The Silver Wilkinson is another of our well known salmon flies that does not have a definitive creator. In 1843 a Mr James Wright produced what is thought of today as the original design of the Silver Wilkinson, essentially it is believed that this was the first silver bodied fly. However, at the same time, the Canon William Greenwell of 'Greenwells Glory' fame, also tied a fly which can be called similar, although I can find no claim to fame from our Canon.
Additional to these claims there comes along a Mr. P.S. Wilkinson who also credited himself with tying the original design. It doesn't end there. Kelson, although not claiming the fly for himself, awards it to his father. Confusing to say the least, but if I was a betting man, I would place my money on Mr. P.S. Wilkinson, if only for having the correct name. Of course, I could be wrong and I have added this to the list of my ever growing library of flies that are marked - 'Needs more checks'. Whoever the creator is, the fly has become a firm favourite with salmon fishers around the globe over the last 170 years, and is likely to be around for a lot longer. Its just a shame that like so many of our old flies, that time has forgotten the truth behind these amazing designs.
To tie a simple Hair Wing the following is a 'considered' recipe.
Tying Materials: Hook: size 8-10 double or single of your choice. Tag: Silver oval and red silk (as tying silk). Tail: GP Pheasant Crest or fibres of dyed yellow squirrel tail. Body: Silver tinsel (wrapped twice to add weight) Rib: Silver Oval tinsel Hackle: Tied in as a collar or beard: Light blue under Gallina (Guinea fowl) Wing: Yellow squirrel tail under blue squirrel tail under brown squirrel tail. Cheeks: Jungle cock (Optional) Head: Red as the tying silk.
To tie a full Feather Wing the following recipe was used between 1850 and 1914, when materials were more easily sourced. Today however you can of course purchase substitutes to get a really good representation. Tag: silver tinsel Tail: topping; tippet Butt: scarlet wool Body: silver tinsel Ribs: silver tinsel Throat: blue & magenta Wings: two jungle cock veiled with wood duck and red swan Cheeks: jungle cock Horns: blue macaw Head: black herl.