Quill Gordon- by Allen Landheer

featured, Fly Patterns, Step-by-Step Tutorials — By on April 20, 2011 10:53 am

The Quill Gordon is perhaps one of the most well know dry flies ever tied and fished. Thanks to Theodore Gordon whom brought this fly to light in the late 19th early 20th century. To see this and other ties of Allen’s mark your calenders for June 18th’s Pennsylvania Fly Fishing Heritage event- http://www.paflyfishing.org

You can tye this fly on any standard dry fly hook, with sizes 12 down 18 working the best. First start by putting the hook in your vise and start the thread. For this one this one, I am using 8/0 black uni thread and tying on a size 12 Mustad dry fly hook. Note the start position of the thread. I always start my thread here to set my wings, by doing so you will keep the wings a consistent hight and will prevent you from crowding the head.

Next choose a nice lemon wood duck feather. Strip all the fuzz off the bottom half till you are left with the nice even tips.

Now stroke all the fibers together to prepare for tying in.

Once you are done making a nice little bundle of fibers, it’s time to measure your wing and tye it in. Leave the tips of the feather hanging out past the hook eye 3/16 to 1/4 of an inch.

After you have tied in the wing with a few secure wraps, trim the waste and finish neatly tying it in.

Now it’s time to get the wing standing upright. This is accomplished by grasping the wing and pulling it straight up while wrapping your tying thread in front of the wing . This creates a small dam of thread which will hold the fibers up.

Now that you have your wing standing up it is time to separate the fibers to create two wings. By pulling the wing fibers in two somewhat even bunches, pass your tying thread between them using the figure 8 method. This will keep the two wings separated.

Once you have your wings divided, evenly wrap your thread towards the bend. Stop when your thread is between the barb and the point of the hook.

It’s time to tye in the tail. Good stiff tailing hackle is imperative to get that nice straight tail. I have started using Coq De Leon, it comes in an array of colors and provides a nice stiff hackle for tailing dry flies. On this fly I used a dark dun Coq feather, which matches up pretty nice with the hackle I used to tye this fly. Take your feather and pull off enough fibers to create a nice tail.

Measure up your tail, it should be the length of the entire hook.

Now that you have measured, trim the waist end and tye in. When you tye it in hold it up to the fly and tye in so the butt ends blend into the butt of the wing tye in point ,this will give you a nice some what even body profile.

Now that the tail is tied in, it is time to select, prepare, and tye in a stripped peacock quill. Choose a nice quill from close to the eye of a quality peacock eye feather.To strip these I use my thumbnail and index finger. I pull the quill between them untill all the fibers are removed (you can also use a rubber eraser to do this as well)

Once your quill is stripped, it is time to tye it in and wrap your body. Tye it in and wrap forward to the thorax area in nice even touching wraps. Tye off and clip the waist end close for your body.

Now that the wings, tail, and body are done it is time to complete the fly by tying in the hackle. Choose an appropriate size hackle for your fly (if you are not sure of the size use your hackle gauge). I am tying on a size 12 hook so I usually use a hackle 1/2 to one full size larger than the hook calls for. In this case a size 12 1/2 to 13 hackle.

Strip the end and tye in. I like to leave the exposed stem a little long so when you tye it in you catch a little more of it making your fly durable .

Now it’s time to wrap the hackle three to four wraps behind the wing is about right.

…and then two or three turns in front or the wing and tye off. As you tye off hold the hackle vertical to the hook shank this helps to eliminate trapped hackles.

Trim the waist end and whip finish.

To finish fly add a touch of head cement to the body and head . Let it dry and your ready to go fishing.
You can see more of Allen’s flies at his blog http://burntdrags.blogspot.com… and on Jun 18th at the Pennsylvania Fly Fishing Heritage day, more in at http://www.paflyfishing.org/

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Rating: +10 (from 12 votes)
Quill Gordon- by Allen Landheer, 9.5 out of 10 based on 11 ratings


  1. Cap'n Bob says:

    Nice looking tie. The following excerpt is from the book titled “The Complete Fly Tier” by Reuben R. Cross:

    “The late Theodore Gordon used wire on his Gordon Quill for effect only, giving its body a bronze shade which is characteristic of some of the natural insects”

    I have not tied it with a wire rib before, but maybe I’ll try it. Once again…nice looking Gordon Quill.

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    Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)
  2. Cap'n Bob says:

    Oh! I forgot to add, nice tutorial and photography.

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    Rating: +1 (from 1 vote)

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