Mallard & Claret
This fly has a reputation as a killer fly on both still waters and rivers for all trout including sea. It is particularly effective during the early season when water and air temperatures are cooler. Its origin and history is not straight forward, and it has been the subject of discussion for many years. Many believe it was first tied by a Mr. William Murdoch of Aberdeen around 1850, Murdoch is also credited with several other well-known flies, including the Heckham Peckham.
Others, believe it goes back much further than this and could be of Irish origin. I can find no in depth reference to the latter, but there are some Irish flies that bear a very strong resemblance to it. The Grouse Claret is also a close companion, but that is credited to coming from Lancashire. Irrespective of its true past or its inventor, it has proved a useful addition to the anglers arsenal over many generations and no fly box is complete without a few of them.
Like many flies, the Mallard & Claret can be fished wet or dry, dependent upon the type of water you are fishing. A good tip to consider, when you see fish rising (Hatch Season) use the Dry, when you don’t, use a Wet. Of course, there are always exceptions to this advice, but it is always useful to bear in mind. The fly does not actually imitate any known type of insect, instead it acts as an attractor or deceiver with its vivid colours and when coupled with the retrieval movement, attracts the curiosity of the fish.
A figure of eight retrieval works well with this fly when used as a wet, sub surface, and I have been successful with this method on many occasions. When tied with a silver body, the fly imitates small fry or a minnow, and will promote the aggressive and curious nature of a trout on the prowl. There are several ways to tie the Mallard & Claret, some prefer to give the fly a pronounced silver tag, similar to the Peter Ross, others prefer to use a silver rib instead of a gold oval tinsel. The use of heavier hooks, softer hen hackles instead of cock, and in the case of winged flies, a backward-sloping wing, changes the dry fly into a wet one which you can then fish below the surface of the water.
Whichever method you use, ensure you use the darkest claret dubbing you can find, seal fur preferably. Hook sizes can vary from size 4 to 16 to cater for all your requirements. The fly is one of the easier flies to tie and a good staring point for many beginners.
The following are the suggested materials to use: Hook Size: 4 to 16 Thread: Black Tail: Golden Pheasant Tippet Body: Claret Wool or preferably Claret Seal Fur Rib: Oval or Silver Tinsel Hackle: Black or Claret Hen Head: Black Varnish The 'Mallard & Claret' is featured in our Wet Fly Collection K... A useful video demonstrating how to tie the fly can be found below: https://gwentanglingsociety.co.uk/the-mallard-and-claret-2/