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The Magic of Coq de Leon

by Ed Gallop and Paco Soria


There are two basic types of CdL, Pardo and Indio, based mainly on pattern design. Each are divided into many subtypes according to their Spanish color names.

Pardo type feathers normally have a mottled design and are basically a black rooster with dark brownish saddles. Subtypes range in iridescent hues of black, brown, yellow, red, gold, and many hues in between. For example: Pardo Aconchado has a yellowish brown circular mottled pattern and Pardo Corzuno has a very dark brown fine mottled pattern.

Indio type is white and black with varying shades of gray and has either a plain or slightly spotted design. Their subtypes range in iridescent hues of black, gray, red, gold, silver, white, and many hues in between. For example: Indio Negrisco is brilliant gray to black and Indio Plateado is pearl like grayish silver.

Excellent quality Pardo CdL is found throughout the mountains of Spain but the best quality Indio is from the central and eastern Mountains. The smaller sizes, used for dry fly hackle, are mostly from the Pirineos Mountains in the east.

Both Pardo and Indio are ideal for tails, wet flies, caddis and stone wings, etc., but the dry fly hackle for the Ugly Fly is best tied with back and neck feathers of the Indio type. They are thin enough to appear transparent yet stiff enough to maintain their shape when abused. Their brightness and translucence are also exceptional features.

I've used both types Coq de Leon to tie several dun and spinner patterns, wet flies, stone flies, caddis flies, parachutes, and even attractor flies. The possibilities are as unlimited as your imagination.

Pardo Coq de Leon Feathers (with 2 Indio on top)

Indio Coq de Leon Feathers

Coq de Leon - Pardo with 2 Indio feathers on top (left) and Indio (right)

Here's a few Coq de Leon flies tied by Paco

Pictures provided by Ronn Lucas

Fly 1 Fly 2 Fly 3 Fly 4 Fly 5

Fly 6 Fly 7 Fly 8 Fly 9 Fly 10

Paco developed a method of wrapping and trimming Coq de Leon hackle to mayfly patterns that has proved to be very effective. He call it his Ugly Fly method and created it by combining techniques handed down from generations of Spanish fly tiers along with ideas from his friend, Juan Lorite from France, and others. This unique creation has proven to be very effective and it certainly is worth learning to tie. For more information about the Ugly Fly, including Paco's instructions to tie them, just click on the following:

Paco's Ugly Fly

Email questions to Ed Gallop at:

Email questions to Paco Soria (not as fluent in English) at:

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