Martyn Flynn invented the Red Tag Dry Fly during the 1850s to catch trout and graylings in the northern parts of England. The fly pattern was introduced to Australia and New Zealand and is today considered one of the essential flies for trout. It is not imitating anything particular, but it could do the job when the ants are flying or when nothing else is catching any fish.
Materials for Red Tag Dry Fly
|Dry Fly Hackle
Video Instructions on How to Tie a Red Tag Dry FlyVideo coming soon.
Slideshow on How To Tie a Red Tag Dry Fly
Step 1 – Make the Tail and Body
Tie in the thread and stop when you have covered an area approximately 1.5 to 2x the length of the hook’s eye. Then tie in the red wool thread. It will be easier to create an even body if you do this now. Tie in a few strains of Peacock herl. Align the herl’s tips and trim the weakest part before you tie them in from the tip.
Peacock herls are not strong fibers, so it is recommended that you strengthen the body. You can give the fly a rib, but this is not a desirable solution since we are tying a dry fly. The best solution is to wrap the Peacock herl over a layer of varnish or wrap the Peacock herls around your tying thread. Create the body by wrapping the herls in touching turns until you come to the point where you tied in the red wool thread. Tie of the herl and trim off the excess.
Step 2 – Make the Hackle
Find a hackle feather with slightly longer fibers than the distance between the hook’s shank and hook point. Tear away some of the fibers on the cock hackle to make it easier to tie in. Tie in the hackle feather with the shiny side pointing towards you. 3 to 5 turns of the hackle feather should be enough. Tie off the feather and remove excess. Complete the fly with a whip finish or a few half-hitches and a drop of varnish.
How to Fish the Red Tag Dry Fly
Red Tag is known to catch fish, even if it does not imitate any specific insect. Still, it might look like an ant or a beetle with the red tag and shiny Peacock herls. The fly is usually used to catch grayling and trout, and it can be used in rivers and lakes when there is no specific hatch. We can often find ants, beetles, and other terrestrials blown into the water, and then the Red Tag might be the right choice. Red is also known to be a color that can trigger strikes.