Pritts North Country Spiders

Having fished North Country Spiders for a number of years, I have always been fundamentally aware of one of the greats, T E Pritt and his book on North County Spiders. It wasn’t until recently(literally 2016) that I decided to read the book and although dated in some respects, the book is an absolute delight. The dedication and plight of the fly fisherman is today a similar constant to what is was in Pritt’s time and reading through, you get a fabulous by season guide.

Pritt’s catalogue of some 62 flies detail the dressing and offer a overview on when to fish them is not only insightful but also a stark reminder to what once was. With the exception of modern day synthetics, the fly tying materials Pritt had to hand have not particularly changed over the years. Some birds are now protected by law so adequate substitutes need to be acquired.

In one of his chapters Pritt offers the following:

“The resistless march of time, ruthlessly destroying the proudest works of man, has been insufficient to depose the Art of Angling from its position as the most primitive and the purest of all recreations”

As true today as it was back then, no matter how time passes, the recreation or sport of Angling persists

Hook Conversion Table
4 – equivalent to a #12
3 -equivalent to a #13
2 -equivalent to a #14
1 -equivalent to a #15
0 – equivalent to a #16
00 – equivalent to a #17
000 – equivalent to a#18

Partridge Hooks manufacture a lovely straight eye classic spider hook in a #12-#16 that would make a lovely modern day sub.

1. Water Cricket:
Hook: 1
Wings: hackled with a feather from the Golden Plover’s
breast, in its summer plumage, or the wing or back of a Starling
Body: yellow or orange silk. It is sometimes ribbed with black silk2. Little Black:  
Hook: 0, short.
Wings: hackled with a feather from a Black Cock’s hackle, or Starling’s neck
Body: purple silk, dubbed sparingly with Magpie hurl
Head: purple3. Winter Brown:
Hook: 2
Wings: hackled with a feather from the inside of a Woodcock’s wing
Body: orange silk – not too bright
Head: Peacock hurl4. Little Winter Brown or Light Woodcock:
Hook: 1
Wings: hackled with a feather from the outside of a Woodcock’s wing
Body: orange silk, with a spare dubbing of hare’s ear

5. Brown Owl:
Hook: 1
Wings: hackled with a reddish feather from the outside of a Brown Owl’s wing
Body: orange silk
Head: Peacock hurl

6. Fieldfare Bloa:
Hook: 1
Wings: From the Bloa feather on a Fieldfare’s rump, or
failing that from the tern, Blue-tail or Jay
Body: yellow silk
Legs: from a feather of the Golden Plover

7. Dark Moor-Game, Orange Grouse, or Freckled Dun: 
Hook: 0
Wings: hackled with a black and orange feather from the Red
Grouse, the hen bird for preference
Body: orange silk
Head: orange silk, or Peacock hurl

8. Water-Hen Bloa:
Hook: 1
Wings: hackled feather from the inside of a Water-hen’s wing.
Body: yellow silk, dubbed with the fur of the water-rat**

9. Dark Bloa:
Hook: 1
Wings: from the Starling’s quill
Body: dark claret silk
Legs: from the black feather of a black hen’s neck

10. Dark Snipe:
Hook: 1
Wings: hackled with a feather from the outside of the Snipe’s wing
Body: purple silk

11. March Brown: (Great Brown, Brown Drake, Dun Drake).
Hook: 3
Wings: from the tail of a Partridge
Body: pale orange silk, dubbed with a little hare’s ear and yellow mohair, mixed; ribbed over
with a little yellow silk
Tail: forked with two strands from a Partridge’s
tail
Legs: from the back of a Partridge

12. March Brown:
Hook: 2
Wings: from the quill feather of a hen Pheasant
Body: same as 11
Tail: same as 11
Legs: same as 11

13. March Brown:
Hook: 2
Wings: hackled with a reddish feather from the outside of a Woodcock’s wing.
Body: orange silk, dubbed with over with a little fur from a fox’s ear.

14. March Brown:
Hook: 2
Wings: from the tail of a Partridge
Body: orange and yellow silk twisted, dubbed with fur from a fox’s ear
Legs: from a Wren’s tail

15. March Brown:
Wings: from the hen Pheasant’s wing
Body: same as 14
Legs: Same as 14

16. Red Clock or Pheasant:
Hook: 1
Wings: hackled with a golden feather from a cock
Pheasant’s neck; or from a small red cock’s feather
Body: yellow silk, with a twist of Peacock hurl next to the hackle
Head: Peacock hurl

17. Red Palmer:
Hook: 1
Body: green hurl from a Peacock, with a red cock’s hackle wrapped over it.

18. Little Dark Watchet: (Iron Blue Dun)
Hook: 0, short
Wings: hackled with a feather from a Jackdaw’s neck, or outside a Coot’s wing
Body: orange and purple silk twisted, dubbed with down from a water-rat**
Head: orange.

19. Iron Blue Dun Variant:
Hook: 0, short
Wings: Water-hen
Body: same as 18
Head: same as 18
Legs: Coot.

20. Iron Blue Dun Variant:
Hook: 0
Wings: from the breast of a Water-hen
Body: orange silk dubbed with Mole’s fur
Head: orange
Legs: a dirty whitish brown from a hen’s neck, or hairs from a calf’s tail, dyed yellow

21. Iron Blue Dun Variant:
Hook: 0
Wings: hackled with a feather from Water-hen’s breast
Body: orange silk dubbed with mole’s fur
Head: orange

22. Dark Spanish Needle: (Needle Brown)
Hook: 0
Wings: hackled with a feather from the darkest part of a
Brown Owl’s wing
Body: orange silk
Head: Peacock hurl

23. Light Spanish Needle:
Hook: 0
Wings: hackled with a feather from inside a Jack-Snipe’s
wing, or from the breast of a young Starling
Body: crimson silk
Head: Peacock hurl

24. Light Watchet:
Hook: 0
Wings: From the Jay
Body: straw-colored silk
Legs: fibers from a Yellow Plover

25. Olive Bloa:
Hook: 1
Wings: from a Starling’s quill
Body: greenish yellow silk
Legs: light hackle from a hen’s neck, stained to olive in onions

26. Olive Bloa:
Hook: 0
Wings: hackled with a feather from a Lapwing’s back or rump
Body: yellow silk
Head: orange silk

27. Yellow Legged Bloa: (Yellow Dun)
Hook: 1
Wings: from a young Starling’s quill feather
Body: Yellow silk, waxed well, so as to make it nearly olive.
Legs: Ginger hackle from a Cochin-China Hen’s neck
Tail: Two strands of the above

28. Yellow Partridge: (Grey Gnat)
Hook: 1
Wings: hackle with a light feather from the back of a Partridge.
Body: yellow silk.

29. Snipe Bloa:  
Hook: 1
Wings: hackled with a feather from the inside of a Jack Snipe’s wing.
Body: straw-colored silk.

30. Snipe Bloa:
Hook: 0
Wings: hackled with feather from under Snipe’s wing.
Body: yellow silk, with a spare dubbing of Mole’s fur, but not sufficient to
hide the yellow body.

31. Brown Watchet: (Little Brown Dun.)
Hook: 1
Wings: hackled with a well dappled feather from a Partridge’s back.
Body: orange silk.
Head: Peacock hurl.

32. Orange Partridge:
Hook: 1
Wings: hackled as in No. 31.
Body: orange silk.

33. Greentail: (Grannon Fly).
Hook: 1
Wings: hackled with a feather from the inside of a
Woodcock’s wing, or from a Partridge’s neck, or from under a Hen Pheasant’s
wing.
Body: lead colored silk, twisted with a little fur from a hare’s face.
Tail: green silk, wrapped over lower part of body.

34. Sandfly:
Hook: 1
Wings: from a sandy feather from a Landrail’s wing.
Body: light brown silk, ribbed with sandy fur from a hare.
Legs: dark ginger hackle.

35. Dotterel:  
Hook: 1
Wings: hackled with a feather from the outside of a male Dotterel’s wing.
Body: straw-colored silk; some anglers prefer orange silk.
Head: straw-colored or orange silk.

36. Yellow Sally:
Hook: 0
Wings: from a Green Linnet’s tail.
Body: yellow silk.
Legs: white feather from a hen’s neck, dyed yellow in onions.

37. Poult Bloa or Light Poult Bloa:
Hook: 0
Wings: hackled with a feather from under the wing of a young Grouse.
Body: Light yellow silk

38. Poult Bloa or Light Poult Bloa: {fancy dressing}
Hook: 0
Wings: hackled with a feather from under the wing of a young Grouse.
Body: straw-colored silk, with a twist of purple silk round it.
Head: Peacock hurl

39. Old Master:  
Hook: 1
Wings: hackled with a feather from the inside of a Woodcock’s wing.
Body: ash-colored silk, wrapped over with Heron’s hurl.

40. Stone Midge:
Hook: 0
Wings: hackled with a feather from a Pewit’s neck, breast, or rump.
Body: ash-colored silk, dubbed sparsely with Heron’s hurl.
Head: Magpie hurl

41. Grey Midge:
Hook: 0
Wings: hackled with a feather from a Woodcock’s breast.
Body: yellow silk.
Head: Peacock hurl.

42. Knotted Midge:
Hook: 0
Wings: hackled with a feather from the back of a Swift or
Martin, or from the shoulders of a Pewit’s wing.
Body: ash-colored silk, dubbed with Heron’s hurl, rather more fully than in No. 40.
Head: magpie hurl.

43. Sandy Moorgame:
Hook: 0
Wings: hackled with a dark reddish-brown feather from the back of a Grouse.
Body: dark brown silk.
Head: same

44. Blue Partridge:
Hook: 1
Wings: hackled with a feather from a Partridge’s back.
Body: blue silk dubbed with a little lead-colored lamb’s wool.

45. Red Owl: (Brown Owl.)
Hook: 1
Wings: hackled with a red feather from a Brown Owl’s wing;
shorter in the fiber than that used for No. 5.
Body: orange silk.
Head: Peacock hurl.

46. Stone Bloa:
Hook: 0
Wings: from a feather from under a Jack Snipe’s wing.
Body: yellow silk.
Head: fibers from a Jack Snipe’s feather.

47. Small Stone Bloa:  
Hook: 0
Wings: from a feather from Bluecap’s tail.
Body: orange silk.
Legs: pale yellow fibers.

48. Greensleaves:
Hook: 1
Wings: hackled with a feather from the inside of a
Woodcock’s wing, or from a hen Pheasant’s neck
Body: bright green silk
Head: same

49. Thornfly Dun:
Hook: 1
Wings: hackled with a Landrail’s feather, taken from under the wing
Body: orange silk
Head: Peacock hurl

50. Curlew:
Hook: 0
Wings: hackled with a small feather from the outside of a
young Curlew’s wing (August at latest).
Body: orange silk for preference, but maroon or yellow will sometimes kill equally well.

51. Starling Bloa:
Hook: 0
Wings: hackled with the lightest feather from a young Starling’s wing
Body: straw-colored silk. Some anglers prefer white silk

52. Small Ant:
Hook: 0
Wings: hackled with a feather from a Tomtit’s tail
Body: a bright brownish Peacock’s hurl; body dressed full
Head: a bright brownish Peacock’s hurl

53. Fog Black:
Hook: 0
Wings: from a Bullfinch’s wing
Body: dark purple silk, dubbed with Heron’s hurl; or, more sparingly, with black Ostrich hurl
Legs: from the Starling’s neck

54. Cubdown Bloa:
Hook: 1
Wings: from the inside of a Swift’s wing or from a Lapwing’s apron
Body: yellow silk, dubbed with down from a Fox cub, or fur from a Water-rat**
Legs: from a Plover’s feather

55. Cinnamon:
Hook: 1
Wings: hackled with a feather from a Brown Owl’s wing
Body: yellow silk, dubbed with fur from a Water-rat**
Head: Peacock hurl

56. Smoke Fly:
Hook: 1
Wings: hackled with a feather from a young Grouse
Body: bright brown Peacock’s hurl. It is sometimes dressed with a twist of
silver round the body

57. Grey Partridge: (Grey Watchet)
Hook: 1
Wings: hackled with a light feather from a Partridge’s breast
Body: straw-colored silk
Head: Peacock hurl

58. Large Ant:
Hook: 0
Wings: from a Starling’s quill Body: orange silk
wrapped over the lower part, with three turns of a copper-colored Peacock’s hurl
Head: Peacock’s hurl
Legs: fibers from the light part of a
Starling’s quill feather

59. Sea Swallow:
Hook: 0
Wings: from a very light feather from the outside of a Sea Swallow’s wing
Body: white silk
Legs: fibers from the wing feathers

60. July Dun:
Hook: 1
Wings: from a Starling’s quill
Body: yellow silk dubbed with a little Mole’s fur
Legs: fiber from a bluish dun Hen’s neck

61. Black Gnat:
Hook: 0, short
Wings: none
Body: a little ostrich hurl

62. Black Snipe:
Hook: 0
Wings: hackled with a Jack Snipe’s feather from under the wing
Body: dark green peacock hurl

Pritts North Country Spiders
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