The Feather Mechanic | Gordon van der Spuy

We are ecstatic to feature a handful of patterns from Gordon van der Spuy’s latest book.  The Feather Mechanic II: Beyond the Pattern is a coffee table book, a keepsake and a manual all wrapped into one.  And Gordon is an artist to the core whether using a pen, canvas or vise.   As Conrad Botes writes in his testimony on the back cover, “Gordon’s drawings were created to serve a purpose, namely to explain the mechanics and nuances involved in the act of tying a fly.  It is the kind of drawing you keep looking at, even after it has done its job of explaining to you how to tie a fly.” We highly recommend you visit to snap up a copy today!

In the meantime, check out these featured patterns from The Feather Mechanic…



The Western Coachman

Hook: Mustad 7957 BX, #6-14, Daiichi 1550 or 1560 (wet)

Thread: Black Nymo 310 (original), black Fly master 610 (modern)

Tail: Golden Pheasant tippet barbs

Rib: Gold wire counter-wrapped

Body: Peacock herl

Hackle: C-grade India cock’s hackle, Coachman brown (original), Whiting Farms hen cape, Coachman brown or furnace (modern)

Wing: White hair from the flank of a whitetail deer

The Leadhead Bug

Hook: Daiichi 1560 #6, Daiichi 2110 #10 or Daiichi 1710 #6 and #8

Thread: Semperfli Classic waxed thread brown/tan 810

Head: 4 mm Off bead from Bidoz

Tag: Fluorescent green Flexi-Body

Tail/legs: Speckled feather from a Coq de Leon hen saddle

Underbody: Wool

Body: Squirrel/hare mixture dubbed and well picked out

Easy Peasy Ant

Hook: Gamakatsu C12 #16

Thread: Red Griffiths Sheer 1410

Body: Black larva lace dry fly foam

Post: Polypropylene

Hackle: Any decent genetic cock hackle

Thorax: Peacock dubbing

Halo: Black CDC barbs in a split thread wound under the hackle

The HDA Fav

Hook: Dohiku 301 #14 – #18. Hanak H230 is good for big fish

Bead: size and colour dependent on application

Tail Coq de Leon barbs

Rib: Copper wire

Body: Squirrel dubbing or hares ear dubbing

Hackle: CDC and partridge barbs separately applied, split thread, twisted up and wrapped

Hackle Wing Dun

Hook: Daiichi 1190 #12

Thread: Waxed olive Danville Flymaster 610, 70 denier

Tail: Three blue dun spade hackle barbs

Body: Olive-dyed muskrat dubbing

Rib: 810 Uni-thread, light Cahill colour

Hackle: Olive grizzly

Dubbing ball: Olive-brown Andra dubbibg

Wing: Natural dun neck hackle

Head cement: Flexible penetrating cement

The No-Hackle Dun

Hook: TMC 100 #14-#18

Dubbing ball: Superfine dry fly dubbing

Tails: Coq de Leon barbs

Wing: Mallard primary or secondary feather wing slips

Body and Thorax: Superfine dry fly dubbing

The Coq de Leon Matuka

Hook: Daiichi 2051 #1.5

Thread: Uni 810 white and black

Tag: Silver medium Oval Tinsel

Body: Partridge SLF dubbing, natural, yellow and fiery orange

Rib: Medium Gold wire

Wing: 4 Coq de Leon Saddle hackles (Colgaderas)

Collar: Two Coq de Leon Kidney feathers (Riñon). Dyed Hot oroange

Head: Black thread

Gordon van der Spuy Bio: Gordon van der Spuy is an actor, writer, podcast host, fly fisherman and fly tyer from South Africa. His first book “The Feather Mechanic- a Fly-tying philosophy” sold out to critical acclaim and his second book ” The Feather Mechanic 2- beyond the pattern ” was released in August 2023 and is set to be an instant classic. Gordon runs South Africa’s largest fly-fishing expo and has been teaching tying for years. His approach to tying embodies the idea that form needs to follow function. ‘Figure out what you need the fly to do and then tie it to do that”, he always says.  He dabbles in Victorian Classic salmon flies from time to time. Fly tying is both his addiction and therapy.