Bronze Mallard Wings

An “inspiration” at the vise.

Working on another ordered set of wet fly frames, I finished all 57 of the Wet Flies for Plate No. 8 Saturday night, and this is the Yellow Dun from Plate No. 9, (only three more to go) from Ray Bergman’s book, Trout – the Wet Fly Plates. Having tied my way through Plate No. 9 Sunday,  yesterday, and almost finishing them today, when I saw yet another “brown mallard” wing on the Yellow Dun so soon after tying the Wren, I thought, oh geez, not again. Not my favorite.

This one, when I got to the wing – but please don’t look at the head, I got an idea. Just like that. So I did this wing just as you see it. The first coat of cement was still wet, and the fly wasn’t finished more than a half-minute when I stepped across the room, got the camera and took this hand-held shot. I apologize for not taking the time to tripod this image so it’s a little blurry, but I wanted to share that my “inspiration” resulted in this brown a.k.a. bronze mallard wing as you see it. The head cement was literally drying and still being absorbed into the thread as I snapped this shot. I needed a little break from tying anyway.

The thing I want to say about this fly regards the wing:

I made it from one single bronze mallard flank feather, not a matched pair as I always like to use, and have been teaching that you need a matched pair for who knows how long.

Important to note – after years of tying, even the same patterns or styles of patterns thousands of times, one still gets new ideas.

I’ll gladly share the technique in a few days…after my students at Great Feathers Fly Shop in Maryland learn this weekend how this is done. Right now, I need to get back to those last three wet flies…and start putting on the second and third coats of head cement, and then I have 48 more flies to tie for my custom version of Plate No. 10.

Yellow Dun - not a great photo (of the unfinished head which will require the manicure of pressing down that little bump , after the first coat of cement), but please read the post to see why I was anxious to post this information.

10 comments on “Bronze Mallard Wings

  1. A single feather for the wing? Wow, I cannot wait to see your trick to this. Thanks Don! I love the idea. I cannot wait to see what you come up with next!

  2. Bert says:

    Wish I could join you at Greatfeathers, but let me hazard a quess…rolled wing. Do I win the prize?

  3. Rich says:

    HI Don,

    Great looking fly as always.

    I bet it’s a folded wing…right? I’ve used the method to make the wing on Woodduck Heron flies.

  4. Bob Vincent says:

    HI Don,

    Looks great, anxious to see how!! Just a simple fold????

    Sure is great getting the e-mails from you

    Bob V.

  5. Bert says:

    Don, you’re a big tease. If it ain’t rolled and it ain’t folded, then it must be a bunched wing.

  6. Hugh Kelly says:

    Hi Don, I love the look and I can’t wait to hear how you do it. It reminds me of an Irish Dabbler wing without the “cloaked” look.

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