Locked down, day 1

I was due to be fishing Carrowmore today but that got cancelled as this is the first day of lockdown here in Ireland. We all have to stay at home and only venture out for the bare necessities of life. The new rules are in force at least for the next two weeks and it seems highly likely they will stretch beyond that. One of the new rules is you are not allowed to be more than 2km from your home when exercising so that rules out all fishing for me.

Wakening this morning I decided to sort through my baits which have been scattered across a number of different boxes and bags for ages now. It took me a while but I finally sorted them out into some kind of order and I now have a box for trolling, one for the river Moy and a couple of boxes of spares. I thought I might have some ‘gaps’ that needed filled but to be honest I don’t need to buy another spoon or plug for the rest of my natural life.

For the next two weeks I’ll post a different fly pattern each day here on the blog. It will give me something constructive to do and hopefully the patterns will be of interest to you guys and gals. Let’s start off today with a twist on an old favourite, the Thunder and Lightening.

Here is one tied on a slightly larger size 12
This is a salmon fly which hails from the hayday of scottish fly fishing. It still catches its fair share of salmon each season but I like to use it for trout on small lochs. Now here is the twist – I tie it on very small hooks, usually size 14s. Over the years I have caught a lot of small loch trout on this fly, usually fishing it on the tail of a three fly cast.

I use a heavy wet fly hook for this one, something like a Kamasan B175. Tying silk is black 8/0. Start the silk at the eye of the hook and catch in a cock hackle dyed hot orange. No need to go mad here with highest quality genetic hackles, Indian or Chinese hackles will do just fine. Run the silk to the bend of the hook catching in a golden pheasant topping for the tail, some fine oval gold tinsel which will be used for the rib and a length of black floss silk.

silk started and the hackle tied in

Take the tying silk back up to where the hackle is tied in then form a neat body with touching turns of black floss. Tie down the floss and remove the waste end. Form the body hackle by winding the orange feather in open turns down to the tail where it is tied in with the oval gold tinsel. Make 5 open turns in the opposite direction to the hackle, binding the hackle down as you go.

Body hackle tied in, now its time for the beard hackle

There is a small beard hackle composed of a few fibres of blue jay or guinea fowl dyed blue. I reverse the hook in the vice for this, offering up the blue fibres under the eye of the hook and whipping them in place with the tying silk. Remove the waste ends of the bread hackle and return the hook to the normal position.

Wings are made from matching left and right slips of bronze mallard. I know some tyers find these feathers torture to work with but I am afraid it is all a matter of practice. Tie in the wings and remove the waste ends. Now for the really tricky bit, the cheeks. These are made from the tiniest jungle cock feathers, the ones and the very end of the cape. Strip the fluff from the ends of each feather and tie them close to the wing, making sure they are the same size and length. Once you have calmed down doing the cheeks make a neat head, whip finish and varnish as normal.

This is a super wee fly and well worth the effort it takes to get the wings and cheeks just right. The small ones are great for loch trouting and bigger sizes suit the salmon.

Look after yourselves out there, I’ll post another fly pattern tomorrow.




3 thoughts on “Locked down, day 1

  1. Our lock down is only to go out for:
    – for work if a key worker,
    – one exercise outing from your front door, and
    – for essential shopping.
    I can stretch the exercise outing to up to an eight mile jog or a two hour cycle. If that sounds against the spirit we’ve enough lanes, commons and footpaths around here , so I can easily avoid close proximity. I’m giving people a fair bit of width when passing them even when it means diving into gorse bushes! As a contingency I developed a loop that goes no further than a IK from the front door and tried running loops around it. It’ll do as it takes me to within sight of the sea and has some woods. Actually we are really lucky, as to be stuck in a locked down city must be grim and I say that as an ex-Londoner.
    The UK stance is that fishing isn’t exercise and although I can usually fish in splendid isolation I get that fishing isn’t a ‘victimless crime’. Well, not unless you can walk or cycle to a venue and only use flies, lures or garden worms, otherwise you are only bringing forward a trip to the petrol station and the shops!
    Well done on the fly a day articles – all learnings for a simple coarse angler. Maybe I’ll try making home made floats soon and if this carries on too long I’ll be building a bloomin’ model railway before I know it.
    Stay safe.


    1. Here in Ireland there is a rule you can exercise once per day and that must be within a 2km radius of your home. That effectively stops all angling in the country. My boat is on Lough Conn, about 10 km from home so even driving there is out of the question due to the 2km rule. I hear that the police are enforcing these rules strictly. I guess all we can do is hunker down for now and pray the rules will be relaxed some time in April.


      1. My wive’s relatives live in Co. Donegal so we’ve heard all about the 2K rule. I guess these things are always arbitrary, as can you compare 2K in Dublin with 2K in Glenties?

        Yes, fingers crossed that a) the lock down works and b) that it ends as soon as feasible.


        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s