Thursday, 13 September 2012

Daddy Snatchers

I came across a lovely wet Daddy Snatcher tied by Dave McPhail which caught my eye. I had to tie a few up for the box and several variants. I can see this working very well on the top dropper - useful for my forthcoming trip. Here are a few patterns that may be of interest and which may provoke some further ideas. 
 Daddy Snatcher
Hook: Fulling Mill Supergrub size 10
Thread: Wine UTC 7/0 
Body: Pheasant tail
Rib: Fine Gold oval
Wing: Cree cock hackle tips
Legs: Three or four knotted pheasant tail tied in at each side
First hackle: two or three turns of red cock hackle
Second hackle: Red hen hackle  (optional)

   Claret Daddy Sntacher
Hook: Fulling Mill Supergrub Size 10
Body: Black claret seals fur
Body hackle: Black or claret cock hackle
Rib: Fine oval gold wire
Wing: Grizzle or badger hackle tips
Legs: Three of Four Claret knotted pheasant tail legs on each side
Hackle: Claret Cock Hackle or Black

Fiery Brown Daddy Snatcher
Hook: Fulling Mill subergrub, size 10
Body: Fiery Brown fritz straggle hackle
Body hackle: Fiery Brown Cock hackle 
Rib: Oval gold wire
Wing: Cree hackle points
Legs: Three of Four Orange knotted pheasant tail legs tied on each side
Head hackle: Fiery brown cock hackle

Gold Daddy Snatcher
Hook: Fulling Mill Supergrub size 10
Body: Gold micro-fritz
Body hackle: Ginger cock hackle
Rib: gold oval tinsel
Wing; GP Tippets
Legs: Claret or Natural knotted pheasant tail legs

Thorax: Gold micro-fritz
Hackle: A few turns of Ginger cock or hen hackle tied over the thorax

For the pattern on the left, I have tied several knotted legs at the rear and followed through the with usal set of legs after the wing.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Dubbing and hook storage

I am a fly tying and material junkie. I love fly tying and everything about it, including collecting and trying out new materials. I even find searching and buying materials thoroughly enjoyable. Yet it is addictive.  I recall reading of an experienced tyer being asked by a novice what somebody needed to start tying flies - the tyer replies, 'a shed'. Very true, we are incurable hoarders!I want to keep materials more compact and at hand.

Some of the Dubbings
But probably like most tyers, my dubbing collection is turning into a morass of fur and synthetic. I began looking for consolidation.

By chance, I came across two chest of drawers at an antique store for £105.00 - that screamed dubbing and hook storage or possibly flies.

It was orignally old type-face storage box. Most drawers have loads of small compartments - which are on the small side.  Below are some with some of the above dubbing boxes added to the new system.
Fine and Dry dubbing
Seal's fur Mixtures

Seals Fur - Greens, olives and yellows
Here is one drawer for wet fly, buzzer and long shank hooks.

It seems OK so far, I am enjoying the consolidation. I just hope my two year old does not decide he wants to expect some Kamasan hooks. Thank you for reading this post.

Preparing for Lough Mask - Daddies

I am preparing for a trip for Lough Mask in Mayo, Ireland, at the end of September. I am so looking forward to my first outing on this great West of Ireland lough. I cannot wait.

I know daddies are real a killer for this time of the year. I tied a good batch, some for me, the boat, my mate and the fish! These 'knotted pheasant tail fibres' on a stick from Veniards fly tying company makes the world of difference. The pain of tying knots in pheasant tail is all very memorable, for me anyhow!   

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Wet olives

I tied up a batch of Wet Olive variants for a friend back in Ireland. I mostly tied a Mallard and Green-Olive variant - as featured in the corner of the photo. We were fishing on a lough in Country Monaghan together when he spotted this in my wet fly box and nabed this without any heistation. This caught him some good fish recently. Indeed, I can see this being a very useful mid dropper, particulary when Olive buzzers are hatching. I like the way the Pearl mylar assumes a green hue when tied over the olive silk - which contrasts effectively with the dyed orange tippets.

The tying session gave me an opportunity to use a cape that I had recently dyed. It is a gorgeous dark olive, to my eyes anyhow. I had this lovely Metz grade II furnace saddle, which although very useful, I could not resist dying over this with veniards olive dun dye to produce a dark or even sooty olive. I appreciate that dyeing good saddle capes should not be taken lightly, especially their price these days. Yet dyeing a furnace or nautral red with an olive dye is a fairly safe enough affair.  By having given this a good pre-wash cleasning with Veniards venepol detergent, I left this in the dye bath for good five minutes. The two darkish olive wets on the left on the photo include hackles from the new cape.


Saturday, 28 July 2012

A special moment in the West of Ireland

For the holidays, I took the family to Connemara, County Galway, in the West of Ireland. I have been reading about and dreaming of fishing in this region of Ireland for over two decades now. You can certainly agree with Oscar Wild when he remarked how Connemara has a savage beauty.  It is a stunningly beautiful part of the World. The majestic Twelve Bens mountain range (Na Beanna Beola) surround you all of the time, as do countless lakes and bays. 

I fished Lough Inagh for the day in the company of a gillie, Cyril Conlon. This lough, as with Kylemore, are considered two premium salmon fisheries in the West Coast. I felt very lucky. I have had limited experience with fishing for Salmon and was receptive to any advice. Cyril's main point of not striking when a Salmon takes and letting the fish turn down on the fly is something I have been told before. Yet after over twenty years of trout fishing, whether one could resist the inclination to strike was another issue altogether.  

This was one of the nicest moments of the day. The ghille Cyril and I shored the boat, gazed at the lough on a beauitful July day and lunched. We sipped coffee and eat our sandwiches, chatted about the morning's fishing, fly tying, patterns and general fishing. Cyril recalled the glorious sea trout days he himself and others experienced in the West of Ireland before the sand-eel driven decline in the 1990s. I listened with both envy and sadness. It appears the sea-trout in the West of Ireland are returning. In this fishery alone, around 70 sea-trout were caught in the previous week. For a more informed insight on sea-trout fishing in Ireland, I would urge you to check Chris Cully's excellent blog on Irish Sea-Trout Fishing (see my blog reading list).  

Lough Inagh
I had great fun with the sea-trout. Although not overly large, they took readily to all three flies on the cast and they fought very hard. To one's surprise, the 'Goat's Toe' on the point took a few and brought a grilse up.  Cyril advised a spot where he considered a good spot for a Salmon. I did not argue. I replaced the Green Peter with a Golden Olive Bumble on the top dropper and fished with concentration and with a slight nerveness.    

A nice fresh sea-trout.
My First Salmon, a 5 1/2 IB Grilse from Lough Inagh, Galway, Ireland.

My smile says it all. After a battle of wills, loads of backing, the help of an experienced ghille with an outboard motor, I caught my wonderful prize. A 51/2 IB bar of silver, a grilse Atlantic Salmon. My first ever, on the Kingsmill's Golden Olive Bumble. A special moment!. The whole experience remains most vivid in my recollection, to include the Ghille's sheer and genuine delight when the fish was landed. The experience may eventually prompt a more serious interest in Salmon. Does this mean new rods, lines, reels and fly tying materials? My wife is worried!! When I start building a box of Salmon flies, we'll know the doubts have vanished.

The Ghille - Cyril Conlon (Galway)

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Praising the Bibio!

I wanted to sing the praises of the Bibio - one of the great Irish wets for lough fishing and highly effective for trout, sea-trout and Salmon as well. Indeed, it has taken the biggest ever sea-trout caught in Ireland. In May of last year, an English angler Sean Smith took a 13lb 5oz beauty from Country Kerry's Lough Currane. What a fish!

From its orign in Ireland's West, it has now the affection of anglers across the British Isles - whether those fishing for wild brownies in the Hebrides or rainbows in Rutland. I think it is a great fly to have on the cast when any black flies are on water, especially midge. The body of the orignal dressing is black-orange-black seals fur.

The Bibio 
Hook:Size 10-14 wet fly hook
Body: Black, Red and Black (3 parts seals fur)
Body: Oval silver
Body hackle: Black cock
Head hackle: Black Hen

The original dressing is attributed to Major Charles Roberts of the Burrishoole Fishery, Country Mayo, Ireland. He was a long time vistor of the fishery and fishery manager for several decades.

It was orignally tied to represent the heather beetle for seatrout on loughs Furnace and Feeagh. More precisely, a guest at the fishery was seeking an imitation of the natural fly he had seen on the loughs. Major Roberts tied a few different patterns to correspond with the description of the real insect that earned the guest's approval (Trout and Salmon, 1980, p.53). So the Bibio was born! Yet, the dressing with a red centre is very common today. E J Malone (2000) states a West of Ireland tackle dealer is acredited with the red centered verision - 'believing that it was more effective for fresh-run fish' (p.55).

I always considered this a dropper fly and used it as such. Yet I never realised anglers use this throughout the leader. Charles Jardine in his Soetheby's Guide to Fly Fishing For Trout remarks that it fishes well on any point of the leader. Similary, Peter O'Reilly in his Trout and Salmon Flies of Ireland writes, "It can be fished on the lough in any position on the leader and is taken for a wide range of dark insects from duckflies to bettles" (O'Reilly, 2000: p.5). 

Friday, 27 April 2012

A super day with the brownies

Returned to my local resevoir recently. With  a reasonable temperature. a small hatch of black midge and fish rising near the dam wall, the scene looked very promising.  I set up a 18ft leader with three nymphs on a floating line; with a JC Dawl Bach on the top, the black buzzer on the middle and a black cruncher on the point.

It turned out to be a thrilling and highly memorable day- with the action fast and furious. Fish in the 10-12" bracket were falling to all three flies on the cast. On two occasions, two at a time took to the cast - great fun!

The fish were all in superb condition and fought very well.

A stunning looking brownie, to me - on the black epozy buzzer, Size 10.

Another Brownie being patient while I stumble with the camera!
The variant of the Welsh super-nymph, a small JC Dawl Bach, works its magic again. The peacock herl body has unravelled and they still want it! 
Another one falled to the Dawl Bach JC, Size 12.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Fishing notes: On the bank at Winterburn

I visited my local club water for an afternoon on the bank.  With a solid cold south easterly wind and average temperature of 7c, I guessed this to be a hard day's fishing - I was right. I persisted with a floating line and three nymphs, to no avail. Around 3 o clock, I changed to the midge-tip line and connected with three fish, landing none. When thinking this was 'action time', no further takes came. I resigned to a fishless day and yet it was great to be out on a fresh April day, roaming the banks, without hindering bags and landing net. 

The Gold-Head Hare's Ear was on the point all day. 

At the end of the day, I met my son and wife at the Dam Wall of the reservoir. He was checking my new 'Loop Evotec 10ft 7'. Or was he checking the flies on the rod (ha ha)? Well, he seems happy.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Irish oldies spliced with dabbler and ice

This was fun! E.J Malone's book on Irish Trout and Salmon Flies contains hundreds of flies from as far back as the 19th Century. I find it very enjoyable dipping into the book and seeing any potential gems. Indeed, I thought it would be fun to take a selection of lough wet flies from the book and modestly adapt each pattern - largely with a dabbler style wing and with some flash. I do like the 'Ice Head' here and think it complements the dabbler wing. I know other tyers have incorporated Ice dub, Lite Brite etc on Dabblers. So here are a few of my examples:

Mallard and Green Variant
Hook: Ken Sewada - Old Limerick Wet, Size 10
Tag: Silver Holographic tinsel
Tail: Orange dyed GP Tippets
Body:Grass Green seals fur
Body hackle: Sootly olive cock saddle
Wing: Bronze mallard dabbler style
Head: Caddis Green Ice Dub

Black Olive Variant
Hook: Ken Sewada Old Limerick Wet, Size 10
Tag: Orange Holo tinsel
Tail: Orange dyed Golden Pheasant Tippets
Body: Black Seals Fur
Rib: Fine Olive Gold
Body Hackle: Golden Olive Cock
Wing: Bronze Mallard Dabbler style
Head: Black Ice Dub

 Olive Partridge and BrownVariant
Hook: Ken SewadaOld Limerick Wet
Tag: Silver tinsel
Body: Med Olive seasls fur
Rib: Fine oval silver
Body hackle: Med Olive cock
Thorad hackle: Brown Patridge
Wing: Bronze Mallard tied dabbler style
Head: Olive Ice Dub

Torc-Lan Variant
Hook: Ken SewadaOld Limerick Wet Size 10
Tag: Orange Holo
Tail: Orange Golden Pheasant Topping
Rear: 1/2 Orange Holo
Front: Black seals fur
Body hackle: black cock over black seals fur
Hackle: Blood red cock
Wing: Bronze Mallard
Head: Orange Ice-Dub

Guinea WickhamVariant
Hook: Ken Sewada
Tail: Natural Guinea Foul
Body: Gold holo 
Rib: Fine gold wire
Body hackle:Ginger cock
Thorat Hackle: Natural Guinea foul
Wing: Bronze Mallard
Head: Pearl Ice blue Dubbing


Just in case the dabbler is a new fly to some readers, the following extract from Peter O'Reilly's book may be of value:

"The Dabbler is one of the great Irish wet fly patterns of recent times and has several variants as well. It was invented by accident when Donald McClarn of Co.down phoned a freind for the dressing of the Gosling. The fly took the trout angling competiion by storm in the early 1990s and was the cornerstone of the success of the Dromore trout-fshing teams. It is without doubt a great killing pattern when stripped fast and then dibbled, on an intermediate, sinking or floating line in a good wave. It, and its variants, have accounted for numerous big wild lough brown trout, many into double figures" (O'Reilly, 1995; p.16).
Malone, E.J. (1984), Irish Trout and Salmon Flies, Colin Smythe, Gerrards Cross.
O'Reilly, P, (1994), Trout and Salmon Flies of Ieland, Merlin Unwin Books, Ludlow.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Tying the Golden Olive Dabbler

Golden Olive Dabbler
Hook size: Ken Sewada Summer Sproat size 10 (or any standard wet fly hook)
Tying silk: Black (some prefer golden olive).
Tail: Natural Cock Pheasant tail fibres
Body: Golden Olive Seals fur
Body hackle: Red game cock
Rib: Fine Oval gold
Body Hackle: Red Game Cock
Collar Hackle: Red Game cock
Wing: Bronze Mallard tied in a flat bunch and allowed to break up - to form a cloak style wing.

Step 1: Make a base of tying thread along the shank of the hook.

 Syep 2: Tie in a  bunch of pheasant tail cock fibres.
Step 3: Tie in fine oval gold rib.

 Step 4: Dub on golden olive seals fur for the body. Move along the body towards the eye.
 Step 5: Pick out the golden olive seals fur with a dubbing needle.

 Step 6: Tie in a red game cock hackle at the eye and wind down in even turns. At the tail the oval gold is brought forward to trap the hackle tip and wound through the hackle fibres to the front and tied in.

 Step 7: Tie in a shoulder hackle and give two or three turns. Push forward with the thump to form a bed for the bronze mallard wing. The shoulder hackle allows the cloak style wing to sit up.


 Step 8a: Prepare the wing: Take two slips of bronze mallard - one from the left wing and one from the right. Place them on top of one another. Cuting the mallard away from the stem can help split the fibres of the wing.

Step 8b: Holding the wing slips between thump and index finger use the pinch and loop method for winging - three turns. Avoid holding tight to break the fibres up and form a cloak style wing. Use the dubbing needle to split the fibres further, if wish.

Step 9: Whip finish. Further pick seals fur body out. Varnish.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Early season frills!

I had my first outing on a local reservoir. I was bursting with excitment to make the first cast of the season and hopefully to feel that addictive tug on the line. It was a bright, warm day with a gentle breeze - with some fish rising on the top later that afternoon - not a day one usually associates with early season fishing. Yet I persisted with the tactic of two lures and a daiwl bach on the dropper on a floating line. Although I did hear of fishers catching on the top with hoppers and shipmans.
I hooked five fish and landed them all - which is simply strange for me. I usually miss more than I catch.

Here are the killing flies:

Viva Variant
Hook: B175 size 10
Tag: Flou green thread
Body UV straggle fritz chennile black
Sides: Flu green goose boits
Wing: Black marabou (tied thinly)
Head: Flou Green thread

Olive Tadpole
Hook: Size 10 B175 Kamasan
Wing: Black Marabou
Body: Olive UV Straggle Fritz chennille
Underbody: Fine lead wire
Hackle: Natural Black Hen (tied collar style)
Paul Proctor advised this as an early season favourtie in the latest copy of Trout Fisherman magazine. Needless to say, I am glad I tied a few up. Gareth Evans (the Welsh fly fishing International) and writer in 'Trout Fisherman' advocates leaded underbodies when tying lures such as tadpoles. His theory is that leaded flies along the body only ensures the hook stays level to the fish throughout the retrieve and always fishes in the correct plane, making for more effective hook-ups when a fish takes.