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Peacock Spider
Created by John Newbury
By Al and Gretchen Beatty

John is a highly-skilled steelhead fly-fisher and this fly has contributed much to his success. He tells us in his own words, "This is my most productive steelhead fly and thus my favorite. I have great confidence in this fly and it seems to produce under a variety of water conditions.

"The Peacock Spider has been responsible for hooking and landing steelhead on the Snake, Grand Ronde, Methow, Deschutes, Clearwater, Babine, Bulkley, Kispiox, and Morice rivers. It has blessed me with seven fish over the years that have weighted 20 pounds or better. The largest, caught on the babine in 1998, was a monster measuring 42 1/2 inches long and it had a 24-inch girth!"

Now we know the reason for John's steelhead success. We were also suprised how this fly was tied; the hackle went on differently than we had assumed.

Materials for the Peacock Spider

    Hook: Size 2/0-2, salmon.

    Thread: Red or reddish brown.

    Body: Peacock blue Diamond Braid.

    Hackle: Peacock breasts feathers.

    Head: Thread.

Tying Instruction for the Peacock Spider:

    step 1

    Step 1: Place the hook in the vise and apply a thread base that starts at the eye and stops at the end of the shank. On this hook we identify "the end of the shank" as the position directly above the throat of the barb. Select a 10-inch section of peacock blue Diamond Braid and tie it to the top of the hook while advancing the thread back to the hook eye.

    step 2

    Step 2: Wrap the thread back from the eye to the start of the looped platform and leave it there. Wrap the Diamond Braid forward forming the body. Notice the material has a tendency to twist, but it is quite easy to place a counter twist as each turn of the diamond Braid is applied to the hook thus producing a nice, smooth body.

    step 3

    Step 3: Continue wrapping the body material forward to meet the thread. Tie it off and trim away the waste end.

    step 4

    Step 4: Prepare two (size 2 hook) or three (size 2/0 hook) peacock breast feathers by stripping away the fuzzy material at the base of the stems. Tie the feathers to the shank, staggering their position; in this case we are using a 2/0 hook so they are placed on the near side, top, and far side of the hook. This positioning is what surprised us. John's flies always looked so neat we just assumed the hackle was constructed from one feather only!

    step 5

    Step 5: Start with the offside feather and wrap it one turn around the hook. We suggest working that feather behind and in front of the other two while making the wrap. Tie it off and remove any waste end.

    step 6

    Step 6: Now select the top feather and wrap it the same as described in Step 5. Tie it off and trim the waste end. Wrap the last hackle in front of the other two, tie it off, and remove the excess. Build the thread head tight against the hackle to force all three feathers together. Whip finish and remove the thread. Apply a coating of Aqua Head or cement to the whip finish. ~ Al and Gretchen

Credit: The Peacock Spider is just one of the hundreds of great flies showing special techniques in Al and Gretchen's book Innovative Flies and Techniques published by Frank Amato Publications.

For more great flies, check out: Beginning Fly Tying, Intermediate Fly Tying and Advanced Fly Tying.

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