Shawn Mitchell lives in Perth, Western Australia, which is not renowned for its runs of Atlantic salmon but does have excellent fishing for freshwater and marine species.
Besides tying flies for his myriad native fish, Shawn specialises in the classic Atlantic Salmon flies of the British Isles. These flies demand a sophisticated range of skills which in combination with the exotic plumage used in construction of the classics shows his mastery to stunning effect.
I know Shawn as a perfectionist in every aspect of his work, life and play who is not satisfied with other people’s definitions of a good job and who will only accept the highest standards. Whether for fishing or framing, his flies are tied to the finest standard using the original materials wherever possible and making suitable substitution as required when a particular material is no longer available. This latter being no simple task, involving issues of structure, colour, refraction and reflection of the materials to be used is fundamental to reproduction of the ancient craft.
I have had the privilege of fishing with Shawn on trips to three countries to date. My impression, as you may have noticed is that we are dealing with a great intellect, an honest man who refuses to stop short of perfection, a dedicated family man and a very good friend. – Roy Christie, Irish fly-dresser. London 2010
Hook- Partridge SALAR sz3
Threads- Gudebrod 8/0 yellow, Danville 3/0 white 210 Flat waxed, Danville 6/0 black 70 Flymaster waxed
Tip- Oval x-fine silver tinsel
Floss- Silk Alec Jackson 24Buttercup Yellow and 48Black
Tail- Golden Pheasant crest
Rib- Oval small silver tinsel
Throat- Black hackle
Wing- Yellow, red and blue goose feather, peacock wing
Eyes- Jungle Cock
Start your thread just before where you’d like your head to end, wind back and be messy…there’ll be a cover up. But, lay a thread base for your tag with flat wraps.
Attach your oval tinsel on the bottom and lay a base of thread for the tip.
Wind the tip 5 wraps and secure.
Wind back along the tag base catching the tinsel on the bottom using flat wraps. Tie off and cut the tinesl at the hook point.
Now its time for for the yellow silk floss. Split your floss and separate.
(Notice the gloves. When working with silk the gloves prevent fraying.)
Attach your strand of silk to the bottom
Wind to your tinsel tag and back, catch/tie off at bottom.
Fasten tail of pheasant crest using 2 wraps leaving a tag that you’ll catch in a bit.
Tie in your rib at the bottom and advance your thread catching everything
Tie off and change out your thread to 3/0 white. Build up the body using side by each flat wraps. you may think it’s a waste but you’ll build this up going back and forth twice. don’t take the thread to the tag more than once, try to build it tapered. Take the thread to the front stopping just short of where you’ll like to finish the head.
Tie in your black silk and wrap it in the same manner you did the tag and then use your burnishing tool.
Advance your rib 7 wraps and secure rib and your black silk.
Trim the rib, floss, and white thread. Trim all three and tie in your black thread.
Take a black hackle and tie in by the tip with the shiny side out.
Wrap the hackle with the barbs facing towards the rear. Remove the barbs from the top of the fly with tweezers.
Now it is time for you married wing. Yellow red and blue goose feather, and a peacock wing.
looking at the good side of a feather, the barbs on the left will build the near side (the side you can see) and the right the back. use 4 barbs of each feather, each side. Marry the wing.
(Be sure to check back soon for a tip/tutorial on how to marry wings!)
Now its time to mount the wings. This is a difficult process, but if you make a mistake, take your wings in tweezers and hold them in the steam above the tea kettle…They’ll pop straight back to their original shape.
Notice the location of the wing to the pheasant crest.
Put a drop of head cement at your tie in point before you trim your wing.
Clip the wing at and angle and wrap the head.
Attach a small Jungle Cock eye on both sides (the small ones from the top of a cape are perfect)
Finish your thread, trim, apply a bit of lacquer… and enjoy your (reduced) canadian black dose.
Shawn ‘two fish’ Mitchell lives in Perth, western Australia. He is an avid salmon fly dresser and originator of the tartan bodied salmon fly. Email Shawn – firstname.lastname@example.org