Sunday, 22 May 2011

Back to the point!

Over the last few weeks, 'half an hour here' and 'half an hour there', usually after work or at the close of the day, I have been focusing on flies for the leader point. As with many anglers fishing on British and Irish stillwaters or lakes, I often fish three nymphs on a floating line, long leader with a slow figure of eight retrieve. Typically you would fish a heavy nymph on the point with two smaller nymphs on the droppers. I really enjoy this style of fishing - typically searching a bay with a team of nymphs, working the nymphs at three different depths. This can be deadly for 'buzzer fishing'. This approach was popularised by Arthur Cove, the celebrated British angler from the Midlands.
                 I lean towards biggish nymphs on the point in either size 10 longshank or size 8 or 10 grub/nymph hook. I am sure it is a limitation at times. Am I right in conjecturing that big nymphs are out fashion these days? Anyway, here are a few examples of recent tying sessions - starting off with 'bread and butter' - (hares ear and pheasant tails) and then experiementing with some variants. All the flies are weighted with lead under the thorax to provide the necessary depth. A few of the patterns have CDC for the hackle to give the nymph extra movement.

Hare's Ear Nymph
Hook: Patridge YK12STTail: Hare's ear
Body: Hare's ear fur dubbed
Rib: Gold oval
Wing case: pheasant tail
Hackle: Brown partridge

Good all season search patterns.

Olive Hare's Ear Nymph
Hook: Partridge YK12ST
Tail: Patridge olive fibres
Rib: Oval gold
Body: Olive Hare's Ear Dubbing
Wing Case:Olive Pheasant tail
Hackle: Natural CDC

Cove's Pheasant Tail Nymph
Hook: Partridge Czech nymph fine wire
Body: pheasant tail
Rib: Cooper wire
Thorax: Rabbit Fur
Wing case: pheasant tail

The classic big buzzer by Arthur Cove. Great all season - with many tiers varying the colour of the thorax largely according to the buzzers being imitated. I have had fair success with an olive thoraxed version. Orange is considered popular too.

Orange Pheasant Tail Nymph
Hook: Kamasan B800
Tail: Pheasant tail fibres
Body: Dyed orange pheasant tail
Rib: Orange wire
Thorax: Orange Rabbit
Wing Case: Dyed orange pheasant tail
Hackle: CDC

Wired Orange Bug
Hook: Partridge YK12ST
Body: Orange Wire
Thorax: Hare's Ear
Bead: Gold
Hackle: Dyed orange partridge
Head: Black peacock herl

Wired Copper Bug
Hook: Partridge YK12ST
Body: Copper Wire
Thorax: Hare's Ear
Bead: Gold
Hackle: Brown patridge
Head: Black peacock herl

Daiwl Bach Variant
Hook: Partridge Czech nymph fine wire
Tail: Dyed orange patridge
Body: Peacock herl dyed black
Rib: Orange wire
Head Peacock herl dyed black
Head: Flou Orange silk

Daiwl Bach Variant
As above (except for flou green wire and green partridge)

Two variations above of the very popular Welsh pattern. The pattern is a general imitative pattern representing buzzers, mayfly nymphs and corixa. A very useful fly to have in your box. The original-smaller version is typically used on the dropper. Numerous variants exist with one a red holographic tinsel variant being a favourtie of my own. Access the following link to the fly fishing forum:  which contains a lovely collection of some beautifully tied variants and original. 

Brown Hare's Ear Bead Head
Hook: Partridge YK12ST
Tail: Brown turkey boits
Body: Brown hare's ear
Rib:Oval gold
Wing Case: Pheasant tail
Thorax: Hare's ear mixed with brown SLF
Hackle: Brown partridge
Bead: Gold

Rough Olive Bug
Hook: Partridge Czech nymph fine wire
Tail: Olive Hare's Ear
Body: Dark Olive Hare's Ear fur
Rib: Oval gold
Thorax: Dark Brown hare's ear
Hackle: CDC tied collar style - followed with dark olive antron dubbing (dark olive antron picked out and positioned along with the CDC - sheathing the body)
Bead: Copper

Monday, 9 May 2011

I need new hackle pliers...badly!

It would be slightly dramatic to state how hackle pliers are the major annoyance of my life. To say, however, they are a source of irration would be quite true. I have owned a fair number of different types of hackle pliers in my time - all dissapointing, resigned to the far corners of my fly tying bench. I suspect I am missing a trick or two. A trick one would find expressed in a book by A K Best.  I am sure there is something I am doing wrong. Anyway, along with a order of fly tying materials yesterday evening I could not resist ordering a  pair by Marryat (seen below) for around £12. I know, not cheap. Yet, worth every penny if they are good - with less muttered expressions of anger and annoyance coming from my fly tying room.  I will post soon on their performance. Of course, and a bit late to ask, if anybody knows of a truely excellent pair of hackle pliers, please say. Thanks in advance. 

Monday, 2 May 2011

Bullet-head Emergers

The depressing low water level on the rivers has kept me at the fly tying bench on bank holiday Monday.  I decided to tie several emergers for the lake box - picked up Schollmeyer and Lesson's excellent book, 'Tying Emergers'. What compelled me into action was a last section of the book which detailed a style of emergers -'bullet-head emergers'. Quoting from their book, "these are emergers that are characterised by a material mounted at the hook eye that is drawn rearward and secured at front of the abdomen to make a large almost bubble-like head and thorax" (Schollmeyer and Lesson, 2004: p.326). The authors explain that the bullet-like head gives density and bulk to the front of the fly which reproduces the visual impression of the hatching natural. As deer-hair and foam materials are the typical material for the 'bullet head' this provides the buoyancy required. You can, however, add multiple wings such as CDC or krstalflash with the deerhair.  I have seen bullet-head style dry caddis and stonefly patterns - mostly orginating from the US although they appear to be less employed for emerger patterns.These are very quick to tie emergers and may make a nice change to your usual patterns. A step-to-step guide to tie the pattern - from the book:

Here are a few examples below of today's tying session.

Black Buzzer Emerger 1 BH
Hook: Kamason B100
Body: Black seals fur
Rib: Grey flexi-floss
Cheeks: Orange goose boits
Wing/head: black deer hair
Thorax: Black seals fur

Black Buzzer Emerger 2 BH
Shuck: Pearl krsytalflash
Body: black seals fur
Rib: one stramd of pearl kyrstal flash
Wing/head: black deer hair
Thorax: Black seals fur (well teased out)

Shipmans Buzzer BH
Shuck: white antron or floss
Body: Brown seals fur
Rib: pearl
Wing/head: Deer hair
Thorax: brown seals fur

Hatching Olive Midge BH
Hook: Kamason B100
Shuck: pearl krystalflash
Body: olive nymph skin
Wing/head: Dun deer hair
Thorax: fine olive fur
Hackle: Grizzle cock dyed olive

General olive nymph (BH)
Tail: A few fibres of coq d'lon
Body: olive turkey boit
Wing/head: deer hair
Thorax: olive possum fur or any fine olive dubbing