A Fly to Try This Month- The Editor
The Editor- Sandy Leventon
Body: white floss, pearl tinsel, fluorescent yellow/green nylon for the rib
Hackle: blue cock wound, or beard style in smaller sizes
Wing: black hair (twice the hook length), Jungle Cock cheeks
Neil Stephenson’s selection of Editors, tied for Dee Sea trout
Former T&S Editor, Sandy Leventon first brought his eponymous creation to his readers’ attention back in 1997. Since then, the Editor has established itself as a highly effective and popular fly- especially on the Dee
The thing with new flies is to let them percolate for a few years to see whether or not they find a place in angler’s minds and fly boxes. New flies come and go and I think it is fair to say that time is the main arbiter; if a fly is still being talked about nearly a decade after it was first introduced, it is reasonable to assume that it has found its place. In my experience, the Editor has more than earned its keep. It’s popular in my part of the world from late spring onwards and there are a few sea trout anglers that use it with great success on the Dee dressed on small doubles and larger singles. I know Sandy fishes it in a range of sizes, including Waddingtons, and has a number of early season fish on the Editor, but for me it excels as a small hair wing and, if I may be so bold, that is where it has found its niche.
The Editor is a valuable addition to the classic hairwing style. Many hairwings have names in their own right based on slight variations- the excellent Kenny’s killer could be described as a yellow Silver Stoat. The body of the Editor is radically different from the earlier hairwings and for that reason alone it is an important addition to the style. The body is a bit fiddly to tie, but it produces a unique finish that gleams like no other when wet.
The key to the body is to lay down a bed of white floss- I use Glo-Brite #16. A good tip is to use a bobbin holder to create a nice even finish. Without the white underbody, the pearl tinsel just doesn’t have the same lustre and that is the key to this fly. For the pearl tinsel, much as I really like UTC mirage, which I use a lot, I actually find that Uni-Pearl mylar produces a more pleasing finish. The green rib is a stroke of genius and sets the whole thing off. Originally it was a nylon called Ultima Seastrike in “fluorescent yellow”. Sandy used 18lb for larger flies down to a size 6 and 12lb for anything smaller. I use nylon I was given to me by Neil Stephenson, which I think comes from Lureflash. You can vary the colour of the nylon and other components to change the overall appearance of the fly. Sandy doesn’t care much for these variations, but it might be of interest to readers for all that.
The wing is tied in quite long- Sandy recommends it should be twice the body length. I often tie it a bit shorter- partly because I didn’t know any better and partly because I tend to fish shrimps once I get above the smaller hairwings (10-12). This almost turning into a confessional- I often replace the hackle with a pinch of blue fox mask. The main reason for this is probably laziness, but I also prefer a beard style hackle on small flies. Certainly the larger doubles look good with the longer wing and wound hackle.
Like many fly tyers, and I have done this myself, Sandy had no blueprint as such just a new material that had caught his eye and set about thinking about how to use it effectively. In this case, it was the green nylon that he received as a freebie in another fishing magazine. I think this is a solid basis for the creation of any fly. Mucking about at the vice is something all fly tyers enjoy. Of course, you have to slay a few dragons to get to the princess, and there have been plenty abominations from my vice (no laughing at the back). I have probably written this before, but this is one of the main reasons fly patterns are important- it’s a form of expression.
If you haven’t tied an Editor yet, get to it, the season is getting on now!
First published in Trout & Salmon Magazine