June 8, 2013
- 12-22 Dry fly
- 6/0 Uni or 70 Den GSP
- Microfibbets x4 (two pairs)
- Fine dubbing
- Coastal Deer
The Comparadun is best in medium to slow flows where a low profile pattern is required. Used in mayfly hatches, it sits with the body on or in the meniscus and can often induce a strike where a heavier dressed pattern might be ignored. The version illustrated is great for olive hatches as an alternative to the thorax dun. Size is chosen to match the hatch. In winter, early and late season, Blue-winged Olive hatches can often require size 22s.
How to fish:
Fish using standard dry fly presentation, maintaining a drag free drift at all times. This pattern is prone to sinking if fished in heavy broken water where a standard hackle or parachute pattern is more suited.
Toggle sequence Left/Right Handed ↔
1. Start the thread approximately one hook eye width behind the eye (or enough to accommodate the whip finish head). Take the thread in close touching turns toward the bend to create a bed on which to secure the hair wing. Return the thread to a position where the wing will be tied in (approximately 1/4 to 1/3 along the shank from the eye).
2. Prepare a small bunch† of coastal deer hair and using a pinch offer the hair up to the hook shank – tips down, nearside at approximately 45° to the shank. The wing should be the length of the hook from tip of the eye to mid bend.
3. Take the thread from where it hangs and loosely take one wrap around the hair and hook, making sure to hold the hair firmly in place with the pinch.
4. While continuing to hold the hair firmly, slowly tighten the thread by pulling down on the bobbin holder until the first wrap is properly tight.
5. This will roll the hair up and fan it round the shank. If you have continued to hold the hair firmly, it will not have spun, only flared, mostly where you want it, to the sides and on top. Only a small amount of hair will have strayed under the shank.
6. Make further tight touching wraps working towards the bend while sliding the pinching fingers towards the hook bend.
7. After several good firm wraps you can let the bobbin holder hang.
8. Lift the butts of hair straight up and make a cut parallel to the hook shank from the back. This is in effect, a tapering cut.
9. Trim any loose ends.
10. Tightly wrap the thread towards the bend of the hook to form a smooth tapered thread base.
11. Continue the thread to the end of the shank and let the bobbin hang.
12. Dub a small amount of body material – Enough only to form a small ball or butt, to help divide the tails.
13. Catch in a couple microfibbets across the shank with a single thread wrap tight up against the butt section. The length of the tails should be approximately that of the hook.
14. Then tie in a couple more microfibbets of equal length on the opposite side to form the split tail.
15. Let the bobbin hang and dub the thread enough to reach the wing.
16. Wrap the dubbed thread forward to form a tapered body.
17. When you reach the deer hair let the bobbin hang again.
18. Push the deer hair back so it stands perpendicular to the shank.
19. Holding the deer hair up and back take the thread to the front of the wing.
20. Build a dam of thread in front of the wing to keep it upright, then let the bobbin hang down from immediately in front of the wing.
21. Dub enough of the thread to form a thorax. Then wrap the dubbed thread: First from front to back of the deer hair on the near side, then one full wrap behind the wing, before taking the dubbed thread to the front of the wing at the far side. Finally a few wraps in front of the wing to complete a reverse tapered for the thorax.
22. Make a small whip finished head to complete the pattern. Add a drop of head cement to the whip finish.
23. From the front of the fly its wing should look like this.
24. From above, the fly should look more or less like this.
Preceding the Comparadun perhaps, or contemporaneous, are the no-hackle patterns of Doug Swisher and Carl Richards, as seen in their book, Selective Trout, 1971.The Comparadun per se was originated by Al Caucci and Bob Nastasi, described in their book Hatches, 1975. Both Caucci and Nastasi cite Frances Betters' Haystack, dating from the late 1930s, as their influence.
Illustrated is perhaps what some would call the traditional tying of the Comparadun. If you search further online you will find the wing tied in several different ways. These include methods such as catching the hair in with its tips to the rear of the hook before being stood up. Also, you will see people standing the hair in stages, winding the thread through it rather than forming a thread dam in front of the wing. These are all good tying techniques. Variations of colour are required to meet individual needs, while specific materials may be substituted similarly e.g. you might prefer hackle tails, or a biot body, and on very small Comparaduns you might use CDC and/or hackle for the wing.
†One matchstick thickness of hair is a reasonable amount to start with for the wing but the volume of hair required will depend on hook size and density of wing required. I find it helpful to look at a 'reference' fly for guidance - especially if it's been a while since I tied the pattern. Half the thickness of one matchstick may be plenty...