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Thursday, 18 July 2019

Tying an Foam Hopper/Cricket with Davie McPhail

The Foam Hopper/Cricket is easy to spot on the water, it's easy to cast and Trout just love them so it's no surprise they've become a popular pattern amongst angler. These large flies come in a variety of patterns and are suited for when Trout are actively feeding on the surface and interested in chasing bigger morsels. Tied in a similar style to the big bugs thrown in Patagonia, this rubber legged hopper has caught some serious specimens in UK Stillwaters whether fished static or twitched and popped in the surface. Foam Crickets/Hoppers are also an ideal flies to be used as strike indicators as they float like a bung.

All of the materials needed to tie this fly are available from Glasgow Angling Centre as listed below, but as always, if you need any help finding materials or substitutes then we'll be happy to help. Time to tie the Foam Hopper/Cricket, with the guidance of Davie McPhail.




Materials Used:
Hook: Fulling Mill All-Purpose Medium Size 12 Thread: Uni-8/0 Rusty Brown Body: Tan 2mm Foam and Rootbeer Diamond Brite Wing: Elk Hair and White Aero Dry Wing Legs: Black and Yellow Rubber Legs Thorax: Diamond Brite Rootbeer Head: Tan 2mm Foam

Additional materials: Additionally, Davie made use of Varnish, which he applied to the thread after completing the fly.

Davie's preferred type of whip finish tool can be found HERE!

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Tips and Techniques for Catching Tench


With summer well and truly underway, this is the perfect time to bag a tench. But if you are a seasoned carp or predator angler, how do you go about landing your first tench? Here are a few hints and tips to help you catch your first 'tinca.'

Believe it or not, in terms of weight, tench equal carp and barbel for their fighting power, and the male tench, which have larger fins, can put up a significant fight.

One of the critical aspects of tench fishing is understanding their habitat. You can locate specimens in clear waters where dense weed beds promote rich, natural food larders. Also, look out for features such as bars, plateaux, islands and margins where they feast on tiny snails and other sub-aquatic organisms such as bloodworm.
Dynamite Baits Sweetcorn
Tench can easily be caught using large baits intended for carp, however, smaller baits that mimic their natural food menu can often produce more bites. For example, crunchy little casters are unbeatable; as is hemp. Tench also love sweetcorn.

Dynamite Baits Hempseed
With regards to gear for tench, make sure it is balanced, and you will reap the rewards of the scrap far more than if you were to target them using carp tackle. To this end, using a lighter Avon rod, specialist rod, or even a pellet waggler balanced with a medium-sized reel loaded with 6 to 8lb monofilament is ideal.

Nash BP4 Fast Drag Reel
In locating tench, tiny fizzing bubbles are a tell-tale sign that tench are on the feed and nothing beats catching them with sturdy float gear.

Korum Twin Tip Rod
Hook size very much depends on the bait used. For example, use a size 16 for caster or maggot, and size 10 for 6mm pellet, bread, lobworms and double corn.

Use A Mix of Pellets
One of the most popular approaches for catching tench is using the lift method float rig. To set up a lift method float rig properly, make sure you plumb the depth accurately and then slide the float up to the line (from a few inches to over a foot). You then need to place some bulk split shot the same distance from the hook.

The method float rig itself is straightforward to set up. Use 6lb mainline, waggler float, a 4lb fluorocarbon hook length, one SSG shot, and a size ten hook.

If you ensure the line is tight when fishing, you will observe bites when the float lifts out of the water as a tench takes the bait. Also look out for 'fizzing.'

Float Lift Method for Tench
Another popular method is to use a dotted down 3AAA float correctly shotted and set about 4 inches over depth. The dotted down float can out-perform the lift method if there is a lot of tow on the water and you can anchor the float down.

Being prepared to experiment with hook baits can turn a challenging session into a good one. On some occasions, tench will feed aggressively, and you'll catch them on a size ten hook with double sweetcorn, bread or luncheon meat. Other times they will prefer a double red maggot, caster, or 6mm pellet on a size 16 hook.

This article was brought to you in association with Angling Times.

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Tying a Quilled Yellow Owl Emerger/Dry Fly with Davie McPhail

The CDC Bubble Fly is a representation of a variety of flies such as Midges, Duns and Caddis. They can be tied in different patterns which will allow you to fish a variety of venues, from streams to stillwater. The CDC Bubble gets its name from the way it's tied: When adding the CDC Feathers, you bend them into the eye of the hook and it creates a natural bubble shape which will trap the air in the fibres and create a natural floating appearance whilst the hook remains under the surface.

All of the materials needed to tie this fly are available from Glasgow Angling Centre as listed below, but as always, if you need any help finding materials or substitutes then we'll be happy to help. Time to tie the Quilled Yellow Owl Emerger/Dry Fly, with the guidance of Davie McPhail.




Materials Used:
Hook: Fulling Mill Super Grub size 14 Thread: Uni-8/0 Lt.Cahill Body: Light Olive Peacock Quill Wing: CDC Feathers and Roe Deer Legs: Knotted Pheasant Tail Fibres Thorax and Head: Rabbit and UV Lite Brite Dubbing Mix

Additional materials: Additionally, Davie made use of Varnish, which he applied to the thread after completing the fly.

Davie's preferred type of whip finish tool can be found HERE!

Tuesday, 9 July 2019

An Introduction to Kayak Fishing - Part 1


It’s that time of the year; Summer, when everyone is out fishing the coastlines, LRF’ing and surfcasting. Occasionally you see kayakers paddling around, but they aren’t just paddling about, they have rods protruding from their craft. Watching a group of kayaker’s fish about in sheltered bays and moving up estuaries got me quite interested. We’re happy to stand on Harbours and fish out the odd Mackerel, Blenny or Goby, but watching these groups get access to Cod, Mackerel, Pollack and Wrasse that are beyond casting range, makes us want to get afloat.


So, with so many anglers deciding to take the plunge and take up yak fishing, just what should you take with you on your fishing expeditions? When you do an Anglers Afloat training day, the instructors are adamant that they will not take anyone out for the training who did not have at least two items of safety kit – the first being some means of keeping afloat, the second being some means of attaching your paddle to your yak, so the two stay together if you fall in the sea. In the kayaking context, some means of staying afloat means a device known as a PFD (personal flotation device) and most of these look like a waistcoat with some form of buoyant foam lining. They differ from lifejackets in that they are intended primarily as a means of keeping you afloat, but enable you to swim, whereas the lifejackets you are likely to see used by yachties are mainly the self-inflating type. On a kayak, where you are very likely to get wet without falling in, this type of jacket is of limited use. Kayak PFDs are generally cut so that there is good freedom of movement around the shoulder area, so that you can still paddle, and are rated according to their buoyancy or lift, usually measured in Newtons, where more is generally better.
The second item that trainers will insist on is a paddle leash. This is simply a method of keeping the paddle attached to the yak if you fall in. If you then hold on to the paddle, you ensure that you will not become separated from the yak. Expect to pay around £15 for a decent paddle leash. At one end it will have a Velcro collar that fits the shaft of the paddle and at the other end, you find some method of attaching it the yak. Some leashes have plastic clips that attach to an eye on the kayak, stay clear of these as they have been known to come away from the kayak. It is recommended to for the type where you just have a loop and have to pass one end back through the looped end to secure it or go for one with a carabiner type clip. Cheap leashes are available and can be used to secure rods and other items to the kayak, but it is not recommended to use them for securing your paddle because this is such a vital part of your safety equipment when at sea.



What else should you be taking to the sea with you? The RNLI produces a leaflet outlining some of its thoughts on kayak safety. The RNLI kit advice is split into two sections, one for sheltered inshore paddling and one covering stuff you will need when you start to venture further afield. For inshore trips as well as a PFD, the RNLI recommends a suitable means of calling for help and mentions either a portable VHF radio or flares. Note that although excellent for back up, a mobile phone even the waterproof variety isn’t really up for the job. A marine VHF radio will tell everyone in the vicinity that there is a problem and will enable you to talk directly to rescue services. It also has the advantage that you can listen in to other boat users often other fishermen and can even talk to your friends in other kayaks, so you will find that almost all kayak anglers carry a handheld VHF.



The other item that would be recommended is a decent knife which should be attached to your PFD so that if you end up in the water, tangled in rope, cords or line you can quickly cut yourself free. A Proper rescue knife should be used as these knives have a rounded tip to the blade so you can’t stab yourself by accident. A folding knife is also beneficial if you can’t get a hold of a rescue knife. The RNLI advises that a whistle should also be carried on you, attached to your PFD in case you fall in and need to draw attention to your location. If you are going further afield the RNLI list of items gets longer, where it recommends having the following with you: A Two-piece Paddle, A waterproof torch with working batteries, a GPS, Compass and Watch, Tow Rope, Basic First Aid Kit, Sun cream/Sunglasses/Sun Hat, Spare Clothing and an Exposure Bag. Furthermore, they also recommend you carry a Trip plan as well as appropriate waterproof charts.

On the face of it, this seems like overkill and we are sure that there are some of you out there who just want to paddle out from the beach for an evening and catch a few mackerel. The problem with this approach is the sea is unpredictable and can change rapidly, even with a good weather forecast. If you really want to enjoy your kayak fishing experience then it makes sense to think, long and hard about the safety procedures and kit before you go out to the sea.

It is highly recommended that you seek the appropriate training and kit, that way you can relax and enjoy yourself, knowing that if the unexpected does occur during your session, you will have a plan to cope with the worst.

This article was brought to you in association with Sea Angler.

Monday, 8 July 2019

Lake of Menteith Youth Coaching and Summer Fishing


Lake of Menteith Fisheries are offering heavily discounted evening fishing for under-18s this summer, running until the 6th of August as well as free fishing a boat handling tuition from SANA coaches through their Cormorants Youth Fishing Team.
Plus if you're fishing the Lake and are fishing with a young person they fish for free! No better time to get them out on the water and into the sport this summer.
Get into the outdoors and catch your dinner!
Young Persons Fly Fishing and Coaching.
Lake of Menteith  – Season 2019
Fly fishing for trout must be one of the most effective and easily accessible forms of fishing for young people. If you bring a young person to the lake to fish, they fish free (18 and under) whilst accompanied by an adult. Fishing can be recreational or of a more sporting nature.
Young "Cormorant" Showing Off His Catch
  
Weekly Evening Sessions
The Lake of Menteith Fisheries have a fly fishing club called the “Cormorants” at the Lake of Menteith, Stirling.  
Over the last 10 years many of the youngsters attending the cormorants consistently qualify to fish in the national youth squad and have become Captains and Vice-Captains. Some have gone on to take up full time positions in angling associated trades and occupations.
Free fishing and boat handling tuition is given from qualified and experienced coaches and boat persons (Scottish Anglers National Association Level 2 Coach, Scottish Angler’s Leaders Award, Enhanced Disclosure Scotland). The fishing permits/boat hire are heavily discounted (a maximum of £7 per individual per evening). All fishing is by boat which takes place weekly on Tuesday Evenings from 6pm till around 9 or 9.30pm and runs until the 6th August. 
  • Tackle and equipment is available on loan during initial stages. 
  • Life jackets are provided. 
  • Upper age limit is 18 years. 

Further Information (including advice on rods etc) please contact the fishing coach Alasdair Mair on 07860368472, email alisdairrmair@yahoo.co.uk Or alternatively contact the Manager of the Fisheries Quint Glen via www.menteith-fisheries.co.uk or on 07710 433464.
Next time you are in the area drop by, have a look around and discuss the options with the boatmen (who are all qualified coaches).






Thursday, 4 July 2019

Tying a Variant Connemara Black with Davie McPhail

The Connemara Black gets its name from the rugged part of Ireland, which is so known for its excellent Salmon and Trout fishing.  It is basically a dark fly with a black body and hackle plus a wing of bronze mallard to give it a very dense silhouette. This overall colour is contrasted by a flash of orange at the tail plus a few fibres of blue jay at the throat to create a very appealing looking fly. This combination makes the Connemara Black a deadly lake fly for both Salmon and Sea-Trout and even, in smaller sizes, for Brown Trout. Davie McPhail's variant of this fly makes use of the Pheasant Neck feather instead of Blue Jay feathers, providing a more flashy appearance.
All of the materials needed to tie this fly are available from Glasgow Angling Centre as listed below, but as always, if you need any help finding materials or substitutes then we'll be happy to help. Time to tie the Dark Claret Peter Sedge, with the guidance of Davie McPhail.




Materials Used:
Hook: Kamasan B170 size 10 Thread: Black Uni-8/0 Tail: Golden Pheasant Crest Rib: Silver Tinsel Body: Dyed Black Seals Fur or Sub Hackle: Dyed Black Hen Throat: Peacock Neck Wing: Bronze Mallard and Roe Deer

Additional materials: Additionally, Davie made use of Varnish, which he applied to the thread after completing the fly.

Davie's preferred type of whip finish tool can be found HERE!

Thursday, 27 June 2019

Tying a Dark Claret Peter Sedge with Davie McPhail

The Sedge is an alternative name for Caddis flies. These flies in nature are mostly active during the early hours of the morning and towards evening times, however, during the day, most adult Sedge will be hiding in vegetation, away from the water. At dusk, Sedge flies will usually begin mating in flight or on vegetation close to water. You will often see Sedge skating across the surface of rivers and stillwater venues throughout the year. Davie McPhail's variant mixes it up slightly, by replacing the Wing with Roe Deer hair, where it would normally be Hen Pheasant.

All of the materials needed to tie this fly are available from Glasgow Angling Centre as listed below, but as always, if you need any help finding materials or substitutes then we'll be happy to help. Time to tie the Dark Claret Peter Sedge, with the guidance of Davie McPhail.




Materials Used:
Hook: Fulling Mill All-Purpose Medium size 12 Thread: Uni-8/0 Wine Tag: Dark Red Seals Fur or SLF Dubbing Rib: Oval Gold Tinsel Small Body: Dark Claret Seals Fur or SLF Dubbing Body Hackle: Furnace Cock Saddle Wing: Roe Deer or Similar Front Hackle: Furnace Cock Saddle

Additional materials: Additionally, Davie made use of Varnish, which he applied to the thread after completing the fly.

Davie's preferred type of whip finish tool can be found HERE!

Monday, 24 June 2019

Summer Fly Set-Ups For Large And Small Stillwaters


Stillwaters are truly 'on song' right now with insect hatches in full flow and the fish gorging themselves at every opportunity. But it's best to make the most of this situation before the summer heat warms the water and slows sport. Inevitably, when the temperature rises, it reduces oxygen levels in the water and fish become less active so having a few leader set-ups at your disposal will ensure that you can fish with maximum effect when conditions are favourable.

Therefore with a focus on mid-summer fly fishing, here are a few leader set-ups for large and small stillwaters for you to try, so make sure you have these patterns in your fly box!

Set-up 1: Kingfisher Damsel
At this time of the year, with climbing temperatures, abundant weed growth and long sunny days, damsels are out in force! Fishing this fly on its own in water from five to twelve feet deep would be an ideal choice. Use a long leader keeping the fly well away from the fly line (if possible, try to use 14 feet minimum). If you feel a single length of tippet is too much, then use a tapered leader to aid your turnover.

Set-up 1: Kingfisher Damsel
A short, sharp, pulled retrieve works best, letting the bead-head do its job helping the fly to duck and dive with each pull and pause. This fly is probably the number one 'go to' pattern on most stillwaters – ignore it at your peril.

Kingfisher Damsel


Set-up: 2 UV Crunchers and Boobies
A team of three will often score highly on venues. You're giving the fish various choices, and often this can be more fruitful than the single fly approach.

Set-up: 2 UV Crunchers and Boobies
This set-up – two UV Crunchers and a Booby (tequila) – tends to work best during early and late summer. The UV Crunchers are a great choice as the fish are locking onto pinfry. You'll often see them boil at the surface on overcast, warm days, a sure sign that they're on the pinfry!
UV Cruncher
As soon as the flies hit the water, rip the line back with two or three long, one-metre pulls to make the Booby work. It'll cause a major disturbance, and bring the preoccupied fish in for a look, where they'll often fall victim to the nymphs!
Tequila Booby Blob
Set-up 3: Egg and Snake
Often when there is a bit of heat in the water, the fish may not want to chase, and in this instance, focus on fishing your flies on the drop. Two of the best are an Egg Fly and a Snake. Why are they so effective? They just look different!
Set-up 3: Egg and Snake
Keep them spaced well apart (eight feet if you can), cast them out and let them fall through the water. You may need to keep tension on everything with a very slow figure-of-eight retrieve.
Snake Booby Viva
This set-up can be fished on a floating line if it's flat calm, and a sink-tip if there's any wind - you can just feel things a lot better this way.

Stillwater Egg Flies
You may feel plenty of knocks and taps, but don't do anything. Keep up the slow retrieve until the line locks up solid.

Set-up 4: Klinkhammer and Buzzer These flies can be fished to great eff ect in both flat calm and on waters with reeds and weed beds. Quite often when the water is calm with no ripple, repeated casting can ruin the swim. A better option is to cast only occasionally, and this set-up allows you to do just that. It's an ambush set-up but one that is often very good in these types of conditions.

Set-up 4: Klinkhammer and Buzzer
As fish are cruising just below the surface, sipping at hatching midge pupae, fish the Buzzer only a couple of feet under the Klinkhammer fly. Make sure the Klink is buoyant enough to hold up the Buzzer.

Klinkhammer
This set-up can be fished static ( fish will take both dry and nymph) or you can twitch the line causing the Klink to bob under and back again – this method will take fish on the nymph!

3D Glass Buzzer
Set-up 5: Shipman's and Midas
When it comes to fishing dry flies, a lot of anglers don't have a lot of confidence, however, they are essential patterns that do work so you must persevere. You just need to know what to do! Here are two proven fish-catchers that work well together on the same cast.

Set-up 5: Shipman's and Midas
At this time of year, you want flies that will sit in the film not really on it – flies riding high come later on in the year. Fish the Shipman's on the dropper and the largest Midas on the point, it's a great method for targeting fish when it's overcast and there's a little bit of breeze on the water (the fish certainly love it).

Shipmans Buzzer
You can fish this cast 'blind', with speculating casts or indeed to rising fish. However, don't expect splashy rises, fish taking these flies will be sipping them down, so make sure you are prepared!

This article was brought to you in association with Trout Fisherman Magazine.



Angling On Loch Lomond And Its Rivers


Loch Lomond is Scotland's best known and most loved Loch and is renowned throughout the world. It has inspired songs, works of art, and there are many legendary tales of record salmon caught, the largest of which was a 44lb fish caught in 1930 by Mr Edward Cochrane. The Loch is steeped in history, and anglers who get to know its waters intimately eventually hold a deep affection for the place.


After spending almost 40 years fishing the Loch Lomond system, a Clydebank-born man has decided to share his love affair with the Loch that provided "many wonderful angling experiences and memorable days in beautiful surroundings." "Angling on Loch Lomond and its Rivers" by Richard Dickson chronicles the stories of its most famous anglers, and through his intimate knowledge of the place, its seasonal cycles, ecology and beauty, peels back the layers to reveal the magic and majesty of Scotland's jewel in the crown.

Richard Dickson
Richard has fished throughout Scotland, but for the past 40 years has spent most of his fishing time on Loch Lomond and its rivers. Since retiring, he has been the angling columnist for the Lennox Herald, West Dunbartonshire’s best selling local newspaper. His ‘Angling Angle’ column has been published weekly during each fishing season for seven years, with an impressive list of articles in excess of 200  written about fishing in the Lomond system. Dick also contributes monthly to the national ‘Trout and Salmon Magazine’, with reports about the fishing on Lomond and its rivers.

River Fruin
For an angler who has never fished Loch Lomond, it is understandable to feel over-awed by its sheer size. Stand on the top of either Conic Hill or Ben Lomond, and you get to appreciate its vastness - all 22.6 miles of it. It appears almost impenetrable, dark and nearly inaccessible. Granted, you can glean information from friends and anglers who can point you in the right direction about where to fish, what baits or lures to use, and where to locate specific species, but that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Through the book's easy-going style and almost poetic narrative, Richard helps the reader navigate Loch Lomond's murky waters and islands to reveal a magical loch, offering a first-hand account of fishing its many channels, bays and tributaries. From the Fruin to the Endrick, you will get to explore the variety of fish species in the Lomond system, its distinctive features, topology, geology, and historical sites.

This beautifully written book will resonate with anglers of all ages and abilities but its most significant triumph is that anglers will fall under the spell of Loch Lomond. You will not only be mesmerised by its natural beauty but also enchanted by its whispers and perhaps igniting your own love affair with the place.

You can meet Richard Dickson at the Edinburgh Angling Centre Open Weekend on the 29th and 30th June where you will have a chance to chat to him about the book, and also the opportunity to buy a signed copy.  Glasgow Angling Centre dates to be announced.


Thursday, 20 June 2019

Tying the UV Skinny Dip Shuttlecock with Davie McPhail

The Shuttlecock epitomises the use of Cul-De-Canard in modern stillwater Trout flies. By combining a slim, quick-sinking abdomen with a dense plume of CDC Feather, the pattern imitates brilliantly the chironomid midge pupa as it transforms into the winged adult. These flies sit perfectly on the surface of the water, especially when Trout are rising. The way it works is the CDC plume keeps the fly sitting on the surface, whilst the body sinks and remains under the surface, imitating a hatching adult midge. Davie McPhails take on this fly, removes the Body of the fly and because of this, it allows the hook to self correct itself and display perfect for any hungry Trout.
All of the materials needed to tie this fly are available from Glasgow Angling Centre as listed below, but as always, if you need any help finding materials or substitutes then we'll be happy to help. Time to tie the UV Skinny Dip Shuttlecock Fly, with the guidance of Davie McPhail.




Materials Used:
Hook: Fulling Mill Super Grub Heavyweight size 16 Thread: Uni-8/0 Black Body: None Tag: Red Holographic Tinsel Thorax: Diamond-Brite UV Black or Similar Wing: 2 Natural CDC Feathers

Additional materials: Additionally, Davie made use of Varnish, which he applied to the thread after completing the fly.

Davie's preferred type of whip finish tool can be found HERE!

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Dry Fly Tactics for Trout


Nothing beats the excitement of watching a trout take your dry fly, whether that's a fish head and tailing, splashing or sipping off the surface. However, there is a lot of uncertainty as to how long you should let your fly sit on top of the water, without a take, before you re-cast your fly line?

Stillwater 50 Assorted Dry Flies
The answer to this question might depend on several things. Generally speaking, if trout are not rising, whether you're drifting in a boat, or wading the shoreline, it's important to continually cover the water by fan casting with your fly rod.



A common approach is to cast out to one place and leave your fly/flies there for no more than 10 seconds, before lifting off to re-present elsewhere. The idea is that you methodically search the water.

In contrast, if fish can be seen dimpling in calm conditions, then the chances are these trout will be cruising close to the surface. If you now adopt the continuous casting mentioned above, then you are likely to spook some of the fish with this continued disturbance. In this scenario, you're better off trying to plot the path of rising fish and place the fly a little way ahead of them. In such circumstances, your fly might be on the surface for 20 or more seconds. Equally, where lots of trout are seen rising, say to a fall of terrestrials, then it can be worth casting your dry fly out and leaving it to its own devices for 30 or 40 seconds.

Loon Floatant and Sinkant

If you observe trout patrolling a particular beat while rising, this requires that you set up an ambush.


Wait for the fish to be a safe distance away before placing a fly into the path where you judge the trout will pass. It might be some minutes before the fish comes ambling along on its circuit so your fly will remain at the surface for well over a minute. With this, be mindful of greasing most of the leader so it floats for a clean, swift lift if a trout takes the fly. Only the tippet section should be de-greased.

Rio Powerflex Tippet Material




With a bit of thought and careful consideration about where and when to cast your dry fly, you will get your fly/flies in the trout's window of vision more often. It is then up to you to get your timing right and to strike at the appropriate time to set the hook.

This article was brought to you in association with Trout Fisherman Magazine.

Thursday, 13 June 2019

Tying a Copper Hare's Ear Nymph with Davie McPhail

The Hare's Ear Nymph's origin dates back to the 1880's and probably remains one of the most recognized flies out there. These flies are proven fish catchers even when there is no hatch on the go. They imitate almost any natural nymph and are ideally used on streams, rivers and stillwater venues. Davie Mcphail, instead of using thread to create the body of the Nymph, uses a fine Copper wire to give a more attractive profile.

All of the materials needed to tie this fly are available from Glasgow Angling Centre as listed below, but as always, if you need any help finding materials or substitutes then we'll be happy to help. Time to tie the Copper Hare's Ear Nymph, with the guidance of Davie McPhail.




Materials Used:
Hook: Fulling Mill Competition Heavyweight size 14 Tying WireUTC X small Copper Wire Tail and Thorax: Pheasant Tail Fibres Rib: Copper Wire Body and Thorax: Dyed Yellow Hare's Ear and Mask Dubbing

Additional materials: Additionally, Davie made use of Varnish, which he applied to the thread after completing the fly.

Davie's preferred type of whip finish tool can be found HERE!

Thursday, 6 June 2019

Tying a Small Grey Duster (Parachute Style) with Davie McPhail

The Grey Duster is a broad spectrum dry fly pattern that imitates a variety of insects such as small moths or midges. The Grey Duster is a favourite on streams and stillwaters, as well as reservoirs. Davie McPhail's style of Small Grey Duster features a Parachute CDC wing which not only assists with floating this fly and making it more lifelike, it's also added to allow you, the angler, to see the fly sitting on the surface.

All of the materials needed to tie this fly are available from Glasgow Angling Centre as listed below, but as always, if you need any help finding materials or substitutes then we'll be happy to help. Time to tie the Small Grey Duster (Parachute Style) Fly, with the guidance of Davie McPhail.




Materials Used:
Hook: Fulling Mill Ultimate Dry Fly size 20 Thread: Uni-8/0 Black Tail: Dark Coq de Leon Body: Mole Fur Wing: Natural CDC Feather Hackle: Whiting Cock Badger

Additional materials: Additionally, Davie made use of Varnish, which he applied to the thread after completing the fly.

Davie's preferred type of whip finish tool can be found HERE!

Friday, 31 May 2019

Tying the Sedgehog Heather Fly with Davie McPhail

The Heather Fly is a common fly which is distributed across the UK, Europe and Northern Asia. It's associated with a variety of habitats including hedgerows, woodland edges, moorland, birch forests and wetlands, however, it is mostly found on heathland. Davie McPhail's variant on this fly, adds a segmented body using foam to give extra buoyancy as well as give a more life-like look.

All of the materials needed to tie this fly are available from Glasgow Angling Centre as listed below, but as always, if you need any help finding materials or substitutes then we'll be happy to help. Time to tie the Sedgehog Heather Fly, with the guidance of Davie McPhail.




Materials Used:
Hook: Fulling Mill Short Shank Special size 12 Thread: Uni-8/0 Black Body: Wapsi Black HD Foam Legs: Pre-Knotted Pheasant Tail Fibres dyed Black Wing: Pearl Krystal Flash, and Dyed Hot Orange and Black Deer Hair Thorax: Dyed Black seals fur or Sub

Additional materials: Additionally, Davie made use of Varnish, which he applied to the thread after completing the fly.

Davie's preferred type of whip finish tool can be found HERE!

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Master the Art of Buzzer Fishing


For all the little mysteries of fly fishing, there’s one that has prompted more questions down the years than any other. “How do I fish Buzzers?”

Fishing the humble Buzzer can be a leap of faith if all you know is pulling a Damsel or Cat’s Whisker. Suddenly, you’re going after trout with flies that are minuscule compared to the 'hulking brutes' that dominate your fly box. And they must be fished so much more slowly.

It is no wonder Buzzers often have to win the angler over before they start working their magic on trout. The key word is "confidence."  Once you understand the buzzer's lifecycle, and know how to adapt your leader rig appropriately, buzzer fishing becomes a pleasurable, and deadly, method for catching more fish.

What is a buzzer, exactly?
Its proper name is ‘chironomid’, which is a family of insects with more than 400 different species. They have an aquatic larval and pupal stage in their lives: the former represented by bloodworm, the latter emerging from the larval skin to ascend to the water’s surface, where it hatches as an ‘emerger,' from which the adult flying form materialises.

Bloodworm - Midge Larvae


Midge Pupae


When swimming to the surface, there are often dozens of 'buzzers,' as they’ve become known, which makes for some excited fish. When they reach the surface, the buzzers try to break through the surface film in order to ‘emerge,' but the density of the film will often prevent them from breaking through.  So you will observe trout swimming around, busily picking off buzzers trapped in the surface film - which is exactly where we should try to present our flies.

Midge Larvae Trapped in Surface Film
So when should I fish Buzzers?
Buzzers are in the water all year round. You will see lakes with a layer of ice stretching several feet out from the bank, yet in the clear water in the middle, buzzers can be seen hatching and fish rising. Having said that, there are a lot of winter days when you won’t catch a thing with Buzzers.

In spring, through until the first frosts, you can usually rely on trout feeding on buzzers at some time during the day. If you can see rising fish and little buzzing midges flying around, then buzzer fishing will be a viable bet. Don’t ignore such simple tell-tale signs.

A good tactic, if you have company, is for both of you to start with an intermediate line, pulling a lure and marrow-spoon the first fish caught to see what it has eaten. Often the predominant insect is buzzer and that’s a good enough sign!

Marrow Spoon - Trout Feeding on Buzzers
Another way of establishing how high on the menu buzzers might be at a given time is to check the margins for empty buzzer ‘shucks’ – the casing from which the pupa emerges before completing its journey to the surface, where the transformation into the winged adult occurs. Also look at any nearby spider webs for clues as to what's flying about.

Warm early mornings and evenings are when fish rise in earnest to the insects but watch out for the prevalence of other insects, which may result in what’s known as a ‘masking hatch.' This is when fish appear to be feeding on one thing but are actually focused on something else. So even if the conditions say ‘Buzzer,' don’t rule out trying something else if that slim pattern you’ve presented perfectly just beneath the surface is finding no takers.

Trout Caught on a Black Buzzer
Should I fish a floating line?
More often than not, a floating line will be all you need, because in the warmer months the cloud of buzzers will be quite high in the water. But that cloud will rise and fall through the depths, so put a Beadhead Buzzer on the point to see which one of your flies will catch. If fish come to the Beadhead Buzzer, then they’re likely to be mid water, so a sink-tip line might work. A short sink-tip line is often known as a ‘buzzer-tip’ line.
Fulling Mill Nugget Buzzer
Rio InTouch Sub-Surface Fly Line

Airflo 2019 Sixth Sense 

How long should my leader be?
How long a leader can you manage? If the wind is helping rather than hindering you, allowing your leader to land straight, then you might be able to fish an 18-foot leader with three flies. But if you’re on a small fishery and the wind direction is variable, then leader length should be whatever is manageable. If possible, try for 14 to 15 feet with a point fly and a dropper off a leader ring, four or five feet from the point fly. This is a good general-purpose leader length, especially when Buzzer fishing on a small water.

Fulling Mill Masterclass Fluorocarbon
What retrieve should I use?
A slow one. If lures are all you know, then breaking old habits and slamming the brakes on your customary retrieve may be your biggest challenge. Keep reminding yourself that small insects like buzzers do not swim very fast. In fact, no retrieve at all – your Buzzers simply taking fish ‘on the drop’ (as they fall through the water) – is often a prime tactic.

If you do employ a retrieve, then its speed determines how deep your Buzzers fish. A Buzzer tied with a UV coating or two, or three coats of something like Veniard’s Brush Coat, will sink fairly quickly. So let them free-fall.

When you retrieve with a ‘figure of eight’ with pauses, the flies will rise and fall in the water, but a continuous retrieve brings the flies quite close to the surface. So like a lot of fishing, the most important thing is to find the fish, then slowly retrieve and pause until, in your judgement, the flies are presented at the same level as the fish.

Should I use a strike indicator?
There are a lot of good anglers who consistently use a strike indicator when fishing Buzzers. Sometimes, a fish’s take of a Buzzer is so subtle that by the time the sensation reaches your fingers, it’s too late. There is a lingering stigma attached to indicator fishing, but if you’re just starting with Buzzers, don’t be frightened to use a strike indicator until you’ve caught a few fish and have grown some confidence in your ability to ‘feel’ the fish yourself.

What colour Buzzers?
In winter, black is good and remains so even as the season warms up. Depending on where you live, though, there’ll be regional variations, from green through light reddish-brown, to shades of grey during the summer, which confirms the importance of spooning the first few fish that you catch. Size is also a factor. During colder months, buzzers will be smaller and darker, whereas in mid-season some buzzers can be three quarters of an inch long.

Stillwater Assorted Buzzer Selection
What tackle for Buzzer fishing?
When fish are avidly feeding on buzzers it’s possible to catch quite successfully on a 10ft, 8wt rod, but this weight of outfit does not give the delicacy of feel and the sheer joy of something like a 9ft 6wt rod. Then when the summer comes and it becomes a choice between dry fly, nymph and Buzzer fishing, a 9ft 5wt rod is fantastic.

Greys GR60 Single Hand Fly Rod
Don’t strive for distance. Buzzer fishing requires the ability to put out a straight line at a reasonable distance, so that you’re fishing from the moment you see the flies splash down. A lighter fly rod allows the use of lighter leader: fluorocarbon of 4-6lb is a popular choice.

So if you have never tried buzzer fishing, you are missing out big time. Granted, it is a counterintuitive to think that a size 14 or 16 'skinny' fly that looks as if there is hardly any material tied on would garner any interest, but you'd be wrong.  If you have got the right colour, size and fishing at the right depth, you are in for a big surprise!

This article was brought to you in association with Trout Fisherman Magazine.


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