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Porcupine, Extended Bodied Comparadun and Spinner
By Allan Podell, NY

This style of fly is a composite of two others. The first is, that it makes use of a porcupine quill for the extended body. I'm not sure who should be credited with this idea but its use is described in at least one of Vince Marinaro's books. The second uses deer hair or grizzly hackle for a comparadun or compara-spinner (respectively) wing. I guess you can attribute this to Fran Betters or Caucci/Nastasi. At any rate, the result is a large bodied fly that's lightweight, reasonably aerodynamic and works well. So well in fact that I used a Green Drake dun, tyed in this style, to catch a 20 plus inch brown at the recent Roscoe Fish-In. I saw the trout rise to a natural and on the next cast put the fly over the fish. After what seemed like 10 minutes I released him. A big question about this fly is its durability. I did not have a chance to examine the fly after I released the trout because I cut the fly off at the tippet. It might be a 'one and done' style.

Theoretically, the style can be applied to any large dun or spinner by altering the size and dyeing the quill to match the color of the natural. I can't recommend the use of a magic marker because when I tried to color the quill with one, the color rubbed off. I may have used the wrong type.

Materials Green Drake Dun:

    Hook: Dry fly size 12 or 14 short shank or size 16.

    Thread: White, pale yellow or pale green, 6/0 or 3/0.

    Tail: 3 microfibbets(or dark hairs) for dun, 2 for spinner.

    Underbody: Dubbing ball same color as the body.

    Body: Porcupine quill dyed to match dun or white for spinner.

    Wing: Mottled deer hair for dun, HiVis or hackle trimmed top & bottom for spinner.

    Thorax: Dark brown or black for dun and spinner.

Tying Instructions for Green Drake Dun:

    1. Prepare quill body and tail by carefully cutting off the sharp point of the quill. Now cut off the very tip of the white (color) section. This is the end that was closest to the skin. Take a sewing needle and stick it about inch into this tip hole to clear out some of the pulp and make it possible to imbed the tailing. Even out the tips of the tailing and trim the butts to appropriate length. Place the tailing material all the way into this hole. Hold quill with tails up and place a drop of crazy glue at the base of the tailing so that it wicks down into the quill. Separate the tails with something other than your fingers. Hold in place until the glue dries. When done, put aside for now.


    3 dyed and 2 prepared porcupine quills. On the Left is a quill with the tails inserted for a dun. In the Center is a dyed quill before preparation. On the Right is a quill and the tails inserted for a spinner.

    2. Place a layer of thread from the eye to just about the bend. Dub a small amount of fur on the thread and apply this going no more than way towards the eye. Continue wrapping the thread to the thorax area where the wing will be tied down.


    the dubbing wrapped in the rear and the comparadun wing (for the dun) tied in.

    3. DUN: Cut a bunch of hair and comb out any short hairs and fur. Even the tips in a hair evener. Hold hairs above and slightly on your side of the shank with the tips pointed over the eye. Hold tightly with your fingers at the tie in spot and make 2 wraps of thread. The first should be snug. As you make the second, tighten it as you bring the thread around and towards your body. Make this as tight as you feel you can. Then carefully move your fingers towards the bend while making successive and adjoining wraps in that direction. Do not wrap all the way to the dubbing. Do not release the hair. Cut off the butts of the hair at an angle. Now make several more adjoining wraps toward and up to the dubbing. (see #5 for spinner wings)


    the quill tied in.

    4. Notice the angle you've cut and make a similar angle cut in the porcupine quill. Where the cut starts will determine the length of the body. Place the cut quill on top of the cut hair and tie down with successive wraps going towards the eye. Try not to have the wraps pile up on top of each other. This process can be made easier with a little contact cement of applying crazy glue to a short portion of the thread. Stop wrapping the thread when you get to a wrap or two behind the wing. Place a drop of crazy glue along the wrapped quill section and allow to dry.


    the wing uprighted, dubbing around the thorax applied and errant hairs trimmed (fly completed).

    5. SPINNER: Hold spinner wing material perpendicular to the shank and tie in with figure Eights. When done, cut to length and place a drop of crazy glue where shank and material meet. Grasp the ends of the wings and apply a little pulling pressure. This should casue the glue to wick a little and stiffen the wings just at the shank. They won't fold back as easily.


    Completed Dun and Spinner for a Potamantus (Yellow Drake)


    3 dyed and 2 prepared porcupine quills. On the Left is a quill with the tails inserted for a dun. In the Center is a plain quill before preparation. On the Right is a quill and the tails inserted for a spinner.

    6. Apply dubbing to the thread. I prefer plain dyed rabbit. Wrap the dubbed thread in figure 8s then behind and in front of the wing. As you do this on the DUN, grasp the deer hairs and manipulate them so that they flair 180 degrees and stand straight up or lean a little backward. Do not be afraid to be rough with the hair. The thorax should be wider than the body. When done, tie off with a whip finish. Trim any hairs that go below the shank. Apply head cement if you wish.


    the comparadun wing is tied in.


    the quill body, with the tail, tied in.


    the wing uprighted, dubbing around the thorax applied and errant hairs trimmed (fly completed).

    7. Same fly, different angle.

    8. Spinner body tied in and hackle wing prepared for wrapping.

    9. Wing wrapped and trimmed (fly completed).

    10. Completed Green Drake Dun and G.D. (Coffin Fly) spinner.

    11. Find some rising trout. ~ Allan Podell

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


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