Category Archives: Grayling patterns

Guest Speaker: Karl Humphries – November 2017

Karl started fly fishing in the late 1960’s on the Isle of Man, fishing the small but productive River Sulby. From these beginnings, he has worked to become a Master Instructor and assessor in both single handed and double handed rods as well as fly dressing. He
has demonstrated casting techniques all over the globe, even demonstrating to The Queen and Prince Philip. As a qualified instructor, he is able to help clients in any aspect of game
angling and fly fishing, be it on the river, still water or saltwater.
Based at Newcastle under Lyme, Staffordshire, he has clients thought the country.

He also runs the website called The Adipose Fin and serves on the committees of The Prince Albert Angling Society and the Grayling Society.

The evening started with an informal dialogue about the planned new controls to salmon and sea trout fishing in Wales. Karl felt that the method restrictions (Bait, barbless and treble hooks) and
compulsory catch and release for salmon would probably discourage many game anglers from fishing in Wales and may consequentially have a deleterious effect on Welsh tourism. Before tying
his first fly and during the evening Karl mentioned the techniques of free line nymphing (e.g. French, Polish or Czech styles) and conventional fly fishing with weighted fly lines. Karl’s preference was for conventional fly fishing with light (3 wt) tackle because this gave greater flexibility allowing more water to be covered: unlike free line nymphing approaches which restricted the distance an angler could cast. He also suggested that that with practice, experienced conventional fly fishermen could minimise water disturbance and so mitigate the perceived advantage of free line nymphing.

Karl demonstrated fly tying five of his most productive river nymph patterns and also included a two novel takes on conventional flies, a buzzer pattern using Veniards ‘edge bright’ for wing buds and a
mayfly parachute pattern using a Japanese ‘umbrella hook’. The nymph patterns that Karl demonstrated could be used either for nymphing or conventional fly fishing.

The Free Swimming Caddis (Hydropscyche)

Hook: Size 10 Fulling Mill Magic Circle.
Thread: Dark brown UTC 70.
Shellback: ‘Thin skin’ marbled and green 4 mm wide strip cut
with a ‘chiselled’ end to aid tying in.
Rib: 7lb (0.25mm) monofilament.
Dubbing: gradated colours; cream, olive and golden olive (fine
SLF), followed by muskrat, dark brown – from bend to the eye (ca
2mm of each)
Head: varnished thread

The fly contained no added weight as Karl generally used it as a dropper above a weighted nymph. The bed of thread was tied as far around the hook bend as possible. The thread bed was coated with varnish after the rib and shell back were tied in to anchor them. Dubbing was sparingly applied and the shell back drawn over ensuring that it was evenly distributed on both sides of the hook and ended approx. 2mm from eye to leave room for the head. The shell back was trimmed with a fine
pair of scissors by a ‘nibbling’ action to avoid leaving protruding material at the head. The varnish was applied to the head and shell back material.

Bobesh nymph

Hook: Size 10 Hends BL599 barbless weighted with 4-5 mm of fine round lead.
Thread: Black UTC 70.
Shellback: ‘Grating foil olive’ 5 mm wide strip cut with a ‘chiselled’ end to aid tying in.
Rib: fine gold wire.
Dubbing fine SLF: gradated; peach, off orange, olive green and heavy pink with UV flash – from bend to eye (ca 2mm of each)
Head: varnished thread.

As for the previous fly.  The thread bed was laid over the lead wire to even out irregularities and then continued to the bend of the hook.  The shell back was cut slightly wider than the previous fly as it was thicker due to the lead.  Dubbing was picked out to give the appearance of legs and the head and shell back material varnished to finish.

Hi-vis Shrimp (Grabber)

Hook: Size 10 Hends BL599 barbless weighted with 4-5 mm of fine round lead.
Thread: Hot orange UTC 70.
Shellback: Orange ‘Edge Bright’ (Veniards) 5 mm wide strip cut with a ‘chiselled’ end to aid tying in.
Dubbing: UV-ice hot orange.
Rib: 7lb (0.25mm) monofilament.
Head: 2-3 turns of fine holographic silver tinsel as a collar to varnished thread head.

As for previous flies.  Additionally, a length of fine holographic tinsel was tied in and 2-3 turns used to create a collar to the head.

Midge pupa (reverse presentation fly)

Hook: Size 14 nymph hook.
Thread: Brown UTC 70.
Head (at the hook bend): UV-ice black dubbing.
Thorax cover: Natural cock pheasant fibres tied in at bend and folded back to the middle of the hook, overdubbing and trimmed.
Target point: Orange thread turns between thorax and body.
Breathers: Rolled teal flank feather fibres tied at the eye.
Body: Stripped peacock quill.
Finish: varnish to quill body.

Fished with gink applied to the dubbing at the head to encourage fly to stay in the surface film.

Hairy green butt prince nymph

Hook: Size 8 long shank hook weighted fine round lead
Thread: Whisper burgundy tied over the lead as before.
Tag: Fine green chartreuse tied down 2 mm from a bed of thread (end of tag thread tied into the body over the tag to secure tag).
Rib: Medium gold tinsel
Tail: Brown goose biots tied over a thread ball to splay.
Body: Dubbed red fox squirrel fur with the guard hairs to give a ragged appearance, ribbed with 5 turns of tinsel.
Hackle:  Ginger game hen hackle.
Wings: white goose biots 2/3 length of body tied in at the head.
Head: Varnished thread.

Edge Bright Buzzer

Hook: Size 10 Karmasan B725 black nickel Carp hook.
Thread: Black UTC 70.
Rib: Fine silver wire.
Body: Thread.
Thorax: Black UV-ice dubbing.
Thorax cover: Medium orange holographic tinsel.
Wing buds:  2 slivers of Veniards fluorescent orange edge bright.
Head: Varnished thread.

Umbrella Hook May Fly

Hook: Large umbrella hook.
Thread: Olive UTC 70.
Detached body: Olive ‘realistic may fly tube body’ (Hemingway’s).
Parapost:  Antron wool.
Parachute hackle: Dyed olive grizzle.

Guest Speaker: Roger Smith – October 2017

Roger is a secretary of the Grayling Society, a life member of Wild Trout Trust, an active member of the Worcester Branch of the Fly Dressers’ Guild and author of ‘Flyfishing the Welsh Borderlands’ (Coch-Y-Bonddu Books, 2011).

Roger gave a 40-minute presentation followed by a fly tying demonstration of five dry flies suitable
for Welsh Borderland rivers and their tributaries.

Trout and Grayling fishing on the Rivers and Streams of the Welsh Borderlands through the Seasons

Roger introduced the presentation by describing which rivers and streams he fished in the Welsh borderland. These comprised; the Dee, Severn, Wye and Usk, and he made specific reference to the
Lugg and Arrow tributaries of the Wye. He recommended the use of the environment agency flood information service to monitor the levels of these and other rivers to prepare for fishing expeditions
so that they could be timed to coincide with stable or falling river levels. Describing the entomology of the rivers, Roger initially discussed the use of marker insects to monitor river health – Caddis,
Gammarus shrimp, Stonefly nymphs, Mayfly nymphs (including Baetis and heptagenid), and then the seasonal variability of these and other insects.
Then Roger turned to a discussion of fishing tactics including use of; upstream nymphing, Czech nymphing, dry fly and trotting. He described the use of a team of flies (up to 4) and ‘duo’ teams – dry
fly dropper with a weighted nymph or vice-versa (washing-line presentation), and stressed the importance of the ‘induced take’ to capitalise on the, sometimes, impetuous feeding habit of game
fish in fast flowing water. To help identify takes he advocated the use of indicators and specifically recommended the use of a sliding ‘sight’ made from coloured strands of Aero Dry Wing tied to the line
with a short length of fluorocarbon using a half blood-knot tied back on itself.

The final section of the presentation brought together the tactics and fly selection approaches that Roger had found most successful in the different seasons on these waters. Of particular note, he described the use of March brown, Gold Ribbed Hares Ear, Dark Olive nymph and Orange Tagged Hares Ear for early season nymphing and Hawthorne and Grannom as early season dries. The recommended summer patterns were the Black Gnat and May Fly. Autumn patterns comprised; Crane fly, Red Tag, Treacle Parkin and Coch-Y-Bonddu and in winter he advocated Czech nymphing with Pink Shrimp and Cased Caddis patterns. Roger found by experience that reverse hackled flies (See reverse hackled Barrett’s Bain fly below) improved the presentation when fishing a downriver wind. Finally, Roger referred to use of Trotting and Tankara as additional approaches that he had found to be successful in Welsh Borderland rivers and streams.

The DogsBody

Hook: size 12 medium wire
Thread: Dark brown
Tail: 10 -12 natural pheasant tail fibres
Body: yellow Labrador fur
Rib: fine gold wire
Hackles: grizzle and red game cock feathers (5 – 6 turns each)

Orange Otter

Hook: size 14 Fulling Mill all-purpose light wire
Thread: Dark brown
Tail: bunch red game feather fibres
Body and thorax/head: Orange baby seals fur dubbing
Central hackle: Red game (approx. 10 turns)

Baby Sun Fly

Hook: size 14 Fulling Mill all-purpose light wire
Thread: Dark brown
Tail: Black cock hackle fibres
Body: grey rabbit underfur dubbing
Hackle: Coch-Y-Bonddu feather (3-4 turns)

Barrett’s Bain (Reverse Hackle)

Hook: size 14 up-eye dry fly
Thread: Dark brown
Body: 4-5 natural pheasant tail fibres
Hackle: Blue dun cock feather (5 – 6 turns)

Baby Sun Fly (Jig Hook Variant)

Hook: size 16 Jig-eye
Thread: Dark brown
Wing: Aero Dry wing (Pink or suitable colour for visibility)
Body: grey rabbit underfur dubbing
Hackle: Coch-Y-Bonddu feather (4 -5 turns)

Guest Speaker: Karl Humphries – Spiders for trout, sea-trout and grayling

8th January, 2015 – Karl Humphries

Karl visited Congleton Fly tying Club on January 8th, 2015 where he tied a variety of spider patterns and described how he fishes them.

Karl Humphries (600 x 400)

Karl described how the basic spider pattern forms the basis for a number of variants that are distinctive from the classical North Country spider. In particular, it is a versatile pattern that anyone can tie and it is very effective, so much so that Karl has fished variants of this pattern exclusively on the Welsh Dee for the last 2 years. Karl fishes a team of three spiders with a bright coloured spider as an attracter pattern on the point and a more drab coloured spider on the top dropper. Spacing is generally 4’, 4’ 5’ for the leader using 11lb bs fluorocarbon or copolymer. Gink can also be applied to fish the fly higher. Karl favours reds for grayling and blues for sea trout. These are also great daytime spiders for sea trout which have been fished successfully on the Welsh Dee. The soft hackle is from a variety of game birds (woodcock, plover, partridge, grouse, moorhen, coot and woodpigeon) which give greater movement than spikier cock hackles.

Lagartun flatbraid (600 x 400)

One of the flashier spider patterns tied by Karl uses purple Lagartun mini flat braid to form the body. This has probably been the most successful all round pattern that Karl has used, catching salmon, sea trout, brown trout as well as grayling. This fly is used as a ‘search’ pattern on the point.

More details of the patterns and how to tie them can be found here.

Karl is  an AAPGAI qualified fly fishing and fly casting instructor for both single and double handed rod as well as a AAPGAI master fly dresser.

Find more details about Karl here

Guest speaker: Malcolm Greenhalgh – Grayling flies (old and new)

6th November, 2014 – Malcolm Greenhalgh

Malcolm GreenhalghMalcolm Greenhalgh is both a naturalist and a fly fisherman. After reading biological sciences and researching estuary ecology for his PhD he lectured for sixteen years before becoming a freelance writer on his fortieth birthday (in 1986).

Although Malcolm has fished in many far-flung corners of the world, he still enjoys pottering about in his own rivers and lakes in north-west England (and his fortnight at mayfly-time on Ireland’s Lough Erne), and he is proud to be the Vice President of the best fly-fishing club in the region, Bowland Game Fishing Association. He has written over twenty books and has contributed to a wide range of magazines and writes a regular blog for FlyFishing and FlyTying.

During his visit to the Congleton Fly Tying Club Malcolm will be tying a selection of grayling flies – both old and new.

Read more from Malcolm’s blog here

Read more about the patterns tied by Malcolm when he visited CFTC here