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Personalising the Peter Ross to make it more effective

If you have no faith in the Peter Ross, then try these additions


Allan's improved Peter Ross, varies markedly from the original.
Allan's improved Peter Ross, varies markedly from the original.
Materials required.
Materials required.
Step 1 Tie in hot orange tag.
Step 1 Tie in hot orange tag.
Step 2 Form tag and tie off.
Step 2 Form tag and tie off.
Step 3 Catch in tying thread.
Step 3 Catch in tying thread.
Step 4 Run tying thread down hook, catching in tippet tail along the way. Note ensure tippet fibres sit on top of hook.
Step 4 Run tying thread down hook, catching in tippet tail along the way. Note ensure tippet fibres sit on top of hook.
Step 5 Catch in silver wire rib.
Step 5 Catch in silver wire rib.
Step 6 Run thread back to eye of hook and catch in silver tinsel. Run tinsel down body and back up again.
Step 6 Run thread back to eye of hook and catch in silver tinsel. Run tinsel down body and back up again.
Step 7 Take a pinch of scarlet rabbit fur for thorax.
Step 7 Take a pinch of scarlet rabbit fur for thorax.
Step 8 Form sparse dubbing rope and wind on thorax.
Step 8 Form sparse dubbing rope and wind on thorax.
Step 9 Bring thread to front of thorax.
Step 9 Bring thread to front of thorax.
Step 10 Cut a wide slip of bronze mallard. Note: remember you're going to 'fold' wing so ensure you've enough material.
Step 10 Cut a wide slip of bronze mallard. Note: remember you're going to 'fold' wing so ensure you've enough material.
Step 11 Fold mallard over twice to form wing and set so wing tip lines up just short of tippet tail.
Step 11 Fold mallard over twice to form wing and set so wing tip lines up just short of tippet tail.
Step 12 Tie in wing. Note 45-degree angle between tippet tail and wing.
Step 12 Tie in wing. Note 45-degree angle between tippet tail and wing.
Step 13 Split a jungle cock feather sized to the wing. Note: split only the area you want to use, keeping the feather intact at
Step 13 Split a jungle cock feather sized to the wing. Note: split only the area you want to use, keeping the feather intact at
Step 14 Place the jungle cock feather onto top of hook and wing, and press. This will line up onto both sides of fly at same tim
Step 14 Place the jungle cock feather onto top of hook and wing, and press. This will line up onto both sides of fly at same tim
Step 15 Select a softer 'webby' saddle cock feather and tie in. Take two turns and tie off. Trim away waste.
Step 15 Select a softer 'webby' saddle cock feather and tie in. Take two turns and tie off. Trim away waste.
Step 16 Select partridge hackle (or in this case, speckled hen substitute) and tie in at tips.
Step 16 Select partridge hackle (or in this case, speckled hen substitute) and tie in at tips.
Step 17 Take two turns of partridge then tie off. Trim away waste. Form neat head and whip-finish before applying varnish.
Step 17 Take two turns of partridge then tie off. Trim away waste. Form neat head and whip-finish before applying varnish.

If there was ever a wild trout loch pattern that divides opinion then the Peter Ross would fit that bill: it’s either a first choice for some, or openly shunned by others, as it can certainly be a wee bit unpredictable in terms of a response from the fish.

Sadly, I’ve no real idea why so many would rather not have it in their selection, because as a tail fly pattern this wee flashy and colourful fly can do some serious damage to the trout population.

That said, I can appreciate times when it seems to hold no interest from the fish, hence the reason I’ve made a few amendments, tweaks and additions over the years in an effort to build a fly that, for me at least, draws trout interest more often than not, especially on windy days in a big, rolling wave. The later in the season the better, as this obviously looks like a small fry, meaning the takes are often arm-wrenching.

Hailing from Killin in Perthshire, the Peter Ross was the creation of a local shopkeeper, who named the pattern after himself and was originally a variation of the Teal & Red way back in the late 1800s, so it’s certainly been around the block a while. It’s also seen its fair share of alterations over the years, however the original can still be as deadly now as it would have been way back in the day.

Most anglers would have first encountered this pattern from a shop. As good as many of these commercially tied flies can be, many – to me – don’t have much mobility in the materials used, which was why I first altered the false throat hackle to a full head style. 

Next up was the addition of jungle cock cheeks, which helps the fly resemble not only a small fish, but also might help it be mistaken for a hatching midge by hungry trout. 

Adding in the ‘hot spot’ fire orange butt gave the attraction of a fluorescent ‘trigger point’ that our wild fish love so much, especially in the darker or peat-stained waters.

Altering from the original wing dressing of teal to a more sombre bronze mallard was purely in an attempt to offer this pattern a darker upper profile, more in line with a wee trout or stickleback, although the jury’s out in terms of attraction improvement, and I know the traditionalists out there will slate me for this change, claiming it’s not a Peter Ross at all. 

Then, I added an over-hackle of partridge (or try speckled hen for a cracking alternative) for yet more mobility and subtle colour variation at the head of the fly. 

Finally, another wee addition for those who love extra sparkle and flash, is a sparse head of dubbed gold or silver Flashbrite which can work wonders, and it’s certainly worthwhile to have a couple tied like this tucked away.

Sea trout and our stocked quarry show an interest in this fly as well, so don’t write off this one as purely a wild loch pattern, and don’t be afraid to go as big as a size 8 either, although I tend to stick to flies between the size 10 to 14 range.

I’m sure others will have their wee variations on this fly, but there will always be a place in my loch box for the Peter Ross – well, one that looks like this one at any rate!

Dressing:
Hook: Partridge Wet Fly Supreme, size 8 to 14.
Tag: Uni 6/0 fire orange fluorescent thread.
Thread: Uni 8/0 black.
Tail: Golden pheasant tippets.
Rib: Fine silver wire.
Body: Flat silver Mylar tinsel.
Thorax: Scarlet rabbit fur dubbing.
Wing: Bronze mallard.
Cheeks: Jungle cock.
Hackle: 2 turns black ‘webby’ saddle, under 2 turns partridge.

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