Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Hebridean Flytying Nights!

Its official I'm heading to the Outer Hebrides in August.

This last week or so it's been a real pleasure pouring over the maps, books and guides of this far north west archipelago.

Most of all however it's been a joy to sit at my vice and tie fly patterns for the numerous lochs I have on my "to fish" list. Some I've fished and some I havent.

I've already filled one box with Loch style wets and a few hogs, and will probably fill more!

There is something aesthetically pleasing about tying Loch style patterns especially for the outer Hebrides. I wish I could explain what it was in words but I find that very difficult. 

They just seem to suit and fit in with the wild remote beauty of the lochs and waters on these Islands.

Here are just a few of the patterns I've tied recently.

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

The Clan Goat

 @ the vice tonight! I tied this. I'm quite pleased with it and I think even Stan himself might approve! However....... The Clan Goat devised by "Stan the Man" There's a Helluva lot of materials in this one and it took me ages to get it right! Dont see me tying many of these. Theres probably a lot easier flees to tie that will be just as effective as this. Apparently it's a cross between a Clan Chief and a Stone Goat! Dressing as follows. Size 10 hook. Black Uni thread 8/0. Pheasant crest and glo-brite #5 tails. Black rabbit dubbed body. Flat silver tinsel rib. Red and black cock body hackle wound together. Red Guinea Fowl collar hackle. Blue Guinea Fowl head hackle.

Saturday, 21 November 2020

A Gathering of Clan Chiefs

it would appear there is more than a good chance that I will be going to the Outer Hebrides in August next year, Covid permitting! For a week of flyfishing!

This has inspired me to start filling  a new Highlands and Islands box for that trip. So tonight I thought  I would start with a big favourite flee of mine The Clan Chief.

A pattern of South Uist origins according to the following information that was sent to me a while back.

Capt John Kennedy OBE (Military) was originally from Ayrshire and after his army service ran the South Uist Estates fisheries, including (at that time) The Lochboisdale hotel. The fly was first tied one evening after JK had met, under unusual circumstances, a local clan chief in the hotel. A good Uist cast for me on Lower Kildonan would be a Goats Toe on the point, a Clan Chief in the middle, and another of JK's flies - in my opinion his very best - a Brigadier on the bob, tied for Brigadeer Gregor MacGregor of Clan Gregor.

Friday, 20 November 2020

Tackling The Tassie Troot

Was out making the most of some recreational sport today before the travel restrictions kick in later. So I was off to Drumtassie this morning and was pleased to note that there wasnt any signs of border control at the North Lanarkshire, West Lothian boundary! 

I had a great four hours with a Trio of Tassie Troot to the net. I also frustratingly lost another three too. All my troot were fooled by the wee cormorant pattern I tie. Size 12 black marabou wing, black rabbit fur body with a blue-ish holographic tinsel rib!

Hope it's no too long before we can all leave our respective Cooncil areas and I can get back up to Tasssie to tackle the troot!

Monday, 16 November 2020

Tough day @ Polmont

The title of this latest blog post may be a bit missleading as my friend and I "got oot on Saturday!" It might have you thinking I've been in the once notorious prison 

However I was very much free in the great outdoors at nearby Millhall Reservoir.

It was my first visit to this well established naturalised reservoir which is surrounded by a golf course and is very well manage and looked after.

It can be a bit puzzling however  when you hear a splash as it has you wondering if it was a trout or a wayward  golf ball landing in the water 

My friend Iain and I had a good but tough day with just one fish to the net for each of us! Both our fish were fooled by a black marabou nomad lure.

The reservoir wasnt very busy which suited us as there was plenty room to switch location if required. All in all it was a very pleasant place to spend a few hours and a venue I will definitely revisit in the warmer months.

Wednesday, 11 November 2020


Tying your own flies enables you to replicate your standard favourite fly patterns but it also let's you use your imagination and make changes and and make adjustments which may or may not make the pattern more attractive to trout.

Flytying, especially on dark winter nights is very satisfying and can be very rewarding especially if you can come up with something new and original that turns out to be a successful trout catcher.

However it is said that nothing is new in flytying.
I tend to go along with that point of view and think that so called new patterns are just variations  of something that has gone before.

This doesn't stop me from trying to come up with something original though.
However most times I tie variations which I find very enjoyable to do.

Tying your own flies gives you an edge when the standards are not catching it also opens up your mind to try something new away from the mainstream
But most of all its just a lot of fun.

Here are a few flies that Ive tied recently which are variations of the Kate McLaren, Soldier Palmer and others which I tied along the same lines but slightly different that I  noted in some flytying books.

Tuesday, 3 November 2020

The Take!

People ask, what is the one single thing that you enjoy most about the actual practical process of fishing?
Well there are a wide range of processes and experiences that collectively come together to make a good days fishing such as the flytying the night before,  the company, the weather, the anticipation, the surroundings and the landing and netting of the fish but above all for me its the Take!
Take today for instance I had to take a holiday from work to go fishing as I still have a heep to use before the end of the year!
I was keen to get out today as last weekend I was out and I blanked!

That day was all about the mistakes!  as I had plenty interest but nothing would stick
So off I went to Avonhead today to get my fishing confidence back, in much the same way of back in the day when Airdrieonians FC would go to Cliftonhill to collect and take away the routine three points. Nah not really!  Fishing isnt that  easy.
I was up early and started on the north side getting the odd pull now and again then I got that take that I had  come for!  It was aggressive and it fair made my heart race. The rainbow put up a great fight and eventually succumbed to the net and I got to take the obligatory photo!
I fished on anticipating another take however before I did I was frustrated by the mis-takes where either the troot came short or I wasnt quick enough to react!
But sure enough that big take came eventually, that I so keenly desired!
This fish ripped the line right out my hand and headed out to the island in the middle of the pond!
It had taken the GHS a lure I recently tied and which  Iain Johnston named after my late father.
A hard fought fight ensued which I won and celebrated  with an obligatory photo.
Having this lump of a Tiger Trout in the net was a real thrill but nothing  to compare with the take!
And so I ended the day with my Troot confidence intact and the three points  in the bag!!

Monday, 2 November 2020

Octopus Style

I really enjoy tying Irish style fly patterns.
Generally they look overdressed and are very colourful.
One such style I enjoy tying is the Octopus style patterns  however although they may be thought of as Irish it was actually Scottish fly Fisher and flytyer Stan Headley who first devised these style of flies.
Stan came up with this style in a pattern called the Melvin Octupus to represent hatching mayfly on Lough Melvin.
As is always the case in flytying, numerous variations have since followed.
It's obvious I know, that variations such as these I have tied below and others will not be used in the same manner as the original Octopus was intended to do be used, however I believe these are just simply fantastic attractor patterns which will do well when pulled through a big wave regardless of where you fish on these Isles. Be it Loch Lake or Lough.

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

A Hat-trick at Tassie

My winter flyfishing odyssey around the local basheries continued today when my fishing buddy Iain and I made the short trip to Drumtassie, situated between Blackridge and Slamannan. 

My weather app was telling me to expect rain all day accompanied by strong winds. So we went fully prepared to battle the elrments. However much to our surprise it stayed dry all day but the wind was cold and strong as expected and had me chittering as it battered in between my shoulder blades. Iain was first into a fish on his 2nd or 3rd cast caught on a cormorant with red holo body and black marabou wing with a short tail of three strands of red holo tinsel. It was my turn a short time later with my first to the net on the same fly. I had tied these patterns last weekend with the intention of using them on our next outing so it was very pleasing to know they were successful. I was soon into another this time the fish took the cormorant on my dropper a wee size 12 with a black body ribbed with blue-ish holo tinsel and the usual black marbou wing. It was only the back of nine and was I already thiking of calling it quits as I was so cold with the wind battering into my back. However Iain and I had a wee break and Iain produced a very welcome cup of Bovril which was exactly what I needed to warm me up. Soon after we were back to it and I competed a very pleasing Hat-trick of rainbows Again this trout was fooled by my wee size 12 cormorant. I had that pattern on my dropper all day and occasionally changed my point fly. Just after midday we called it a day. Normally I'm reluctant to stop fishing but I was pleased to be heading home for a big plate of broth as I dont think I could of carried on much longer as I was really feeling the effects of the wind and the cold. Not only did I catch a hat-trick of trout I think I might also have caught the flu!