Malcolm Greenhalgh

Malcolm Greenhalgh  visited Congleton Fly Tying Club on November 6th where he tied a variety of his favourite grayling flies. All were chosen because they are (fairly) easy to tie, and catch grayling as well as both river and lake trout.

Malcolm Greenhalgh (600 x 400)

Elk Hair Caddis

Elk Hair Caddis

 

  • Hook  dry fly, sizes 14-18 most useful.
  • Thread  brown.
  • Body  fine fur, natural or synthetic. Choose a ‘natural shade’, e.g. brown, olive, grey.
  • Wing  elk hair, natural brown or bleached. Whip-finish over the hairs just behind the hook eye, soak the head and hairs sticking out at the front with vanish. Then cut off those hairs square across in front of the hook eye to make a ‘hair head’. Grease with Gink.

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CDC Sedge (I call it the General CDC Dry Fly)

CDC Sedge_2

  • Hook  dry fly, sizes 14-18, but can be modified (below).
  • Thread  as body colour or black.
  • Body  rope made using one large CDC feather or two smaller ones. The body is in two parts, a rear abdomen and a front (over the wing base) thorax.
  • Wing   either bunch of fibres from 2-3 large CDC feathers, or a bunch of smaller ones (e.g. mallard CDC), trimmed to length.

No Gink!

For grayling, smaller ones with a black/dark grey body and either a black/grey or white wing (have both for visibility). But with an olive body and grey wing great in olive hatches. A light yellow body and olive wings matches a mayfly dun (size 10 hook) or a white body and grey wings a mayfly spinner. Just vary colours and sizes to match the hatch.

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Imperial

Imperial_2

  • Hook  dry fly, sizes 14-16.
  • Thread  purple, officially (!), but you will find black works just as well.
  • Tails  sparse bunch blue dun, sandy dun, honey dun or light ginger cock hackle fibres.
  • Body  grey heron herl.
  • Rib  fine gold wire or finest round tinsel.
  • Hackle  as tails; wind hackle about 4-5 times in front of body.

Yonks ago (35-plus years) this was my favourite dry fly and it caught several grayling for a BBC TV camera shortly after I gave up being a salary-slave in 1986. Its inventor, Oliver Kite, used this almost exclusively when fishing dry  in his latter years.

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Tup’s Indispensable

Tup's indispensible_2

  • Hook  dry fly, sizes 16-18.
  • Thread  yellow.
  • Tails  sparse bunch of pale blue dun.
  • Body  3 turns of thread at rear, then lightly dubbed with a ‘tup’s mix’. You can find the recipe in my big two fly-tying books; you will need to pluck some hair from the scrotal sacs of a ram!
  • Hackle  pale blue dun.

I feel rotten putting this in because of the difficulty of getting the vital ingredient. It is a great afternoon/evening fly in late summer and autumn during a hatch of pale watery duns (which both trout and grayling love to eat).

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Sturdy’s Fancy

Sturdy's fancy_2

  • Hook  dry fly, sizes 14-16.
  • Thread  Purple or black.
  • Tag  red wool.
  • Body  peacock herl.
  • Hackle   white cock.

Use a wet fly hook and a brown hackle and you have the wet Red Tag; tie a Red Tag with an orange-yellow wool Tag and you have the wet Treacle Parkin. These are three old traditioanal grayling flies for the streams of Derbyshire/Staffs north to the Eden.

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Red tag

Red tag

 

Treacle Parkin

Treacle Parkin

White Witch

White Witch_2

  • Hook  dry fly, sizes 14-16.
  • Thread  black.
  • Tail  2-3 fibres swan died scarlet.
  • Body  peacock herl (green recommended).
  • Hackle  white cock palmered down the body in not too tight turns, with a couple of extra turns in front.
  • Rib  fine silver wire or finest round tinsel.

This is one of the ‘bumble’ flies. Often they are tied like a bottle-brush, but you want just enough turns so that the body is held off the water; no more. Grayling love it.

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Black Para Emerger

Black Para Emerger

  • Hook  a curved emerger/grub hook, sizes 12-16. Those who recommend, “You must use a certain code number of hook by a certain manufacturer,” forget that, if that hook is no longer made, in theory you cannot tie the fly properly! Find a hook you like and stick with it.
  • Thread  black.
  • Abdomen  fine black fur or black herl (the fly here is tied with capercaillie but you don’t need to use this!).
  • Rib  finest round silver tinsel.
  • Thorax  peacock herl.
  • Hackle   grizzled or black cock, parachute wound round wing base.
  • Wing  white synthetic yarn (e.g. Antron…mine comes from Lureflash).

Note: wind thread behind eye to make  foundation, and there tie in wing (upright, and ‘posted’ i.e. with thread turns round wing base) and then the hackle. Now wind thread round the curved hook (I did so over the hackle stalk), Now tie in rib and abdomen. Wind abdomen and rib it. Then tie in a wind thorax around wing base. Parachute hackle round wing base.

Good on stillwaters as well as rivers.

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Happy tying!  Malcolm Greenhalgh