Have you ever heard of Perdigon style flies? It’s relatively new to me. Sure I’ve heard of them, but since I fish with dry flies whenever I can, I didn’t really pay attention to them.

Barber Pole Perdigon

Barber Pole Perdigon | www.johnkreft.com

 At a recent Central Oregon Flyfisher’s Winter Fly Tying class, Bill Seitz (I call him Crooked River Bill”) taught a class on a few Perdigon variations he has been quite successful with. He called them a Pheasant Tail Perdigon, Root Beer Float Perdigon, Barber Pole Perdigon, and Midge Perdigon.

I’ve added these fly pattern sheets to the Crooked River Fly Box as well to Mayfly Fly Patterns page.

With a little bit of research, I found that Perdigon style flies were developed by the Spanish and used in the World Fly Fishing Championships. The word “perdigon” is translated from Spanish to English as “pellet”.

The theory is to develop flies tied with a bead head, body of thread or tinsel, and tail using Coq de Leon. Lastly, black fingernail polish (or a black sharpie on smaller nymphs) is applied to the bead and down the thorax area. The fly is covered with UV resin or head cement to create a slim bodied fly that sinks like a rock…or pellet. Many Perdigon flies use tungsten beads to speed the fly’s descent.

Here is a Pliva Perdigon (names for the Pliva River in Bosnia). I found it on the Tactical Fly Fisher website in a blog post by Devin Olsen, who has been a member of the 2017 Fly Fishing Teams USA at the World Fly Fishing Championship. It was Devon’s 9th consecutive year in that role.

Pliva Perdigon | www.johnkreft.com

Root Beer Float Perdigon

Root Beer Float Perdigon | www.johnkreft.com

Of course, you can substitute any material you choose and call it your own “variant”. That seems to be what us fly tyers do!

Notice there are no materials like dubbing or hackle in these Perdigon style flies. These materials are not used because they slow the descent of this nymph to the river bottom where the trout are eating nymphs.

Bill Seitz believes in man-made materials with UV and/or fluorescent colors. After the class, I tied 1/2 dozen of each fly and decided to use my UV Solarez lamp to see what happened. Here is a short video I took so you can see the real meaning of the word “hot spot”. 

These are easy flies to tie, so go down to your local fly shop and purchase a few fluorescent thread colors.

Enjoy…go fish!

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  1. John,
    I want to send you two photos of Rootbeer Float Perdigon I tied using your directions and the difference using white versus black tying thread. The black thread causes the color of the KF 23 Krystal Flash to darken almost to a dark greenish color. I used Hard As Nails to coat the flies, not UV coating. I can’t find a way on your website to send the two macro photos I took. Is there a contact email in can use?
    I have met you several times at the Portland and Lebanon fly tying expos. In fact at Portland last year, you showed me some Collins Hackle Farm necks you were using, so I contacted them and now have purchased a number of necks and accompanying saddles. I also told members at the Tualatin TU meeting about Collins.

  2. John… interesting blog… I’ve tried the same UV light test on materials for Perdigons and other jigs/nymphs. I’ve found not all “UV” enhanced materials have as much UV reflection as advertised. I test any before using them in my flies. I’ve fished with Perdigon style flies on the Crooked and Metolius with mixed results. The river bottom on the Crooked makes it tough to use the Perdigon as an anchor fly in some stretches using the Euro techniques of nymphing. I’ve had more success on the Metolius.

    I don’t always use them as the “anchor’ and find they make a good attractor as well. I have my own Perdigon… the Mardi Gras…. reflective green holographic body, gold wing case, purple thread collar…but the combinations are endless as these really aren’t matching the hatch so much as attracting.

    I like Bill’s use of different tail materials in lieu of Coq de Leon. He seems to use krystal flash for tails in a lot of his flies…does he say why?

    1. Ron

      Thanks for your comment about Perdigon flies. I did a quick edit to take care of the auto-correct on your comment!

      Bill doesn’t like to use any natural materials in his flies if he can help it because they don’t last as long as he wants. So he uses a lot of Krystal Flash materials in a variety of colors for his flies. I think he has gone to the “midge” style as they are slimmer.


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