New Jersey tier Mike Appello developed the Allison Streamer by borrowing elements from both Jack Gartside’s soft hackle streamer and from a saltwater flatwing. Here, author, fly tier and blogger Matt Grobert is going to tie one of these elegant and effective flies.
Matt starts with a size 8 Partridge model D4AF 3X long streamer hook. After mashing the barb and getting the hook firmly secured in his tying vise, he loads a bobbin with a spool of grey 3/0 Danville monocord. Start your thread on the hook shank leaving a full 2 eye-lengths space behind the eye and take wraps rearward down the shank to directly above the hook barb. You can then snip or break the tag end off close.
For the flatwing tail, select 2 saddle hackles, 1 dun and 1 grizzly. Align their tips and orient the hackles so the dull or back sides of the feathers are facing each other. The grizzly hackle should be on top. Measure to form a tail that’s 2 hook shanks in length. While keeping this measurement and the hackle orientation, break or snip the excess butt ends of the hackles off. Strip about 1/4” of fibers free from both sides of both stems. Position the hackles at the tie-in point on the near side of the hook. You want your thread to overlap the first few lower hackle fibers. This helps dramatically with keeping the feathers aligned and oriented correctly. Thread tension should carry the stems to the top of the hook shank as you wrap and put the feathers in the proper flatwing orientation. Keep taking thread wraps to cover the butt ends of the stems and then continue wrapping forward to about the initial tie-in point.
Pearl colored midge Diamond Braid is used for the body of the fly, a 6” segment should be more than enough. Secure one end of the braid at the tie-in point and take thread wraps rearward to the base of the tail, then back up to the initial tie-in point. Start making touching wraps with the diamond braid to build up a nice, even pearlescent body on the fly. When you reach your tying thread, secure the material with a few tight turns and snip the excess off close.
Cut 5 or 6 strands of pearl flashabou free from the hank. Place the midpoint of the strands against your tying thread and carry them around to the near side of the hook. Take a thread wrap or two then fold the far side strands back and take a few more thread wraps to keep them oriented that way. Collect all the strands and pull them slightly upward and rearward. Snip them off in line with the back edge of the hook. You can then use your fingernails to kind of smear the flashabou around the hook shank and form a well spaced collar, like so.
A nice, webby hackle from a hen neck, that’s been dyed red, is used to add some color to the pattern. Strip the lower fuzzy fibers free from the stem then pull most of the remaining fibers downward to expose the feather’s tip. Snip the tip off leaving a small triangular tie-in anchor. Lay the anchor against the near side of the hook and take thread wraps to bind it to the shank. Get hold of the stem with hackle pliers and pull it to vertical. Gently preen the hackle fibers rearward and start taking touching wraps with the feather forward, up the hook shank. When you reach bare stem, use your tying thread to firmly anchor it. With the stem really locked down, you can reach in with the tips of your tying scissors and snip the excess off close.
A single mallard flank feather, with nicely marked long fibers, really adds to this pattern’s soft hackle look. Orient the butt end of the feather so it’s pointing away from you, and strip off all the fibers from the right hand side of the stem. Then, strip just the lower fuzzy fibers off the other side. This will allow you to preen the remaining fibers down the stem and isolate the feather’s tip, which, once again, can be cut off to form a small, triangular tie-in anchor.
Lay the anchor against the near side of the hook and take thread wraps to secure it. Make sure it’s tied in really well before you begin wrapping the feather. As before, get hold of the feather’s stem with your hackle pliers and begin making touching wraps forward towards the hook eye. When you reach bare stem, take wraps of tying thread to anchor it. With this done, use the tips of your tying scissors to snip the excess off close.
Sweep all the fibers rearward and build up a nicely tapered head on the fly with your tying thread. If you have any wayward bits of feather or fibers, now is a good time to snip them out. To complete the fly, do a 4 or 5 turn whip finish and snip or cut your tying thread free.
You’ve got to love the classic sparse beauty and subtle coloration of this pattern. A special thanks to Mike Appello for sharing it with us.