If there was ever a wild trout loch pattern that divides opinion then the Peter Ross would fit that bill as it’s either a first choice for some, 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 being 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 to reach a fly that, for me at least, draws trout interest more often than not, especially in big windy days on a rolling wave. The later in the season the better as well as it 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 and Red way back in the late 1800’s, 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 patterns from a shop bought scenario and good as many of these can be, many others, to me, don’t have much ‘mobility’ in the materials used, which was why I first altered from a 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 as a hatching midge by hungry trout. Adding in the ‘Hot Spot’ Fire Orange butt gave the attraction of a florescent ‘trigger point’ that out wild fish love so much, especially in 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. Finally I added an over-hackle of Partridge (or speckled hen for a cracking alternative) for yet more mobility and subtle colour variation at the head of the fly. 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 like this tucked away.
Seatrout and our stocked quarry show an interest in this fly as well so don’t write it off 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, for me there will always be a place in my loch box for the Peter Ross, well one that looks like this one at any rate.
Hook; Partridge Wet Fly Supreme Size 8 to 14
Tag; Uni 6/0 Fire Orange Florescent 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
Step 1 Tie in Hot Orange Tag
Step 2 Form tag and tie off
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 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 7 Take a pinch of scarlet rabbit fur for thorax
Step 8 Form sparse dubbing rope and wind on 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 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 13 Split a jungle cock feather sized to the wing. Note Split only the area you want to use keeping feather attached at the end for ease of tying in.
Step 14 Place the jungle cock feather onto top of hook and press which will line up onto both sides of fly at same time. Finalise JC position and tie in
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 17 Take two turns of Partridge then tie off. Trim away waste. Form neat head and whip finish before applying varnish