March Brown English, Female Wet Fly

This wet fly pattern recipe is taken from Trout by Ray Bergman. I received an order for a dozen March Brown wets for fishing in Pennsylvania’s Big Pine Creek, and the customer actually got to select the pattern “in person” from viewing the authentic imitations of three variations in my framed reproduction of Wet Fly Plate No. 5 while I was displaying and tying at the Fly Fishing Show in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, on March 5th and 6th, 2011. The three March Brown wet fly patterns in the frame are the March Brown American, and English version; Male and Female. My customer chose the female patterns based on the color combination to suit his preference. Here are the pattern details as shown in the photographs:

Hook:               Montana Fly Company 7026 2x long nymph hook.

Thread:          Danville Flymaster 6/0 Brown

Tip:                  None

Tail:                  Partridge

Ribbing:         Gold tinsel

Body:               Gray-brown (dubbing)

Hackle:           Partridge

Wing:               Pheasant (light) *

  • Pheasant is called for in the Trout recipe; the wing on these flies is finely mottled brown turkey, a good substitute and easier to work with than pheasant.
  • These flies were requested by my customer to be tied in size number 6, but he wanted a smaller hook gape. In this case, a #10 2x long nymph hook is dead-on equal in shank length to the Mustad 3399 #6 sproat bend standard wet fly hook, so I have effectively produced size #6 flies on size #10 hooks.

Note: The mini-barb, high-carbon steel modern hooks are unquestionably better for fishing than classic style hooks that have a barb height of sometimes 125% of hook wire diameter. And you can’t beat chemical sharpening, a great improvement for fishing flies over older style hooks. However, I still prefer classic hooks for “classic” presentation or collectible flies. I have recently made the decision to reserve my remaining vintage Mustad made-in-Norway wet fly hooks for use as collector, presentation, and framed flies, and I will be using modern wet fly hooks for filling orders for classic wet flies for my fishing fly orders.

March Brown Female Wets circle

March Brown Female Wet Flies, size #10 2x long

Macro of March Brown Female Wet Fly size #10 2x long

March Brown Female Wets Size #10 2x long

6 comments on “March Brown English, Female Wet Fly

  1. Todd Towle says:

    Great looking flies. They will be here in two to three weeks!

  2. Rod says:

    Hi, Lovely flies indeed. Would you like to recommend where to buy quality partridge feathers?

    • Don Bastian says:

      Hello Rod;
      Thank you very much for your comment. The feathers I used on these flies were taken from a full Hungarian partridge skin. That is what I would suggest, buy a full skin. Where to purchase, the only thing I can say is many fly shops sell them, but whether or not you get a quality skin is not always definite. I know of some folks in the mid-west that sell skins from wild ring-necked pheasants, and they also hunt “Huns” out there too. If you can find someone that sells processed skins from local, wild birds, that would be best.
      One fly shop I will recommend you try for a Hungarian partridge skin would be Great Feathers in Sparks, Maryland. Their link is on my sidebar under Fly Shops.
      I am happy you liked the flies and my tying. Thanks again for your comment!

  3. Rod says:

    Hi Don,
    Your answer to my question is as informative, focused and complete as your flies look… , Thanks!
    In google images search on March Brown wet fly, I found your version to be the one to copy…
    How convenient that you mentioned Great Feathers… I have dealt with Dave not long ago and he quickly sent me the needed products to Europe where I am located. I know the company has Hungarian partridge skin in the web store so I do not need to look further…
    The mottled Turkey feather you use for wing is equally outstanding and interact well with the partridge and body color/dubbing. Great tie and great fly!

    • Hello Rod;
      Thanks for the follow-up comment! I am glad my answer provided what you were looking for. Thank you also for the compliment of my March Brown being the “one to copy.” That’s very nice! It’s funny when I mention one of hundreds of fly shops, you’re in Europe, and you’ve dealt with the same one. Talk about a small world!
      Thanks again for your compliments, and…cheers!

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