PARTRIDGE DOUBLE WADDINGTON SHANKS,
now made from stainless steel!
Popularized in the British Isles for Atlantic salmon as a way to construct big flies for use with small treble hooks, Waddington Shanks have found favor among Northwest steelhead anglers as well. In the Pacific Northwest, fly fishers tend to shun treble hooks in favor of small singles. Here the hook is rigged with a soft plastic hook holder very much like a tube fly except the leader is passed through the front loop of the Waddington, then alongside of the fly and through the hook holder and secured to the hook. When a fish strikes, the hook detaches itself from the fly denying the fish the leverage of the long shank Waddington to dislodge the hook. The fly stays on the leader because it is still attached by the front loop.
More recently, the hook is secured to the shank with a loop of braided Gel Spun fishing line, or even better, a loop of fine polymer coated stainless steel cable (as in the picture above). Loops made from cable tend to foul less than those made from Gel Spun. If the loop is the right length, the hook may be replaced if it is damaged.
Classic Partridge Shanks were out of production for a number of years. In the meantime, other manufacturers filled the gap. Many of these shanks are very good, but many anglers and tyers prefer the weight of the original Waddington because it is made from thicker wire, so is heavier than the copies. Waddingtons used to be Japanned black steel wire. They were fairly rust free. Now they are stainless steel, and even more durable.