The standard story of how the Leadwing Coachman came to be—which sounds apocryphal to me—is that sometime in the 1800s an English coach driver presented the fly to his lord, who named the fly in honor of the driver. Regardless of its provenance, it’s a great, buggy attractor pattern that represents all kinds of aquatic trout forage. Although many anglers ignore these kinds of traditional wet flies in favor of more modern designs, patterns such as the Leadwing Coachman continue to catch trout as well as they have for more than a century. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Matt Grobert—the author and blogger who ties the fly in this video—fishes this pattern a lot, especially in winter, when he ties it as a dropper to the tag end of his tippet knot.
This video, by Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions, offers step-by-step directions for tying this pattern. Grobert shows off several neat tricks, such as wrapping the thread forward to get it out of the way and then unwrapping it to avoid a bulky body. He also teaches you how to create a set of matched wings, to make the pattern look cleaner and more attractive.
Leadwing Coachman from Tightline Productions on Vimeo.
The Leadwing Coachman
Hook: Standard dry fly hook (here a Dai-Riki #305), size 10-14.
Thread: Black, 6/0 or 140 denier.
Tag: Gold/silver tinsel, medium.
Rib: Gold wire, fine.
Body: Peacock herl.
Hackle: Speckled brown hen hackle.
Wing: Matched mallard-wing feather segments.
Head: Tying thread and head cement.