Skip to main content


The Gallows Pole

As  many of you may know who read my blog frequently I have a great enthusiasm for collecting Flytying and flyfishing books. What you may not know is I also collect old fishing magazines much to the Irritation of my wife as I have umpteen big boxes of them stored under our stairs and various other cupboards. I dont think i'll ever part with them as they are a great source of inspiration and Information. I was looking through some 20 or so year old trout & salmon magazines the other day and got interested in a fly pattern I'd never heard of before which was curiously named the Gallows Pole!  Nothing really new or original about it but thought it looked interesting enough and worth tying up a couple for the forthcoming season.
Recent posts

Tummel Style

I've never cast a fly on the river  Tummel in the pursuit of trout. However I have past this major tributary of the River Tay many times over the years on my journeys up north to other Highland fishing locations and have often stopped close by its bankside usually in the big layby outside Pitlochry to eat my fish & chips on the way home. I've cast an envious eye over the fast flowing Tummel many a time from a fast moving car on the A9 between Balinluig and Pitlochry and often wondered where access can be gained to the numerous inviting looking locations along this majestic river. As I have already mentioned I've never fished the Tummel and hope to get around to scratching that itch one day. As a keen flyfisher and flytyer I have a great interest in the history of the art of flytying especially regional fly patterns such as those associated with the North of England as well the Clyde and Tweed. However as far as I'm aware the history of the great regional fly pattern

What Trout Want!

As you may or may not know the title of this post is the name of a book by well respected flyfisher and Flytyer Bob Wyatt. It's a book that I got just before Christmas and one that I am so late to the party with! So much so that everyone has probably grown up and stopped going to parties. First published in 2013 it's Wyatt's second book and a follow up to his earlier work Trout Hunting. Bob is a native of Canada but now resides in Scotland via New Zealand. Bob has a wealth of fishing experience in all three Continents and has shared that experience in the contents of this book.  In this book Wyatt strips away all the conventional and traditional practices of fishing for trout that people like myself and others apply to our pursuit of trout. Wyatt takes a no - nonsense approach to Flyfishing and the myths that surround it.  He also simplifies his flytying approach too with flies that are functional, simplistic and attractive to his quarry not the fisherman. This book will ch

Irish Mayflies

It's been a great Christmas Day here at the Dabbler HQ and I even managed to grab a little bit of time at my tying bench once all the family  presents were exchanged and Chistmas dinner was scoffed!  As I sit here tonight enjoying a glass or two of wine I thought I would share with you the absolutely fantastic gift I received from my wife and son today. As you may or may not know I have a great passion for angling and flytying books.  One book I've been after to add to my library for a long time was Patsy Deery's " Irish Mayflies." I'd almost  given up trying to acquire a copy of it as everywhere I looked for it was sold out. I even contacted Patsy's son as I heard a rumour that he might have few copies of it but alas he got back to me to inform me that they'd all gone but he did take my details and told me he'd get back to me if any turned up. To cut a long story short the book turned up today beneath our Christmas tree via Coch-y-bondhu books in

12 years of Dabbling!

Today my Hillend Dabbler blog is 12 years old. Its been a real labour of love updating and sharing my observations, fishing reports and flytying over the last dozen years. Looking through the blog archives  recently at my fishing trips and days out it brought  back so many  great memories. It also made me realise I'm getting on a bit now and that I should seize every opportunity I can to get out there!  and plan many more! One very pleasing aspect of looking back through my blog is that my flytying skills have Improved and developed over the years. It's also been very pleasing to note that many people from all over the world have dropped in over the years to have a look at the blog. I hope they found some interest and inspiration in my fishing and  flytying. So here I will finish and raise a glass in celebration of 12 years of The Hillend Dabbler and heres to many more!

Flytyers Block!

Over the last few weeks I seem to have hit a brick wall flytying wise, as I have been struggling to find inspiration to tie something worthy of a place in my boxes.  I usually find inspiration in my library of flytying books as well as  all the usual social media outlets. However nothing has been firing my imagination of late. I seem to have exhausted tying all the fly patterns I will ever need. I'm really struggling and finding it difficult to create something new within my capabilities of flytying. Is there such a thing as Flytyers Block? If Songwriters, Writers and Artists can suffer from a lack of creativity from time to time, it's quite possible and inevitable that flytyers will do to. Recently Ive actually sat down at my vice just staring into thin air at times wondering what to do. I've even  gripped a hook in the vice run on some thread and tinsel and stripped it all back off as I just cant be bothered tying the same old styles!  A couple of years ago the same thing

Tom Stewart 200 Popular Flies

Away back when I first started flytying in the 90's Tom Stewart's Four Volume set of 50 popular Flies books were recommended to me most ironically by a man called Tommy Stewart (No Relation) who ran the Airdrie & District Angling Club flytying classes.  Tommy was a fantastic flytyer and tutor and is responsible for teaching many A&DAC flyfishers and flytyers including myself. It didnt take me too long to find the four volumes though I did get them separately over a period of a few months. They were a great source of information to me as a novice flytyer though I wasnt familiar  with some of the flytying terms at the time described in the books. These four volumes were first published between 1962 and 1973 and might now seem old fashioned and out of date to the modern day flytyer. However I am fascinated by the history and tradition of old fly patterns as I'm sure many others are too and find these to be a great insight into the background and source of long forgotte