This week’s Throw Back Thursday Fly is the Alec Jackson Spade – Purple.
As I wrote in previous posts, Bob Arnold of Seattle, WA developed the original Spade fly in the late 1960’s. It was designed for low water steelhead fishing with the buoyant materials used to tie the fly. The fly incorporates peacock in the body for attraction and a soft hackle for movement.
The Spade fly can be found in John Shewey’s book entitled Classic Steelhead Flies. Shewey quotes a passage from Bob Arnold’s Steelhead Water (1993) book, “What I wanted was a fly with no bright colors or flash of tinsel. Most flies of the day were red or orange, intended for dirty water.”
This fly was tied by Alec Jackson, who created variants with different colors and materials. Jackson used peacock and ostrich for bodies. He tied them with silver tinsel for strength and twisted the peacock and ostrich around them before creating his “chenille” body.
You might recognize the name Alec Jackson if you are a fly tyer. He designed beautiful hooks for steelhead and trout. I use them mostly for the steelhead flies I tie. In fact, the spey flies in the Spey Fly Project post utilized his hook – model 2051, size 1.5. I’ve been using his Soft Hackle Trout Fly Hook for a few of my patterns.
A friend loaned me several flies Alec Jackson tied. You’ll be seeing more variations of the Spade fly soon.