The La Belle fly is a very old pattern. I chose to tie it because it is a very pretty fly, which is how it got it’s name, and it is a good Bass fly. I first ran across the fly in Ray Bergman’s book Trout, it is on plate no. 5 and the recipe is on page 435. Other than being in this book there isn’t any other information on it. In doing some research I did find that it is also listed and mentioned in Mary Orvis Marbury’s book Favorite Flies and Their Histories. It is on the 5th plate of Bass flies in the center of the book. It is listed as fly #260 and there is a little paragraph about the fly on page 442. This is where I learned it is a good Bass fly. As written in her book,
“This bass fly was the first made by C.F. Orvis in 1879, and when tried was found to be excellent in some waters for black bass. For a long time the fly had no name, until one day somebody said it “reminded him of a pretty girl in a white muslin dress and a blue sash, it ought to be taking;” so then and there it was named La Belle.”
There was no recipe listed for the fly but looking at the painting it was originally tied different than it is today (or how I tied it). The original has a red tag (I assume floss) and a red and white quill tail. The rest of the fly seems to be tied the same other than the hackle is tied in as a collar in Marbury’s book and a throat in Bergman’s. For the video I tied in the fashion of Bergman’s book but might tie a few this summer as C. F. Orvis did just to see if there is a difference.
This was a fun fly to tie and after a time I realized it is also a quick fly to tie. Being quick might simply be a function of relativity as the last video I did was for the Martin (and tied a few dozen of them) and it takes a little longer dealing with the married and matched tail. La Belle comes together quit easily and seems to develop a nice “flow” about it. The one thing I am curious about in this fly is the pronunciation of the name. I mention this in the video that I am not certain if the pronunciation is “Bell” or “Belle”; with the “e” on the end. I would assume, after reading how it got it’s name that it is with the “e” being pronounced; makes it sound prettier. However, the Parmachene Belle (another well know wet fly) has the same spelling but the “e” is silent. If anyone know the proper pronunciation please leave a note in the comments below. I will write a follow up post later this summer to see how La Belle does with the local Large and Smallmouth Bass. – Enjoy.
|Danville 6/0, Black & White
|Danville Mylar Tinsel, Gold, #16/18
|Danville 4-Strand Rayon Floss, Light Blue
|Hen Neck or Schlappen, Blue
|Duck Quill, White
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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.