Merry Christmas and all the best for the New Year.

Its that time for year when you spend time with loved ones trying to nice while being locked in the same house but deep in your head your planning your fishing and tying for the next twelve months. Or at least I am!

The kids have been returned to their mother so I can get on and finish a few projects to clear the decks before the new year starts. I already have the main fishing planned with my club membership being a no brainer and a trip to Slovenia booked. So the flies will be tied for that trip and my club waters. The easy way to plan the tying will be to go by months of the season and tie for each month. In an ideal world that would be. So I plan on a set a general patterns and a set of hatch matching flies. I also plan to have a set of flies for Striped Bass and possibly bonefish just in case I can make those trips. I’m hopefully going to have a few fly sets available for sale to help pay for the fishing. Watch this space…

I have spied a nice looking stream about 30 minutes away from my home that I have my eye on and if I get the chance (likely this week), I will be doing a re-con of it so that I can mark on the map parking and access for reference during the season.

Now, if that rain holds of and the water levels go down I can get out and catch some Grayling!




Roped Loop Winged Mays

I have been thinking alot about next years fishing trips and high on the list of erm and arr has been Slovenia. I haven’t been for a long time and I miss it. During a recent skype call I was talking to my good friend Kevin Smith who runs a guiding service in that beautiful country. The question “when are you coming over” was asked yet again. I cann’t put it of any more so next July will find me catching an Easyjet flight to Venice and a train journey to my destination. I do alot of driving so I have been collecting necter points to use for this purpose, lots of money of the flight. Loopwings, says Kevin. So I ask what colour but I don’t have any picture examples to work from so I did an Internet search and got some pictures from a set of flies for Slovenia. I tied a couple but they looked wrong. Out with the books and hey presto, I found the solution in Gary Borgers book “Designing Trout Flies”. I was really happy with this fly and how it looks. I have tied some to test on the Grayling over Christmas.

P1000813You may notice that I have also rope dubbed the body for a more realistic body appearance. The body colour can also be changed to match the hatch. I have also tied a couple on Hanak barbless dry fly hooks to try them out.


Jarred Storage

Continuing from the post where I wrote about materials collection at Christmas I thought I’d share my methods of storage. Any skins I get are preserved in the normal way with borax and stored in resealable bags so I won’t say much more about that.
Loose feathers on the other hand seem to be more common when dealing with well intentioned friends. There are two ways of deal with these. The first is wash (always wash!) and throw in a bag and store in a airtight box with others. In this case as well as skins I will put them with similar stuff such as a box for game birds, a box for deer, etc. My preferred method of storage with loose feathers and occasions bits of fur hide and squirral tails is jars. I got this idea from the Eric Leiser book on materials (a tyers bible on such matters). I will store the most common and used types such as lemon Woodduck for example in a airtight jar, my favourite is supplied with coffee which as to be drunk first before cleaning the jar. A recent tying desk sort out as resulted and some home made shelves fixed to the wall.


Christmas and the Fly Tyer

Its that time of year again, Winter, the time in the northern Hemisphere when the trout fishing is largely finished so the less hardy retreat indoors or go south. Some have discovered the joys of Grayling but often the weather is against us so we take the chance to restock our boxes. As with most seasons the tying season also has a highlight, namely Christmas. Not just gifts from family Santa but the gifts of the season, namely gifts of the season.
Aren’t Christmas decorations lovely! Unfortunately, or should that be fortunately for those with restricted space, not all of it can be used. I take the opportunity at this time of year to stock up on tinsels, particularly gold and silver for tinsels bodies. Also check out the packets of fine tinsels which work well in streamer wings. I’ve also found a gold wire type material for ribbing. The possibilities are endless, it just takes imagination when looking at this stuff.
Just to top all this bright flashy stuff off, its also an excellent time to be nice to the game dealers, butchers and shooting friends. This is because its a good time collect raw feathers and fur. Many people will be out over the holidays and their prey will be in its prime or pretty close to it. I am also counting road kill, although these days I am very choosy in what I collect, if its in good condition then as far as I’m concerned it fair game! I have used this time to collect any duck, pheasant and partridge feathers as well as deer hair and squirrel fur. Once you get this stuff home I strongly suggest that you wash it! Some people say you must microwave it or freeze it. Well, I don’t, I have been collecting for years and haven’t had trouble due to the stringent washing policy and keeping stuff in isolation before adding to the collection, but its up to you. If you manage to collect enough it may be possible to have some fun with dyes which I may have covered else where. I will cover storage of material at a later date.

So this Christmas, take the time to restock on seasonal flash and game.