Wednesday 31 March 2010

So tomorrow is the start of the trout season and, as feared, sleet, hail and heavy rain have been battering the rivers. It won't be the early open to the season I had hoped for since most of the small streams will be heavily in spate and resembling chocolate - instead of the 'tea-stain' colour that help all the promise last weekend.

So sit back, tie a few flies, enjoy the Easter break and remind yourself of what a spring day on the river should look like!

Tuesday 30 March 2010


A few paraduns in size 16 and 20:

Hook: Partridge SLD #16 / #20
Thread: Sheer 14/0, tan
Abdomen: Orvis Spectrablend, cream
Thorax: Orvis Spectrablend, peacock
Wing post: Grey Funkyfibre
Tails: microfibbets
Hackle: Silver badger


Monday 29 March 2010

Hook: Partridge 15BNX #14
Thread: Sheer, tan
Abdomen: Orvis Spectrablend, brown
Rib: Thread, darkened
Thorax: Squirrel
Wing: CDC and Mallard fibres


Sunday 28 March 2010

With three days to go before the trout season starts on my local rivers and streams, it was encouraging to see the rivers looking in fine condition. They were carrying a little colour, but the water was inviting. Without the forecast deluge of rain this weekend, conditions looked perfect. However, rain is forecast for the coming week - my fear being that these small streams could be knocked out of sorts for opening day. Fingers crossed the forecasters have got it wrong again...


Friday 26 March 2010

With a huge propertion of visitors to the blog from the other side of the pond, it seems only right that I should give the heads-up for a CFR event that is coming up. I was asked if I could advertise it - and of course I will - CFR is a fantastic organisation.

In the past, I've tied a few flies for them and helped with some charity events here in the UK. If you can help in anyway, it is a very worthy cause. Full details can be found here: Casting For Recovery


Wednesday 24 March 2010

When photographing flies, it is always a good idea to avoid the fly casting a shadow. However, I have just been photographing some of 'small-fly maestro' Andy Baird's flies and shot a shadow-heavy version which simply seems to work:

tied on a #32:

Check out Andy's blogs here:
Small Fly Funk
On the Burn


Sunday 21 March 2010

At Sweden's show last weekend, I spent a little time chatting with Charles Jardine. He was tying flies and also exhibiting some fine casting diplays.

Amongst other things, we chatted about the use of jig hooks and the advantages they offer the fly fisher - both for trout and grayling fishing. He clearly explained the benefits of using jig hooks as he saw it, especially in terms of added movement of the fly through the water.

Charles took pen to paper to help discuss the merits of jig hooks over the traditional nymph hook:

Certainly when lifted as it moves with the current, the fly moves on its fulcrum and emits a very life like movements. There is much experimenting to be done here I feel.


Saturday 20 March 2010

Orvis Fly Fishing Show - Blenheim Palace

On the 11th April, I'll be joining Orvis at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire for their Fly Fishing Show. There's alot to see, including casting demonstrations, fly tying (I'll be tying a few flies) and talks on stillwater trout, river and salt-water fly fishing.

Paul Procter, Jim Williams, Toby Coe and Roy Christie are just a few of the names there.

More information here: Orvis Fly Fishing Show, 11th April 2010

Blenheim Palace was the birth place of Sir Winston Churchill. It's a beautiful place, steeped in history with Capability Brown lanscapes:

Well worth a visit. I hope to see you there.


Thursday 18 March 2010

Seasons changing

We are almost there - time to put the thought of grayling to one side and allow the prospect of trout to take centre stage. Lighter evenings will soon be with us - and that signifies the start of the trout season...


Wednesday 17 March 2010

More from Sweden

At last weekends show, I had the pleasure of tying next to Philip White. Philip is a very talented tyer and demonstrated some superb mayfly patterns - he has flies to suit multiple stages of the hatch.

It was interesting to chat with him about tying, fishing and politics currently shaping fly fishing. His no-nonsense views and willingness to speak his mind regularly made me smile. My only regret is I didn't spend more time watching him tying.

One of Phil's mayfly patterns:

Another new acquaintance was Simon Graham. A South African living in Finland, he is a really interesting guy. He specialises in tying pike flies and guides in Finland:

One of Si's creations:

Hopefully he will make it over to the UK for some pike fishing on Chew. Check out his websites too: Baltic Fly Tours and Pike Fly Fishing Articles.

Tommy Kjaergaard (Denmark) was also at the show. He was tying fully dressed salmon flies. Truly amazing pieces of art work. Interestingly we chatted about how he spends one of his fishing days every time he takes a trip, fishing the classics - and they score well for him:


Tuesday 16 March 2010

Swedish Fly Fishing Show 2010

A few more photos from the weekend:

Ulf Hagstrom (Sweden), alround good guy and fantastic tyer. I owe you one Ulf for arranging the invite:

SRM Emerger, where it should be...

Ulf's Wiggle bait-fish:

Extended bodies ready for action...

... and more semi-realistics from Ulf:

...ready to crawl away:

Also tying was Nik Dahlin (Sweden):

Nik was tying Catskill dries... very well infact:

More to come soon.


Monday 15 March 2010

Fly Tyers' row at the Swedish Fly Fishing Show:

This was a really great event and I am very pleased to have been a part of it. Amongst the familar faces were some new tyers - and this was an opportunity the chat through ideas, different materials and new techniques. Whether you're tying at the fair or just watching, you cannot help but find your enthusiasm is fired - and all just in time for the new season.

I'll update regularly with pictures from the fair and some examples of the incredible skill that was on display this last weekend.


Monday 8 March 2010

Small-Fly Stand

For the Swedish Fly Fair this weekend I have put together a collection of smaller flies.
Here's one for the stand:

Green Fly (Aphid) #30

Hook: Varivas 2300 Ultra Midge #30
Thread: Hends Synton, green
Wing: Funky Fibre, grey
Legs: Squirrel

For an idea of size; the #30 aphid on a 5 pence piece:


Sunday 7 March 2010

Tying with Turkey Biots

Using turkey biots must surely be cheating! With a little practice they are simple to use and produce spectacular bodies on all sorts of flies. I use them on nymphs, emergers and dries - I just think they give a very realistic segmented effect - a sure trigger point.

Turkey biots are easily trimmed from the main stem and have a very nice taper - suited to the gradual taper of a fly's segmentation.

Each biot has a concave shape and along one edge, depending on which of the wings it has been taken from, there is a furry, fluffy edge. On this photo this is can be seen on the lower edge:

Changing the way it is tied in gives you different effects.

I prefer to tie the biot with a good proportion of its tip under the thread wraps. Tying too close to the tip and then winding increases the chance of breakages as they can be brittle near the very tip:

I usually prefer to tie in along the bottom of the hook shank where possible. It makes the start of the rib a little neater (for the tyer's eye, not for the fish!. You can see her on the biot nymph:

When tying biot bodies, you want a neat layer of thread wraps underneath. Also a little head cement or varnish under the biot helps keep it secure when it is wrapped. Do not over-do it though or you risk damping down the furry edge of the biot and losing its effectiveness:

When I wind the biot I use hackle pliers - this stops grease from your fingers squashing the rib. After tying in, I fold the biot over itself and then start to wind forwards:

Now if you tie the biot with the furry edge facing downwards, as you wind it will be on the outer surface - this produces a lovely rib to the fly:

If you tie the biot with the furry edge upwards, it will lie downwards as you wind it and it will not be prominent. This is a little unusual, but can produce some really nice effects:

Another example of the effects you can achieve with biots for bodies; this time on a CDC-loop emerger:

If you are yet to try this material, give it a go and experiment with the results.


Saturday 6 March 2010

From Dun to Emerger...?

No we're not going back and reversing natural history... By 'Dun to Emerger' I mean the tying progression. The original CDC Dun gave rise to an emerger pattern tied in the same fashion:

Hook: Varivas 2200BL-B #20
Thread: Hends Synton, brown
Body: Orvis Spectrablend, cream
Wing: CDC, olive


Friday 5 March 2010

Para-CDC Emerger

Another in the fly stand for next weekend:

Hook: Varivas 2200BL-B #18
Thread: Hends Synton, dark brown
Abdomen: Orvis Spectrablend, light yellow
Thorax: Squirrel
Wing: Funky fibre, tan
Hackle: CDC, khaki