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Thursday, 25 April 2019

Tying the Shipmans Claret Hopper Dry Fly by Davie McPhail

The Shipmans Hopper is a great Stillwater fly, inspired by the classic Shipmans Buzzer, which was invented by Dave Shipman for both Brown Trout and for Rainbow Trout. These flies are very effective during the season, especially when they are fished on a floating line, on a long leader. If you ever find yourself in flat, calm conditions where the Trout are rising, seeking out emergers, tie a Shipman's Hopper on and you'll probably be landing one very soon.

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 Shipmans Claret Hopper Dry Fly, with the guidance of Davie McPhail.

Materials Used:
Hook: Fulling Mill All-Purpose Medium size 12 Thread: Uni-8/0 Black or Claret Tail and Head: Veniards Plastazote White Foam cut to size Rib: Pearl Mylar Body: Claret Seals Fur or Sub Lets: Pre-knotted Pheasant Tail Fibres Hackle: Brown Cock

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!

Trout Fishing With An Indicator

As the temperature starts to rise and we head into May, this is a wonderful time for fly anglers to take advantage of the fishing opportunities available. Buzzers are perhaps the main hatching insect, and for this reason, it's worth trying a two fly cast with a couple of buzzers in tow.

Buzzers fished static on a slow retrieve or fished naturally with the current is a fantastic method and will result in some powerful pulls, however, using an indicator can significantly increase your catch rate.

Fish Pimp Strike Indicators
The indicator is a fantastic method for presenting buzzer/bloodworm patterns to trout as it fishes your flies at the right depth, and keeping them there - much like the real thing. If trout are cruising at, let's say 6 feet, then a buzzer suspended at that depth has a higher chance of being seen by just about any fish.

Buzzer and Apps Bloodworm on the Indicator
Love it or hate it, using an indicator is deadly and although some might say "it's float fishing," well at least it's not with bait but with an artificial fly. The hardest job is deciding what depth to set the indicator so that the fly combo is working at the right levels. This can be done by assessing the rise forms, or lack of, to make a judgement about the correct depth.

Using two flies under the indicator is an excellent method of covering different depths. If you pick up fish from the dropper, then you can swap over the patterns to see if it is simply the depth or maybe the colour/size of fly that's the deciding factor.

Adjust The Depth
On some fisheries with well-bushed banks or sudden drop-offs, you can get an indicator Buzzer set-up to present the flies really tight up against any structure, and it's a brilliant method to entice a fish to sneak out from cover. Something dropped in close and retrieved away is often unlikely to get a response but keep the patterns 'in their face' and there's a much higher likelihood of a take.

Stillwater Assorted Buzzers
Top Tips for Fishing the Indicator
Trout may not show themselves in the most obvious places and if you see some activity, it’s better to fish there as you know you’re in with a chance.

Have a range of lures in different sizes, shapes and colours plus Buzzers, Bloodworms and Diawl Bachs. You’ll gather a whole load of flies so get a good batch from the word go.

Fulling Mill Diawl Bach
Check weather forecasts, noting late frosts, depressions and changes in wind direction – all affect the fish. Cloudless days and bright sun will drive fish deeper than you might expect.

Be prepared to change tactics to either search deeper in the water column or, conversely, reduce the depth if the fish suddenly begin to rise freely as a hatch kicks off.

Dragon Hothead Squirmy Worms
In coloured water, mono or nylon fishing line will be effective, however, if the water is clear then it is more advantageous to use fluorocarbon. Fluorocarbon can bring distinct advantages if you fish for wild-bred fish or at catch and release fisheries because it offers lower visibility and it has a low refractive index and is nearly invisible in the water.  It is also heavier than mono and gets your flies into the target feeding zone.

Fulling Mill Masterclass Fluorocarbon
Retrieves - Indicator
It’s hard to do nothing; your instinct is to chase after fish and cover rises.  But the best thing you can do is to be patient, keep your slack line to a minimum, and concentrate on your indicator. It can be far better to choose just where you want to have the flies fish rather than haphazardly casting all the time. Try to fish where you can see activity or where you think the fish may be lying. Areas like over old weed beds, up against banks or structure or where you know there’s a drop-off into deeper water. It’s better to change the depth at which you have set the indicator than to be pulling the flies back!
Veniard Strike Indicator Patches
You might be tempted to wait until the indicator has submerged, however, be aware that fish can have a nosey and you will see the indicator getting 'knocked.' If you observe it getting knocks, and there is no slack in your fly line on the water, give the rod a positive, and confident lift - you don't need to strike so hard that your whole rig ends up in field or bushes behind you! There is a chance that you will hook into a fish. Or, if the indicator dives, a confident and positive lift will hook the fish.

Yes the indicator method is frowned upon by many 'purists' but the important thing is to get people out fishing and supporting the local fisheries and stillwaters.  It's great fun, and it does not require constant casting and retrieving.  Love it or hate it, fishing the indicator is very popular and it's gaining popularity.

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

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Tying a Rough Olive Comparadun by Davie McPhail

The Rough Olive Compara Dun is a great early season Trout and Sea Trout fly. This dry fly features a very simple and durable design as it only requires 3 different materials to create. The materials used, however, allow the fly to float effortlessly on the water. It shares a similar footprint to that of a Mayfly, but with a few differences, such as the 180 degrees spanned wing which gives it an easy-to-see profile, allowing any hungry Trout to spot it and go for a strike.

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 Rough Olive Compara Dun Fly, with the guidance of Davie McPhail.

Materials Used:
Hook: Fulling Mill Ultimate Dry Fly size 16 Thread: Uni-8/0 Yellow Tail: Coq de Leon Light Specked Fibres Bod and Thorax: Hare's Lug Dubbing dyed Yellow Wing: Dark Coloured Roe Deer Hair

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 April 2019

Sealskinz At Fishingmegastore

With our ever-fluctuating weather patterns, there is a greater need for clothing that not only performs but also defies the cold and wet. This has been Sealskinz' mission for over thirty years: to make clothing that's suitable for all weathers.

They have worked in partnership with some of the world's greatest athletes including mountaineers, explorers, cyclists, skiers, runners, sailors, horse riders, ultra event teams and anglers to ensure their products deliver the very best in comfort and performance. This enables you, the enthusiast, to defy the great outdoors.

Sealskinz Waterproof Cap
17 years ago they launched the world's first waterproof sock, and have gone on to develop new technologies and fabrics that have been incorporated into their hat and glove ranges. This has propelled them into a world leading brand and one of the most advanced in outdoor clothing and protection.

Sealskinz products are made from the most advanced technical materials to ensure high quality and protection in any situation. These include:

Merino Wool
Merino is finer than traditional wool and is a wicking fibre that can absorb and release 10 times more moisture than synthetics to keep you feeling warm and dry.

Coolmax® is proven to have the fastest drying rate, the quickest and most efficient movement of moisture away from the skin and the best breathability.

Even when forced into the Primaloft® core, water is repelled and not absorbed by the patented microfibre structure, so Primaloft® keeps you warm, even in the wet.

Advanced technology from DuPont™, Kevlar® is five times stronger than steel on an equal weight basis yet at the same time, it is lightweight, flexible and comfortable.

AX Suede
Engineered to provide superior abrasion properties, while reducing water uptake, AX Suede can withstand the constant friction of a multitude of activities.

Downtek™ Water Repellent Down. Down clusters are designed to trap pockets of air, these pockets are what insulate, keeping you warm and comfortable. With standard down, moisture comes along and deflates the pockets of air, eliminating down's ability to insulate. DownTek™ shields those insulating-air-trapping-clusters from all wet things, allowing the down to retain its ability to loft and insulate even when wet.
Sealskinz Stretch Lite Gloves
On top of all the state-of-the-art materials and fabrics found in Sealskinz products, they also allow you to move and function regardless of the environment. For example, they offer 100% waterproof protection while being incredibly breathable and dexterous; feature anti-slip lining to improve dexterity and feel, and have integrated heated elements into the shell fabric to increase thermal protection when you are exposed to extreme temperatures.

Sealskinz Ankle Sock 
Sealskinz also feature Hydrostop technology to eliminate water ingress, enabling you to say out for longer, and water repellent technology provides a surface layer of protection against immersion or saturation.

So if you are contemplating going out when the weather is inclement, you can be confident that Sealskinz will create an impenetrable barrier between you and the wet/cold. In fact, you will actually look forward to going out and defying the great outdoors.

You can enter our Spring 2019 Sealskinz Competition here for your chance win a fantastic bundle including a pair of Ultra Grip Gloves, Waterproof Cap, and a pair of Socks from the Spring 2019 Range.   Click here to enter.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Know Your Signs When Salmon Fishing

When salmon fishing, you can't help but be drawn to the sights and sounds, scenery and surroundings. As we connect with nature, it has a relaxing and calming effect. However, the mind can wander, so when we are chasing a bar of silver, how much attention should focus on the water?
Mackenzie NX1 Double Hand Salmon Rod
For every salmon that takes your fly with confidence, there will be others that just pluck at it, or take a look without touching it. Experience shows that these tentative takers will, if treated appropriately, frequently rise a second and sometimes three or more times, and finally be hooked. This may involve giving the fish a short rest, perhaps changing the angle of presentation, wading a few steps back upstream to come down to it again, and/or changing the size and pattern of fly.

Loop SDS Shooting Head Kit
Of course, if you fail to notice that the salmon has moved to your fly, you’ll simply move downstream, make another cast, and your chance of catching that fish will be gone.

So what you are looking for is some sign of a fish. If you are fishing a floating line, with or without a tip, you might see the tip stab forward or down. Or you might see the quick wink of a silver flank ahead of the line tip – where the fly is swimming – though it will look golden in peaty water. Or, where the fly is fishing, the surface of the water may suddenly bulge. You might even see the salmon’s back and dorsal fin.

Fly Box with 20 Salmon Flies
Any of these signs suggest you should try one or more of the tactics discussed to get the fish to come a second, and hopefully more productive, time.

Therefore, it's inevitable that you will be drawn to the beauty that surrounds you. However, to be successful, you need to pay attention to these subtleties and observe what the line, rod tip, and swinging fly is doing. If you are paying attention, you will make the necessary adjustments to your positioning, casting angle, and speed of the fly to entice a fish to take. You can still appreciate what's going on around you in the periphery AND still catch a fish.

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

Friday, 12 April 2019

5 Fly Fishing Lure Set-Ups For April

April can be a month of distinct differences. One week you get settled, warm weather with the temperatures in the mid-teens, the next it’s high winds, rain and the temperatures back into single figures. From an angling perspective, this can make things challenging, and the weather conditions will undoubtedly dictate the methods and patterns to use.

If there have been moderate-to-high winds, rain and low temperatures, then the chances are there will be minimal, if any, flies hatching. The fish will be lethargic and will be reluctant to chase lures fished mid-water. There’s also a very good chance (especially if water levels are low at some reservoirs) that the water has coloured up and visibility is between four and eight feet.

In these circumstances, a lot of competition fly anglers always opt for a lure-based approach when fishing from the bank or boat. Suitable patterns include those that create a large silhouette, movement and cause a disturbance to induce the take. The fish will not be wary of flies as the conditions, and water clarity will mask any errors in presentation.

Below are 5 fly combos for April to try which have proven very effective when fishing reservoirs and stillwaters.

Set-Up 1 - Single Booby Snake
The absolute banker of a fly is a Mini Black & Green Booby Snake - especially when fished as a single fly on a six to eight-foot leader of 8 or 10lb fluorocarbon on a Di-5 or Di-7 line. It has everything and will attract both residents and stocked fish. By using a single fly, presentation is not compromised, you are also creating competition for a single food source so takes are often harder and unmissable.

Set-Up 2 - Single Weighted Snake
If Boobies aren’t your thing, then given the conditions, you still need to present your fly in the bottom third of the water column to be successful. A weighted fly such as a Mini Black & Green Snake again fished as a single fly on a 12 to 14-foot leader on a mini-tip or intermediate line from the bank (or a Di-3 or Di-5 from the boat) is very effective.
Fulling Mill Hot Head Damsel

Fulling Mill Black & Green Snake

After the initial cast is made, count the fly down anywhere from 15 to 45 seconds before commencing your retrieve.  Use a steady figure-of-eight (to hold the fly deep) with the odd 12-inch sharp pull to induce any following fish into the take.

Set-Up 3 - Snake and Dropper
A slight variation would be to fish a 14-foot leader of 8lb fluorocarbon with a single dropper at nine foot (so the dropper fly also fishes at least in the bottom half of the water). On the dropper, use a natural unweighted pattern such as a Mckay, Damsel or Cormorant while keeping the larger Snake on the point. This set-up will allow you to fish two different layers of water, increasing your chances of success.

Natural Approach
If you are fortunate enough to get a period of settled weather, light winds and warm temperatures then you can change your approach dramatically. The water should hopefully not be coloured and churned up, instead, it may be ‘gin clear’. If this is the case, then a more natural approach will work well, especially if the fish have received a lot of angling pressure. Often the fish will follow the larger lures in clear water tending to not commit to the take and shy away at the last minute.
Fulling Mill Orange Cruncher
Set-Up 4 - Damsel & Cormorant
A floating or a mini-tip line with a 13 to a 15-foot leader of 6 to 8lb with a single dropper at nine foot will often be the ‘go to’ set-up from the bank, with a Red Holographic Cruncher or Black Two-tone Buzzer on the dropper and a Goldhead Bloodworm or Goldhead Damsel on the point. After the initial cast is made, again, wait 15 to 45 seconds to let the cast settle and the flies achieve their required depth.
Fulling Mill Two Tone Buzzer

Fulling Mill KJ Mirage Cormorant

Fulling Mill Flexi Bloodworm
A slow figure-of-eight will then be all that’s needed to put some fish in the bag. Often this method will result in an over-wintered fish or two. The thinner fluorocarbon is essential in difficult conditions, even at the start of the season.

Set-Up 5 - Blobs & Cormorant
Again a slight variation (if the fish have not received too much angling pressure) would be to fish a weighted Mini Blob (Ham & Cheese or Sunburst) on the point. In clear water with light winds, the smaller Blobs produce better takes and ultimately more fish.

The above patterns and set-ups will always work provided you get the depth right. They have been tried and tested on the competition scene and elite anglers have complete confidence in them. Obviously each reservoir and stillwater is different in terms of depth, size, fly life, and the amount of fishing pressure applied.  Therefore, experiment with your own 'go-to' patterns in combination with the recommended patterns above. When things are slow, rather than start changing and trying different things, simply move and cover different areas of water.  Just because you have not caught anything doesn't mean the fish are not interested in your flies.  You might be in the wrong area because at this time of year, the fish will not come to you so you must find them. It is also advisable to have your droppers between eight and 10 inches long, and you will only ever need to change fly once or twice per day.

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

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Tying a Peacock Zulu Wet Fly by Davie McPhail

A classic wet fly, the Zulu is a common fly used on Stillwater venues for targeting Brown Trout and for targeting Sea Trout. However, if you head over to Ireland, you will find larger versions of the Zulu being used as a dapping fly. Trout find most of their food at sub-surface levels in the water and the Zulu is defined as a larva, pupa or drowned adult, depending on which variant you have, so it'd be a great idea to keep a few variants of this fly in your fly box!

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 Peacock Zulu Wet Fly, with the guidance of Davie McPhail.

Materials Used:
Hook: Fulling Mill Competition Heavyweight size 12 Thread: Uni-8/0 Black Tail: Red Wool Rib: Small Silver Tinsel Body: Black Seals Fur or Sub Body Hackle: Black Hen or Cock Front Hackle: A Mix of Green and Blue Peacock Neck Feather Fibres

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, 4 April 2019

Tying a CDC Needle Fly by Davie McPhail

The Needle Fly is a generic imitation of large winged fly similar to those you've probably seen countless times when fishing a river or Stillwater venue. You'll have spotted Stoneflies or Grannoms on bushes, trees and sometimes yourself whilst fishing and especially when the fish are rising. If you aren't sure of what the rising fish are taking, try using a Needle Fly, a fish is bound to take one. Davie ties a Claret CdC body to this fly, which after a while, will absorb water and reduce the float of this dry fly, but if you have a drying patch handy, you can make sure this fly remains floating throughout your session.

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 CdC Needle Fly, with the guidance of Davie McPhail.

Materials Used:
Hook: Fulling Mill Ultimate Dry Black Nickel size 18 Thread: Uni-8/0 Iron Gray Body: Dyed Claret CDC Feather Wing: Natural CDC Feathers Thorax: Pine Squirrel Fur/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!
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