The A to B of Fly Tying - Including a Guide to Gamefishing in South Lochs


The A to B of Fly Tying  -  Including a Guide to Gamefishing in South Lochs


After 20 years of living in the Outer Hebrides the time seems right to get down the events of the last twenty seasons of fishing in South Lochs and slightly further afield, it's not a large island, and detail the fly patterns that have evolved over that period of time. If the book appears to ramble along with no real direction bear with it, it reflects the last 20 years! I would like to think there is something for everyone, novice and experienced fly tyers/ flyfishermen. I make no apologises for including some basic instruction so newcomers to the sport of all ages are included.

Before we dive into the detail of it all to which my only justification is there is a great deal of fun in trying new flies, methods and waters its worth remembering that only a few things really matter about fishing, it matters that we go, a good cast is one that catches a fish, and a good fish is one we enjoyed catching. 

We do not try to explain our actions to ourselves or others







When you meet a flyfisher who has caught 59 fish in a season on public water it pays to listen. For some years I have been in the lucky position of meeting 100's of anglers of all ages, abilities and most are more than happy to discuss their experiences. Most of the flies I tie are a combination of what appeals to me but is that is heavily influenced by the opinions and experiences of others, what one pe erson thinks is possibly not that important but when more people agree then it is worth checking out. The 59 fish chap was kind enough to show me his fly box and it soon became apparent that in the warmer months in low water he was getting his fish on small flies, mainly doubles, tied in bright colours, at the backend the coneheads and the like came out but through the summer it was #14/16 doubles that took his fish. Most salmon anglers have heard the story about fish taking trout flies so this is nothing new but how many set out with a small fly from the start? THe fish might just prefer smaller flies but I suspect that there are other factors. In the legendary Greased Line Fishing for Salmon tome Arthur Wood in the 20's outlined his technique of fishing a lightly dressed fly near the surface and fishing across the stream rather than down and across, this might be the real reason for the success of smaller flies, they fish near the surface?

Time to put theory into practice on an Hebridean small river. The Creed offers locals and visiters alike an excellant chance of sport from June onwards. A variety of pools on all types are available from the slow canal like type to the bubbling rapid and small pocket water thgat fish also love. I used to think taht the slower pools looked unlikely but have soon learned that they often have more fish in them than anywhere else and as long as there is some wind can be fished with confidence. There is actually moer current than you would think at first glance. Like most public water the bit near the car park is the most popular, on the Creed this is also attractive as some of the best pools are near it. The wild August night I fished I had the river to myself but as the trodden banks showed others had fished the lower pools I marched upstream to find virgin water. The path peters out after 10 minutes and you soon find yourself on banks that do not see many anglers, the ground is very wet and although going carefully  its still easy to go down a pot hole, which I did. How ever the tramp is well worth it when you find yourself next to a lovely pool, fast water heading into a bend with what looks like holding water under the near bank. I use a 11ft wetfly rod for small rivers, a Double Taper #5 floating line and a 12ft 8lb leader, other than a box of flies net and priest you do not need much else. On goes a small Flamethrower, dressing:



Wee Double Flamethrower

Hook: Partridge Big Mouth Doubles #14/16  -  Partridge Double Wilson #16,18,20.

Wee Single Flamethrower

Silk:  6/0 Uni Thread - Red

Tag: Gold tinsel

Tail: Yellow & red cock hackle fibres

Rib:  Gold wire

Body: Tying silk

Body hackle: Sunburst, orange/yellow soft cock or hen

Wing: Orange and yellow Fox tail with red flashabou sides with pearl crystal hair toppings

Hackle: Full wound red soft cock or hen