The Milk Gravy

The "Milk Gravy" pattern is intended to imitate the emerging life form of a sedge or caddisfly, of which there are more than 200 species that occur in Florida waters. The pattern is also imitates various local species of Diptera and mayflies when they emerge. This is a simple pattern to tie, as each fly is tied with one bobwhite quail feather. I first designed and tied this pattern from feathers of birds I shot on Pleasant Hill Plantation near Spring Island, South Carolina. The hunts were traditional Old South Plantation style where each day of hunting was interrupted with a lunch of fried chicken and all trimmings. Most memorable, though, was the personal serving of milk gravy the Huntmaster's wife made for me each visit from the chicken drippings. Thus the name I gave the pattern, "Milk Gravy." I typically apply a little floatant to the top hackles and fish the pattern on and in the surface. It is a very good pattern for taking bream in the Tallahassee area when sedges, Diptera and mayflies are emerging; as well as, trout in the Sierras and Rocky Mountains.

  • Hook: Daiichi 1550, Size 14
  • Thread: Black Danville 6/0 or Gudebrod 8/0
  • Tail: Three Barbs from Bobwhite Quail Breast Feather
  • Body: Webbing Trimmed from Each Side of Bobwhite Quail Feather Shaft
  • Hackle: Bobwhite Quail Breast Feather
  • Thread: Black Thread and Cement of Choice.


Tie the Milke Gravy as Follows:

1. Bend the barb down as hook is placed in the vise and start the thread with a jam knot behind the hook eye. Wrap the thread to hook bend and leave the thread hanging at bend, between hook barb and point. Thread should be counter spun to flatten and wrapped in side-by-side or touching turns to maintain a flat thread base.

2. Select a breast feather of size to match hook size. Clip with scissors all webbing from each side of feather shaft outward to first barbs without web and set aside to use for dubbing. Remove three barbs for tail. Tie the three barbs in on top of hook shank as tail. Return thread to tie in point of tail and rear of body, make one thread wrap behind and under tail to hold up and finish with one wrap in front of tail at tie-in point.

3. Wax the thread, apply the webbing material to the thread and dub body/abdomen on approximately ¾ of shank forward of the tie-in point of tail to ¼ of shank behind hook eye.

4. Prepare quail feather to tie in by tip, leaving sufficient barbs for 3-4 hackle wraps. Tie in feather by tip on underside of shank in front of dubbed body with top facing forward. Wrap thread to hook eye and back three thread wraps and leave hanging at rear of head. Wrap hackle forward in touching wraps and tie off shaft under hook shank. Wrap to hook eye and back to front tie in point of hackle and rear of head. Hold thread up and snap remaining feather shaft towards hook point to remove excess. Shaft will break at thread, leaving no butt to cover. Whip finish head from rear to hook eye and seal with cement of choice.




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