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Comparadun Quill Gordon
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Comparadun Quill Gordon
By Skip Morris

If the Comparadun is not the most popular style of dry fly in America at ths writing, I'd be surprised. This fly has been steadily growing in popularity since it was first revealed in 1972 by Al Caucci and Bob Nastasi through their book Comparahatch.

What makes the Comparadun significantly different from other flies is its fan-shaped wing of deer hair. The best hair I have found for this wing is coastal deer hair; most fly shops carry it.

The Comparadun Quill Gordon imitates the eastern quill-gordon mayfly. It hatches as early as April, emerging in the afternoon in quick water. More than just another productive mayfly hatch, the emergence of the quill gordon signals the beginning of dry-fly fishing to many eastern fly fishers; faith in the quill gordon hatch sends anglers out to wade and cast in chill, rain, and even snow.

The Comparadun wing deserves a few pointers regarding its construction. First there is the matter of getting the hair wing firmly mounted; you may want to start with 3/0 thread so that you can really bear down, or use use 3/0 throughout. Richard Bunse wraps thread from the wing's butts to the shank and back repeatedly, using the shank wraps as an anchor. Another problem is distributing the hair evenly; sometimes this wing ends up heavy at its top and sparse at its edges. The best wing is even throughout. Here is one solution: work the wing hairs slightly down the sides of the hook as you tie in the wing (rocking the wing as you work it down can help). Beyond this, be aggressive in setting the wing upright - press it up sharply with your thumbnail and secure the position with plenty of tight turns of thread firmly up against the wing's base.

The Sparkle Dun is shown at the end of the tying-sequence photographs. It is a variation of the Comparadun and was created by Craig Mathews of Blue Ribbon Flies [West Yellowstone, Mt.] The Sparkle Dun is tied in exactly the same manner as the Comparadun with the exception of the tail - a shank length tuft of sparkle yarn is the Sparkle Dun's tail. The tuft suggests the partially discarded shuck of hatching mayfly. I've fished the Sparkle Dun to great effect; try it.

Materials: Comparadun Quill Gordon

    Hook:  Standard dry fly, sizes 14 and 12 (the hook shown is a Partridge GRS3A).

    Thread:  Olive (or gray) 8/0 or 6/0 (you can also start with 3/0, and switch, or simply continue with 3/0).

    Wing:  Coastal deer hair of medium hue.

    Tail:  Two to four dark-gray Micro Fibetts (or hackle fibers, especially on sizes 16 and under), split; olive brown Z-lon or sparkle poly yarn for the Sparkle Dun's shuck.

    Body:  Light-gray dubbing with a dash of yellow (Caucci and Nastasi prefer rabbit dubbing for all Comparaduns).

Tying Steps:

1. Snip a bunch of coastal deer hair from its hide; comb, measure (from eye to midbend as usual), and tie in the hair about one-quarter of the shank's length back from the eye using the pinch. Stack the hair if you wish, but coastal deer is usually well-stacked on the hide; careful handling will keep it that way.

2. Still holding the wing butts after the pinch, raise them and snip them at an angle. Cover the trimmed butts with thread. If you are using 3/0 thread, you now have the option of switching to 8/0 or 6/0.

3. Tie in the split tails.

4. Dub a tapered body to the rear of the wing. Set the wing upright by slipping your thumbnail under it (and over the eye) and right up against the base of the wing; them rotate your thumbnail up and back to really crease the wing's base. Repeat this once on each side of the wing using either your thumbnail or fingernail.

5. Draw the wing firmly back and add tight turns of bare thread right as its base for support.

6. (Bottom view.) Crisscross dubbed thread from the front of the wing to the back and again to the front a few times to cover the underside of the wing; then dub to just behind the eye and complete the thread head as usual.

7. The Comparadun wing: front view.

8. Finished fly.

9. The same fly fied in Sparkle Dun style - a shuck of Z-lon or sparkle poly yarn replaces the split tails. ~ Skip Morris

Fishing Instructions:

For more information on Mayflies, and how to fish them, click HERE. ~ DLB

Credits: From The Art of Tying the Dry Fly by Skip Morris, published by Frank Amato Publications. We greatly appreciate use permission.


For more great flies, check out: Beginning Fly Tying, Intermediate Fly Tying and Advanced Fly Tying.


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