Stepping Up A Gear With Deer Hair

I think I may have nipped this tying with deer hair problem in the bud. I have been trying to tie proper comparaduns and emergers with deer hair wings for a couple of seasons now but they just don’t seem to come out right – either the wings are too long or not thick enough or just plain old look wrong.

I just know I am never going to be one of these people that tie up lovely looking flies that site perfectly every time – My flies enjoy the look of “hastily flung together” even when I have painstakingly taken my time. Still, last night I sat down and said to myself – I have got to tie up some patterns that I always wish I had with me – some Grey Dusters and small comparaduns (with tails) I get into a rut and continue tying up large comparaduns with ease but just know when it comes to it that trout will usually only take these bigger flies in early spring when they are trying to fatten themselves up and are less wary. As the season progresses the flies must get smaller.

grey duster

The picture above is a “Grey Duster” tied parachute style but with deer hair as the post. I spotted the pattern over on the Walton Angling Club website where there is also a very good walkthrough. If you can tie parachutes then you should not have too much trouble with it. EDIT: I used yellow thread so it is not strictly a grey duster – see commnents for explanation 🙂


After my success with the Duster I moved on to the comparaduns, I used small TMC hooks which I like as they are sexy black and after a couple I felt I was getting somewhere. I ended up tying up around half a dozen that I was happy with. I tied up some golden olive, ordinary olive and some with squirrel hair as I liked the profile – the hair made it look very buggy.

First day of the trout season tommorow. Forecast on the BBC is for heavy rain…….

[tags]grey duster,comparadun [/tags]


  1. George · March 14, 2007

    Happy Fishing Season :o)

    Speak soon

    George :o)

  2. Alistair · March 14, 2007

    It feels like Christmas George 😉

  3. Murdock · March 14, 2007

    Great looking flies. Send about three dozen to the States ;-).

    What do you use for the tails? I’ve used microfibbets but have found synthetic paintbrush bristles to do pretty well and they are much cheaper.

  4. Alistair · March 14, 2007

    Hey Murdock,

    Yup, I use microfibets as well. I have heard about using paint brush bristles but that would mean going into a hardware store – I dont get on well with DIY 😉 I never know what my wide may make me pick up while I am there !


  5. Sean · March 14, 2007

    Hi Alistar,

    No disrespect to either you or the Walton Angling Club but that is not a Grey Duster, nothing like one.

    Have a look at

    and you’ll get the idea. Try tying it parachute style, even with the Deer Hair as a post. Not having fished the Kelvin but I suppect it will be a bit hit with those little Brownies.

    You might also want to have a look at Hans Weilenmann’s CDC&Elk,

    Look forward to fishing the K next time I’m in Glasgow. My wife’s from Baillieston : -)

    Great site by the way.

    Kind regards,


  6. Alistair · March 14, 2007

    Hey Sean,

    Funny you should day that – i should have mentioned I used yellow thread in most of my flies – I find that the olives and flies benefit from having a slightly yellow hue to them – that I suppose and coupled with the fact I cannot be bothered changing the bobbin may hav esomething to do with it 😉

    The other thing that struck me and quite by chance , last night Alebrto Laidlaw was giving a tying demonstration and tied up his Gryffe Olive (he called it that last night but it has another name in a book which he had iether forgotton or was too modest to tell us – I suspect the first) His pattern called for hairs ear for the body, a dark deer hair for the post, micro fibbets for the tail and for the life of me I cannot remmember the hackle but will find out.

    I suppose the tying on the Walton angling club site has all the ingredients for a grey duster tied parachute style but with a deer hair post rather than polywhatsitstuff.

    I will ammend my post accordingly ! 🙂


    ps Oh Aye – I have been tying up a mass of CDC and Elks already – that is another post ! 😉

  7. Steve · March 14, 2007


    Don’t stress over any flies you tie being scruffy, they are usually the ones that catch more trout. Flies that are too look perfect in the vice often lack the life of truely effective flies!

    Also thinking of black hooks for dries, black works in surface patterns by providing a more pronounced profile against the sky. Do you really want to make hooks stand out?

    Anyone have ideas on this?

    Tight Lines for the new season!


  8. scott · March 14, 2007

    Sorry to highjack your posts but does anyone know any sites where it explains how to tie in a post?

  9. Alistair · March 14, 2007

    No problem at all Scott,

    Have a look here

    That is how to tie up a Klinhammer as explained by Hans van Klinken himself !

    There are other ways but that is the procedure I follow – the key I think is to get a hold of that spiderweb thread it is great for keeping the bulk down !



  10. scott · March 14, 2007

    thanks alistair, is this your site?

  11. Alistair · March 14, 2007

    It is my shame, yes 🙂


  12. George · March 14, 2007

    Hey to all :o)

    See you chaps that are giving the Alistair dude pelters! .. Anymore of this nonsence and me and the Ayrshire Hobbits will march up to the smoke and sort yiz aw oot !! .. See me and the Halflings down here, we are hard .. got hairy feet too .. so be warned .. WE DONT NEED SHOES :o)

    Hello from the Shires :o)

    George :o)

  13. Alistair · March 14, 2007

    You were on the sauce last night I take it George ?

  14. George · March 14, 2007

    No me man :o)

    I just thought a few were giving you pelters !
    As for the sauce, no, not me .. then again, having not been able to get out for a fish this week, has probebly taken its toll !!

    The weather down here in the shires; its been perishing cold and raining not to mention windy . all week .. and there’s now a forecast of snow over the next 48 hours …. its a good job my club has changed its start and end to the season … might even see a session on boxing day … hmm .. a christmas trout !!

    Best from the Shire

    George :o)

  15. Alistair · March 14, 2007

    Hey Steve, I had not thought about the black hook and the profile before, hmmm that makes me wonder – but then black is only a few shades away from being bronze and it catches fish. To be honest I dont think the hook color or fly color actually matters these days – you could probably get away with using one fly in various sizes throughout the season – hell, that is what Bob Wyatt does 😉

    George, dont see anyone giving me pelters, only constructive advice 🙂


  16. George · March 14, 2007

    Ok, if your happy .. ” and you know it, clap your hands ! ”

    Troops stood down …. if the situation changes, just page me !!

    Tarra line chucker

    George :o)
    ( Ayrshire Hobbit ) .. The land of Rainbow Shaddows … right .. enuff with that .. I think !!

    See yi .. rgds to the ” mrs ” :L

  17. Alistair · March 14, 2007

    George, No Problemo


  18. Bill Anderson · March 14, 2007

    Hey Alistair,

    I like these flies! They look REAL good. Think they would work here in Canada? I will let you know…I printed off a picture and pasted it beside my bench.

  19. charlie · March 14, 2007

    i’m liking this George fellow, you get the feeling it wouldn’t be a dull days fishing with him.

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