The Alexandra is a wonderful old pattern that, at one time, was so popular and productive that it was almost banned. Hard to believe a fly could get banned from use. The Alexandra is in Ray Bergman’s book Trout on Plate no. 1. The recipe for the fly is listed on page 424 and has a few points of interest. First, there is a Tip listed for the fly (also refereed to as a Tag) of a dark red floss (often referred to as Claret). Although the Tip is listed often you do not see the fly tied with a Tip. Second, the Tail material is listed as “Peacock Sword and/or Scarlet”. Here I do not often see the tail tied with the Peacock Sword but just the Scarlet Hackle. By the way, it is my understanding that when the material is listed as “Scarlet” it is referring to Scarlet Ibis which is naturally a very bright red. These days, goose shoulder, turkey quill or even Schalappen dyed a bright red is used for Scarlet. The third point of interest is that the recipe lists a “Round Silver Tinsel” for the rib and that it is optional. Generally these days, Oval tinsel is more common that just round (and they may be the same thing) tinsel so I just use a silver wire for the rib. Next, the Hackle (Throat) is listed as “Deep Wine, Dark Claret or Black”. I choose Black for this video as it is what I have. Lastly, the Scarlet accents in the wing is listed but also listed as optional. Most tiers are aware that even though a recipe calls for specific materials or specific colors you can usually get around some of it with what you have on hand. Plus, if you are adapting a wet fly pattern to say an emerger type patterns or maybe a dry fly pattern then you sort of have to use different materials to create the fly you want while trying to stick to the original “concept” of the pattern. That said, not many of the “original” patterns that I have run across have listed so many alternative colors, materials or options. Just thought that was an interesting aspect of this pattern.
I originally had the Alexandra scheduled for publication on the 23rd of December last year (2021). Which actually worked out nice because I was planning on promoting it as sort of Christmas fly. The iridescent greens and the red goose shoulder along with the silver body make this a great Christmas fly. Unfortunately, I came down with a rather nasty head cold (can you believe those are even still around!) about a week before the holidays. I did manage to get a version of the video done but I didn’t sound to great in the video and I decided I would wait until viewers could understand me better. Overall, the fly is an interesting and fun fly to tie. The peacock sword gets over looked as a wing material which is a shame as the iridescent color are fantastic in the water. Plus, peacock sword and herl both have their own natural UV properties. Maybe that’s what makes them so effective in flies. Another interesting thing about the Alexandra is that, for some reason, many other tiers had the idea of tying this fly in the last few months because I have seen multiple versions show up on Instagram and YouTube. I point this out so you can look around and see what other tiers are doing with this pattern and maybe find something that suits you a little more. – Enjoy.
|Uni-Thread 8/0, Black & White
|Danville 4-Strand Floss, Rayon, Wine
|Goose Shoulder, Red
|Danville Silver Wire, Fine
|Danville Mylar Tinsel, Gold, #14
|Peacock Sword and Goose Shoulder (red) accent
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If you would like to purchase some Alexandra wet flies there are a number for sale (while supplies last).If you haven’t yet, sign up for the Dressed Irons newsletter to stay up to date well as receiving more details about what’s happening. The sign up form is on the right of this page! 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.