Quill Body Frenchie

The Frenchie is a competition fly popularized in France.  Tying is described in Mrogan Lyle’s book Simple Flies.  My buddies and I are going to fish the Driftless Area in Wisconsin, the home of the Pink Squirrel, and I tied these to try.  The Frenchie has a pink hot spot also.

This version of the Frenchie uses a peacock quill body.  Commercially striped and artificial quills are available. If you do not want to buy them or only need a few, you can make your own. The quills in the eye and just below the peacock eye have a central quill that is marked on one side which results in a segmented body. It is flat in cross-section. Not all quills are created equal.  The quills outside and below the eye can be stripped.  However, the quill is not flat nor marked as they are in the eye.  These quills can be used for bodies like those in the Quill Gordon or as ribbing in other flies.

The first step in preparing the quill is to strip all the tiny iridescent fiber from the quill. There are many options for this including chemical stripping.  I find the easiest way is to use a pencil eraser.

Stripping With An Eraser

Press down firmly and gently pull the eraser along the quill.  You may have to repeat this several times. Once the quills are stripped, you can color them with a permanent magic marker.  Repeat as needed to get the color depth you desire.

All peacock eyes are not equal either.  The largest eyes come from peacocks over 5 years old.  The quills are much longer and can be used to tie larger flies.  These are usually called premium eyes. I looked in several catalogs and could not find any eyes listed as premium. But, if you find them, they will be well worth the money.

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The quills are fairly fragile.  Tie them in with a loose wrap at first then use tighter wraps and you continue.  Tight wraps may cut the quill.  Wrap the quill in touching turns over a tapered thread base. I then coat the body with UV coat or something similar to prevent the body from being cut by a Trouts tooth. Once this is dry you can finish the fly.  If a quill splits while you are tying, it can not be saved.  Unwrap the quill and start over with a new one.

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