Fly Tying Patterns: Ace of Spades

Ace of Spades - Fly Tying Pattern
  • Hook: Long Shank #8 - 12
  • Thread: Black 8/0
  • Rib: Oval Silver
  • Body: Black Chenille
  • Wing: 2 x Black Hen Hackles
  • Over Wing: Bronze Mallard Feather Slips
  • Throat Hackle: Guinea Fowl

  • Tying Difficulty: Intermediate
  • Tied by D. Howard
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There is debate over where the Ace of Spades originated. Some say that it was in New Zealand because the word Matuka is the Mauri word for the Bittern bird, whose feathers were originally used for the Wing, others including Steve Collyer attribute Dave Collyer as its creator in the 1960s along with others who say the mid-1970s.

Whenever, wherever or by whom, one thing is sure - it catches fish!!! Representing a minnow or small bait fish, as mentioned, it is a Matuka style pattern. This means that its wing and tail are tied in along the hook shank in one piece and secured by ribbing that runs from the tail to the head.

Not the easiest of patterns to tie, it tests the skill of the tyer with the Over Wing probably being the trickiest part of the whole pattern. Mallard can be very delicate and good quality material is needed to succeed in completing it. The hen hackles used for the Wing need to be aligned carefully and tied inner faces together. Some tyers are happy with using just 2 hen hackles, whilst others use 4 which requires much more patience to tie. The throat hackle is tied as a false beard.

The Ace of Spades can be a great get-out-of-jail-free pattern late into the season. Fished deep on a sinking line with a slow retrieve, takes are positive and rod-bending.