Researching this fly took me on a long journey that I did not expect. Ordinarily I would use my own limited experience and library of reference books to get a good feel of a fly and its history, before putting a few lines together, this fly however, was like a never ending journey! I had to stop searching or my head would have been in a constant spin.
Always believing that the Logie was tied with a claret and primrose body, as probably many others do, I was surprised to learn that this was not the original pattern. This revelation intrigued me and off I went on a quest to discover the birth of this fly.
Originally designed by a Mr. W. Brown in the 1800's for fishing the Scottish river Dee, it was designed to fish in low clear waters when weather conditions were bright and it successfully did this for many years. Other accounts were found during my research of it also being successful in coloured water. John E Hutton (Trout and Salmon Fishing) Little Brown & Co.1949, stated that he only ever used 2 flies, the Logie and the Blue Charm, if both failed, he would go home.
Starting on the River Dee in Scotland, and covering the varying Logie patterns found in Norway, the U.S., Canada and Finland etc. this was obviously an international fly and would require a lengthy article to do it justice. Given that these blogs are short by their very nature, I will leave further in depth analysis to those who are a lot more knowledgeable than I, and concentrate on the basics.
The Logie is one of the survivors of a long line of dying breeds of old feather winged salmon flies that are still in use today. Used in many countries around the world and in varying forms, it's longevity is testament to its catching power.
Like all flies, minor changes do evolve over the years and the Logie was no exception. Modern synthetic materials replace exotic bird feathers and fur that are no longer available either through extinction or protection, but these are necessary changes. In essence, the overall design of the vast majority of flies changes little. The Logie however, has changed enormously over those intervening years from the original pattern, and this is where the journey begins:
The first reference I found was from was a Kelson's design in an 1895 publication, this pattern agreed with a number of the older patterns that was believed to be a 'proper' Logie, and at that stage nothing was untoward.
The pattern was successfully used for many years, but then along comes Mr. Price-Tannatt and in his publication 'How to Dress Salmon Flies' where he changes the original body colour, (full claret/red) by adding primrose yellow floss to a third of the body length, not only that, he also removes the jungle cock cheeks and continues to call it a Logie!
We are all used to wing patterns being changed on flies and in the 50's hair wings became popular and were ultimately used on the Logie however, Price-Tannatt's drastic move away from the original design is the only case I can find, where a significant change was made to the body, whilst retaining the original name. Strangely, and through the passage of time, the Price-Tannatt design is probably the more common pattern used today, so he must have got something right.
Irrespective of which pattern is used, the Logie still retains its catching power despite its changes and remains a firm favourite of salmon fishermen and women around the world today.
As I did not have a Logie in my collection, I tied one following Davie McPhails superb videos which is shown in the image, I used the primrose yellow/claret recipe. It did not turnout particularly well and I will definitely revisit this fly but use the original design as intended by Mr. Brown and replicated in Kelson's recipe.
Hook: Singles & doubles, 4-12
Tag: Fine oval silver.
Tail: Golden Pheasant Crest
Body: In two parts: first two fifths-yellow floss; remainder-red floss.
Rib: Oval silver.
Throat: Light blue cock.
Wing: Yellow swan or goose veiled with bronze mallard.