Wilted Spinach variant

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gingerdun
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Wilted Spinach variant

Post by gingerdun » Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:05 pm

Ron Eagle Elk's favorite pattern on the Madison is the Wilted Spinach, created by John Bartlett, whose wife, according to the web, was cooking wilted spinach at the time he created the fly—hence the name. The original hackle was grouse or partridge, but Ron uses black hen. The key feature here is the two loops of flash at the tail.

Three years ago Old Hat created a post about this fly, but it was before I joined, and the photo is now missing. Here's what's left of that post:
http://www.flymphforum.com/viewtopic.ph ... nach#p7586
Carl, if you still have that photo, feel free to repost here. I'm really regretting that I don't have photos of REE's version of this fly, which are stunningly perfect and gorgeous, and simple.

Image

Based on Ron's recommendation, I decided to try tying and fishing them.
The hooks are sizes 12 to 16, with probably one-too-many winds of hackle on some.
The dubbing is a mix of merino wool and seal, yellow and orange, mostly on a Clark loop.
Black hen, and a few with dark brown dun hen.
Three of the flies in the bottom row have a little extra loop of flash under the hackle to imitate the bubble.
Ron explained that this fly proves that fish can count, since one loop of flash, or three loops, won't work. The trout will only eat if they count two loops.

My wife and I hooked several trout with these, but only netted one of them. Dry flies seemed to be getting all the action while we were there.

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Re: Wilted Spinach variant

Post by letumgo » Wed Jul 31, 2013 12:11 pm

Gorgeous pattern and flies! Thank you for sharing this Lance.
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Re: Wilted Spinach variant

Post by JohnP » Wed Jul 31, 2013 1:23 pm

Here's a link to a version I posted a couple of years ago on the FTF site. It can't hold a candle to REE's version, but it has caught a few fish for me:

http://www.flytyingforum.com/index.php? ... %2Bspinach
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Re: Wilted Spinach variant

Post by Old Hat » Wed Jul 31, 2013 2:19 pm

Very nice pattern Lance. It is a great fly that I have fished for years. Actually one of the first wingless wet patterns I fished regularly. I met John Bartlett through the Westfly website.

Here is a link to the original pattern from John on the pattern list from Westfly.

http://www.west-fly-fishing.com/fly-pat ... nach.shtml

Here is the one I use.
Wilted Spinach.jpg
Wilted Spinach.jpg (111.2 KiB) Viewed 5363 times
Last edited by Old Hat on Wed Jul 31, 2013 2:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wilted Spinach variant

Post by William Anderson » Wed Jul 31, 2013 2:33 pm

Now there's one I haven't seen. Thanks Lance, John, Carl and Ron. I'll have to give this a try. The original has a huge red hot spot honker. Does anyone else include this in there pattern? I can see why the flash is effective with an already effective softy. Definitely another to try.

carl's pic was just added. Anyone else use the big red head? These local patterns are cool to see.
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Re: Wilted Spinach variant

Post by Old Hat » Wed Jul 31, 2013 2:40 pm

I have always used the red head. No particular reason other than that's what the original had. To be honest, I use this pattern more as a stillwater fly than a river pattern. I doesn't surprise me that this works well on the Madison. John Bartlett came up with this pattern while living in Montana.
Last edited by Old Hat on Wed Jul 31, 2013 2:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wilted Spinach variant

Post by gingerdun » Wed Jul 31, 2013 2:42 pm

JohnP and Old Hat, thanks for the additional information on the authentic versions. I'm going to tie some of them and add them to my box.
And thanks to REE for reminding us of a regional favorite that may have wider potential.
Doug, shell we see what the bluegills have to say about it?
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Re: Wilted Spinach variant

Post by Roadkill » Wed Jul 31, 2013 3:13 pm

The hot head(mine in orange) is part of my WS variant tie as well, also taken off Westfly years ago. This #14 out of my flymph box had an obvious hook set on a rock. :o ;)

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Re: Wilted Spinach variant

Post by William Anderson » Wed Jul 31, 2013 4:19 pm

Thanks, guys. I get the obvious features. It's a cool pattern. Do most folks acknowledge the large hot spot head? Is it associated with a particular insect, time of year, time of day? just curious.
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Re: Wilted Spinach variant

Post by Roadkill » Wed Jul 31, 2013 9:41 pm

William,
I don't fish it as any particular insect but more as a general attractor pattern at any time of year or day. It makes an excellent searching pattern when nothing else seems to be working and no hatch is happening. To me it is a life cycle just before a Sparkle Dun or an X-Caddis. ;) If I didn't already have a good simple Soft Hackle October Caddis I would tie it in that size.
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