I found this one in Salmon Fishing by John
James Hardy. This book was written in 1907, and contains
probably the most complete listing of salmon fly dressings
to be found anywhere. It's a gorgeous pattern, but not a
favorite apparently. It seems to fall historically somewhere
between Francis Francis (mid 1800s) and Pryce-Tannatt (1920s),
and is included by neither author in their work. Even Kelson
gives no mention of this fly. It is quite complicated, which
was more typical of the flies that came later in the Victorian
It is interesting to note that John James Hardy was a partner in
the famous Hardy Brothers tackle firm, developers of the first
modern fly reel. The firm is still in business to this day, and
has seen a resurgence of late, due in no small part to an
advertising campaign featuring the now legendary "Hardy girl."
The Hardy Perfect reel and other equipment are highly prized by
anglers to this day.
It is not known who created the Murdock. It is likely the fly
was received by the firm at some point, and included in
Salmon Fishing. Regardless of who originally
created it, it's great fun to tie, and quite pretty I think.
Here's the recipe:
Credits: Salmon Fishing John James Hardy;
Classic Salmon Flies by Mikael Frodin ~ EA
Tag: Silver tinsel and blue floss silk.
Tail: A topping, Indian crow and blue chatterer.
Butt: Black ostrich herl.
Body: Silver tinsel (I used embossed).
Rib: Gold tinsel.
Hackle: A yellow hackle.
Throat: A blue and a red hackle.
Wings: Tippet strands, blue macaw, turkey, yellow, red and blue
swan, peacock wing, bustard, golden pheasant tail, wood duck and
a topping over.
Sides: Jungle cock.
Horns: Blue macaw.
Head: Red Berlin wool (Omitted on mine).
I started fly fishing as a teen in and around my hometown
of Plattsburgh, New York, primarily on the Saranac River.
I started tying flies almost immediately and spent hours
with library books written by Ray Bergman, Art Lee, and
A. J. McClane. Almost from the beginning I liked tying
just as much as I liked fishing and spent considerable
time at the vise creating hideous monstrosities that
somehow caught fish anyway. Then one day I came upon a
group of flies that had been put out at a local drug store
that had been tied by Francis Betters of Wilmington, N.Y.
My life changed that day and so did my flies, dramatically.
Even though I never met Fran back then, I've always
considered him to be one of my biggest influences.
I had a career in music for twenty years or so and didn't
fish much, though I did fish at times. The band I was with
had its fifteen seconds of fame when we were asked to be in
John Mellencamp's movie "Falling From Grace." I am the
keyboard player on the right in the country club scene in
the middle of the movie. Don't blink. It's on HBO all the
time. We got to meet big Hollywood stars and record in John's
studio. It was a blast.
So how did I wind up contributing to the Just Old Flies
column on FAOL? I'm not sure, it was something that I simply
wanted very badly to do, and they let me. Many of the old flies
take me back to the Adirondacs and my youth, and I guess I get
to relive some of it through the column. I've spent many happy
hours fishing and tying over the years, and tying these flies
brings back memories of great days on the water, and intense
hours spent looking at the flies in the fly plates in the old
books and trying to get my flies to look like them. And now,
here I am, still doing that to this day. ~ EA