media. Enough.

Look, it's a cracking fly and one that works the world over, whenever and wherever up-wing mayfly duns are emerging and hatching - I am proud to say I have caught trout and grayling on three different continents on this design. It is simple and works. What more does one ever want in a fly?

But do please follow the diagram steps - I have seen more abominations based on this design from the commercial tying houses, possibly almost as many as Dick Walker had to put up with regarding the Sweeny Todd - I do know how the late Maestro must have felt.

This I promise you, is the correct tying - if I had wanted to tie a roof winged sedgy thing - I would have done so! This is a dun - a Duck's Dun…and proud of it!

The Dressing.

  • Hook: I prefer, now, the barbless TMC 103 BL (I think, though, they have gone mad and elected to drop the series…) you can use any light wire down-eyed hook in sizes 14 -20 (or in the 103 BL's case 15-21!)
  • Thread:  12/0 to match or counter the overall tone - I use claret, orange, grey and tan a good deal
  • Tail: 4-5 fibres from a jungle cock saddle (the bits no one wants!) or some very soft grizzly henny/cock hackle fibres - again, tied short.
  • Body: Beaver under-fur dubbing - by all means use the very soft polypropylene - but I much prefer natural fur. The colours should match the species on your water - but "soft" olives and tans are the way to go.
  • Hackle: Blue or honey Dun or grizzly cock hackle can be used - again, be judged by your species.
  • Wing: 2 CDC feathers tied in, back to back
  • Thorax:  a slightly darker/contrasting tone to the body.


  1. With the hook in the vice, catch in the thread and almost immediately encompass the tailing fibres. 
  2. Place and spin the dubbing onto the thread and fashion a neat tapering body. 
  3. NOW add the hackle - it is very important to put the hackle on to the shank and secure at this point. 
  4. Place the CDC feather back to back, tip to tip and tie in with a "soft-loop".
  5. Now dub the darker thorax fur and cover the securing wing wraps - making sure to leave sufficient room though, to hackle and finish. 
  6. Now the ultimate move. Make one complete turn of hackle on the hook bend side of the pattern, in order to secure the wings in an angled upright posture of the natural. This is the crucial part of the pattern. 
  7. Wind the hackle through the thorax and secure at the eye.


Duck's Dun by Charles Jardine

Duck's Dun by Charles Jardine






The completed Duck's Dun by Charles Jardine

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