Tying Video – Tupp’s Indispensable

The Tupp’s Indispensable soft hackle first caught my eye in Sylvester Nemes’ book Two Centuries of Soft-Hackled flies.  It mostly attracted me because of the pink in the fly.  Also, being another Clyde style fly it’s sparseness I also found interesting.  Just some yellow tying silk, pinkish dubbing and a ginger hackle.  Nothing to it, right? Yes and no, as with many flies that have been around for over a hundred and thirty years there is much more to the story.  From a tying perspective it is as simply a fly as you can get in regards to putting materials on a hook and being able to catch fish with it.  The recipe calls for “pinkish” wool dubbing which with modern dubbings and dyes a “pinkish” dubbing is easy to obtain.  I chose to tie the Tupp’s with a mixture of white and red wool such that the combination would have a pinkish color.  I mostly wanted to keep to the traditional wool in the body and do not posses any pink dye.  It is a simple work around and as soon as I get it on the water I will find out if it worked.

The most interesting aspect of the Tupp’s was in the history.  Flies often get their start from a small idea about how to make a bug that might look or behave more realistic in the water or at least represent a particular aquatic food the fisherman thinks the fish are targeting.  To that end, all sorts of ideas come about when thinking of materials and shades of color to use when creating a fly.  The Tupp’s is one of these flies.  I am not going to recall all of the history (as I read it) but rather direct you to read it for yourself.  Others have done a great job in writing about this fly and it’s origins.  First, head over to the Global Fly Fisher’s website and look up the Tup’s Indispensable (or just click this link).  There you will find out just were the fly got it’s name.  Then, do a general web search on Tupp’s Indispensable and you will find links and info about various ways the fly has been tied and materials used.  The one very interesting thing to me is that almost all of the flies are tied as dry flies.  I ran across it as a soft hackle in Sylvester Nemes book but almost all the articles and bits of info have it as a dry fly.  Even Ray Bergman’s book “Trout” has the Tup’s listed as a dry fly and tied as a dry fly.  This is not that unusual as many flies start out as one particular type and people make variations of them for their fishing needs.  Plus, I was reading a book on soft hackle flies so it stand to reason I would run across a soft hackle version.  The other interesting item is the spelling of Tupp’s.  In Sylvester Nemes book it is spelled with two P’s but everywhere else I read it is spelled with just one P.  I only mention these things because often when we (as fly tiers) start reading about old patterns and actually tie these flies we do it to have some sort of connection to the past.  Many times the information we find about the pattern and it’s history are interesting but somehow seem ordinary.  That is to say, expected.  Then something like the Tupp’s Indispensable comes along and you realize you have found one of those “hidden gems”.  Anyway, maybe that is just the view of a nerdy fly tier.  – Enjoy.

Hook:Mustad 3906, 3906b or 3399, #10 – #16
Thread:Pearsall’s Gossamer Silk, Yellow (not affilate)
Body:Pinkish Wool Dubbing
Hackle:Ginger Hen Hackle
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If you would like to purchase some Tupp’s Indispensable soft hackle flies there are a number for sale (while supplies last).

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As always, if you have any questions about this fly (or any other) you can leave a comment on Dressed Irons or any of the videos I have produced and I will help in anyway I can. Enjoy!

Remember….. It’s Fly tying….. If you’re not having fun, You’re Doin’ It Wrong.

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