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Showing posts from December, 2020

Connemara Variations!

The Connemara Black fly pattern maybe of Irish origins but it is well known and used here in Scotland too. Its known as a great trout, Seatrout and Salmon pattern.  It's a pattern Ive used many times at Hillend and up North too in pursuit of Brown Trout. I suppose I could say that its one of my favourites. Whenever I'm by the loch side or when out afloat on the boat and I'm a bit stuck for inspiration and I'm wondering what pattern to try next! There is always a Connemara Black or a few of its variants to choose from among the contents of my fly box! I will often choose a Connemara Black when I'm undecided what to try next! However its not that it's a pattern guaranteed to catch you trout, no fly pattern can give you that assurance but it is a fly that gives me confidence! And that is a very important factor in flyfishing for trout! A flyfisherman has got to feel confident in the fly pattern he is fishing, not to mention his rod ree

The North Calder Water

The true source of the North Calder is the Black Loch just south of the village of High Limerigg which is approximately 700ft above sea level on the Slamannan Plateau, at the centre of the Forth/Clyde isthmus and on the watershed between the east and west coasts of Scotland.  It is a very short river, a distance of approximately 12 miles from source to the River Clyde. This gives an average drop of over 50ft for each mile of its length which is considerable for a lowland river.  All water courses in this area flow eastwards towards the Forth with the exception of the North Calder which takes that direction too but for a short distance before defying nature and turning south west. Like all rivers she starts as but a wee burn as she meanders through the peat of the plateau and it takes her many twisted and contorted miles before she resembles what we know to be a proper river. The North Calder enters the east end of the 345 acre Hillend Reservoir at Forestfield which stretche

Eleven years of the Hillend Dabbler

Today my Hillend Dabbler flyfishing & Flytying Blog is eleven years old!  I never thought when I created this blog spot that all these years later I would still be sharing my observations, fishing reports and flytying! Back in 2009 Gordon Brown was the British Prime Minister and Barac Obama was the President of the United States. We even endured a pandemic back then too when Swine flu spread all over the world!. It's been a real joy to look back over the past eleven years at my fishing trips and days out and remember them as if it was only recently. It's also very pleasing to notice that my flytying skills have Improved and developed over the years too. This year the emphasis on my my blog has been mostly flytying due of course to travel restrictions and various forms of lockdown. Any fishing I have managed to do has only been to local venues. Ive really missed getting away to the highlands but hopefully if the covid situation improves I will get up North and over to the He

The Kinship of the Vice!

 As I've often said and many others have stated, trying to devise something new and original in flytying is a very difficult task indeed. However every now and again something will fire a flytyer's imagination and get him reaching for his vice! Recently I've been researching  fly patterns and the history behind them. Whilst looking through my bookcase of flytying books and fly boxes  a few names that sparked my imagination were the Soldier Palmer, Clan Chief, The Brigadeer,  Zulus in all their guises, The Bloody Butcher, The Watten Warrior, The Jacobite, The Culloden,.The Marauder, The Pretender, The Heillan Man, Harray Horror, The Cutthroat, Imposters, Extractors and many more. For me these flies conjure up images of famous and infamous battles and Clan Warfare! Therefore as I sat at my vice wondering what to tie next I was inspired to tie some Highland Clan related trout patterns and came up with idea of tying some flies in the colours of Scottish family Clan tartans The

The Jacobite

I was recently made aware of an interesting looking flee that I had never heard of or seen before, called "The Jacobite." I know of a water out on the Outer Hebrides which is known as Flora's Loch and was thinking that this pattern may be useful on a cast along with The Pretender!  However history tells us this combination  may prove futile!  Seriously though I do like the look of this pattern and look forward to giving it a cast on the Machar Lochs of South Uist. Heres my variation of The Jacobite!  Size 10 barbless hook. Claret  14/0 sheer thread. Red holo butt (varnished) Rear body dark claret seals fur. Oval silver rib. Front body sunburst fritz. Rear red cock hackle. Claret hen head hackle.

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.