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Thursday, 30 July 2020

Tying a Red Devil Shrimp Salmon Fly by Davie McPhail

Today, Davie takes us through a combination of two flies to create a unique pattern. He uses two local patterns, The Ayrshire Red Shrimp and the Red Devil. The Ayrshire Red Shrimp is a highly recommended Salmon fly to use on all Ayrshire Rivers. They've also seen great popularity in Ireland as well. The other pattern is the Red Devil, which is a pattern designed by Davie himself. His design was intended for fishing the River Doon and other local Ayrshire Rivers. Both of these flies are deadly over the Summer and Autumn months, but combining them both as one fly, you will see even greater results! Get a few tied and get to the river when they're in spate!

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 a Red Devil Shrimp Salmon Fly, with the guidance of Davie McPhail.




Materials Used:
Tube: 3/4 inch Slipstream Copper Thread: Uni-8/0 Red Tail/Legs: Red Bucktail twice the length of the tube.. Rib: Silver Oval Tinsel Body: Yellow Floss Hackle: Whiting Brahma Rooster Silver Badger Cock Sides: Jungle Cock Head: Gloria-Brite No.4 Red

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

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

Thursday, 23 July 2020

Small Olive CDC Jig Head Nymph by Davie McPhail

One of the most effective ways to catch either Trout or Grayling is Nymphing. With every natural nymph, there are huge amounts of colour and size variations, which leaves a huge amount to the imagination. Davie is tying a Small Olive CDC Jig Head Nymph which features a gold bead on the head of the fly, this allows it to sink deeper, especially in quick flowing water. It also allows anglers to take advantage of an excellent method called "trotting". This is where the fly is almost jerked on the retrieve, quickly shooting up and down creating an erratic action which will drive both Trout and Grayling to bite. Since it's a year-round fly, it's great to have different sizes and colour variants ready 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 a Small Olive CDC Jig Head Nymph, with the guidance of Davie McPhail.




Materials Used:
Hook: Fulling Mill Jig Force size 16 or Hanak H450 BL Thread: Uni-8/0 Olive Tail: Whiting Coq de Leon Fibres Body and Legs: Natural Grey CDC Feather dyed Yellow Rib: 1/0 Uni-Neon Thread Chartreuse Thorax: Diamond-Brite Hare's Ear Dubbing or Similar.

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, 17 July 2020

Ragworm! Why this worm is one of the best

If you're heading to the coast for a spot of fishing, you'll know there's a wide variety of baits out there that will get you a catch. From soft plastic lures to hard silver spoons, there's a good variety of what you can use. But for those who want to cast out and wait with a cup of coffee, the Ragworm is one of the baits you will want on the end of that hook. For the less experienced sea angler, the Ragworm is a crowd favourite and for good reason.


Ragworms are among the most common Marine organisms that belong to the phylum annelida Family of Invertebrates. There are more than 9000 different species of these organisms across the globe, with more than 8000 falling into the class of polychaetes or Bristle Worms. There are three different species that appeal to UK sea anglers, however. 

These are the King Ragworm which can grow up to 30cm, but look in the right place and you might find a metre-long worm. It is rare to find King Ragworms in concentrated colonies. The Common Red Ragworm, which is 15cm in length and usually found in large colonies around estuaries. Finally, the Harbour Ragworm or known by sea anglers as "Maddies", "Mudworm" or "Wrigglers". This species can grow to around 8cm and are found in large colonies in harbours and in sheltered estuaries.

Now, for most anglers, they'll settle for store-bought Ragworm which can be easily picked up in a good quantity for a reasonable price. But some anglers like to catch and store their own. To do that you'll need to find a sheltered estuary or a harbour at low tide with either a sandy or muddy ground type with plenty burrow points. Be careful, if it's a thick muddy ground you'll need a good set of wellies or even waders and be ready to get a little dirty as you'll be digging for these worms. 

The most common tool used is a set of garden/potato forks, the reason for this is to reduce cutting the worms when you lift the ground up and also to break up the ground the worm might be hiding in. Once you spot the worms, pinch them lightly and move them into your bucket, be careful, even though these are worms, they have a set of pinchers that can give you a nasty little nip.


Once you've got yourself a nice batch of ragworms, it's time to either head out fishing or keep them for the next morning! The best way to keep ragworms fresh and still wriggling is to wrap them in newspaper and store them inside a fridge set to 1-2 degrees. If you want to keep them longer than a day, you'll need a shallow tray, with a few millimetres of clean saltwater. Place the ragworms into the tray with the saltwater, making sure they are not fully submerged, then placing a sheet over the top of the tray, dampened with salt water to prevent escape. Check on them once per day and change the water out if it discolours. It's a great idea to keep a supply of seawater in the same fridge you are keeping the ragworm, as changing the water out for room temperature water, may kill them. Doing this will keep the ragworms alive for up to 5 days.

Now it's time to get fishing. You've got your fresh ragworm ready to go, how do you rig it up? The simplest solution is to feed a hook directly through the head of the worm and have it pierce roughly halfway down its body leaving the tail to wriggle free. It's also really appealing to fish seeing the worm flutter in the current when you're on the retrieve.


Other ways can include hooking just the head, allowing the whole body to wriggle and kick around. Some anglers prefer to use the Ragworm in a cocktail of baits. For example, feeding a ragworm onto a hook which has tied to it, some squid and maybe a slice of mackerel. The possibilities are endless, so long as you have a section of that ragworm wriggling, it will get the fish going. Due to the constant movement, ragworm also becomes an excellent bait for float fishing too!

There are a wide variety of species that you can catch just by using a Ragworm such as, Cod, Whiting, Coalfish, Pollock, Wrasse and all species of Flatfish. Most, if not all species around the British Coast will take Ragworm, even the highly sought after Sea Bass will take it, but usually only under the right conditions.

When choosing baits for fishing off the coast, it's highly recommended that you try Ragworm, even for a session. You will see that these wriggling little worms can produce great results and sooner or later you'll be in a queue of people waiting to get a fresh batch of ragworm from your local shop or down the beach and harbour at low tide, scoping up ragworm, for your next session.

If you'd like to get yourself some Ragworm, our Glasgow and Edinburgh stores stock Ragworm every Tuesday. We also stock a variety of other live and frozen baits. Drop by one of our stores and head for the fridges or ask a member of staff for help.

Thursday, 16 July 2020

Tying a Small Humpy (Dry Fly) with Davie McPhail

A challenging yet, fun fly to tie, is the Humpy. The reason this fly is mostly bought, rather than tied, is the unusual tying method for the "hump" of the fly. Don't let this deter you from trying, because as soon as you nail it, you'll be tying one of the most popular dry flies out there. The Humpy is an excellent attractor in various sizes and many have great luck when the water is a little rough. Because of its large, buggy profile, you can spot this on rough water and so can the Trout! These flies are mostly tied in Yellow or Red and some go as far as tying "royal" patterns of this fly. For the days when the wind has picked up and the water has started to rough up, you'll be ready with a few Humpy variants 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 Claret Bob's Bits, with the guidance of Davie McPhail.




Materials Used:
Hook: Fulling Mill Ultimate Dry size 20 Thread: Uni-8/0 Red Tail: Black Cock Fibres Body: Red Thread Hump and Wing: Light Coloured Elk or Coastal Deer Hair Hackle: Coachman 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!

Thursday, 9 July 2020

Tying a Hummingbird Mayfly by Davie McPhail

The Mayfly is great Early Season fly, but can be used throughout the season. The life of a Mayfly can be minutes to an hour long and in Scotland, the hatch is around June. The male Mayfly seeks out females to mate as quickly as possible, before falling dead onto the surface of the water. During this time, Trout aggressively feed on spent Mayflys. Variants made can differ in size and even colour, such as this Hummingbird variant created by Davie. Using striking colours mixed in with traditional colours, this Hummingbird Mayfly is a great year-round variant!

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 Claret Bob's Bits, with the guidance of Davie McPhail.




Materials Used:
Hook: Fulling Mill Ultimate Dry size 16 Thread: Uni-8/0 Black Tail: Dyed Black Cock Fibres Body: Fibre from a Peacock Neck Feather Back: Hot Orange CDC Feather Thorax: Bleached and Dyed Flu-Pink Pheasant Tail Fibres Wing: Dyed Black CDC and Fibres from a Peacock Neck Feather Thorax Cover: Black Foam or Floss

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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