This workshop will focus on woven nymphs and a couple of methods used to tie them. These flies work well for Grayling and Trout.
Hook: Curved #8 Thread : Yellow Underbody: Lead wire, covered by fluorescent yellow floss Shellback: Clear polythene sheet Over-rib: 4lb mono Thorax: Olive hare dubbing or similar Abdomen: Natural hare / Rabbit Also required: Black magic marker pen
Hook: Curved #8 Underbody: lead wire Body: Woven strands of yellow and brown embroidery yarn Thorax: Natural Hare/ Rabbit Also required: UHU adhesive and a black magic marker pen
Karl has become a regular guest presenter / fly tying demonstrator at our club. Before this demonstration he gave his take on the state of fly fishing on the welsh rivers. The National Resources Wales (NRW) new regulations are already in operation on the River Severn (by emergency bylaw) and will be legally enforced on all welsh rivers from the start of the 2020 season. The changes for salmon fishing include mandatory catch and release, use of single hooks only (no doubles or trebles) and bait restrictions (no worm).
Karl felt that these regulations were unenforceable and would probably result in a loss of revenue to the NRW, as all salmon catches are returned, there is no difference between accidental by-catch and catch and release. Equally the regulations are not particularly well drafted as they specifically ban use of double and treble hooks, which would not prevent an angler using a quad hook!
Karl went on to demonstrate eight flies that he personally found to be productive for river fishing for both Grayling and Trout.
A Simple CDC Dry
Hook: Size 14 light wire Thread: Fluorescent pink tag and burgundy 14/0 thread Body: Stripped natural peacock quill Wing: 4 to 5 natural CDC feathers Head: Varnished thread wraps.
Comments Karl started this fly by tying the fluorescent pink tag above the bend of the hook, producing a bead profile, and doubling the waste thread end over the bead before ‘tying in’ and then changing to Burgundy coloured thread.
He demonstrated stripping the peacock quill with his fingernails but said that this could also be done using a pencil eraser. The stripped quill was tied in the length of the body by touching turn thread wraps taken to about 2mm from the hook eye. The quill was then used to create a body with overlapping turns and tied in with the excess then removed. He recommended using varnish to coat the quill and tag to make the construction more robust.
The CDC feathers (4 to 5) were laid tip to tip on top of one another with the natural curve upwards and bunched and twisted to produce a robust wing. This was tied in about 1mm from the eye with the feather barbules the about the length of the hook, and the excess cut off, making sure that the thread was not accidentally cut with it. He recommended turning the vice head 90° so that when the thread wraps for the head were tied the thread did not slip off over the hook eye. The head was then whip finished and varnished.
Karl recommended use of CDC oil as floatant when fishing this fly.
The Mini Orange Butt Prince Nymph
Hook: Kamasan B175 or similar size 10 or 12 Tag: Orange Glo-Bright No. 5 Thread: Black 14/0, Rib: medium yellow gold wire Tail / Wing: Chocolate brown / white goose biots Body: Red fox dubbing, Hackle: Ginger hen Head Varnished thread wraps
Comments The fire orange floss tag was tied in as a ball-profile (to separate the tail biots). After changing to black thread the body was made with 2 layers of touching turn thread wraps ending at the tag. Two chocolate brown goose biots, held back to back and tied in to splay-out over the tag. Gold wire was tied in on top of the hook by touching-turn thread wraps taken back to tag. Red fox fur dubbing (mixture of under and guard hair fur from skin) was applied to thread, as required, to produce a carrot shaped body profile – Karl recommended using multiple small applications of dubbing, saying that it is easier to add dubbing than remove excess from the thread. The body was ribbed with 5‑turns of the gold wire, tied-in, and the excess wire removed by rotating until breaking. The ginger hen hackle was tied in by the tip (removing the end of the feather to aid tying in) and 2-3 turns of hackle added folding the barbules down the body of the fly. Finally, the wings were added by tying-in 2 white goose biots, and the head built up, tied off with thread wraps, whip finished and varnished.
Comments The thread was started at the eye with wraps (touching turns) to a point opposite the barb of the hook. The wire rib tied in length of body and then 2 strands peacock herl also tied in length of body with the thread returned to eye. The herl body was constructed and tied in short of the hook eye (to leave space for the hackle) and the excess cut off. The herl body was ribbed with 5-turns in the opposite direction to those of the herl and tied in and excess wire removed as before. The ginger hackle was tied in and 2-3 turns of hackle added folding the barbules down the body of the fly. The head built up with thread wraps, whip finished and varnished.
Pink Shrimp pattern
Hook: Size 10 grub hook, weighted with lead Thread: Burgundy 14/0 Rib: Clear 12lb BS mono Body cover: Pink scud back ¼” Body: Hends Spectra dubbing; pink SA-041 and rainbow SA- 952.
Comments: The hook was weighted with round lead wire creating a bug-shaped profile by 2 layers, the second towards the upper end of the body. The lead was tied in with a lattice of sparse thread wraps then touching turns of thread to the bend of the hook. The lead was locked in by varnishing and a short length of monofilament fishing line tied in as a rib along the back of the hook shank and the pink shell-back (end cut to a point) also. These materials were secured by touching turn thread wraps to a point at the start of the bend of the hook. A small quantity of pink dubbing was applied to the thread and wraps used to create the first 1/3rd of the body length. Rainbow spectra dubbing was then used to create the central potion, returning to pink to finish off the body to a head-length short of the hook eye. The shell-back was then folded over the dubbing and tied in at the head and stretched tight before cutting off the excess. The body ribbed with the monofilament line which was tied in and the excess cut off. The dubbing material on the underside of the hook was picked out to create an appearance of legs. The head was built up with thread wraps and whip finished. The head and scud back was then varnished.
Gammarus Shrimp Pattern
Hook: Size 10 grub hook, weighted with lead Thread: Burgundy 14/0 thread Rib: Medium gold wire Back: Raffia Body: Soft dub caddis legs (Oliver Edwards)
Comments This fly was produced using similar techniques to the fly pattern above.
The shell-back material was replaced with raffia and the dubbing with a dubbing brush thread. The caddis legs’ dubbing was stroked downwards before the shell back material was pulled over the back of the hook. All other aspects of tying were the same.
Hook: Daiichi 1520 size 10 wide gape heavyweight Thread: Cerise / burgundy 14/0 Thorax: Blue Ice blended with pink dubbing Hackle: Moorhen shoulder feather Head: Thread wraps finished with 2-3 turns of fine silver holographic tinsel above the hackle feather
Comments Karl tied these spiders using the same hook type and similar techniques. His experience in river fishing has led him to rely on this pattern and he commonly fished them as a team with great success.
The top dropper differed from the other two as it had a ribbed herl body created in a similar way to the stick fly above. The thread bodies of the middle dropper and point fly were created with layers of touching turns thread wraps and he preferred to treat them with 4-5 coats of varnish, in a similar way to how a buzzer body is formed (although, time did not permit this at the demonstration). Karl recommended a dubbing thorax for all his spider patterns as this improved the mobility of the spider hackle in water. He said that the individual tier should experiment with the number of turns of the spider hackle to produce a fly that they were happy with (no rules apply). He preferred the grouse hackle for colour and movement but used a moorhen feather for the last fly – this was a more delicate feather requiring more care to tie in.
Hook: Size 12 down eye wet fly hook Thread: Pearsall’s Gossamer light orange (6A) waxed. Rib and body: Copper wire Tail and body: Natural pheasant tail. Hackle: Grey partridge body feather.
From a Guide to River Trout Flies by John Roberts The copper wire underbody could be applied either separately or together with the Pearsall’s silk thread touching turns – Frank opted for the latter. The loose end of the body wire was left long and used to form the rib. Tail comprised 3 to 4 pheasant tail barbules adjusted to give a length ca. half the body. The body comprised touching turns of 4 to 6 pheasant tail barbules with a copper wire rib (5 turns) that was either wound in the same direction as the body fibres (for less visibility) or counter wound (for greater visibility) at the choice of the tier. The grey partridge feather was tied in at the tip and the whole feather used, to give a full spider hackle. After forming a small head with thread wraps the fly was finished off.
The Yellow Sally Nymph
Hook: Size 10 Long shank wet fly hookThread: Light brown 8/0 thread.Tail: Two light buff coloured goose biots.Body: Light buff rabbit fur dubbing.
From the Fly Fishers Handbook, by Malcolm Greenhalgh and Denys Ovenden The thread was started at the hook eye and a layer (touching turns) taken to a point opposite the barb of the hook. The two goose biots tails tied in either side of the hook to give ca. 45° angle and a tail length equivalent to that of the body. The fly’s dimensions were such that the thorax was half the length of the body (1/3 of the hook shank). The rib material was tied above the tail and the body constructed to give a carrot shaped profile with dubbing and ribbed with 5-turns of the floss. The turkey slip thorax cover and the hen hackle, tied in by their tips, were positioned immediately above the body; the thorax, like the body, was then constructed with dubbing. The hackle feather was palmered to about 1 mm from the hook eye and the thorax cover folded over – these were secured simultaneously with thread wraps. After trimming the feathers a small head was made and the fly finished off.
The Olive Bumble
Hook: Size 10 Captain Hamilton hook Thread: Light brown 8/0 thread. Tail: Golden pheasant crest feather. Rib: Small oval gold tinsel. Body: Golden bumble olive seals fur dubbing (Frankie McPhillips). Palmered Hackle: Golden olive and natural red game cock feathers. False Hackle: Blue jay wing or dyed blue guinea fowl feather.
From Trout and Salmon Flies of Ireland, by Peter O’Reilly The thread was started at the hook eye and the blue jay feather barbules tied in (forward of the eye) and rolled around the hook to form a ‘false hackle’. The tying thread was taken (touching turns) to a point opposite the hook barb and the tail tied in (the crest feather was held parallel to, and secured on top of, the hook). A small oval gold tinsel rib was tied in and the thread returned to the false hackle.
The body hackle feathers (barbule length ca. gape of the hook) tied in by the rachis (the good side towards the hook eye). The thread was returned to the tail and a dubbed body created ending at the false hackle. The body hackle was started with 2 turns around the shank and palmered the length of the body then secured by the rib (5 turns). The rib tied in with thread wraps and trimmed. The false hackle and body hackles were smooth down towards the tail of the fly and a small head created with thread wraps before finishing off.
Stuart gave an enthralling 90-minute presentation of fly tying during which he tied 4 dry fly patterns and gave many fly tying and fly fishing tips. In particular, he recommended the practice of tying several flies at one sitting aiming for consistency. He used a pair calliper to ensure that tails, thorax and body were the same lengths in each fly. He also mentioned fishing tactics reminding everyone not to neglect the use of ‘down-stream’ presentation of flies as this gave them a natural appearance.
The Posh Olive
Hook: Size 14 Partridge SUD 40 dry fly hook Thread: Olive 8/0 thread. Tail: Coq De Leon; 6 – 8 fibres. Dubbing: Fine light olive poly dubbing (Orvis fly rite) tied very sparingly. Wing: Two natural CDC feathers – placed back to back (curving away from each other). Thoraxandhead: Dark olive pine squirrel fur as dubbing.
Emerging Midge (Chironomid)
Hook: Size 22 Varivas 2200 BL. Thread: Olive 8/0 thread. Body: Fine light olive poly dubbing (Orvis fly-rite) tied very sparingly. Outriggers: Veniards Micro Flash. Wing: Fine poly yarn. Thorax and head: Mole fur as dubbing.
Thread started at the curve of the hook with touching turns around the bend. Very sparse dubbing applied with thread turns back to start of thread. Single strand of micro flash tied-in to near side then turned back to produce outriggers on either side of hook and cut to length (to curve of hook).
Thread then taken to eye with touching turns and fine poly yarn wing tied in approx. 1 mm from the eye and cut to size (Stuart mentioned that a single CDC feather could be used as an alternative winging material, but that this could be problematic on cold days so he felt that poly yarn was the better). Mole fur (one of the finest dubbings) was sparingly used to provide a darker coloured thorax.
Tying very small flies relied on careful use of materials ensuring that excess is not used as it could spoil the fly appearance.
Stuart used this as a single fly when the fish were only rising for small flies such as aphids.
The Wedding Day May Fly
Hook: Size 10 long shank dry fly hook. Thread: Olive 8/0 thread. Shuck(tail): Tan poly yarn. Wing: Pink (or white) poly yarn with a 2 -3 mm width of black ether foam tied underneath. Body/thorax: Tan or cream dubbing.Parachute Hackle: Dyed olive Grizzle cock hackle feather.
Thread started at the eye of the hook with touching turns the length of the shank. The poly yarn shuck (at least twice length of hook shank) tied in with thread to provide a shuck length equal to that of the hook shank with touching turns back to the eye (full length of hook).
The pink (or white) poly yarn wing tied in across the hook, approx. 3mm from the eye and posted with ‘figure of 8’ turns. The hackle feather tied in over the eye of the hook with the rachis towards the bend. Approx. 20 mm length of black ether foam (2-3 mm wide) was laid under the wing and used to ‘sandwich’ the poly yarn and hackle feather and tied in place with ‘posting’ turns of the thread. Thread then taken back to the bend and the body dubbed with tan (or cream) dubbing all the way up to the eye of the hook. The hackle was then wound around the wing post starting at the highest point and winding down. The hackle feather was tied in and the fly whip finished at the eye.
The Skippy Sedge
Hook: Size 12 Partridge SLD dry fly. Thread: Pale green 8/0. Tail: Butt of green dubbing. Body: Pine squirrel dubbing generously applied. Wing: Three natural coloured CDC feathers tied in 2mm from the eye (with quills over the eye): one on near-side, one on top and one on far-side.
This fly was developed for the 2001 world championships in Sweden and can be used throughout the year as Caddis hatch in every month.
Thread tied on at eye with touching turns the length of the hook shank. A sparsely dubbed bead of light green applied to butt, followed by a ‘chunky’ body of brown pine squirrel dubbing to thorax region.
CDC wing is tied in one feather at a time and each adjusted to length by pulling the rachis.
Head finished with more dubbing and CDC feather ends cut over the eye of the hook.
The fly is best fished in fast-moving currents so that it sinks at the end of the drift – as the final retrieve mimics the Caddis returning to the surface after egg-laying.
Following on from Karl’s last demonstration (2ndNovember 2017) he was asked about the current situation with game fishing in Wales. We were told that the National Resources Wales (NRW) were finalising new regulations which would probably be ratified by the Welsh Assembly in 2019. (The following link gives the current proposals: NRW proposed fishing controls 16/3/2018). In the North West the Border Esk and tributaries (Liddel and Eden), were made catch and release for all salmon earlier this year. Karl thinks that the decisions being made are based on statistical analysis of poor quality data and consequently the current estimates of migratory fish numbers are probably inaccurate. He was concerned that the Environmental Agency (EA) and NRW were not interested in and do not understand the needs of fishermen and were not the best groups to manage river fisheries. Karl was also concerned that the proposed changes would be impossible to implement. He felt that the salmon and sea trout license was becoming redundant (hence losing the EA revenue), as unless an angler was specifically targeting these species, any accidental catch would be released! Although Karl felt that changes were impacting negatively on game fishing, he was still enjoying and actively participating in the hobby, as evinced by his enthusiasm during the evening.
Karl then went on to demonstrate six flies that he personally found to be productive in rivers.
The Orange Spider
Hook: Size 10 or 12 Thread: Orange Glo-brite No. 5 floss tied to produce a carrot shaped body tied off and finished with 3 coats of varnish (as for a buzzer pattern). Smokey grey 14/0 thread was used for the thorax and head. Hackle: Two to three turns of a grouse neck feather tied in by the distal end of the rachis. Dubbing: Dun ice dub tied sparingly at the thorax to flare the spider hackle. Head: varnished thread
A variant was also demonstrated with an orange tag and watery olive body. The fly contains no added weight; the heavily varnished body ensuring the fly sinks. Karl recommended a technique of turning the fly through 90 °to whip finish the head as this reduced the risk of the thread unravelling over the eye of the hook. Karl generally fishes this as a team of 3 with a fly such as a ‘Greenwell’s’ as top dropper.
The Avon Bomb
Hook: Size 10 or 12 Jig Hook Thread: Gordon Griffiths Sheer 14/0 – Burgundy Rib: Fine Silver Wire Hackle: Two to three turns of a grouse neck feather tied in by the distal end of the rachis. Body: Three strands of bronze peacock herl Wing: Short length of pink Antron mused with 6 to 8 strands of Krystal flash Hackle: 3 to 4 turns of a ginger cock hackle Head: 3.5mm Facetted Silver bead
Comments A layer of tying thread, with touching turns, to the half-way down the shank. The thread was returned with layers of thread built up to secure the bead. The thread was then taken to a point on the hook opposite the barb with the rib and peacock herl tied in and returned to the hook eye. The herl was wound up to the thorax (leaving room for wing and hackle), secured with thread and then ribbed (opposite direction to the herl). The wing and hackle were tied in with the thread and the wing cut to 2 to 3 mm. The thread was varnished at the bead after whip finishing.
Hairy Green Butt Prince Nymph
Hook: Size 10 long shank, weighted with lead if desired Thread: Veevus B17 14/0 Yellow/Chartreuse for butt, Charcoal grey 14/0 for body and head Tail: Two brown goose biots, trimmed to 2/3rds length of shank and flared over the butt. Rib: Medium Gold Oval Tinsel Dubbing: Fox squirrel mixture of fur plucked from pelt. Wing: Two white goose biots, trimmed to length of shank. Hackle: Mid-section of a brown furnace feather, upper surface forward, tied in at distal end of rachis. Head: Varnished head.
Hook: #16 Medium or fine wire Thread: 14/0 in charcoal Body: Very sparsely dubbed fox squirrel fur Wing: Three overlaying natural coloured CDC feathers tied in on top of head Head: Varnished head.
Comments The body used the residual dubbing from the Green Butt Prince Nymph. A nice way of conserving materials. Use a little CDC oil when fishing for extra buoyancy.
Haslam Variant (Salmon / Sea Trout Fly)
Hook: #8 low water double Thread: Gordon Griffiths Sheer 14/0 Burgandy Tag: Glo-Brite No2 Fluoro Pink Floss Rib: Small Oval Tinsel Tail: Golden Pheasant crest feather Body: Glo-brite fluorescent tinsel (or pearl mylar). Throat Hackle: Dyed blue guinea fowl. Wing: Natural hen pheasant tail feather. Antenna: Two blue/gold macaw barbules from centre tail. Eyes: Jungle cock (placed both sides). Head: Varnished head.
Comments Karl’s tips employed in tying this fly included:
Flattening the base of the golden pheasant crest feather to ensure that the barbules did not splay and they stayed on top of the hook.
Throat hackles and hen pheasant wings were easier to tie in using a vee-shaped section of a feather prepared by cutting the rachis above and below the number of barbules required. The barbules from the left and right side of the ‘vee’ could then be folded together and tied in long with 2 thread wraps and pulled to the required length before securing with tight thread wraps.
Split jungle cock eyes could be repaired by the dipping in a light varnish then using finger and thumb to encourage the split eye to mend.
Please find below photos and pattern details of the competition patterns which Frank demonstrated last night. Good luck in the forthcoming club competition.
CDC Loop Winged Emerger
Hook: fine wire sedge/scud hook size 12. Thread: black 8/0. Shuck: one to three strands of pearl Krystal flash. Rib: one strand pearl Krystal flash. Abdomen: fine textured brown dubbing. Thorax: dark brown haretron dubbing or similar. Wing: two grey CDC feathers.
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.
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)
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)