Category: Flies and fly tying


Legend has it that the Scottish king Robert the Bruce, having been defeated by the English and driven into exile, found himself hiding in a cave. And there he saw a spider trying to build a web and, for whatever reason, failing to do so. But the spider, to his credit, never gave up and just kept going until he got the job done. Inspired by the tenacious spider, Bruce thinks to himself that you can achieve anything if you really put your mind to it. He never looked back after that. Before you knew it he was triumphing over the English in the Battle of Bannockburn. Continue reading

Just recently I had been hit pretty hard with cabin fever. We had had a house full of guests for several days and they seem to have decided to attach themselves permanently to the sofa. I had reached a point when I could no longer look at them without being reminded of arctic shorelines where walruses beach themselves. Continue reading

Brian Jones and I headed to the river on Friday evening. In the back of the car we had our fishing gear but also an assortment of fine mesh nets, trays, magnifying glasses, forceps and droppers because we thought it might be interesting to take a few kick samples to see what kind of bugs there were at the bottom of the river. Continue reading

The barbel on my local river will occasionally feed at the surface but, for the most part, they take food either drifting close to the bottom or actually on the bottom itself or even just beneath it in the soft sediment. They are well adapted for taking food this way with sensory equipment well-suited rummaging around beneath them. I suspect that most of what they eat they do not even see but identify with tactile or olfactory senses. Continue reading

Do you want to know how to catch a carp on the fly?

Well bad luck buster, you´re asking the wrong person!

It´s not that I haven´t tried. In the last week I spent a couple of afternoons chasing carp and my personal tally of our old friend Cyprinis carpio adds up to precisely zero. Continue reading

I don´t know whether brown trout are dumb or not. There are quite a few fishermen out there who say that our old friend Salmo trutta is actually pretty thick. Others take the opposite view and consider trout to be smart on account of their fussiness and selectivity, the very same traits oddly enough that are cited by their opponents as evidence of their stupidity. I will leave this debate to anyone whose flies have been refused all day and are seeking solace over a beer or something stronger. My own take on the matter is that trout are smart and dumb at the same time, an attribute, if you think about it, that is not uncommon in human beings. I would go a little further in suggesting that our native brown trout are the intellectual superiors of the rainbow trout, although I´m sure many will disagree. In either case we´re not talking about organisms pushing their way into the higher range of IQ scores. Continue reading

I have just gone and tied up three stupid-looking flies. They are simple variations of the mop flies that seem to be the rage at the moment but, when I look at the things, what comes to mind is the rather strange hairdo of Homer Simpson´s wife Marge. If I were to give a name to this fly, which I won´t on account of their being nothing much original about it, I might go with “Mrs Simpson´s Special.” Continue reading

Every now and then I send off a bit of writing to Fly Fishing and Fly Tying Monthly in the hope they may decide to publish it. If they do accept my little article I get a modest remuneration that, as it happens, almost exactly equals the cost of an annual subscription. So, the way I see it, if I get one article published each year I get to read the best magazine out there (the editor may be reading this!) for free. Continue reading

Yesterday I managed to fish in two rivers at the same time which, when you think about it, is a hell of a stunt to pull off. Geographers tell us that when one river flows into another the “new” river conventionally retains the name of the larger of the two and the river with the lesser flow is meekly assimilated and its name disappears from the map. Continue reading

I ought be be honest with you. Until very recently I have felt rather ashamed of my box of flies. Whenever I meet up with another fisherman I am invariably shown fly boxes with everything in order – nymphs, dries, lures all in neat rows. Everything ship-shape and Bristol fashion. Continue reading