Thank you to In the Riffle for this YouTube video on tying the Patriot Dry Fly.
The Patriot is my stuck-on-a-desert-island dry fly. If I had to pick a single dry fly as the only one I could use for a given day, it would be this one.
Originally tied by Charles Meck in the 1980s, the Patriot dry fly is now featured at Orvis.com. I can attest to its fishiness and effectiveness. It’s an attractor pattern like the Royal Wulff and features a flashy blue body. While I like supporting independent fly tiers on places like eBay and Etsy, be wary of imitations that have plain blue thread on the body instead of a flashy material.
I’ve caught both coldwater and warmwater species on the Patriot and found it to be a favorite of brook trout, smallmouth bass, and sunfish. In a size 14 it’s easy to see on the water, can be skated on the surface, and is appropriate for both stillwater and river applications.
If you want to learn more about tying this fly or its history, below is a compendium of links for further reading. My favorite excerpt is from Charles Meck himself, who notes that he made 1,000 casts in a season using different flies and concluded this his Patriot was the most successful at hooking fish. Charles “Charlie” R. Meck passed away in 2018, and here’s a touching tribute to him.
I do not tie flies and therefore can’t comment on difficulty differences among the various recipes or the availability of suggested materials, but if you’ve never tried the Patriot, give it a shot. I’ve had fly shops tell me that it’s a sneaky good fly for the Swift River tailwater in Central Massachusetts and it’s impressed Tom Freedman of Top Notch Fly Fishing LLC on the Upper Magalloway in Western Maine.
At the very least, the red, white, and blue colors make it a perfect fly to fish this coming Independence Day in the United States.
Charlie Meck’s original recipe is below
Tail: Brown hackle fibers
Body: Smolt blue Krystal Flash wound around the shank; wind some of the red thread in the middle of the shank, similar to the Royal Coachman
Wings: White impala or calf tail, divided
Hook: Mustad 94833, sizes 10-18
Alternate recipe courtesy of MTFA Springfield
Hook: 16-10 Standard Dry Fly Hook
Thread: 6/0 Red
Tail: Ginger or Brown
Body: Blue Mylar Flashabou-Red thread or floss-Blue Mylar Flashabou
Wing or Post: White calf hair or Nylon
Hackle: Ginger or Brown Three wraps behind the wing and five in front of the wing.
Scouting Report from Old Ausable Fly Shop
“Superb attractor dry fly pattern. Excels in fast moving water and with brook trout. Works well in tandem with a caddis (or other larger fly) in front.”