Video: How to Tie the Sparrow

Famed fly-tier, angler, and cab-driver Jack Gartside wrote that he came up with the Sparrow pattern out of sheer laziness, while camping on the Madison river in the 1980s:

Being a lazy fisherman, I hated changing flies any more than was absolutely necessary and wanted a fly that I could fish as a nymph or as a streamer or even as a passable hopper imitation (greased to float, sunken as a drowned grasshopper). So I was looking to come up with an impressionistic fly that would combine some of the common features of both insect and baitfish, a fly that could look (depending on how it was fished and its overall size) like lots of things in general and nothing in particular. I would let the fish make up its own mind as to what it was.

. Tim Flagler of Tightline Productions, offers his own version of Gartside’s venerable pattern in this great video. Flagler uses Chickabou and soft-hackle feathers in place of Gartside’s pheasant, creating a fly that retains the silhouette and versatility of the original, but with perhaps a bit more action and flash in the water. As usual, there are also some useful tying tips in Flagler’s lesson, such as wetting a feather to make it easier to work with and how to blend dubbing.

          Hook: 2X-long nymph hook (here a Dai-Riki #730), sizes 4-14.
          Thread: Brown, 8/0 or 70 denier.
          Tail: Tan Chickabou feather.
          Rib: Gold Ultra Wire, small.
          Body: Natural gray-squirrel, natural rabbit fur dubbing, and golden-tan
          Antron, mixed.
          Collar: Single tan soft-hackle feather.
          Head: Soft-hackle fluff.
          Tools: Dubbing brush.

Click here for Jack Gartside’s step-by-step instructions for tying his version of the Sparrow.

Some sparrow-themed tunes:

PS: If you don’t know who Merry Clayton is, watch this.

One thought on “Video: How to Tie the Sparrow”

  1. The Sparrow is a very effective fly, I have been using it for several years here on the Chattooga in SC. I do use the original recipe which includes the little after shaft feather and the rump feather.

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