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Adventures in Fly Tying... September 2010

The Hardy Demon Streamer
Fly and Text by Joe Cornwall
Video Production by Jim Stuard


Mention the Hardy Demon and most contemporary anglers will envision a high-tech fly reel with a cartridge-style spool system and sealed Rulon drag.  It's a great reel, but it's not the Demon we'll be looking at today.  The Hardy Bros. Demon Streamer is a direct descendent of the Alexandra wet fly.  Lost to the mists of time, most streamers called "Demon" today are descendents of the Demon streamer brought to New Zealand by Zane Grey prior to World War II.  The Hardy Brother Demon most certainly originated during that same epoch, but never did gather any great following.  The Alexandra, on the other hand, traveled the world.  Of course that doesn't mean the Hard Brother Demon isn't a great fly!

According to Joseph Bates' classic Streamers & Bucktails (ISBN 0-394-41588-4), the Alexandra began life as a wet fly in the mid-19th Century.  Hans Weilenmann, at www.danica.com, brings a bit more of the story into focus.  Originally called the Lady of the Lake, the Alexandra wet fly was (re)named for Princess Alexandra Caroline Marie Charlotte Louise Julia, the future wife of the Prince of Wales and eventual Queen Consort of the United Kingdom.  The fly came onto the scene sometime around 1860, probably near the time that Princess Alexandra married Prince Edward VII.

Bates continues the story. " In 1929 Mr. Frier Gulline, of Fin, Fur and Feather Ltd. of Montreal, adapted it as a streamer fly." He goes on to note that the Alexandra streamer was adapted from the Hardy Brothers Demon - yet my (limited) research failed to turn up how the Hardy Demon evolved from the original Lady of the Lake pattern.  Regardless, this is a fly pattern with roots deep in the Anglo-centric history of classic fly fishing.  And that makes it cool to tie one on your tippet, so there.

Peacock herl is magic stuff.  Any fly with peacock is probably better than any fly without it.  Dry fly, wet fly, nymph or streamer - it doesn't matter.  Add some herl and give it a whirl.  A full wing of the stuff can really get a reaction on those tough days when the fish act like they've seen everything in your fly box twice.  I started fishing this fly in the mid 1970's and I've pretty much had an Alexandra or Hardy Demon in my small streamer box ever since.  Salters loved it, bluefish destroyed it.  Crappies ate it like candy.  The rainbow trout of Peter's Pond just couldn't resist it, either.  It's no surprise that Ohio smallmouth crush it.

This fly, to be true to the pattern, should be tied with the greenest peacock herl you can find. The wet fly is tied with peacock sword herls, which are a bright green.  I didn't have any really green peacock eyes for this video, and I've never gone out of my way to get any for the flies in my fishing box.  Regular strung herl, though not as perfectly pretty as choice and hand-selected bits, has always worked just fine.  This is a very pretty and very effective streamer.  Tie up a few and see if they work as well for you as they have for me.


Hook:  3XL down-eye streamer hook, size 12 to 4.
Thread: Black 6/0 140 denier

Tail Red wool yarn, short

Body: Flat silver tinsel

Rib: Oval silver tinsel

Hackle:  Light blue hackle, tied full and drawn to a beard

Wing: Peacock herl, bright green

Windows Media Video  QuickTime Video 


New High Definition - 720p!

High Definition Windows Media File



The Hardy Demon, like the Alexandra streamer, is a simple and very pretty pattern.  It's tied in a classic "bucktail" style.

Start the thread about two hook-eye widths from the hook's eye to provide enough room for the hackle, wing and head.

The trick to a smooth tinsel body is having a very smooth underbody.  Tie the tail so that the wool yarn extends to the front of the body, where you started the thread. 

Tie in the oval tinsel the same way, the full length of the body.  Keep the tie-in wraps of thread tightly spaced and smooth.  Tie in the tinsel in the front of the body for a double layer or at the back if you're using Mylar tinsel the the fold won't cause a bump.

Make a smooth tie in and advance the thread back to the point where the hackle and wing will be tied in.

Wrap a smooth tinsel body with touching turns of material.

Tie off the tinsel body.

Make five to seven turns of the oval tinsel ribbing.

Select a hackle and tie in by the tip.  Fold the hackle.

Wrap two or three turns of hackle.

Draw the hackle down to form a beard and tie off.

Select a bunch of 20 to 30 peacock herls in the brightest green available if you want to be traditional, or use the strung peacock you have.  Even the tips and tie in so the wing is about 1.25 to 1.5 times the hook shank length.

Clip off the excess herl and form a neat thread head.  Coat with tying cement or Sally Hansen's and take it out fishing..


Tight lines and clear waters...

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