The feathers of Spanish's cocks of the León by Laurent LAFFLY
Gallos of León.
1) - History
"The origin of the León's cocks of fishing gets lost at night times; the first testimonies of their existence are in the Manuscript of Astorga, of 1624. The author makes it reference to the types of feathers used for the preparation of the flies which he describes... " Extracts from Moscas para la pesca of Rafael del Pozo.
Here we are, the tone is given... We enter the foundations of our flyfishing culture. With the Gallo de León Indio and the cock of fishing of Limousin (France), is transplanted a second debate to go it or the return of the road of Compostelle! In brief a whole history.
However for us, poor fishermen, there is indeed an evidence which appears from all this: that the feathers of Gallos de León are Beautiful!
The biggest breeders are situated in a golden triangle (Boñar, La Cándana, Sopeña, Cistierna and Vecilla) of a rather poor rural province of Spain and rich in magnificent trouts rivers in around thirty kilometres of León, the valley del río Curueño. The village of Boñar is very famous since 1825 with Luis Peña de León's work which clarifies that to make the fly " Pardo Crudo " it is necessary to use feathers of cocks of this village. For the cock Indio, it is the village of Cándana that makes reference (according to Alejandro Viñuales).
2) - Two main families of cocks
In the family of the Spanish cocks, we find two big types of gallinaceans the characteristics of which are convenient to the assembly of artificial flies.
The Pardo, Lord of the León.
This cock represents, in a sense, a symbol of the León. These feathers have extraordinary colours and are endowed with an incomparable brightness. Marc Petitjean's assemblies are all realized with cerques of Pardo. Click here to consult the page describing various available tints (or on the photography below).
The feathers of Pardo are characterized by several criteria. The spots which recover fibers are defined under the name of Sarrioso with very fine dark pigments, Aconchado who possesses irregular points and roundness, Corzuno who possesses a pigmentation similar to that of the hairs of roe deers and Langareto where points are regular and organized in transverse bands. It is this last type which is, in a sense, Rolls Royce of Gallos de León Pardo's feathers.
Colours are very varied with tints main as Rubión which is a chestnut wildcat, Oscuro of a somber deep and extremely famous Flor de Escoba whose fibers possess tints tobacco.
The Indio, other legend of the León.
It is the second characteristic race of the León. Contrary to the race Parda the previous history of which we ignore, it is the Andalusian race which constitutes the base of Indios. These feathers have plain colours and are endowed with an exceptional brightness. Click here to consult the page describing various available tints (or on the photography below).
The feathers of Indio are characterized by several criteria. Colours are united and main tints are Negrisco which is an almost black very dark grey, Palometa of a given lustre white (the colour is so pure as I owed used a black bottom to highlight fibers on the photography), red brown Rubión and Acerado who is a grey steel.
Four types of feathers : la pluma de riñonada, la colgadera, la pluma del cuello, la riñonada de ala .
La pluma de riñonada (back hackle)
It is the feather most appreciated and the most difficult to obtain. It is feathers which have a balance completed between rigidity and flexibility and they have an exceptional brilliancy.
La colgerada (Saddle)
It is the big feather which is of second class with regard to the previous one. It is less brilliant and softer, but its fibers are rather long and they can be perfected for the wings of sedges. A saddle of excellent quality will always be better than a bad hackle..
La pluma del cuello (neck hackle) - Indio only
It is the feather which we call generally hackle. Only produced on cocks Indio, it is a rare object. The most beautiful plumas del cuello of Spain are generally grey, the cocks of Limousin produce this type of fibers in France. It is a hackle shorter than the American productions (Article about theAmerican genetic cocks to come. Metz, Hoffman). Its brilliancy and the solidity of its fibers are very appreciated for those who have the chance to get it itself..
La riñonada de ala (feather of the beginning of wing)
It is the feather which is situated on the border of the wing. Its shape is similar to the "pluma de riñonada", but it has no its shine. Its fibers are rather stiff to supply with very good tails and wings of dry flies, however we do not arrange so many colours as for the "pluma de riñonada". They belong to the lower categories (rank 2).
You can also consult gallosdeleon.com which proposes a very big number of typical Spanish imitations with index cards of assembly.
In conclusion, if you wish to use fibers which will enchant you with their own quality, which will seduce you by their brightness and which will delight you by their brilliancy, do not hesitate it is the product you need. I personally met several stumbling blocks with these feathers. The first one consisted in getting me of beautiful feathers; fortunately, today it is possible to provide itself in excellent feathers. The second, once the dress handkerchief of feather in the hand, it is to have the courage to extract fibers on a feather so beautiful. Do not laugh, I hesitated for a long time the first time before operating this "sacrilege", sacrificing such a miracle of the nature. Finally, last stage: collide on your leader a fly who seems to us so precious!