Friday, 13 May 2022

Fly Boxes

Recently I noticed that I required  another fly box as I've been tying most days and starting to build up a good number of flies that need to be orgznised, arranged and stored.
Look at any online angling outlets, stores and magazines and you will soon realise that the choice of fly boxes these days is bewildering.
I have noticed that the
most popular contemporary fly boxes apoear to be the clear plastic transparent style which I do admit look fantastic and are great for browsing your fly patterns without opening your box especially on the Loch shore or riverbank on a cold, wet and windy day.
In my opinion they have a few disadvantages though. They are too fragile and can be easily cracked or broken and after a period of time get scratched and become opaque.
For a number of reasons I'm no fan either of the old fashioned  alluminium clip boxes, wallets, plastic ripple foam lined boxes, fur patches, wooden multisided boxes and clear plastic compartment boxes.
Therefore I decided to choose once again,  another of my favourite boxes "The Fox Box" I dont think there is a more suitable and better style on the market. I now have around sixteen of these boxes, I know its absolutely ridiculous to have such an amount of boxes and flies however I'm sure most will understand.
These boxes are perfect for my needs, Firstly they hold 136 flies in non moisture absorbing moulded slots which secures the flies firmly in place. That's more flies than you will probably ever need in a couple of seasons,  so I do question my logic in carrying around three or four of them in my fishing bag.
They are the perfect size for putting in a pocket, double sided with a perfect depth to avoid crushing, ideal spacing between the flies, they are light, sturdy and robust, come in a range of colours which makes identification very easy and they are very reasonably priced too!
Only trouble I have with them is that I have too many and the choice of which ones to take with me on a fishing trip is tough, however that's another subect for another day! 
I'd be interested to hear what fly boxes you all use and which are your favourites? Please do leave a comment.

Thursday, 5 May 2022

Right Fly! Wrong Dressing!

Heres a pattern that's very worthwhile having in your box that was brought to my attention a couple of years ago.
It was the name that caught my attention just as much as the actual fly. It was rather intriguingly and interestingly  called "The Chinese Whisper" 
By all accounts the name came about after a fishing trip to Lough Conn in Ireland.
The Fly's creator had heard a  conversation between two nearby fisherman who had a very successful day on the aforementioned  County Mayo Lough with a fly based on a famous old Michael Rogan dressing called the Exractor! which he overheard described, noted, tyed and fished.
However after returning from his fishing trip he later found out that his dressing was  completely wrong! 
Nonetheless the eroniously  described dressing proved to be  a winner and its creator has used it extensively all over the British Isles where ever Brown Trout are to be found! 
Size 12 Fulling Mill FM50 05
Thread. Iron Gray Uni 8/0
Tail claret hackle fibres
Gold Uni Mylar
Gold oval tinsel rib
Claret hen hackle
Bronze mallard wing.

Tuesday, 12 April 2022

Lethal Weapon

The Lethal Weapon is a fantastic wet fly pattern which I once used often at Hillend and beyond but like a lot of fly patterns in my boxes Ive somehow managed to neglect it over the years in favour of the next best must have patterns.. 
I first became aware of Robert Adam's "Lethal Weapon" in an article by Bob Carnill who highlighted the pattern in the now no longer published Trout Fisherman magazine in 1998.
This pattern really caught my attention as it has the natural colours and materials I like to see especially in a trout fly pattern developed for wild brown trout.
I recall tying a bunch of these patterns for my friend and I for a couple of trips up to the  Inchnadamph and Loch Assynt area and having great success with them especially one evening at the mouth of a burn running Into the east end of Loch Assynt as well as some of the other lochs we fished on those fishing trips to Sutherland.
Recently I was once again  reminded of the Lethal Weapon after watching Japan based Scottish flytyer Martyn White give a demonstration on how to tie it on his excellent Flckingfeathers flytying YouTube Channel. I highly recommend Martin's Channel and you can see him tie the Lethal Weapon here  @
Martyn White Flicking Feathers 
Martyn mentioned to me that he reckoned Rab Adam from Kilbirnie in North Ayrhire had devised the Lethal Weapon long before Stan Headly created and published his palmered March Brown which is a very similar fly to Rab's.
I do have a keen interest in the origins and history of fly patterns, therefore I was I intrigued to find out more.
Therefore I decided to look through my boxes of old fishing magazines to once again read Bob's article in the Trout Fisherman as well as  Stan's book of Trout and salmon flies of Scotland.
Although both patterns are similar there are small differences in the dressings referenced so I'm not at all convinced they are the same fly. Perhaps one is a variant of the other. But which came first? It's all very intriguing.
In the magazine its stated that Rab sent the author a Lethal Weapon so to speak, to him in 1995. Stan's book was  published in 1997.
It's safe to  assume that both fisherman probably tied and fished their respective patterns long before both dates mentioned so who knows who devised the pattern first. Only one person can truly know that.
There is no doubt however that the Lethal Weapon is a fly of definite Scottish origin and is a very good all round wet fly pattern on Scottish Lochs and lowland reservoirs too.
Do yourself a favour and get a few in your box and give it a go the next time you are out! 

Thursday, 31 March 2022

The Last Chance Fishing Club.

Those who know me know I like a good read especially if its flyfishing and flytying related.
However over the last year or so it's become problematic due to space. I'm running out of shelf space as my collection of angling books has expanded quite considerably.
A few days ago a book was brought to my attention called the "The Last Chance Fishing Club" by Steven J Murgatroyd.
Rather than add it to my overloaded book shelf I opted to acquire the book on my kindle for the super bargain price of £1.99.
I do prefer actual physical books but on this occasion I made a compromise as it's easy to read on my phone and tablet and very handy to dip in an out of whilst having my coffee breaks at work.
This book is a fine collection of articles first published in various fishing magazines and e-zines and is a fantastic and entertaining read on various aspects of flyfishing.
All proceeds from the sales of the book are going towards the Wild Carp Trust. Although I've no real interest in carp, any assistance in the preservation of any type of wild fishing cant be a bad thing.
It was a pleasant surprise and coincidence to notice today on the Fly Culture Magazine social media page and website that the latest Fly Culture  podcast features the author Steven Murgatroyd.
Both the book and podcast are well worth checking out.
If like me you are fisherman who truly believes that there is more to fishing than actual fishing you will most certainly enjoy both the book and the podcast.
You'll find the book @ the usual online outlets and the podcast here @  Fly Culture Podcast or alternatively wherever you get your podcasts from. 

Friday, 25 March 2022

Whip Finish!

Do you whip finish by hand or tool? 
Does it really matter what method you use? What are the advantages and disadvantages of both options?
When I first started flytying I could do neither therefore my first flies fell apart and were rendered useless as I finished them off with a spot of varnish and glue which was a completely useless exercise! 
Back then I tried to learn the whip finish tool technique by following diagrams and pictures from books. I didnt have the great resource of YT videos and explanations that are widely available these days.
I got so frustrated that I almost gave up flytying until one day I decided I  would head over to the P&D tackle shop in Cumbernauld  village which would later expand and become the GAC, to purchase a new whip finish tool as I thought the one I had might be faulty or the wrong design.
When I enquired about which tool to buy, Gary who was behind the counter looked at me and said "why do you wanna buy a whip finish tool?. It's much easier to do by hand" then proceeded to show and instruct me how to whip finish by hand and encouraged me to try it there and then in the shop.  After a few attempts and much to my amazement I was able to finish off my flies. I will be for ever thankful to Gary who I believe stil works in GAC for that unexpected and much appreciated lesson as it improved my flytying no end!  
That was well over 25 years ago and I have hand finished all my flies ever since.
However over the last couple of months I've been intrigued why  some of the top online Flytyers in the country such as Davie McPhail and Martin Whyte use the whip finish tool. So I put the question out there about the pros and cons of finishing by tool and hand to Davie on a recent webinar flytying demo and to Martin on his YT channel.
Martin reckoned the tool gives you more precise placement of wraps when placing the final turns on your finished fly and gives a more secure knot.
Davie commented that whip finishing by hand is an excellent method to instruct a beginner in how to understand the knot as some tools are over complicated and difficult to use.
Davie also remarked that the Knot was tighter with a hand finish  but that it lacked the control and precision of the tool but noted that in some situations a hand whip finish was necessary.
Taking all these points on board I thought I would try the matarelli rotary style whip finishing tool once again to see if I had a better understanding of how to use it.
So after watching a few videos online and after several hours practicing until I ironed out all my faults I eventually worked out how to use the tool. I must say the whip finisher I have is not the best quality and I really should get a superior make however I dont think I could justify the price of a genuine matarelli.
After considering the advise and the findings of  my trials and errors of using the tool I believe I'm more competent whip finishing by hand and to be honest once I varnish the head on the fly I dont think it will matter to me which method I used just as long as the whip finished knot is tight and secure. 
In conclusion I'm pleased I can now utilise both methods however it's  really just down to a matter of personal choice and  what suits the individual. As Davie says, "There is no right or wrong in flytying"





Tuesday, 15 March 2022

Seasons Greetings!

At last the date that we flyfisherman have been daydreaming about all through the dark cold winter nights has arrived! 
The opening day of the trout fishing season begins today. 
The rods, reels and lines are at the ready, my flyboxes are full and my waders and jacket are  waiting to be picked up from their pegs!
However this year I'm not gonna make it out on opening day as I'm presently locked up in the virtual Covid Jail anticipating my release in the next day or two!
Whilst I frustratingly hang around here waiting on clearance I've been tying flees, reading angling  books, listening to flyfishing podcasts, watching flytying vids and arranging and re-arranging my fishing bag and rucksack! 
As you can imagine I'm sitting here like a coiled spring and will be watching with an envious eye as I watch and read all the reports and pics of opening coming in from friends and acquaintances.
Hoping to make it up to Hillend by the weekend!, fingers crossed! 🤞 
Tight Lines To All!!

 



Wednesday, 9 March 2022

Geordie McLaren!

After two years of avoiding it, last night I tested positive for covid! 
Therefore those couple of hours I had planned for after work on the opening day of the trout season next week have been scuppered.
I suppose one way of looking at it is that if I'm going to miss a few days of the fishing because of it, the first few days of season is a good compromise.
Anyway enough of my woes.
You may have noticed in my last blogpost that I've been fairly busy at the vice recently in preparation for the season ahead.
Yesterday I had an Idea. 
I believe that the Kate McLaren is probably my most successful trout pattern when fishing wets! I've also had success with the green tailed Kate too!
In order to find a solution on which to chose Ive tyed a pattern combining  both standard and green tail in an Irish George style!
So here we have the Geordie McLaren!!!! 🙂
Once I'm over this virus I'll be looking forward to pulling this through the water at Hillend and beyond!