William Blacker

Born 14th January 1814, died 19th November 1857

orn in Wicklow, Blacker moved to London by the early 1840's and was trading as a tackle dealer by 1843. His first book, W. Blacker's Art of Angling, and Complete System of Fly Making, and Dying of Colours, was published in 1842. It was an extraordinary publication, the pages being interleved with dozens of flies, and no one copy being identical to another. The vast majority of copies only had trout flies, but a few had the salmon flies for which Blacker was to become renowned. He revised the work in 1855, producing an "ordinary" edition that was widely sold and featured detailed fly tying instructions, as well as copious illustrations.

Blacker's salmon flies were some of the most original patterns ever tied, and still present a challenge to the professional fly dresser. It is probably true to state that Blacker was largely responsible for the explosion of popularity of "gaudy" salmon flies. He sold his flies for as much as a guinea each, and dealt in every other description of fishing tackle. He died early, of TB, with his great friend Fitzgibbon at his bedside.


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