Fishing in Ireland, fly tying, salmon fishing, sea trout fishing, trout fishing, wetfly

Super Daddy

We are well into the month November so it is high time to get the fly tying gear out. Let’s start off with by tying a daddy imitation. With so many different ones to pick from there hardly seems to be any requirement for a new pattern but this is one which I made up last year for those wild and windy autumn days on the lough. I call it the Super Daddy.

The idea for this fly came to me after listening to an experienced dapper explain that he used not one but two live daddies on the hook. Even with my legendary tenuous grasp of arithmetic I understood that meant the offering had twice the number of legs. What if an artificial could benefit from an excess of limbs too?


starting the tying silk behind the eye

I use brown tying silk and favour a size 8 or 10 wet fly hook. You can use long shank hooks for this fly but I find them a devil to cast, causing twists in the leader. So instead I opt for a normal shank length hook. Use something with a decent amount of metal in it such as the Kamasan B175.

First, tie in some knotted PT fibres just behind the eye of the hook, pointing forward.


the first bunch of legs are tied in facing forward

Run the tying silk towards the bend and catch in some more knotted pheasant tail fibres for a tail, let’s say 6 or so in total, then a piece of fine gold or copper wire for a rib. If I think there may be salmon around I will swap the gold wire and use either flat silver or Opal Mirage for the rib to give the finished fly a bit more flash.


legs added at the bend

The abdomen of the natural fly is of course heavily segmented but otherwise smooth. Some super lifelike patterns go to extreme lengths to closely match this feature but I wanted something with more ‘life’ to it, a suggestion of struggling on the surface. I opted for a roughly dubbed body made from the body fur of a hare. Save the lovely marbled Hare’s ear fur for some dainty dries or lethal wet spiders, the fur you want is the stuff plucked from the brown sides of the hare’s pelt. Keep a good proportion of the blue under fur mixed in too, it adds to the overall colour scheme and bulks the abdomen up nicely. I personally use a dubbing loop to form the body but simply roughly dubbing the silk does just fine too.


rough body is dubbed on and wound

Time for more legs! Tie in bunches of pre-knotted legs made of Pheasant tail fibres. 10 or 12, pointing roughly backwards, all round the hook, the scruffier the better.


Adding more legs at the shoulder now

Wings of cree hackle tips and as many turns of one or two long fibred dark ginger cock hackles complete the fly.


Pair of Cree cock hackles


Tie the hackle points in so they lie like this


Winding a long fibred cock hackle

Those forward pointing legs can now be re-positioned to poke out sideways by figure-of-eight turns of silk.  Whip finish and varnish the head and you are done.


The finished fly

This is a great fly for attracting attention but a lot of fish will slash at it without making contact. Those that do grab it though are usually well hooked and there is something very satisfying about taking trout and salmon on daddies.


A nice mouthful


Fishing in Ireland, Pike, salmon fishing, trolling

New plugs

In Galway yesterday so I dropped into the tackle shops to see if there was anything new. I came across a plug made by ABU Garcia called the Tormentor. I think this has been around for  while, it is just I hadn’t seen them until now. Jointed and unjointed are available so I invested in one of each.20161112_1258451

The only colours I found were silver/black, gold / orange and a lime green which looked OK for Pike but not for salmon. There may be other colours in the range so I will keep an eye out for them. The only sizes I saw in Galway were 11cm, fairly substantial baits! They are definitely available in smaller sizes too which could be useful for grilse.

When compared to a 11cm Rapala these Tormentors look like they have been on steroids. I suspect they will flash and reflect light much better than the normal Rapala which may be an advantage in murky water. Here is a link to the ABU Garcia youtube videos of the swimming action of these plugs:


I also bought a Cormoran N35 Minnow. These are beautifully crafted plugs with amazingly detailed bodies. The one I bought is coloured like a baby Brown Trout. At only 7 grams it would be light to cast but I intend trolling it behind the boat so casting weight is not a concern. The makers claim this small plug (only 85mm long) swims at a depth of 1.5 metres, and that is just about the right level for most of the trolling I do on Lough Conn. Any deeper and you are plagued with snagging on the bottom.


For now they will all have to reside in the lure box with the rest of my salmon plugs, tucked away in the tackle bag until next spring.


Fishing in Ireland, trolling, trout fishing

Sutherland Specials

Rummaging through the gear which I took back from my recent trip to Aberdeen I came across a wee box which rattled enticingly. Hard as I tried, I could not for the life of me remember what this small black box contained. It was in with a jumble of fly boxes but whatever was inside weighed considerably more than some salmon flies, even weighted tubes or Waddies. Like a small child on Christmas morning I excitedly prised the lid off…

Inside, in varying states of repair, I found not one but six Sutherland Specials. These are well known and loved baits in Scotland but many readers may not be familiar with them. Most plug type lures sport one vane or lip under the head to make the bait wobble and/or dive. The Sutherland sports no fewer than 4 vanes, one curved one under the head , a small one mounted vertically on the back and two semi-circular vanes, one on each side of the lure. Made of cast lead, it came in three colours – all gold, brown / gold and blue / silver. My little treasure trove contained examples of all three.


A blue and silver Sutherland Special

To mount the bait simply thread the line through the hole which passes through the middle. Protection from chaffing is provided by a thin rubber tube inside the hole. Now tie the line to the split ring which is attached to a size 4 treble hook. Like a devon minnow, the Sutherland slips up the line when a fish takes, leaving just the hook in the fish.

The Sutherland was a proficient taker of both salmon and sea trout as well as brownies in the river. Some sea trout enthusiasts added a feather (such as a cock hackle) lashed to the treble hook to increase movement. I presume they are still available to buy. The originals were hand made by the Sutherland family who were great fishers on the river Don in Aberdeenshire.


Cocker’s pool on the ADAA’s Upper Parkhill beat of the Don

I will buy some new hooks (the ones in the black box being rusty after so long) and take them with me next season to try on my local waters. I can see no reason why they won’t work as the action is very lifelike. As one or two of these ones are looking a bit shabby I might re-paint them in new colours. I am thinking that copper might be useful.


The Cothal Pool on the same beat. Salmon lie just out from that beautifully trimmed hedge on the far bank.