Sunday, 30 January 2011

Hillend Scruffs!

I hope you realized that when you read the title of this post that I wasn't referring to the resplendently attired members of the Airdrie and District Angling Club who assembled in a local school today for the Club's Annual General Meeting.
The above title was actually the name I gave to a bunch of flies I tied last night for use at Hillend and the Highlands of Scotland. They came about after reading a post on a fishing forum about brushing out the dubbed bodies of artificial flies. Since I began flytying I was taught to pick out the bodies of the flies as they really do add to the translucency of a fly especially if seals fur has been incorporated in the pattern. I also recall reading an article in a well know angling magazine a few years ago about the effectiveness of scruffy flies and their use on Highland Lochans. These six flies are good examples of such flies and are good all round patterns to use anywhere in the country. They are quick and easy to tie and although they may not be pretty I'm sure they will be pretty effective. Some people use a velcro brush or a dubbing needle to brush out the flies but I find that an old toothbrush is great and unlike some tyers who pick out the body before winding on the hackles I rough up the fly once the tying process is complete. It would be interesting to hear other folks views on the scruffy look.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Hillend Green!

I was busy at the vice all weekend after visiting the Glasgow Angling Centre for a nice Hi Green cape and receiving a parcel through the post from Cookshill Fytying Materials with my new seals Fur dubbing. Seals Fur has been a material I have tended no to use up until recently . I think I was put off this material in my early days as a fly tyer as I found it difficult to work with. However that is not the case now as I think it is a wonderful material to work with especially in wet flies. Anyway I was discussing flies on a Fishing Forum recently and was talking to a Hillend regular who told me to tie a pattern he has had great success with especially at the start of the season at Hillend. That pattern was the above fly which I named the Hillend Green , could it be called anything else? I must say the combination of colours not only looks good and even if I do say so myself, has all the right ingredients to fool the fish. The pattern for this fly is as follows.

Hook. Size 10 Kamazan B175
Thread. Black Uni 8/0
Body. Green Highlander Seals Fur
Rib. Silver Tinsel
Tail. Hot green Uni Floss
Body Hackle. High Green Rooster Neck Hackle
Head Hackle. Black Hen hackle

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Hillend Fire!

I hope the title of this post didn't have you thinking that we had a forest fire up here at Hillend Loch. It's far too cold for that to happen anyway. Hillend Fire is the name I have given my latest fly. I set out to tie some more muddlers but I wasn't happy with the results so instead of throwing the fly away in my rubbish bucket I decided to trim away the deer hair head altogether and tied in a black hen hackle at the front instead. I was actually quite pleased with the look. The blend of colours reminded me of fire! I think you will agree that it looks like striking if you will pardon the pun. I suppose this was an accidental fly . Thats what I like about fly tying, as sometimes I sit down at the vice and the flies I produce are not what I first intended to tie. I will just have to wait to see if the colour combination will be successful. I have posted two pics of the fly from different angles to show the tying from underneath and the side.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

The Muddler & The Bumble

I have spent a bit of time tonight at the bench tying up more flies for my latest fly box and it is filling up very nicely. I'm right on schedule to have it full in time for the fishing season starting in March. The above two flies would be a nice combination on a cast from a drifting boat at Hillend. A brightly coloured muddler on the top dropper and the bumble on the middle with possibly a Peter Ross on the point. All would be dependant on the conditions as we all know how fickle the trout can be at times. I won't pretend to know what fly is best for a certain situation I usually just a have a hunch as to what to tie on or take advice from friends etc. I find tying flies just as much fun as fishing and if I'm honest I might just prefer the tying to the fishing, Is that wrong?

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Bitter Cold Hillend

I went up to Hillend Loch today for a wee walk to see how the area was looking after all the severe weather we had for the last month and a half. As the Hillend Lodge appeared to be open I decided to pop in for a coffee. As I opened the door the smell of fresh paint greeted my senses. I was surprised to see that the whole interior of the club house was getting a much needed make over. Although there was quite a bit of stuff lying around the clubhouse the actual room looked quited spacious its amazing what a bit of paint and reorganizing can do. I have to say the place was looking really nice and I'm sure will be complete by the time March the 15th comes round. After a chat with the members I decided to go out for a walk along the Loch shore. The ice hasn't completely gone from Hillend as there was still big sheets spread over the expanse of the loch. It was quite sureal to see areas on the Loch which appeared to be running water as it was blown by the strong westerly wind banked on each side with stationary ice. I tried to get some photos of this but the results were poor and didn't do the scene any justice.
I went as far as the Braco Burn stopping here and there taking numerous photos. As I was going about the Loch today about three trains passed but I was too slow with the camera to capture them, hopefuly get them next time. It was bitter cold up there today and difficult to imagine that the fishing season is only 58 days away. Enjoy the photos.

Friday, 14 January 2011

A Loch Fly

I have been tying Loch Flies or if you are from Ireland Lough Flies all week, The above pic is the best of the bunch. That particular fly is in the style of a bumble, my favourite fly to tye and use. These style of flies were made famous in that classic angling book. "A man may fish" by T C Kingsmill moor.
Kingsmill Moor understood more than most the effect of light and water on fly patterns and developed a range of bumbles to suit various degrees of light brought on by the ever changing moods in the weather. The pattern above is not a copy of any of his patterns but based on the same style in which he developed his flies. I tyed this with the idea that the varied blends and shades of colour would add translucency to this pattern. I believe that Moor's favourite pattern was a golden Olive Bumble which he reckoned should be the first fly on a cast when in the pursuit of wild brown trout. I have yet to gain enough experience to confidently recommend a pattern which would be an absolute success in Loch Fishing and I guess I probably never will but if I ever do I would imagine that a fly pattern tied in the style of a bumble would be that fly.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Under the Influence

My wife is always telling me that I spend far too much time on my computer. She is probably correct but I find it far more informative, educational and entertaining than sitting watching a big flat screen television boring me to death as it flickers away in the corner of the sitting room.
More often than not my spare time in the evenings is spent at the keyboard and monitor and also the tying desk and vice. It's a great combination tying flies photographing them and then uploading them to the pc. I also have a list of favourite flytying sites and blogs which I visit regularly. One such site is Davie McPhail's you tube channel. Its a wonderful resource of flytying videos and instruction. For a while now I have been heavily influinced by Davie's tying and I firmly believe that my flytying has improved immensely by watching Davie McPhail's videos. Today as I clicked onto his site as I do most days to see if he has any new patterns uploaded I was pleased to see that new pattern was uploaded named the Spectrum Dabbler. I really liked the combination of colours and materials that were incorporated in the tying and decided that I would sit at the vice and try to come up with something similar. I started off trying to do something in the same vain but as I progressed and added the materials the fly began to go off on another tangent altogether and I ended up producing an entirely different pattern from which I originally set out to tye. That's the beauty of tying your own flies, you maybe influenced by something then go onto produce a a pattern of your own making. It's the same with artists, musicians and songwriters and the like, Any piece of work they produce has bound to have a little of what they were influenced by , it's only natural. Anyway here is a couple of flies I tied today after watching the Ayrshire flytyers website.

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Electric Hillend!

Although not entirely angling or fly tying related I feel this latest post might be of interest to fishermen in the Central belt who fancy a day out at Hillend this year.
The new electric rail link between Airdrie and Bathgate is now open. Not only will it be of benefit to commuters between Glasgow and Edinburgh it will be a real good opportunity for anglers travelling from the East and West to leave the car behind and catch the train to Hillend. A new train station is under construction at Caldercruix which is only ten minute walk away from the Loch.
The new stations at Drumgelloch, Caldercruix and Armadale are not quite ready yet due to the bad weather but will be open by the start of the new fishing season once the severe weather we are experiencing at the moment has ended.
The new link connecting the West and East of Scotland was constructed along the old cycle path which replaced the old railway line which ceased operating in 1956 as the line was deemed to be uneconomical.
The link was funded by the Scottish Government and is expected to open up new economic and educational opportunites to those living along the route and offers an alternative to commuters using the M8 Motorway between Glasgow and Edinburgh.
The railway runs along the South shore of Hillend Loch which gave our Angling Club a few headaches as the construction of the line meant the several access points to the Loch on the South shore that anglers were used to using were no longer available. A footbridge and car park were built close by the Angling Lodge giving direct access to the Lodge and the Loch. The only other access point to the South shore is by way of the Yaughting Club. A new road was also constructed at the east end of the Loch leading to the Angling Lodge. Another positive outcome was that another new road was constructed leading from the Limerigg road direct to the North shore. Access to the North shore was always a bit of a trek for anglers but not now.
I haven't taken a trip along the rail line yet but hope to do so soon as it's been a while since I had a day out in Edinburgh.
Hope you found this post interesting and that the next time you are thinking of angling at Hillend buy a ticket and catch the train....

Monday, 3 January 2011

Brand New Bumble

Right then this is my first post this year. Today I went for a wee trip into the GAC to top up on tying materials. As usual I was like a kid in a sweetie shop when I entered the shop today. I had a look at the new product that has caught the eye of fly tyers up and down the country...Bug Bond. From what I have read about it and saw on Davie McPhails You Tube Channel it is a fantastic product but today I decided it was too expensive for my wallet especially as I would be using it for novelty purposes as I don't tie or fish buzzers and the like and that is what it is used for most. I might consider purchasing when it comes down to a more realistic price. I then wandered and pondered over various fur, feather and all manner of shiny glittery materials.In the end I opted for some dubbing material, feathers and some tinsel but before i left the store I bought something I have been thinking of getting for some time now, Fly tyers dye. Today opted for dark brown and dark claret which I intend to use on old capes and feathers that have been lying at the bottom of my tying chest for quite a while. Should be fun trying these dyes out just as long as I'm careful with it as I don't think er indoors would like various colours splashed all over her kitchen worktops etc. I will post my results on here in the next few days when I get round to trying it out.
In the mean time here is a fly I tied this afternoon with some of the materials I brought home today. It's the first time I have incorporated jay feathers in my bumbles as I have always used Guinea fowl or dyed partridge as a substitute but as you can see from the pic above nothing compares to the real thing. I think the Jay is very striking I hope you like it.