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Showing posts from 2021

New Vice!

For over a year or so Ive been contemplating on upgrading my 20 year old regent vice. The jaws on my regent have been playing up a bit as there seemed to be a fault of some sort as they were very stiff and seizing up on the odd occasion. Still very usable though. I considered replacing the regent with another as I really like the simplicity of mounting the hook in the spring lever action jaws. However after much thought I decided to opt for a rotary vice and all its advantages. Budget played a part as I really was tempted  by the vices in the £500 bracket however I just couldnt justify that cost so in the end I opted for the Wolff Indiana Atlas vice. First impressions are encouraging. its certainly a solid  piece of kit and beautifully designed and engineered. I have to admit that I found mounting the hook a bit fiddly, having to adjust the jaws etc. However I seem to have it set now to suit the size of hooks I'll be most commonly using. I've tied a few flies with it now and fo

Bug Fluff!

The number of syntheitic and  natural dubbing suppliers these days in the fly tying world is bewildering.  However I would like to highlight and bring to your attention a new kid on the block in the person of wonderful flytyer John Ferguson from Dalmellington in Ayrshire,  who is the man behind the recent dubbing enterprise called Bug Fluff.. John's dubbing is carefully selected and  prepared from natural hare fur and comes in various shades in handy plastic boxes. I have found it ideal for preparing bodies on some loch style wets as well as forming bodies on small emerger patterns. However I find it most useful for tying various nymphs. The natural spikiness of the hare fur is really suited for the nymph bodies and thoraxes. So if you are in the market for hare dubbing give John a call at bug Fluff and I'm sure he will be more than happy to help you out. 

Four More Wets!

The first week of the new fishing season has now passed and I'm pleased to report that Ive had a couple of successful and enjoyable trips to the local Loch. I didnt bother visiting the Loch at the weekend as I know from past experience that the first weekend of the season is always extremely busy. Instead I did a bit of cycling on the local back roads to aid my fishing fitnesss.   I also replaced my old tying chair which had seen better days and which was giving me back problems. So for the first time in a while I sat comfortably on my new chair at the vice tying a few flies over the last couple of days for my Hillend Box and a few for my Highlands & Islands box too. The green tailed Kate is a pattern I've neglected using the last few years but has been sucessful for myself and others at Hillend in the past. The Soldier Palmer has been a pattern that seems to be a bit of a bogey fly for me at Hillend despite its excellent reputation. Therefore in this variation Ive included

First of the season!

On the opening day of the season this year I decided to head up to the local Loch when I finished work just for a couple of hours!  It didnt start too well though!  As I was driving up to the Loch I realised that just as I was passing the old Craig Institute building that I had forgotten my membership card! So I about turned and returned home for my card!  When I eventually got back up to Hillend I parked up and made my way along the South Shore eventually  deciding to try my luck in the Easterroft Bay at about 5.15pm I set up with a Blae & Black on the point  and a Zulu snatcher variation  on the dropper!  I fished from the old concrete jetty round to the area we know as the Cliffs without a touch. I then decided to retrace my steps fishing back towards the jetty.  Just as the rain started and my Hope's were fading I got an almighty take and a lovely coloured brown trout leaped from the water trying to rid itself of my Zulu snatcher! After a brief fight with a couple of heart

Let's Go Fishing!

The nights are definitely fair drawn oot! And at last the five month wait is over, the 2021 trout season is upon us! My ever increasing number of fly boxes are full, my rods and reels have been checked and cleaned, lines and leaders are at the ready and I can only hope that my waders still fit! But I doubt it!  I am full of enthusiasm and I've had my first Covid vaccination, however the latest travel restrictions are somewhat disheartening! I'm lucky I suppose that I have Hillend Loch within the limits of this authoritarian Orwellian Scottish Government's travel restraints. Trips to the highlands and beyond will have to wait for now!  Its pleasing to note that my local fishing club have now stabilised and put some of the past troubles behind them. Over the next few weeks it looks like I wont be travelling much further than Hillend Loch's North Shore, Mound, Boathouse Bay, Lowe's Bay, Woodside, Narrows,  Eastercroft Bay, Big & Wee Moss, Braco Burn and Shields Bur

Greenwell's Glory!

I recently tied a few Greenwells/Glory for the forthcoming season, put them in my box and never thought much else about them until I posted a pic of one of my patterns on a well known social media page! That was when the confusion started! As I was told that the pattern I displayed was not a Greenwell's Glory at all as I had included a few light furnace hackles for a tail. I was informed that the original dressing of the Glory didnt have a tail and that I had infact tied a Greenwells wet which includes a tail. Perhaps someone was just having a laugh? So off I went to my bookshelf to try get a definitive answer on the correct dressing! Stan Headley's book of Scottish Flies and John Reids Clyde Style Flies both suggest a tail. However there is no mention of a tail in Bert Sharpe's Let's fish the Clyde and Tom Stewart's Fifty Popular Flies. Still confused I reached for A.Courtney Williams' Dictionary of Trout Flies in an attempt to clear up the puzzlement. A

The Blae & Black

Recently Ive been filling a row in my fly box with these wee fellas! The Blae & Black. Trout flees dont come more traditional than this. A Scottish wet fly pattern of great repute for early season brown trout! Its origins are hard to track down as they appear to have been lost in the midst of time. It is however believed to be centuries old and used extensively not only in Scotland but South of the border and across the Irish sea too. Its famous on the Clyde with the wing in the usual  Clyde style upright position and as the season progresses a lighter shade of blae is preferred. It is a recommended pattern for the top dropper on lochs when midge pupa are hatching! The Old Timers at Hillend swear by it early in the season. However this probably dates back to the time before our club water introduced rainbow trout. A fly worth having where ever wild brown trout exist! It's a very simple dressing that is basically a black pennel with a wing and is the third fly in a trio of patte

Lockdown Flytying Day!

On Sunday I popped in and and out of the virtual flytying day  that was organised by Lindsay Simpson  and other fantastic flytyers on you tube. It was a really great event and much food for thought from the fantastic patterns and styles that were on display.  A couple that caught my eye were Davie McPhail's detached Green Peter and Stevie O'Neills Claret Georgeous George! Suitably inspired I had a go at Stevie's pattern this morning. I didnt have a claret grizzle cape for the body hackle so substituted that with a fiery brown grizzle! This pattern will be a welcome addition to my box!

Big Wave! Big Flee!

If you're experienced enough, brave enough or daft enough. Fishing in a big wave on a boat on a wild highland loch can be extremely rewarding!  I recall one such night a good number of years ago on Loch Watten with my fishing buddies, Scott the Toonheed Tiddler and Tam the Clarkston Tangler.  Yes the three of us were on a boat each taking turns on the oars.  To be honest we really shouldnt have been out for that last hour that night as the wind was really high and the waves, rather scary at times. But it was the last night of our fishing holiday and we didnt want to leave. Sitting getting rocked back and forth in the boat in the lashing rain, pulling our big bushy flees through the waves was an exhilarating experience  as the trout were leaping through the waves and aggresively taking our flees. It was a fantastic sight to see so many eager trout take our patterns in such wild conditions. I recall we were using big leggy trout patterns that night. Never has that old flyfishing clic

Books & Flies.

One of the benefits of Lockdown restrictions if such a thing can be said is that I've spent more time at the vice than ever before! It's no exaggeration to say that I've been tying flies every day and as a result I've filled quite a few fly boxes. I also believe that my flytying has improved considerably! Due to having plenty time on my hands these days,  I've also been delving into my sizeable collection of Angling literature and refreshing my mind with the influential sage advice and over looked fly patterns to tie and try contained within my books! In my last blog I focused on a fly pattern from the Excellent "Fisher in the West" by Eddie Young. It really has some great patterns in it which are well worth tying. Today I received another excellent new addition for my bookshelf. Emyrs Evan's " Plu Stiniog." This regional book is a wealth of Information and a great source of inspiration on which to base further work at the vice. It

The Solicitor!

Heres a pattern that was brought to my attention by Martyn White aka @ Flickingfeathers on his  excellent flytying youtube channel. Martin is a Scottish Flyfisher, Flytyer and Blogger living in Japan. Martin's flytying tutorials are a wealth of information and well worth checking out! The flee is also mentioned in Barron's book! "A Fine Line" He got the pattern from another book called "A Fisher in the West" by Eddie Young! Which was published by the Stornoway Gazette which focuses on Hebridean fishing and flies! Happy to say I've tracked down a copy which has just arrived this very morning! Looking forward to reading it as I just love books on regional flyfishing and flies!  Sorry! I digress. Heres the flee. The Solicitor!!

Meddling with Muddlers

This weekend I have been quite lazy as I had planned on doing a fair bit of walking to try and reduce the Covid Beef mountain I appear to be accumilating! I did venture out once over the weekend for a cold and icey walk around the Lily Loch. However most of the weekend has been spent sitting at the vice, tying mostly muddlers!  I'd been tying a few Blue Zulu Muddlers which apparently, are great patterns to have in your armoury when fishing out on the Outer Hebrides! Where I hope to going in August Covid Permitting! So after tying a row of these I had a look online for any unusual or obscure muddler style patterns to tie. A pattern which caught my eye was the Voshimid Muddler which to my eye looks like a Teal Blue & Silver Muddler. Apparently this is great taker of sea trout & salmon. I'm sure there is a great video kicking about of Paul Young fishing on Voshimid. I cant remember if he was fishing that muddler though. I'll need to check it out and find out. I'm n

The Jingler!

I noticed on a social media page that some angling friends have been tying some lovely versions of the famous Jingler fly pattern recently. An excellent early season dry fly pattern of great repute for the likes of the River Clyde!  I believe this famous old pattern originated in regions of the River Tweed over two centuries ago and is very popular on many other Scottish Lowland rivers too.  I was rather impressed with my friends tying of them, so I thought I would throw my fishing bunnet into the ring, so to speak. Heres my take on a couple of Jinglers I tied this morning! Hope you like them and it gives you the notion to get to the vice and tie some up too! 

Bush Baby Muddler

Last night I got to experimenting with  a new modern material called Bush Baby from FNF which was brought to my attention just last week. From what I was told it's used to form egg flies which are very popular at small commercial fisheries and the like.  However I noticed that this material could have other uses such as forming  a muddler style head on Loch Style Wets. I really like the look of this and will look into getting some more of this material in more natural colours such as black and shades of brown if those are available. These look as if they could work well! To my knowledge I've never seen any bush baby muddlers before! Im very pleased with how they look but the acid test will be how they perform in the water! Be interesting to see if they push through the water in the same way that deer hair does!


Since the start of the new year I've been tying just as many variations of a few trout fly patterns as the Scottish Football Authorities  have of Covid 19 rules and regulations for their member clubs. However there is nothing unscrupulous in my flytying. I am acutely aware and very reluctant  to name my patterns just incase someone deems them irregular fly dressings. Pictured here are a few Alternative dressings of  patterns with my added twist.  Here is a reimagined variant of the Kate McLaren incorporating  a green collar hackle which gives the pattern a whole new look! Ive also tied a couple of alternative versions of the Sooty Olive! It is difficult to say for certain what the original dressing for these well known Irish Lough flies is as there is an abundance of variations to choose from!   Also pictured is a generic winged loch style wet pattern which has a bit of a Dunkeld look about it in there somewhere, which was unintentional at the time. I hope you like them!