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Shakey Bealy Pattern & Tying Instructions

Fly Tying Recipe: Shakey Bealy
Hopper Hook (here a Lightning Strike NH7), sizes 12 and 14
Rusty Brown, 8/0 or 70-denier
Amber or orange Krystal Flash
Trailing shuck:
Mallard flank feather, dyed wood duck
Rusty Brown tying thread, 3/0 or 210-denier
Golden Stone Ayustralian possum dubbing
Orange ostrich herl
Natural Hungarian partridge
Tying thread
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Video Transcript:

Although the Shakey Bealy is more of a western pattern, I can tell you from experience it’s extremely effective here in the East as well, especially in the fall, think “October Caddis”.

For a hook, I’m going to use a Lightning Strike NH7 in a size 12, but 14’s are also a good choice. After mashing the barb, get the hook firmly secured in your tying vise.

I’ve loaded a bobbin with a spool of rusty brown 70 Denier Ultra thread. Start your thread on the hook shank behind the eye and take a few wraps rearward before snipping or breaking off the tag.

Snip 3 or 4 strands of amber or orange Krystal flash free from the hank. Double them over and snip the formed loop to give you 6 or 8 strands. Lay them on top of the hook shank with an 1 1/2” extending past the eye. Take thread wraps to secure them to the shank all the way back to above the hook point. Using the bend of the hook as a guide, snip the rear flash off to leave just a little tuft of shimmer.

Pull down a dozen or so fibers on a mallard flank feather thats been dyed wood duck and, while keeping the tips aligned, snip the fibers free from the stem. Measure to form a trailing shuck about twice as long as that tuft of Krystal flash. Secure the fibers to the top of the hook shank with nice tight wraps of tying thread and then reach in with your scissors and snip the excess butts off close.

For the fly’s rib, I’m going to use 210 Denier rusty brown Ultra thread but plain old brown cotton sewing thread will also work just fine. A 3-4” length is all you need. Secure the rib material to the hook shank, all the way back to the base of the tail, and end with your tying thread a short distance up the shank from the hook point.

Most recipes for this pattern call for amber dubbing but I really like the look of golden stone colored Australian Possum. Build an ample dubbing noodle on your tying thread about 1 1/2” in length. Take wraps with the noodle so the dubbing begins right at the base of the tail and continue making touching wraps to form a tapered abdomen that ends approximately 2/3 of the way up the hook shank.

Get hold of your ribbing material and make evenly spaced counter wraps to segment the abdomen. The counter wraps generally stand out more than normal wraps. When you reach your tying thread, secure the ribbing with a few tight turns and then snip the excess off close.

Pull the front Krystal flash back and snip it off halfway between the end of the rear Krystal flash and the beginning of the abdomen.

For the thorax, select a single orange-colored ostrich herl and snip off any of the wayward fibers at its base. Lay the herl against the near side of the hook and take thread wraps to secure it, ending with your thread an eye length behind the eye. Get hold of the herl with your fingers or hackle pliers and make touching wraps forward until you reach your tying thread. Once there, use it to secure the herl to the hook. You can then snip the excess herl off close.

Sweep the Krystal flash back trying to get the strands spread collar style around the fly.

Natural colored hungarian partridge is used to hackle the fly. A single well-formed feather is all you need. Strip off the lower fuzzy fibers to expose the stem to where it begins to thin. Orient the feather so its front side is facing you and gently preen the lower fibers down to expose the tip. Snip the tip off leaving a small triangular tie-in anchor. Place the anchor against the near side of the hook and take thread wraps to secure it behind the eye. Get hold of the stem with hackle pliers and then sweep and fold the fibers rearward. Take wraps to build up an even yet fairly sparse hackle collar and secure the stem with 3 or 4 wraps of tying thread. You can then snip the excess stem off close.

Take a few thread wraps to build up a small head followed by a 4 or 5 turn whip finish. Once the whip finish is complete, snip or cut your tying thread free.