The title may be confusing but it is the name of the two main dubbings that I am currently playing with for my winter grayling nymphs. Both are available from fly tyers dungeon, the K. R. A. P. dubbing was originally available only in one basic colour and is the product of the scrappy left overs after other dubbings have been processed and bagged up hence its name. What they have now done is taken that and added a dominant colour to create a set of colours that offer the tyer the opportunity to tie a more versatile range of flies. This dubbing can be used for dries as well as nymphs and when wet, the body of the fly has a kind of translucent effect with all the colours from the blend showing through. I have tied set of shrimps with a bright spot in the centre and a shell back which has so far proved effective. More testing next week!
The sunburst is relatively new and has been in development over the past year or so with the latest colours arriving earlier this year after the initial test dying. Both the test set and the current produce really nice flies of what appears a glow when wet. But, the colours seem to be a little solid, so a little experimentation with blending has produced flies with a magical halo with all the colours shining through. More colours have been added since my initial set arrived and these have arrived today. I have a few ideas concerning blending for this dubbing including a trial that involves gold crystal twisted tinsel.
The flies shown above are just a tip of the ice burg and I plan to try others, blends of one type of dubbing and others that are a combination.
Today was the first time that I have escaped recently to fish due to the recent wet and windy conditions. In reflection I think the only way to fix this excuse to to fish the stretches that are sheltered. This does of course mean that I will have to fish all the stretches of river that are available to me in order to know which bits are going to be sheltered in any given wind direction. Now that is one good excuse to fish more (big grin).
Has mentioned the UK has been blighted by storms, but due to the dry summer the ground has been soaking the rain up and so the Chalkstreams are only slightly up (not flooded as I expected) and only tinged with colour. The temperature though is mild and fishing was a little pleasant with no frozen fingers, feet, etc. Last year was mild but this year has been slightly warmer and this means a change fly wise as well as fly behaviour. Normally a heavy weighted nymph would be called for but last year and this year small flies (mostly of the dry variety have been best despite the lack of rising fish and bugs). Not just now but earlier in the year, remember the Mayflies still hatching in July! This all means that the fisher and tier as to adapt which makes preparing for the coming season difficult if tying for certain hatches.
As for the fishing, difficult! There were very few fish rising so in this situation I went straight to nymph, just like my host. But, oh so wrong! The few fish that were in a munching mood were the ones looking up. Early success with a pink spot shrimp tied with a new version of dubbing from the flytyers dungeon took a nice out of season brown of about 2lb’s. Then nothing, a switch to a dry fly starting with a size 18 Super pupae got the fish going. But only just, I switched to a green fly and took a couple then lunch.
After lunch we hit a different stretch of the Avon and I took a few more on the Supersedge. What was noticeable after lunch was that the clouds had moved in again, the wind risen and temperature had dropped a bit. But, still, I was happy. Both of us were frustrated with the fish inactions at time particularly my friend who had nothing to show for his efforts.
In my last post I mentioned my success with a variation of the Blue Flash Damsel nymph. I personally wouldn’t call it a nymph as it is more of a olive streamer with a gold bead head. The main change that I have changed is that I have used a material from the Fly Tyers Dungeon called Kracken Enhanced dubbing. This dubbing has rubber legs which give the fly more life than the palmered hackled of the original and a pearl glister.
I tied this fly on size 10 and 12 3x nymph although this can be changed to suit your waters. I also suggest changing the colour to suit as well (depending on the colours of dubbing available), When it comes to the tail, the marabou can be adjusted by pinching the ends of. Blue holographic flashabou type material is used in the tail (not much, 2 or 3 strands tied in and bent back and tied down. The same material is used as the rib.
When I last fished I got thinking about the colours used in one of the most effective flies that I use for Grayling. The Red Spot Shrimp has been one of my go to patterns for many years but there are times that I feel that it should be working when it isn’t. Still, I may be using it when I shouldn’t! So, my thought was this, what if I changed things a little. Over the past couple of years I have found that pink is very effective on Grayling and trout at times so why not swap the red spot for a pink one?
The top shrimp is the dull pink version with the bright pink dubbing example below.
It was with this thought that I sat at the tying bench and set to work. I found that I had no suitable bright yarn to use but had the next best thing. A dull pink which was similar to one of the dubbings that I use was found in the drawer. The resulting fly looked OK and will be tested if the conditions are OK this week. I also tied a second version with a bright dubbing which looked even better and will trial this one this week.
I have also felt that the fly may also better tied in colours other than an orange/orange mix and may benefit from other dubbings as well (I’m looking at rubber legged ones and possible different seals fur mixes) the variations on this is end less. It all seems to be an endless excuse to play at the vise, more fun in the winter evenings! (beats the crap on TV) The flies in the picture were tied with K.R.A.P. dubbing from the Flytyers Dundgeon which is basically the scraps left over from the dubbing mixing table (apparently).
Shortly before my trip to Cape Cod I received a package from the Flytyers Dungeon, not only did it have some supplies for that trip but also some new goodies for the streams. Specifically, Bug Back and Nymph Test Dubbing. I have only this past week got these materials tried out, only for the reason that I was going to get some flat lead but never got around to it. Then I remembered that I already had some, in the form of lead from the top of wine bottles from a few years ago (wonder if this still happens). Why use flat lead instead of round? simply, it lays flatter and I was hoping to have thinner bodies on the Czech nymphs.
I am also trying some new hooks, Tiemco barbless grub hools (TMC 2499SPBL) and Varivas 2300. Nothing wrong with what I was using before but time moves on and I wanted to move to barbless hooks and these are just the start. The 2300’s are because I am looking for a new small hook. These have a much wider gap than the TMC101 that I have been using and hopefully these will be better hook-up wise.
The new midge hooks were used to tie up some Minkies and some greenflies which are excellent this time of year for Grayling. The grub hooks were used on the Czech nymphs on the left side of the picture, TMC 200’s on the the right.
The nymphs on the right were tied using the new Nymph Test dubbing using the rope dub technique and which was found to be more suitable for this purpose. When I tried it on the Czech nymphs I was of the opinion that the bodies were to fat or big however much or little I applied. The bug back was found to be perfect for the purpose and much cheaper as well. The only draw back was that it comes just a little to wide for the nymphs that I am tying but a quick cut with the scissors soon fixed that.
All I need is to try them out, report soon as I have feeling I will get some free time.
Last week I was asked to tie some flies for someone, I found I had the materials but one was a shade to dark. Being somewhat fussy about this kind of thing and not 100% happy with what I had I went searching. In the end I couldn’t find what I was after. I was told that it was best to get the sparkle yarn on the ‘net because noone is stocking it (at least in Swindon) because its not in fashion.
I did find one new sewing or craft type shop that I haven’t tried before. It was a gold mine of stuff but due to time constraints I was only able to have a quick look. It had long craft fur but I couldn’t get at it because the owner was in the way so I don’t know if tan was in stock. I did however find Jelly rope. A fine elastic/rubber type material which I have only found in the thicker size in clear before. This place had black and green, plus the clear and I think other colours. An added bonus was that I found the thinner size. I bought the fine green to try it out. The results of my first trial with this stuff is in the picture.
I used this stuff to tie caddis type patterns but I expect others can be done. Simply by changing the body material to this stuff!
I will be returning when I get the chance to buy more but it will be by the spool in stead by the metre, just in case of supply problems in the future.
Over the past few years I have observed Trout and Grayling feeding on nymphs in the clear streams that I fish. Most of this feeding takes place at mid water or below, the resulting attempt at trying to catch these fish has often proved unsuccessful. This is likely due to the flies being used not reaching the correct depth and driffting over the fishes head. The problems lies in that although I have beaded flies as well as leaded, the fish I was watching needed some thing between 16 and 22 and the flies I had were either to light or to heavy. Unsuccessful searching of the UK fly shops proved that beads that were small enough and of high quality were largely unavalilable. Recently I have been using a company from the states which produce exactly what I needed. I also didn’t have much tying time due to University to tie the flies I needed.
I have just finished a batch of flies that should prove useful in this situation but the trout season doesn’t start for another couple of months so they will have to wait.
The flies are Pheasant tail nymphs with natural reddy brown tail fibres and red thread (to replace the copper wire in the original) and olive squirrel thorax. The others are the brown flexi body nymph which I have covered before. Both have been tied in sizes 16 and 18 with different coloured bead heads for when the trout prefer one colour over the other. I haven’t tied any with gold beads because I am of the opinion that trout have got shy to this coloured bead. I also found that the beads were difficult to get round the bead of the TMC200 hooks as well as the occassional bead sliupping over the eye of the hook.