Dating way back to around the early 1880’s there seems to be a little confusion as to exactly which of the Wickham’s family devised this pattern, however most of the credit appears to go to Dr T.C Wickham of Winchester, with George Currell listed as the first professional tier to produce the flay in 1884.
Originally designed as a dry ‘Red Spinner’ imitation for the Southern English Chalkstreams , this little fly has certainly travelled well and is equally at home in the remote Scottish Highlands as it is on the waters it was first tied for, albeit the swept back wet version is used way more than the original up-wing dry.
With its slate grey starling wing contrasting to the golden flash of the tinsel body and muted brown palmered hackle it certainly fits the bill as simple but effective and has certainly stood the test of time, equally as good today as it must have been all those years ago.
For me I like to tie my Wickham’s with a natural deer hair wing (Roe) instead of the original starling as I feel it gives the fly more buoyancy and depth especially as I like to fish it dry. Great as a general brown sedge imitation, equally as good when light olives are on the wing especially if it’s really bright and I fish it with confidence on all types of water from slower pools through to the faster streams. I also like to fish it on lochs as a middle dropper on a team of three, or on the tail as part of a pair fished static dry or with a very slow, jerky, figure of eight when sedge are around.
If you’re a wild trout angler, or if the stocked fish are on sedge, then you really should have the Wickham’s in your selection.
Hook; Partridge L5A Dry Fly Supreme 10-14
Thread; Veniard’s Golden Micro Tinsel
Tail; (Optional as palmered hackles will sit back to form tail) Light Brown Cock Hackle Fibres
Body; Veniard’s Golden Micro Tinsel
Hackle; Light Brown Cock
Rib; Veniard’s Golden Micro Tinsel
Wing; Natural Roe Deer Hair
Head Hackle; Light Brown Cock
Step 1 Catch in thread and run down hook then back up to form underbody
Step 2 Prepare and catch in hackle
Step 3 Run thread down to tail of the hook; optional catch in a few hackle fibres to act as a tail
Step 4 Wind hackle down hook in open turns, approx 5 turns.
Step 5 Run thread back up hook to act as a rib
Step 6 Select and cut a small bunch of deer hair fibres
Step 7 Stack deer hair
Step 8 Offer wing up to hook and set length as roughly the same as hackle fibre length
Step 9 Tightly hold in the wing and secure with turns of thread avoiding 'flare' as much as possible
Step 10 Trim the deer hair waste ends tightly to the fly body and secure with thread.
Step 11 For added strength I like to add a tiny amount of very thin varnish at the base of the wing.
Step 12 Prepare and catch in head hackle
Step 13 Wind on a maximum of four turns of head hackle before catching in the stem and trimming off the waste.
Step 14 Draw all the head hackle fibres back and form head, hackles should sit at roughly a 45 degree angle once head formed. Whip finish head, varnish.