Though the Westcountry can produce it’s fair share of Mayflies, it is quite often the Hawthorn that produces the most exciting sport in Devon and Cornwall while duffers fortnight electrifies the chalk streams. Some of the South West Lakes Trust lakes like Stithians see massive falls over the early weeks of may and really signal the start of dry fly stillwater fishing.

Known by many names; bibio, hawthorn or even St Marks thanks to it’s common appearance on St Marks day, it is a terrestrial insect that emerges in huge numbers. Thanks possible to its long trailing leg or hovering flight, they are often swept easily onto the water where the trout will be waiting.

We’ve tied up a bit of a Frankenstein of a fly to show you. Half Spider to get those long legs moving in the slightest of currents, half dry fly as it should be and a body of rubber foam to keep it on top. The actual insect is renowned for its blacker than black coloring but as with many things on Westcountry rivers it pays to be versatile so we’ve tied this up with dark but not unnaturally dark materials. You never know when this might be the fly to get you off a blank.

Wrap down to the back of where the barb would have been in the old days. Leaving the tag of thread attached, we’ll use that later

Tie in a thin sliver of Black Plastazote foam or similar

Wind the foam up the body as if it were floss

Counter wind the tag of thread up forming a segmented body. Tie off and trim.

Attach a small partridge feather by the tip.

Wind in the partridge with just a turn or two.

Attach a bit of polywing or similar as a wing.

Strip one side of a good quality hack feather and tie in at the tip.

Wind up the hackle and tie off. Whip finish and cement the head.

Close up