Patrick Dorsey’s classic Kwan fly background
By Drew Chicone
Patrick Dorsey’s classic Kwan pattern is without a doubt one of the most effective saltwater utility patterns of all time. Often refered to as the “Grand Slam Fly,” it has proven deadly on bonefish and permit in smaller sizes
and is one of my favorites for back bay snook, redfish, and tarpon when tied on a beefier hook. Stiffer deer hair was tied-in beneath a barred craft fur tail on the original pattern, and in the later the addition a mono loop was used to keep the wispy synthetic fiber from fouling.
Alternating brown and tan rug yarn was figure-eighted to the hook shank to create a fat oval body. This is a near perfect combination of materials on larger sized hooks like 1’s 2’s and even 4’s but as you creep down the size chart, I have found that a few adjustments and or material substitutions make a big difference to the appearance and performance of the fly in the water.
EP Fibers in place of the rug yarn
First and for most, I like to use EP Fibers in place of the rug yarn. It is much easier to find, and is available in a seemingly endless array of colors to choose from. For smaller flies tied on size 6’s, and 8’s less material is required, and the EP Fiber is much thinner and easier to work with.
Craft fur tail not scalable for the smaller sizes
The same goes for the craft fur tail. This is a wonderful material for larger flies, but It’s just not scalable for the smaller sizes. The vast majority of what you find today in your local fly shop is “extra select” Craft Fur, which has much longer fibers. Even if you pull out the longer fibers in an attempt to create a shorter tapered bundle to tie in for the tail, much of the material is wasted. And after you pick out the underfur from the butts of the material, there just isn’t much left to work with.
Arctic Fox and Finnish Raccoon
At first I experimented with Arctic Fox and Finnish Raccoon, and their soft fibers really move wonderfully in the water. Unfortunately the same characteristics that give it a life like look, also causes it to foul constantly. The answer to this conundrum… Coyote. This canine is quickly becoming one of my favorite bonefish materials. Not only it slightly stiffer than the previously listed options so it doesn’t foul as easily, but it is also multi colored. The natural tans, grays, browns and blacks give it an extremely natural look, and it’s fibers are plenty long for just about any sized flats fly you want to tie.
Yes, hook point down!
The McFly foam egg sac was brought to the table for a couple of reasons. Not only does a slight pop of orange almost always improve your chances on the bonefish flat, it also helps to keep the EP Fibers splayed, and the hook riding point down.
The Dorsey Kwan Fly Recipe:
Hook: Diiachi 2546 or Similar Saltwater Hook
Thread: Tan UTC Ultra 140
Eyes: Medium Stainless or Black Bead Chain
Body: Tan and Bronze EP Fiber
Egg Sack: Orange McFly Foam
Tail: Coyote Tail Fur
Adhesive: Clear Cure Goo Hydro