The Reverend Lang

The Reverend Lang is an old dry fly pattern that originated decades ago from the Sierras of Central California where it was fished with success for the species of trout that occur in the larger rivers like the King's to the smaller streams at 6,000 to 8,000 feet in those mountains. It has become a pattern I often fish in the Rocky Mountains and Sierras for trout and our bream will certainly rise to take it on the surface, especially in the spring. It is an easy pattern to tie but it also is one that incorporates a number of tying techniques that can be applied to many other patterns, whether dry or wet. It is an easy pattern to see on the surface with its white wings and tail. Materials for the pattern are as follows:

  • Hook: Daiichi 1110 in size 10-14
  • Thread: Yellow 6/0 or Gudebrod 8/0
  • Wing: White calf tail
  • Tail: White calf body hair
  • Body: Black, long-strand sculpin wool on Hide
  • Hackle: Whiting Farms Coachman rooster saddle or cape

Tying the Reverend Lang as follows:

1. Bend the barb down as the hook is placed in the vise and start the thread at mid-shank with a reverse jam knot. Wrap the thread to eye, counter spinning the thread to flatten and lay each thread wrap side-by-side; don't overlap thread wraps to maintain a flat thread base. Wrap thread 2/3 back from eye towards tie-in point of thread or mid-shank. The thread will hang 1/3 of shank back from the eye as the tie-in point for the wing. I find laying the initial thread base on half the hook shank allows me to visually judge proportions more accurately.

2. Cut a bunch of white calf tail hair and stack to even ends. Calf tail will not stack perfectly even due to crinkly nature and that is fine. You will learn to judge the amount of hair with experience; too much hair can be removed as desired, but it is difficult to add hair. Remove hair to discard reversed hairs and re-stack hair. Remove hair from stacker with tips pointing towards hook eye with fingers of right-handed. Hold bunch equal to shank length with tips forward between left thumb and opposing middle finger and tie-in where thread hangs in step 1. Hold bunch on top of shank, make two thread wraps side-by-side and towards hook bend and pull thread up to tighten hair bunch down on top of shank. Continue thread wraps half way towards hook bend, tightening thread upward with each wrap. Cup ends of hair and wrap thread, always side-by-side to keep thread base flat, to tie-in point of wing, wrap thread in front of wing to eye and back to wing, holding wing upward to force thread wraps under front of wing base to hold wing upward. Make one thread wrap behind wings and leave thread hanging.

3. Post and divide the calf tail wing equally by pushing thumb nail at front of wing base towards rear of hook. Rock thumb nail slightly from side-to-side and the wing material will separate perfectly into two equal portions on each side of hook. Make four figure eights to post and separate wings and finish with thread wrap behind wing bases. Make three thread wraps around far wing and finish with thread behind wing to finish posting the far wing. Make three thread wraps around base of near wing, finishing with thread behind wing base to finish posting wings. Wrap thread to hook bend, above barb, and leave hanging.

4. Cut a bunch of white calf body hair, approximately equal amount to single wing, and stack to even ends. Remove hair from stacker, check ends and re-stack if necessary. Remove hair from stacker with ends pointing rearward from hook. Tail should be approximately equal to shank length. Hold hair between thumb and opposing finger of left hand, if right-handed, and cut leaving stub ends length of distance from hook bend to stub of wings. Tie tail in on top of shank similar to method of tying on wing material. Hold tail up to keep on top of shank and wrap thread forward to base of wing and back to tie-in point of tail. Make one thread wrap behind and under tail to hold up slightly and one wrap over tail at tie-in point. Leave thread hanging at hook bend.

5. Pull sparse pinch of wool strands from hide. Amount should be sufficient to wrap the body or abdomen; sparse is better, allowing additional hairs to be added to thread if needed to complete body. Twist far end of wool fibers onto thread by twisting thumb over thread towards rear of hook, approximately ½ inch from shank. Place finger along bottom of thread and far end of wool strands and slide to underside of hook shank at rear tie-in point. Make two wraps of thread with wool to trap far ends of wool strands on hook. Twist remaining wool onto thread from near end by twisting in opposite direction to far end to warp all strands tightly around thread. Warp dubbed thread side-by-side forward to half- way point on shank, just forward of where tail and wing butts touch. Sparsely dubbed thread may be wrapped back and then forward to enlarge front of abdomen, but do not wrap dubbing forward of abdomen. Leave thread hanging at front of abdomen.

6. Select Whiting rooster hackle appropriate for size 14 hook (approximately 1.5 gap width). Remove barbs from approximately 1/8 inch of feather shaft, hold hackle at 90 degree angle to shaft on underside of shank at tie-in point of abdomen, with top of hackle forward. Tie-in hackle shaft on underside of shank by wrapping thread in side-by-side wraps to eye. Make three wraps rearward from eye to what will be the forward tie-in point of hackle and rear of fly head. Wrap hackle forward, being sure to place one wrap in front of another as with thread wraps and tie in at forward tie-in point or rear of head. Tie-in by making three thread wraps towards eye and three more thread wraps rearward to back of head. Hold thread firmly with left hand and snap hackle off with right hand. This will leave the hackle shaft under the thread wraps with no exposed butt requiring cover. Remove barbs at front of head with needle-nose pliers. Whip finish thread in side-by-side wraps from rear of head to hook eye, clip thread with one scissor blade and apply preferred head cement to finish.




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