Dry Fly Fishing in Theory and Practice

dryflyfishing cover halfordanother doozy from the infamous “Detached Badger of “The Field” *,  Frederic Michael Halford, first printed in 1889 via openlibrary.org

while all of us in the Northern Hemisphere are secretly hating all those that aren’t, impatiently waiting for open waters and better days… here’s a more than amusing and informative and oh boy, once again reminder that while certain details have changed through fly fishing history, the bigger picture hasn’t evolved that much.

a few tidbits-


rod action


rod length
and if those don’t get your interest, this one on rod-holding ‘butt spears’ should do the trick.

butt spears

click either text/image to access the complete 400 or so page book. its well worth the read, besides, well, its well worth the read.
the guy sure had a lot to say about everything one might want to know and then more. enjoy !

* please don’t ask. i have no idea and i really don’t want to know.

Tying a Troutline Catgut Biothread Nymph

these little beauties from Lucian Vasies are the chocolate covered marshmallow-filled fish candy hot dogs of the nymph world, some of the handful of freshwater fly patterns that fit in the “If a fish won’t take them flies they don’t deserve to be caught… “ category and better yet, they’re a super-easy and super-fast pattern to tie. hard to beat on all levels, aye ?

“The Micro Nymph tied bellow with Catgut Biothread is a fly used in East Europe for his realistic look and for “easy to be tied” fact. A fly like this is efficient for his generic aspect and can be considered a search type of pattern. In fact this pattern is tied with body made of different types of threads but catgut gives a special look . The translucency is very unique and gives a realistic aspect to all flies ( nymphs or emergers ) tied with this fantastic material.”

click either pic for the complete step-by-step and HERE to source Biothread.
bon appétit , enjoy !

what its like to be Hank.

in what’s one of the more charming, humble, understated and interesting angler profile films i’ve seen yet, this little video is indeed rather special.

enjoy !

” Henrik is one of the members of troutvision.se. He’s modest and doesn’t say so much. He’s not that kind of person who makes alot of noise. He’s a fly fishing angler. And he’s good at it. This is a short movie for you guys to get to know him better. He’s a special person, so don’t miss out! ” 


via today’s just-pressed logo

this introduction note by Pete Tyjas caught my fancy as this topic goes hand in hand with the little 60 or so posts of the ‘brainwashem’ young’ series here on TLC designed to attract our younger friends to our passion. i can’t really figure out the ‘why’ aspect but i like the idea that each one of us does a little something once in a while to share fly fishing to someone else. sure, its quite possible we all might be eaten soon by zombies but on the other hand, we might defeat those ugly/stinking-sticky/disgusting creatures and get to continue on with our normal fly fishing lives. something tells me it’s probably worth doing.

” I’ve had some interesting conversations recently about the average age of fly anglers in the UK. It sounds like it comes in near to retirement age and has given cause for concern.

I have worked professionally in fly fishing for over ten years now and when I first started I am pretty sure these numbers were being quoted back then. Before this I have to be honest and say I had no idea.

It was a shock when I first heard this and it still is. Look at the scene in the US or Scandinavia for instance which seems to be booming. Fly fishing in these places is seen as cool, hip and trendy and works hand in hand with the whole “great outdoors” thing.

In the UK we generally don’t have access to big expanses of wilderness but we are lucky to have large areas of wild fishing where you might not see another angler. I count myself lucky to have one such example on my doorstep – Dartmoor.

Not everyone has though and it is where our reservoirs and put and take stillwater fisheries fill a gap. Small stillwaters also work well for the occasional angler who wants a few rainbows for the pot too.

But what of those of us whose lives revolve around fly fishing? We dream about it, tie flies when we can’t go, read books and enjoy magazines to fill the void. Are we a minority?

Not so long ago I was starting to think this but now I am not so sure. We have great schemes like Get Hooked which introduces youngsters to all forms of fishing, Mayfly in the classroom and numerous days run by the likes of the Environment Agency and Salmon and Trout Association. I wonder how many schemes like this were being run 30 years ago?

It seems to me that the dynamic has changed a little and there is a wide range of activities that parents take their children to. When I was younger I’d play football in the winter and cricket in the summer and do some fishing for carp too. That was about it. Nowadays, there are musical instrument lessons, horse riding, ballet, football, rugby amongst many other pastimes, along with tennis which also is enjoying a resurgence too. All along with the often-mentioned computer games.

Fishing has always been there in the background and sometimes the love for it is lost for a while and then rediscovered a little further down the line. It might be one of the reasons the average age of anglers is higher but since embarking on ESF I have met plenty of fly anglers in their 20s to 40s who fish hard, sleep in cars, chase the hatches and live for fly fishing.

It has left me far from despondent about the state of fly fishing and those entering it. We have to be honest and say it is a niche pastime but I have been greatly encouraged to see not one but two new TV shows featuring fly fishing in the last few months. One of those was on terrestrial TV too which is surely a positive. Kudos to TV execs for making such a bold choice.

So, we enter 2014 and I can’t wait to go fishing in the company of friends and hope I get the chance to bring more people into our great pastime.

Good fishing! “

Pete Tyjas

and that’s just the front page of this great online magazine. be sure to check out all the rest by clicking the logo above or HERE 

french double-dutch

found on this week’s MiddCurrent these sweet, atmospheric, shorts from 9p#5 Média are too nice not to share again.
i wish there where more fly fishing videos of this kind. enjoy !

The Angler and the Loop-Rod

by David Webster 1885 via OpenLibrary

“Loop-Rod and Loop-Line” 

what a nice descriptive. i like that and i like it a lot. it seems just right and somehow more appropriate than our usual ‘fly rod and fly line’ but fear not friends, this isn’t about changing what we call them but about sharing a really cool find.

the angler and the loop rod TLC 2-12-13
filled with a lot of experience and insights, tips and tricks,

angles at which to cast

you’ll also discover funny ways to talk to the fish to get them to take the fly, it’s a great read. click either image for the online book or HERE to download the file in various forms to read offline. enjoy !striking

Fly Tying Step-by-Step Tutorial: Marc Petitjean’s CDC Nymph

a real gem for us today from Barry Ord Clarke’s site The Feather Bender. tied by Marc, photographed by Barry, that’s a team that’s hard to beat.

” When Marc began tying nymphs with CdC ( nearly 20 years ago) many prominent anglers thought it was a joke! and that CdC was not a suitable material for nymphs, oh how time has proved them wrong. “

this quote brings a little smirk because however much these feathers may be interesting i’m a firm believer that they work best underwater rather than above. if you’re not convinced try taking some feathers or better yet a cdc dry fly and get it wet by gently rubbing it between your fingers under water and watch it in say, a glass of water. if you didn’t squeeze it too tight there will be air bubbles trapped in the fibers and the rest will pulse in a very attractive manner, imitating legs, wings, antennae or the insect’s veiling shuck. all strong suggestions of life without having to resort to very ‘technical’ depictions/recreations of these elements by using a myriad of materials. brilliant !

this particular generalist pattern makes a great caddis imitation but a few tweaks here and there such as adding tails or reducing the body feathers to two or even just one for a slimmer profile turns it into an equally effective mayfly imitation.
as one might expect, the fly is tied using the range of Petitjean tools but don’t let that put you off if you don’t have them. spring clips can substitute the Magic Tool and a fly/electrician’s clip can be used to hold and twist the body hackles.

it starts off like so,MP CDC Nymph 1

and ends like this.
MP CDC Nymph 2

to discover everything in between click either image for the complete step-by-step.
enjoy !

related articles

Andreas’ Klinkhammer

by Andreas Lestander

first, a pointless grump. i do not like these flies.
they catch a lot of fish and i really respect Van Klinken for coming up with something that stands out from from the crowd. it is in fact one of the rare, real and unique and different fly designs to come around for many, many years so, hats off to that.
however, my beef(s) is that although i have plenty of them and use them and do catch fish with these things, i really don’t like their visual appeal. to me they look like something that was haphazardly put onto the transporter bay on StarTrek but didn’t come back as it was supposed to when it reached destination. they fuck with my sense of organization.
klinkhammer from below
further more, this fly was initially designed to catch loathsome odiferous grayling. as noted on previous posts here, it takes an ugly fly to catch an ugly fish so in a way, i guess they get what’s coming to them. fair enough.
my second beef is that it’s creator had, has and will probably keep on having: a beard.
no, not one of those full and jolly things like Santa or Charles Manson but some scraggly undefined mess of strands all over the cheeks. this is most untidy and as with people who wear watches, i simply can not trust them, specially when they tie flies to catch grayling. on purpose.
of course, i could go on and on with my lack of fish/sex/and mostly-that-someone-completely-fucked-up-a-custom-rod-build-i-was-supposed-to-have-soon induced rant but you’ve probably had enough as it is so, my friends, here’s a lovely fly tying tutorial of this notorious fly by my Swedish friend Andreas. there’s a lot of fine tips and tricks to pick up here. enjoy !

cool underwater pic via tinaflies.com

Oliver Edwards, Frank Sawyer’s Pheasant Tail Nymph and putting all that old stuff to good use.

always a bit dismayed by conflicting emotions and the ensuing decision making process of wanting to slap him upside the head and also show him my deepest respect, watching Edwards tie and fish is regardless, always a treat.oliver edwards eats his glasses most of his film excerpts don’t stay for long on the open net so if anything, it’s well worth checking out his by-the-book renditions and tutorials for one of Sawyer’s infamous flies: the Pheasant Tail Nymph. enjoy !

the SuperPupaPlus

dm supapupa variant
it sure doesn’t look like much but the Super Pupa is a hard-core/hard-fishing caddis pupa/emerging pattern. originating from Sweden, the mere mention of this fly’s name there brings far-away ‘in a trance’ looks. (i can’t figure out if it’s the joyful child-like glee of saying those two words or if it’s just another nickname for penis or vagina as there seems to be billions of them in colloquial Swedish… )

anyhow, Davie McPhail‘s version not only has a sexier than average body through the use of two shades of dubbing but the cdc antennae/claws/horns/antlers/feelers/party hat thing in the front will make it stand out in a hatch and this is a great accessory because nothing makes an angler (me) feel dumber than either missing a strike because i thought i was looking at my fly when in fact it was a real that the fish took or striking when the fish took a natural…

related articles

‘cheese-eating midge

cheese-eating midge 4-3-13

at an estimated 4mm body length it wasn’t the easiest thing to get so close to the beast without it flying off and away but some encouraging words followed with promises of some fresher Gouda kept it a bay long enough to get a somewhat decent shot to be able observe this fish-food’s key elements to be later transposed to imitations of adult chironomids.
apart from getting proportionally slimmer, it’s interesting to note that the adult’s body stays basically the same as in it’s pupal stage.  the breathers, antennae and other leggy-wingy goodies are quite delicate and beautiful, transforming it from the Alieny thing below into a mini fairy. Midge Pupa - google images

related articles

pupa image via Google Images

Fishbrain-waves and Shinola

Shinola |SHīˈnōlə|noun trademark
 a brand of boot polish.
• informally used as a euphemism for “shit”: there’ll be the same old Shinola on television.
“not know shit from Shinola” vulgar slang used to indicate that someone is ignorant or innocent.

from a strict scientific point of view, i have absolutely no idea what these images might mean… but ! an overwhelmingly strong gut feeling tells me that apart from a very few and feeble electrical impulses bouncing around incoherently there isn’t a heck of a lot going on there and this is a good thing for us fly fishers !

yes, we can safely continue casting out our ‘anything-goes’, messy blobs of fluff, feathers and fur that look like nothing at all with the supreme confidence they’ll work majestically because our slimy-innocent friends most probably (well, i’m positive) can’t tell the difference between (figuratively speaking) shit and Shinola

videos via Barry Ord Clarke’s TheFeatherBender. enjoy !


“The question still abounds, ‘why do grayling love the colour pink?’ In the pink shrimp it’s fairly obvious, as our rivers do hold a number of these fresh water shrimps; however, it’s now a regular occurrence to see row after row of patterns in many angler’s fly boxes sporting patterns with pink bodies, pink thoraxes, pink ribs, etc.
One theory regularly discussed on the riverbank is whether the grayling (bottom feeders by default) think the pink, shiny shades resemble eggs. Another theory of course, is that this so called ‘Lady of the Stream’ is just that…a lady…and like her human counterparts (with their love for all things bags and shoes), she loves a bit of flashy bling! Of course, I couldn’t possibly comment on such a sexist theory! All I know is…pink works. ”

yeah, some things are better left unsaid… whether pink works or not  is neither here nor there for me because i’m simply not interested in catching a fish that goes that way… 😆

ok, kidding and silly guffawing aside, here’s a great step-by-step tutorial by buddy Gareth Lewis on making a heavy, bottom-dredging freshwater shrimp pattern that’ll work wonderfully with not only the horrid graylings but just about any insect-eating river fish (and some stillwaters) like trout, barbell, chub, carp and who knows what else.
simple, fast and easy to tie are prerequisites for this type of fly as dredging the bottom means hanging up on a regular basis with it’s ensuing ritual ‘offering to the flow’… but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have all the necessary fish-seducing elements and trigger appeal as they’re tumbling along the bottom of the stream and these have just that. by varying a few materials you can use the same  tying method and end up with beauties like these.

click the pink thing or HERE to access Gareth’s excellent step-by-step, enjoy !

an ugly fly for an ugly fish

if ever there was a friggin’ ugly and stupid looking fish, this is it.

grayling  (Thymallus thymallus):  their flaccid, distorted, insecure ‘Angelina‘ lips and biology class dead frog expressions are the disgrace of the animal world.
often referred to as “The Lady of the Streams” by what must be myopic, sexually repressed, football or hockey-on-tv-watching anglers, we’ll note that this expression is a horrible insult to women of all kinds.  i’d gladly sucker-punch the ******** who came up with the term and greatly incourage you to do the same next time you hear those despicable words.

these things often live in pods where there can be hundreds of them scrounging around meaninglessly right around your feet. once found, the hardest challenge for the angler is to avoid stepping on them while wading. once hooked, they fight like they look: like a flip-flopping one-legged sheep with butt cancer and to make things worse…  just like vampires, a lot of these creepy things don’t even show up on film leaving the impression that the whole thing was just a bad dream  !

no grayling

anyhow, a lot of us live in areas where trout fishing is closed during their reproductive season and we’re left to resort to  this soggy species if we want to fish in rivers so, as pitiful as these creatures may be they still need to eat and to trick them we’ll often need to resort to ‘flie’s that match their looks, personalities and lack of  taste.
along the same lines as a Happy-Meal placed in front of a pimply kid, this strange, unnatural and otherwise all-around offensive ‘discodildo on a hook’ wakes up these stupid fish’s appetites and gets them to open their disgusting mouths long enough to set the hook.
this fly-thing is very heavy and it’s not really safe to cast. it’s lobbed Euro-Nymphing style through fast and deep pools and holes and we dredge the bottom where these horrid fish hide in shame waiting for something ugly to be swept downstream into their gross mouths.
the line/leader  is tight and takes are usually lacking in subtlety so all we have to do is lift the rod and slide the slimy thing to the net, slip out the ‘fly’ and let it go back where it belongs. job done, next.

disco-dildo (a grayling fly)

made with-
no love whatsoever but a deep sense of desperation mingled with an overwhelming urge to offend any dry-fly purist i might meet on the water.

hook– Partridge “pre-leaded for ugly fish, grub style” #12.
flatten out the round body with pliers so it doesn’t look like a jumbo hotdog when finished.
be sure to sharpen the points as they’re pre-dulled at the factory.
under thread – anything white and cheap, it’s just to make a nice smooth discodildo shape that will be covered by:
abdomen‘ –  Glitter Thread chose the color to match your own tastes, these fish are too dumb to see the difference
head–  Demmon Hot Spot Thread in orange. they’re attracted to orange and considering there’s no orange food available to them naturally, this makes perfect sense.

i’m always fond of saying that “any fish is a good fish”, except for grayling…

“I am not against golf, since I cannot but suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering trout.”

-Paul O’Neil-

and as further proof that anything’s better than golf or graylinging, even the flu

“Always carry a flagon of whiskey in case of snakebite and furthermore always carry a small snake.”
by W.C. Fields

out Graylinging

a surprise fly-fair popped up (well, sort of… ) in Argentat, France and the best part is i’ll be demoing single-hand spey and presentation casts but the really best part is the organizers don’t even know it yet ! :mrgreen:

outside of the weather service saying it’s supposed to rain all weekend and seeing great friend Fabrice, this part of the Dordogne river is the only river in France still open to grayling fishing. (trout and grayling waters all close at the same time in France. apparently, most anglers can’t tell the difference between the two or how to fish for them separately… ) anyhow, even though grayling are a despicable species and since carping waters are mostly mud, the opportunity of fishing ‘trout’ waters even surrounded by a bunch of frogs is too hard to pass up !
lines need to be lubed, bags filled and i need to find my good-luck Punto-Blanco boxer shorts and buy tons of chocolate. i hope you all have a great weekend !

for some strange reason, should you want to know very little more about this event and can deal with incomprehensible french, click the pic.

Take the 70 Degree Pledge


” Because trout are cold water fish their metabolisms are designed to function best at temperatures around 60 degrees.  Furthermore, oxygen levels are greater at cooler water temperatures.  Thus, it is not surprising how well salmonids fight when the water temps are in this range.  Their bodies are at peak performance and there is plenty of oxygen to feed their muscles.  When fought fairly and released properly they should have a very high survival rate.

That means somebody else gets to enjoy the magic.

As the water temperature rises a trout’s metabolism begins to put more demands on the fish than its system can easily handle.  Essentially, their body is now out of tune and there is much less oxygen to help them maintain proper function. “

if you live in a part of the world where waters warm up to 70° F (21,1° C) or more please click the image above to learn more and hopefully consider taking this pledge yourself.
its the sensible thing to do if you care about our slimy friends.

not imitations

photos by Mårten Lindhé

what i’m noticing more and more are fly tiers focussing on imitating other fly tier’s imitations rather than the naturals. true, very effective fishing flies don’t necessarily have to have a lot of detail and many, many of these effective flies don’t really look at all like their model… but i kind of see this situation similar to when a story gets passed on from word of mouth: it always gets transformed at each telling and often to the point where the end has little to do with the beginning. anyhow, here’s not only some eye candy but hopefully a little food for thought.

Baetidae from above and below –

Rhyacophila larva from the top –

and from the side –

Hydropsyche-larva side view and from above –

Leptophlebia marginata –

Leptophlebia marginata spent –

be sure to visit Mårten’s site XtremeFlyFishing.se for more awesome images. enjoy !

Sparkle Dun variant

by Hans Weilenmann

it’s hard not to like this one. the deer hair will keep it afloat in fast waters and it’s smaller sunken body and shuck will get a lot of attention in calmer currents. relatively easy to tie and chock full of key emerger elements, this low sitting fly is just the ticket for any salmonid. vary sizes and colors to suit your water. enjoy !

a ‘coming-out’ V-Wing

by Chris Sanford

as Chris explains, the combination of foam and deer hair  wings will make this ‘coming-out’ emerger pattern a great floater for fast or rough waters where other materials would simply bog down and sink.
often a little reluctant to use deer hair because of how stiff it is and how this stiffness might be noticed by the fish as it’s taking into its mouth with the resultant ‘spitting-it-back-out’ because real mayfly wings are a lot softer, i’m thinking that a very suitable and maybe more realistic replacement could be some kind of floating synthetic fiber material such as polypropylene or Aero-Wings by Tiemco or Puglisi fibers.

and just in case you’re wondering about the V-Wing’s efficiency, here’s one in action.

as a side note, to further enhance  your V-Winging activities this essential accessory comes with a condom pocket that can also be used to hold a small fly box full of Vees.

enjoy !

a wet history

by Davie Wotton

here’s some absolutely wonderful insights, invaluable material information and groovy historical aspects for all those desiring to increase their knowledge of both traditional and contemporary wet flies by probably the most knowledgeable and talented person in the fly tying world. ’nuff said, enjoy !

Grannomses !

Grannoms- Brachycentrus Caddis fly
often neglected in favor of the various ‘mythic‘ mayfly species, the Grannom is an early season and widely distributed caddis who’s imitation in different sizes and colors is well worth having in your fly box. Grannom hatches can be massive and will usually have the fish in a debilitating frenzy, excluding every other bug that might be around. i’ve been in the middle of one of these hatches on a Scottish river and was literally covered from head to water level and had to quickly pull up my buff to be able to breathe without eating at the same time…

“This prolific genus includes the popular eastern US early-season Apple Caddis and Grannom hatches. Their life cycles are ideal for the fly angler, and every stage is frequent trout prey. This species changes color dramatically after it emerges, and imitations of egg-laying adults should be a different color from imitations of emergers. Emergers have pale blonde, almost off-white wings and bright green bodies, while the egg-laying adults have light brownish gray wings and medium green bodies.”

these two aren’t grannomses, they’re Mark and Terry.
Mark is a super friend, Terry is some guy Mark and i found in the parking lot while we where gearing up for some fishing on a lovely little river in northern England. don’t get the wrong impression, Terry doesn’t just hang out in parking lots, he’s a passionate entomologist and charming man full of stories and a great enthusiasm for sharing his buggy knowledge.

when we all got to the water, Terry did a quick scan of the river-bed rocks, turned towards us and proudly announced:  “That one”.
he quickly waded in, picked up the “That one” rock and showed us a gelatinous mass stuck to it’s bottom. at first i thought it was just some yucky slime hidden under the rock by some alien with a nasty head cold but after further explanation it turned out to be a ‘nest’ of Grannom eggs. weird and geeky entomologists would probably have some way of counting them on a square cm average or something but my little mind quickly realized that i was looking at thousands and thousands of future caddis all under just this one rock. and there where countless rocks everywhere one looked…

every little dot on this out of focus image is an egg. (sorry for the out of focus image, this was an exciting moment)

here’s an adult Grannom courtesy of Jim Williams.
judging by the size of the finger holding it we’ll notice that it’s very small, my guess between a size 16 and 18.
in the two videos below the flies are tied in 16 and 14 and a little research will tell you of the size to expect and tie for your area.



here are two fly variations of the same egg-laying female. as noted in Matt ‘s video, for the male version, tie the same fly but without the eggs !
by their construction and materials they both seem to be great floaters but my experience tells me Matt’s will probably be the better choice in slower waters and Davie’s in faster.

– Egg-Laying Grannom tied by Matt Grovert

– CDC Bubble Grannom by Davie McPhail