Invicta – Wet Fly

The Invicta is an Irish wet pattern that was created by James Ogden of Cheltenham and described in his book, Ogden on Fly Tying, 1879. The pattern is thought by many to be one of the most popular and reliable Irish patterns ever conceived for both lake and river trout fishing. It is a superb pattern during a sedge rise, perhaps imitating an emerging caddis or a returning egg-laying female of a species that descends beneath the water surface to oviposit. It is equally successful when mayflies are emerging. While this historic patter was originally conceived for taking trout, it also is an excellent pattern for taking bream and bass in warm waters of the United States. This should not be surprising because it is an aquatic insect imitation, which is an important item in the diets of fish around the world. It has been found to be particularly productive in the southeast US when the cinnamon sedge is emerging during fall, supporting the thought of it being a sedge imitation.

Tying the Invicta is particularly instructive in that it incorporates a palmered hackle with slip wings and a throat.

(An alternative variation of the Invicta is the Silver Invicta, tied with a silver tensel and rib body and thought to be a useful fry imitation.)

  • Hook: Standard Wet Fly Hook; Daiichi 1550, Mustad 3906 or suitable substitute, Size 10-14
  • Thread: Yellow Danville 6/0 or Veevus 8/0 or suitable substitute
  • Rib: Fine Gold Wire
  • Tail: Golden Pheasant Crest
  • Body: Yellow SLF (Seal Substitute) with Fine Gold Wire Rib
  • Hackle: Brown or Red Roostert
  • Throat: Barbs of Whiting Guinea or American Hen Saddle Dyed Kingfisher Blue (Eurasian Jay Substitute)
  • Wings: Hen or Cock Ring-neck Pheasant Secondary Feather (leading edge)
  • Head: Yellow Thread with Sally Hansen Hard as Nails Clear or Cement of Choice


Tie the Invicta as Follows:

The shaggy nature of the material used for the body of this pattern makes it particularly important to maintain proportions with precision to assure sufficient space remains for tying the wings in properly under a head of no more than two eye lengths.

1. Lay a flat thread base from hook eye to midway above barb and hook point while tying in rib on the far side of shank. Select one golden pheasant crest feather for tail of approximately shank length and tie in on top of shank at rear tie in point.

2. Apply SLF in forward wraps and tie off cleanly approximately 2 eye widths behind eye.

3. Tie in hackle of 1 ½ gap width on underside of shank in front of body. Make 2 and 1/2 touching hackle wraps rearward and against front of body. Begin palmering hackle rearward as third hackle wrap passes over top of body. Finish last palmered wrap under and at rear of body. Hold firmly and make two forward wraps of wire rib to tie in, counter wrap though palmered hackle and tie in on bottom of shank in front of first hackle wrap. Cut excess hackle behind the rear tie in point.

4. Hold barbs of approximately two gap widths with tips of equal length and remove from one side of guinea or hen saddle feather. Compress barbs together and tie in under shank in front of hackle with tips extending just behind hook point. Wrap thread in flat, touching turns to eye and back to tie in point of hackle and throat.

5. Clip wing slips of approximately one gap width from leading edge of two matching secondary feathers. Wings should extend to midway over tail. Hold slips back to back and vertically on top of hook shank between thumb and middle finger in front of hackle. Tie in with two soft thread wraps while holding slips tight. Let thread hang, release and adjust slips if needed, grip slips and make two more wraps and clip wing stubs. Finish wrapping as head while holding slips firmly in place. Head should be no more than two eye widths. Whip finish head and apply head cement.

Peter O'Reilly. 1995. Trout & Salmon Flies of Ireland.

John Roberts. 1995. Collins Illustrated Dictionary of Trout Flies.

Taft Price. 1997. Fly Patterns An International Guide – Third Edition.

Sandy Leventon, J. Wilshaw, A. Longhurst and J. Cooke. 1998. 220 Favorite Flies for Trout, Salmon, Sea-trout & Grayling.

David Hughes. 2015. Wet Flies, Tying and Fishing Soft-Hackles, Flymphs, Winged Wets, And All-Fur Wet Flies – Second Edition.




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