A Fly To Try This Month- Red Flamethrower
Red Flamethrower – Duncan Egan
Rear body: Silver holographic, with oval silver rib
Rear hackle: Red cock – should extend well beyond the hook
Wing: Red bucktail plus pearl crystal flash
Front body: Black floss
Front hackles: Yellow over red. Jungle cock
Head: Pearl tinsel
Duncan Egan has been tying flies since he was a child. He picked up the bug for fly fishing after watching another angler fly fish for trout – up to that point Duncan and his friends fished with bait only. Taken with the elegance of the fly rod he decided that was what he wanted to do. After buying flies for a time, he decided that he could do better himself and got started making his own. He began tying trout flies commercially at 12 years of age and hasn’t stopped.
He has worked in the tackle and field sports business since he left school, working at PD Fishing Tackle then Glasgow Field Sports, part of the Glasgow Angling Centre business. His interest in salmon flies developed and he began tying commercially in his teens. The culmination of this apprenticeship is the Flamethrower series of flies.
Duncan had been dissatisfied with the Ally’s style, finding that the long tail wrapped around the hook too often. Being a fly tyer he also had the desire to design his own pattern. The criteria were, to effectively tackle the tail wrapping problem and just as importantly to create a fly with a teardrop shape. Speaking to Duncan recently he was at pains to emphasise the importance of this.
He moved the position of the tail into the middle of the hook where it is kicked up by the rear hackle and doesn’t wrap. This simple innovation and the use of rear and front hackles to accentuate the teardrop shape has produced an exceptionally successful fly that has captured the imagination of a great many anglers. The fly gets its name from the way it flickers like a little flame in the water – imagine the shape of a flame on a candle or lighter. Duncan has produced several variants, each of which has a strong following in its own right; as I write, there are few places in Scotland where the Flamethrower is not one of the top patterns.
The Flamethrower should be tied on a short shank hook – salars were best, but the more recent Patriot hook from Partridge is an adequate replacement. The fly just looks wrong tied on longer shanks. In fact Duncan’s earliest versions of the Flamethrower sat on his desk for some time and it was only when he got his hands on some of the early samples of salars that the pattern really took off in his mind. Early trips to the River Tummel delivered a number of solid spring fish and the rest as they say is history.
Since the original patterns in orange, yellow and red, Duncan has created several successful variants – often based on classic hairwings. The Garry Dog is an early example, flowed by the Kinermony Killer and the Willie Gunn version is really making a name for itself. One of the first variants was created by Jim Fisher – the Black Bear Flamethrower, which had an additional wing section made of….stay with me people, black bear. Duncan has a few more variants up his sleeve and as his customers already know these are bound to take a lot of fish. See http://www.duncaneganflies.co.uk
First Published in Trout and Salmon Magazine