Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Flies of 2013: Hutch's Pennell

The Black Pennell is one of THE best known traditional wet flies. I have used it for years when stillwater fishing for brown trout and rainbows, and it is still one of my first choice flies for wild brown trout in lakes and lochs. I had heard of one or two Black Pennell variations, but to be fair there isn't much you can do improve its simple design and effectiveness. It was again whilst researching patterns for my Shetland trip that Hutch's Pennell came to my attention. I had never heard of it until then but now feel slightly embarrassed at that admission because it does seem reasonably well known. As with my previous two posts about the Kate McLaren Muddler (KMM) and Black Diawl Bach (BDB), it was while out early season fishing on Ullswater when my quickly filling up Shetland wet fly box served up the Hutch's Pennell in answer to the Buzzers that were hatching in good numbers. As I wrote in the first of these posts, it just stood out from the myriad of other patterns in my box and couldn't be ignored; that's how I choose my wet flies, or to put it better - I let them choose themselves...

Monday, 24 February 2014

Flies of 2013: Black Diawl Bach

Black Diawl Bachs
In my first post about my best performing flies of 2013 I promised you there would be no groundbreaking flies and there are none more so than the Black Diawl Bach. There can’t be many, if any, stillwater anglers who haven’t fished a Diawl Bach for rainbow trout, though I do think there would be a large proportion of anglers who wouldn’t consider them for wild brown trout. I have been a firm fan of the Diawl Bach for years, it is one of my go-to flies whenever and wherever I cast a line upon a lake. However, many of you may be surprised to hear that until last year I had never tried the black version. It wasn’t a fly that I was very aware of if I’m honest (I blame my bias towards river flyfishing), but my reading and research for Shetland made it obvious that I couldn’t travel without a few in my box…

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Flies of 2013: Kate McLaren Muddler

Bushy Bob Flies
Having just experienced one of the wettest winters on record, and we’re not out of it yet, I haven’t had a single day’s grayling fishing all winter. I have kept very busy though, despite the lack of guiding and fishing. I’ve had all the usual admin jobs to do at home and I’m pleased to report that I have finally rekindled the flytying bug again after a few years in the doldrums, however, finding the time is another thing!

Anyway, as we approach the new season very rapidly, I thought it about time I got back to writing something for the blog - not easy when you aren’t fishing. So I thought I would put together a few short blog posts about some of my most successful flies of 2013, in the hope that you might just tie one or two on your leader this coming season. Please don’t expect anything groundbreaking, or the latest must-have fly gleaned from one of my fishing contacts up and down the country. Those that know me and the way I fish will know that my theory on flies is that it is not about having THE right fly, it’s about presenting an acceptable fly properly. If a fish sees a fly that shouts food because it looks right and is behaving in a way that a food item would do (e.g. fish swimming, drowned insect motionless in the film, newly hatched fly skating across the surface, nymph ascending towards the surface, etc.) why wouldn’t it try to eat it? For more on this theory you should read Bob Wyatt’s brilliant book “What Trout Want”. All the flies that will appear here are all well known, tried and tested patterns, that just look right (in my eyes) and do a job; no frills, just plain, old, simple flies that catch fish and always will do...