A year in review and future plans

Happy New Year

Its been a year since I started this blog and I have been over whelmed by its success. I didn’t think it would be visited and the kind comments from visitors has meant alot. Thankyou.I have a number of ideas for the its future (but no more moves), including step by steps. I also intend, where ever possible to use a standardized colour system with the aid of the Borger Colour System. I found my colour booklet a couple of days ago while clearing out a drawer. For while I have been some what disappointed that material suppliers cann’t seem to supply materials the same shade. Try ordering something medium olive and you will get something different every time (one good reason to dye your own, you have control). So this coming year I will be giving a BCS number where possible.

My fishing this year has been, shall we say sparse. This has mainly been due to the weather and working away during the summer as well as finishing my degree during the Spring. But the weather has meant that I have been tying more with a few ideas still to be tried including some tubes and saltwater flies.

I have high hopes and plans for next years fishing, trying out new flies and places. As usual I will continue my membership of a fishing club based in Salisbury where I can fish on my favourite waters with some new ones (to me) that I have not had the chance to fish.

I recently got my hands on a book “Trout in Dirty Places”, by Theo Pike, I really like this book and found some new places to fish. The nicest surprise was finding a chapter covering the streams around Stroud which is pretty close to me and I actually pass through when I take my kids back to their mothers. I can see me stopping of on the way back home a few times.

My big trip this year will be my return to Cape Cod during September for the Striped Bass, this trip is actually planned to co-incide with the Striperheads Clave and I will give details when I receive them for those interested. I’m really looking forward to this and catching up with some old friends. If I can manage it, I may also get a return trip to Slovenia to see a couple other friends and do some exploring but this depends on funds and if I can sell enough flies.



A weighty problem

If you live in the UK then you will know about the excess of rain over the past few months. It wasn’t too bad during the summer because I was at least able to get out occasionally when the rain actually stopped long enough for the rivers to settle a bit. But the past 2 months have been worst. This has been due to the saturated ground that hasn’t been able to hold any more water. In turn, this has resulted in the worst flooding in many years and currently the situation doesn’t look like changing. It does however have its plus’s. At the beginning of the Trout season they were banning hose pipes and bringing other water saving ideas in as well as the aquifers of the chalkstreams being extremely low with the result that the chalkstreams were threaten. Now, this has changed, it is now being reported that the aquifers are full and healthy.

The streams are currently unfishable due to the high water and it has been like this long enough that two trips, one in October and one last month to be cancelled and fishing over the next few days as gone as well. However, a friend who I was supposed to fish with over the past couple months has been able to get out and catch fish but the flies needed to be heavy, hence this article.


The only way to get the fly down to the bottom for the Grayling is with the use of tungsten. Even brass bead heads weren’t able to get the depth so tungsten beads were used (top hook in picture). The middle hook has a ordinary bead with tungsten sheet under body. The bottom hook shows another for Czech nymphs and red spot shrimps. I tie these up in batches before the rest of the flies are tied for ease and convenience when tying large numbers of flies which is the case at the moment as I didn’t have many heavy flies.


Tying tip for December…stop the woodduck waste!

I have spent my weekend doing a couple of things.

The first was getting this blog re-located and up to date in its new home and hopefully its for the better. I welcome any feed back and other comments.

The other thing I have been doing is finishing some flies for a swap, these were a small North American streamer, Caleste, which have a woodduck wing. I expect most people who tye with this material simply strip off the fluff and lower fibres and throw them away. I have to admit that I have been guilty of this in the past but sometime ago I was tying some emergers up and needed some woodduck fibres for the tail. I previously been tying some Lively Mayflies which have woodduck wings and I realised the waste feathers from that batch of flies had what I wanted. Not the fluff but a few fibres just above the fluff. The end result is that I now have two jars for woodduck. The first is for unused feathers and the second is for the leftovers which have a few fibres left that I can use for dry fly and emerger tails.



Hello and welcome to the new home of ‘The Shoestring Fly Fisher’. A move that has been planned for sometime for a number of reasons but mainly influenced by the need for a site that as more freedom and doesn’t give me headaches if I want to use it over the weekend.

I will be keeping the old articles where they are located for some time in case people have them book marked but it is likely that they will be moved here at some point to keep everything together for easy reference and in one place.

I am planning to introduce some new ideas over the next few months including step by steps of the flies instead of just a picture (if I think it warrants it). Plus one or two techniques which I use.


Salty Prawn

With a renewed interest, possibly due to possible trip next year, I return to the tying of saltwater patterns. New materials are also sat on my tying table and with the arrival of the dark evenings, its time for fun with large flies. In this case I saw a possibility of Sea Dragon dubbing and some legs alive (micro). A suggestion in the introduction of the dubbing material suggested that it would be ideal for shrimp patterns. I thought shrimp flies would be a good place to start, the Ultra Shrimp would be a good place to start (solely because it was the only one I could think of), but as things go, things roller coastered and the fly changed slightly.


Most flies have the burnt nylon eyes but another way which produces the same effect is the artificial flower stamens from craft shops. These are a couple of bucks for a pack. I originally thought that the ones I had were too big but on the finished fly they look fine. it may pay to have these things in varying sizes if available. Unless the stamens that you buy are plastic, I would strongly suggest that you varnish them before tying the fly to water proof them.


On this fly I have used  clear hot glue but I’m thinking of trying some with glitter. I have some but need to find a supplier in the near future (suggestions please).

Hook – Fishguy saltwater 925ss or Daiichi 2546

Thread – nylon thread, fine (or invisible thread from the sewing/craft shop)

Tail – Tan bucktail, Tan legs alive and Tan crystal flash (continue the flash over the body and tie in at the head once the body is tied in).

Body – Tan Sea Dragon Dubbing, well picked out underneath.

Back – Clear hot melt glue, when applying the glue make sure that that glue gun as been on for a while and that the glue is runny. I have messed up several flies by applying glue that is not hot enough to produce the required shape/effect. The back in the picture is slightly cloudy but if you require a completely clear back immerse the the in cold water straight after applying the glue. When applying the glue, pull the dubbed body material down and the glue will hold it in place creating the legs of the imitation

Note – For the example I have used tan but these critters also come in other colours, I suggest tying to match those in the waters that you fish. Maybe try some others like chartreuse, pink and orange.