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  1. #1
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    Default Colonel Downman's Fancy



    Hook: Hayabusa 761 black nickel #10
    Tail: Teal fibres
    Rib: Silver tinsel
    Body: Black floss
    Wing: Pair of Blue Jay with Jungle Cock on each side
    Throat: Black hen
    Thread: Danvilles 6/0

    A traditonal loch fly, good practice for material positioning, but probably not one I'll be using on Eyebrook! Interestingly, I can't find out much about it - there's a beautiful photograph of one in Ken Sawada's book and the dressing is documented elsewhere but no mention as to who Colonel Downman was. There was a Lieutenant Colonel G. T. F. Downman in the Gordon Highlanders who had his portrait painted in 1900?
    Last edited by olive_dabbler; 05-01-2019 at 02:13 PM.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Colonel Downman's Fancy

    Interesting wing on that.

    And that pattern is completely different from the Colonel Downman I know. Maybe there were to Colonels? Or maybe just the one Colonel but he invented two flies...


  3. #3

    Default Re: Colonel Downman's Fancy

    Quote Originally Posted by shpeil View Post
    And that pattern is completely different from the Colonel Downman I know. Maybe there were to Colonels? Or maybe just the one Colonel but he invented two flies...
    In 'Reservoir and Lake Flies' by John Veniard, the dressing is given exactly as Iain has tied it here, with the barred jay wings...



    In Tom Stewart's book, '50 Popular Flies' (Vol 2), he acknowledges the blue jay version and then goes on to tie it with blae jay primary wing feather and red tail, as per Davie McPhail...



    So, it does seem to be 2 variations on the one fly. Pays yer money...

    Col
    Please note that any views expressed in this post may be those of the
    originator and do not necessarily reflect those of the reader.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Colonel Downman's Fancy

    Looking at the pic above... does anybody ever fish a Mallard & Blue?!

  5. #5

    Default Re: Colonel Downman's Fancy

    Quote Originally Posted by shpeil View Post
    Looking at the pic above... does anybody ever fish a Mallard & Blue?!
    He-he - aye, looking through all the traditional wets in that Veniard book, there will be a lot of them that haven't seen the light of day for many years. But strangely enough, if you just modernise a mallard and blue as a dabbler and add a wee bit flash, you get the fly I tied and called the Roag Blue Dabbler, which has been a very successful sea trout loch fly over the past few years, both for myself and my pals...


    You can even buy it commercially these days...

    Roag Blue Dabbler

    (I gave the copy away before I started adding the JC cheeks and the silver tag... )

    Col
    Please note that any views expressed in this post may be those of the
    originator and do not necessarily reflect those of the reader.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Colonel Downman's Fancy

    As in Loch Roag Lewis? Not much to it, but famous in geological circles for, of all things, sapphires!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Colonel Downman's Fancy

    Quote Originally Posted by olive_dabbler View Post
    As in Loch Roag Lewis? Not much to it, but famous in geological circles for, of all things, sapphires!
    Loch Roag, South Uist, Iain...




    There is not really much to it, either - 38 acres of stewed tea!

    That blue dabbler does OK on other lochs, but seems to have a bit extra on Roag. Might be the peaty water? Might be the maritime nature? (It's decidedly brackish.) Anyway, among other exploits, there was one day my boat partner and I had 4 sea trout for 15 lb between us for the day. We both fished a 3-fly team with a Roag blue dabbler on the middle, and all 4 of the fish were caught on it! The dressing came about as a result of a group of 18 of us spending a week there in 2010 and at the end of the week, when we compared our most successful flies, I saw a bit of a trend - there was quite a bit of blue featured across them. I'll bet that old trad, the mallard and blue would have been just as worthy of a swim as many of the flies we used.

    Col
    Please note that any views expressed in this post may be those of the
    originator and do not necessarily reflect those of the reader.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Colonel Downman's Fancy

    Well who'd have thought.

    I do have a "Professor" in my fly box (also pictured above) but can't remember the last time I used it. I do tend to stick to a few old reliables.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Colonel Downman's Fancy

    Back to the OP, that's the first version I remember seeing which was probably during the 1970's.
    2019 & it will be time for a change.

  10. #10
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    Default Colonel Downman's Fancy

    Following from Cap'n Fish (Col)'s posts above, had some time last night to do a little more digging on the origin and variation of this particular pattern. The oldest reference that I can find to the pattern is that given as a loch fly by Roger Woolley in 1932. Roger Woolley's book is a collection of articles first published in the Fishing Gazette in 1930 and 1931. The pattern simply says "Jay Wing", not specifying whether it is the blue-barred feather or primary wing feather. The rest of the dressing matches that given in later dressings, with the blue-barred jay wing, by John Veniard in 1952 and as noted above by Col in his later book Reservoir and Lake Flies.



    Tom Stewart’s “usual tie” as mentioned by Col above from his 1964 book "50 popular flies" is also the one given by Stan Headley in 1997 using a pattern he was supplied by Davie McPhail.

    As to Colonel Downman himself, there would appear to be little mention of him beyond a comment in the French magazine "Le Moucheur" by Maurice Lewkowicz who describes the pattern as having been created by a colonel of the Indian army retired in the 1930s though no citation is given as to the source of this information so unable to verify its authenticity.

    Modern trout fly dressing by Roger Woolley. The Fishing Gazette, London. 224pp (1932)
    Fly Dresser’s Guide by John Veniard. A & C Black, London. 256pp (1952)
    Fifty Popular Flies, Book 2 by Tom Stewart. A&C Black, London (1964)
    Reservoir and Lake Flies by John Veniard. A&C Black, London. 184pp (1970)
    Trout and Salmon Flies of Scotland by Stan Headley. Merlin Unwin, Ludlow. 170pp (1997)
    Le Geai by Maurice Lewkowicz. Le Moucheur n°46 - Décembre 2001-Janvier 2002
    Last edited by olive_dabbler; 11-01-2019 at 10:15 PM.
    Iain

    Take care of the fish, and the fishing will take care of itself.

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