Fly Tying Recipe:
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Hook: #18 Firehole 317
Bead: Copper 3⁄32” tungsten
Weight: .010″ lead wire
Thread: Fire orange 14/0 Veevus
Tail: Ginger speckled flor de Escobar coq de León fibers
Underbody: Fine copper Holographic Tinsel
Overbody: Hand-stripped Polish peacock quill, dyed brown
Wingcase: Black marker, coated with resin
Perdigons were first developed by the Spanish competitive fly-fishing team but were really popularized by the French. These simple nymphs epitomize what I look for in good fly design. They’re simple, they sink like rocks due to their inherent weight and slim design, and when you put in a bit of effort, they can even be pretty.
There. I said it. I like my flies to be pretty. I also like them to be a bit more complicated just so I feel like I earned my catch, but the Perdigon is of no help in that regard. They’re simple, bordering on artless, and quick to tie even when dressed up, but they catch fish. They have an important niche in places where trout are looking for small flies in fast water, and you don’t want to lose contact with your flies by adding a lot of split-shot to the tippet.
Perusing the Internet, I found Perdigons crafted with bodies made of everything from plain thread, to Krystal Flash to “special” Perdigon tinsels and even dyed and stripped peacock quills. These quills really caught my eye and remind me of fine goose biots with their dark-edged segmentation.
I opted to show the full-dress Perdigon here and wrap the quill with some spacing over an underbody of Holographic Tinsel to create an inverse rib just to show off a bit. The resulting body is beautiful and requires just a bit of forethought and skill, and just might make you a better tier when you concentrate on these aspects.
One of the trickier parts of tying this pattern is maintaining an ultra-smooth thread underbody. The taper and texture must be extremely even to allow for a smooth tinsel body, and it takes a bit of time and attention to detail to get it right.
The UV resin coatings should be the thinnest resins available to keep the flies slim. I like Solarez Ultra-Thin Bone Dry for this application, but many good tiers choose Loon’s Flow formula.
Perhaps the most innovative part of these flies are the wingcases. Rather than use a slip of feather, some genius figured out that he could just paint a wingcase onto the finished fly. It works!
The original patterns show wingcases of black fingernail polish dabbed onto the top, but I opted for a smudge of black marker topped with an extra drop of UV resin to achieve the same effect. I categorize this into the “crafty” portion of our sport, and love when I see new techniques like this.