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Its been a long time since my last blog post, but just have a new MAC and so thought I would turn back the clock.

A warm day on Saturday and I could not resist a fishing trip to use the Hardy Smuggler I had just acquired from an auction; the Deluxe 8′ 2 1/2 inch 6 wt, a classic from the past. Lined up the Sovereign 5/6/7, one of my VERY favourite series of reels. They just had to be christened.

One on the Smuggler

The venue for a lovely afternoon among the Belted Galloway’s …


A 5lb winter Blue …

A lovely 6lb February Rainbow …

Having spent the best part of a day and a half sorting out the fly tying room and preparing a classic salmon fly frame, an afternoon in the sun blowing away those winter Blues was the order of the day. And hey presto, the first fish of the day, a lovely 5lb Blue trout. Although the stocking is with Triploids, this fish, in fine condition was clearly holding a lot of spawn. The Rainbow, much more sleek than the Blue was also in beautiful condition. I would like to say they were caught on dries (there was the odd fish rising) but alas, a Cats Whisker was the culprit. With half a dozen more chances, the fishing dried up about 3 pm. But I had a great day.

Tight lines


The Tippet Grub (Kelson) …

Its always good to dress a fun fly, this one is on a No. 1 Phillips of Dublin from Ron Reinhold. I have used Vernille “chenille” for the body which gives that solid appearance. The trick is to have the tippet feathers in increasing size towards the eye of the hook and it is most important to select the first tippet at the bend to have a length inside that of the hook gape; if not, the proportion of the fly will go awry. This was an ideal fly for this hook size, basically I couldn’t find a hackle for any other grub pattern.

The best tip of all (thank you Marvin) is to use two tippets at each stage, this will give enough fibres of sufficient length all the way around the hook shank; one tippet will give an unbalanced look to the fly.

Happy tying



The Lady Caroline…

Just the nicest of all the Spey flies, I like the way the wing hugs the body and the ribbing shows throw. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but its the way the wing mount process positions the wing; that soft loop technique again.

The Carron Fly…

Rather unkemped in the hackle, the Carron fly still has a nice appearance. the hackle at the front needs a little care, strip one side and don’t end up winding the thick part of the rachis here; it hampers the wing mount trust me. Both flies are now framed along with the Grey Heron and they look good together. The most pleasing thing is that little room was left for the heads, so economical thread wraps with well waxed thread was the order of the day.

Waxy threads


The Grey Heron

(Thomas Edwin Pryce-Tannatt)

Dressed on a partridge He2 long shank 2/0, the limiting factor on this fly is the length of Bronze mallard available. I like it just short of the hook point but slightly longer than the body. Sadly, no instructions as to the length of the throat or hackle are give by PT. Pt suggests the feather from a game hen rather than a Heron hackle. Remember to keep the Mallard in a box so as to retain the curvature in the fibres, this will give the shape to the wing like Pryce-Tannatt suggests, “Spey fly wings should lie over the hook¬† at a very horizontal inclination, and the relation of each wing to its fellow should be that the effect produced is that of a keelless racing-boat placed upside down”. Enjoyed dressing this fly, one for my own collection and display purposes. And so to the framing …..

Waxy threads


The Furnace Brown …

The attraction of simple flies tied well (and I cannot be the judge of that) is a goal that I think fly dressers should strive for. I am striving for that goal and so far am pleased with the results. My great friend Terry Griffiths told me the he would prefer more of the body on display than in these flies. There in lies a problem, I like a broad wing and to narrow it too much would not suit me. From a fly dressing standpoint Terry has a valid point.

The Teal and Red …

The wing in this fly is not Teal but Pintail, one of the alternatives “Ed” allows in the dressing. The wing may be too broad here but I was not prepared to take it off! I am searching for the source of tapered hackles other than Schlappen, in both of these flies I used a hackle from the neck of a Metz cape but the result although pleasing is not quite tapered enough.

More work to be done Mr. Little ….

Waxy threads


The Kate MacLaren …

Week of our fly dressing class sees the Kate MacLaren. A tough little fly to dress with a Seal’s fur body and two hackles this presents a challenge to get the proportions right. Moving the tinsel through the body hackle quickly tends to trap less fibres¬† (it works for me). I like to see the front hackle a little longer than that of the body hackle, it’s a style thing ….

Waxy threads



The Claret Alder (Size 2 Bartleet)…

The wing shape pleased me on this fly, especially the shape near the tail. The wide slip of Mallard looks well on this fly and I like the pointed tail on the fly. Mounting the wide slips of Mallard is not easy, they didn’t go on first time. The cock hackle for the body is something I don’t normally use, but this has a pleasing appearance. This ones ready for the frame.

Waxy threads


What a lovely pair (the fish aren’t bad either) …..

Nothing better than fishing with a good friend; company, banter and great story telling. This was an impromptu fishing trip, in January with cold winds and rain for most of the day. The two Browns pictured above fought well, one slightly more spotted than the other. The only story that really matters is that Mr. Little’s Brown edged it on the scales by miles …. (however, Mr. Bell was firmly in first place when it came to the Rainbows …).

Another lovely Rainbow in fine condition for Mr. Bell …

Some of the rainbows were silver in colour however, some were had a lovely pink tinge like the one Mr. Bell is holding, but in every it as good a condition.

Tackle tart and proud of it …..

A nice plump specimen rainbow for Mr. Little, but just look at that reel, a lightweight Nautilus 5/6, fresh in the post from Fly Only yesterday (thanks Viki). All fish were caught on lures retrieved slowly with various jerks in between (no not the two anglers !!).

We had a great day ……

Tight lines

Paul ( The tackle tart !)

The Bumbee, near side

The Far side ….

One of my goals in fly dressing was and still is the control of bronze mallard. All I can say is that I am on the way. This fly, the Bumbee one of the lesser known patterns from Pryce-Tannatt has what is described as a mallard wing, set horizontally. To me that means parallel to the hook shank. Other than a Spey type wing this is how I like to think this is what the author meant. To mount the wings atop of the shank would lead to a more upright wing and hence I have used the “soft loop” technique to mount the wings slightly on the side of the hook. I think the final wing, front and back looks nice. I was a little concerned about the heavy throat, but it balances the wing and tail, so I’m happy for now

Waxy threads