Special Delivery

Some time ago Drew, a friend of mine from way back, called me and asked if I tied my own flies.
“Sure” I told him.
“OK, I’m sending you something.”
That was pretty much the extent of the conversation.
A few days later I received an envelope with no letter. Instead, it contained a single flight feather from a macaw!

Most of the feathers I use in fly tying are small and soft – hackle feathers, so I had to think for a bit about how to employ this unique specimen.
With some advice and inspiration from the Ronnie at the fly shop I sat down at the vice. First I tied a very simple bead-head nymph:

Next I tied in a bunch of barbs from the macaw:
 I pulled the barbs back and secured them to form an iridescent “shell.” Finally I trimmed the ends to make a short tail:
I tied a couple of these “macaw nymphs” in slightly different color schemes. I gave one to Ronnie to try on some Caney Fork trout and I took the other one out just this week to try on some hungry locals:

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