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|The Alexandra, or Lady of the Lake, as it was then called, was introduced some time around 1860. It was re-named in honour of Princess Alexandra.There seems to be a bit of doubt about who created it. Some think it was W.G. Turle, of Newton Stacey; others that it was Dr. John Brunton, inventor of the Brunton’s Fancy. (Another immortal pattern…*G*)
The Alexandra is essentially a lake fly. I do not say that it will not fish well on a river, but its old name – Lady of the Lake – infers that it was originally tied for stillwater fishing. And I must say that indeed it enjoyed a much better reputation on lochs and lakes than it did on running water.
At one point in time it was such a popular and successful pattern that its use was literally banned on certain waters!
However, like many of the really ‘in vogue’ patterns of yesteryear, the use and popularity of the Alexandra declined to the extent that it has basically disappeared from the anglers flyboxes. The Lady has indeed fallen from grace…
Yet a graceful pattern it remains. I have always associated the Alexandra with Christmas. Its colours reflecting the vivid greens, reds and silvers of the season! And who knows, perhaps, like the phoenix, the Alexandra may find acceptance once again following a rediscovery by the anglers of tomorrow.
I, for one, would welcome her return.
It is a pattern which appears to benefit from being fished in a certain way. Obviously it does not imitate a ‘fly’, but it could very well be taken for a minnow or a beetle. For this reason it should be worked in what might be described as dance time – slow, slow, quick-quick, slow!
Varying the pace of line recovery so that the fly darts and hesitates as a minnow or beetle might behave in the water. Keep it changing course so that the flashiness may be seen to the best advantage by the fish.
Fish the Alexandra deep-sunk (perhaps on a full sinking line) on wild, windy days when the fish are taking the fly well below the surface.
|Hook:||Wet fly hook #8-12 (I have used a Sprite made Gaelic Supreme wet fly hook in size 10)|
|Thread:||Black 6/0 or 8/0|
|Tail:||Red ibis (substitute) – fairly short|
|Ribbing:||Fine oval silver tinsel|
|Cheeks:||Red ibis (substitute)|
|(Materials are listed in the order they are tied in. Instructions assume right handed tier)Note: The Alexandra is sometimes tied with small jungle cock cheeks, in place of the red ones, and fished as a fly for seatrout (migratory brown trout)