Mystery Mayfly

Vintage Badger

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Several years ago I bought an old Wheatley 32 compartment fly box, which I believe dates from between the mid 60s and mid 70s. It was full of some lovely traditional old pattern dry flies such as Iron Blue, Pale Watery and Evening Dun, Tups, Red Spinner, Usk Dogsbody, Coachman, Greenwell's, etc. but also had a couple of nymph patterns in it, one of which was in a compartment labelled Mayfly Nymph. I found this fly quite puzzling as I'd never seen a tying like it before:

51158253109_b3921138fc_b.jpg


The protruding 'legs' and antennae appear to be made out of some sort of hard, barbed material almost like barley awns, and the coarse thread that the head and thorax are tied from appears to have been varnished.

Does anyone know the name of this pattern, or has anyone seen anything like it?

PS Sorry for the slightly poor photo, I don't have a macro lens for my DSLR camera, so had to use my smartphone!
 
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PaulD

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If that is supposed to be a Mayfly Nymph, I'd suggest it's been 'designed' and tied by somebody who's never seen one.

Mayfly Nymph.jpg
 

Vintage Badger

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It's an imitation (!) of an Ephemera Danica, I think.

View attachment 38858
Thanks. That's the only British Mayfly nymph that I thought looked at all like it. That pattern doesn't look particualrly easy or quick to tie and there were 7 of them in the compartment, so someone obviously thought they'd work! Looking at it, with the up-eyed hook, I wonder if it were fished upside down?
 

Vintage Badger

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It's a rather "iffy" crayfish or crawfish imitation.
If so, it would be crayfish as there'd only have been white-clawed crayfish in the UK at the time that was tied. I still go with an imitation of Ephemera Danica though.
 

Vintage Badger

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Maybe down to, available materials/skill-set
Indeed, they didn't have 'cheats' like moulded plastic nymph legs and heads in those days. All the other flies in that box are tied very nicely, so I'd imagine these nymphs were tied like that for a reason - perhaps they were very effective in their time?
Try fishing one and see what happens. You may have stumbled onto the holy grail of May fly larvae.
I will if I ever get chance to fish the sort of stream that has a good hatch of Ephemera danica.

In fact, would the fly experts on here be able to tell approximately which region (or even which river) the angler who owned that fly box might have fished, based on the slection of flies in it? Now there's a challenge! If people would like to have a go then I'll start a new thread with a photo of the box (most of the compartment lids are labelled as to which fly is in them). :)
 
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fleaflicker

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Indeed, they didn't have 'cheats' like moulded plastic nymph legs and heads in those days. All the other flies in that box are tied very nicely, so I'd imagine these nymphs were tied like that for a reason - perhaps they were very effective in their time?

I will if I ever get chance to fish the sort of stream that has a good hatch of Ephemera danica.

In fact, would the fly experts on here be able to tell approximately which region (or even which river) the angler who owned that fly box might have fished, based on the slection of flies in it? Now there's a challenge! If people would like to have a go then I'll start a new thread with a photo of the box (most of the compartment lids are labelled as to which fly is in them). :)

Im so shocked that that fly is getting knocked. But i guess the truth in the matter is if one doent fill a basket or two of trouts and grayling on that lovely nymph at duffers, sawyer would probably roll out of his grave to pack your rod away for you!

The other flies would be great to see.
 

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