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.
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)