Fishing in Ireland

News

Hi Folks,

After 3 years of blogging I have decided to take a break from the keyboard. There seem to be a million other things going on at present demanding my attention, so the time I usually spend on this blog could be allocated to other uses. I’d like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone who has taken the time to visit the site and read about my angling exploits here in Ireland. Many of you have taken the trouble to get in touch and I have enjoyed communicating with each of you. If any of you want to get in touch with me my personal email address is colinmclean2005@hotmail.com

I have set up a new Facebook page for claretbumbler and will add any news there so you can keep up with my angling exploits. https://www.facebook.com/Claretbumbler-112672527054921

 

Best regards,

Colin

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Fishing in Ireland, fly tying

Day 6 – Peach Palmer

I have been fortunate enough to fish for trout in the Orkney islands a couple of times and can highly recommend them to any stillwater trout angler. The fish can be free rising and the islands are a delight to visit with so much to do and see there. The last time I was there was with my mate Chris and we caught loads of trout. The most successful fly for us was this one, the Peach Palmer.

A typical road sign on Orkney

Swinging a small brown trout into the boat. That’s Eddie smiling in the background and I think this was us on Boardhouse loch.

Leaving Stromness on the ferry back to Scrabster

Local anglers on the islands are very fussy about getting the exact shade of peach; too reddish or too yellow is not going to cut the mustard for these highly skilled anglers. We just happened to be lucky that the peach coloured flies we had with us met with the approval of the fish. Since those far off days I have tried the Peach Palmer and its cousin the Peach Muddler here in Ireland and it works here too! It has caught me trout on Mask and Carra on bright days.

I use a size 10 or 12 wet fly hook and fl. yellow tying silk. Start the silk at the eye of the hook and leaving enough space tie in a cock hackle dyed sunburst. Now tie in another cock hackle, this time a bit shorter in fibre and dyed peach. Run the tying silk to the bend of the hook and catch in a piece of fl. yellow wool to make a tail. Trim the tail off square and tie in a length of fine gold wire.

ready to dub the fur body

Dub the tying silk with seals fur dyed peach (I actually have some dyed fl. peach and it works well). Form a tapered body with the seal’s fur then wind the peach hackle down to the bend in open spirals.

Tie in the hackle with the fine gold wire and wind it up through the hackle. Tie in and cut off the waste end of the hackle and the gold wire. Wind plenty of turns of the sunburst hackle at the head, whip finish and varnish to complete the fly.

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To make the Peach Muddler simply swap the sunburst hackle for a a muddler head made of natural deer hair.

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Fishing in Ireland, fly tying

Palamino midge

This is a pattern I used very successfully on Lough Corrib for many years when I kept a boat at Salthouse Bay. Early in the season there were great hatches of Duckfly in the bay and the trout would feed avidly on them. This fly caught me some great brown trout so here is how you make it.

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Use a curved hook, something like the Kamasan B100. A size 12 is about right. For tying silk I use 8/0 black. Start the silk at the eye of the hook and run it down the shank a short way. Don’t go around the bend (see photo above for the right length). Tie is a length of fine black chenille. I tend to use Veniard materials I have some ‘Vernille’ from them which is just ideal for this job. Singe the end with a lighter to seal the end and also to give it a nice tapered look. Now tie the Vernille in as an extended body of about 6mm long. Secure the Vernille with tight turns of silk and remove the waste.

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The thorax is made from fine orange/red fur which is dubbed on and wound to make a ball shape. The wings are made from a pair of badger cock hackle tips, tied in on top of the hook in a ‘V’ shape.

Tie in a cock hackle which is normally black but you can use badger of a grizzle hackle as well. 2 or 3 turns is sufficient then form a head, whip finish and varnish.

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You can tie this pattern in different colours such as brown, red or olive. I’ll post another fly tomorrow.

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Fishing in Ireland, fly tying

Day 5 – the Olive Wulff

Wulff patterns are widely used here in Ireland during the mayfly hatch. Normally tied on size 10 hooks, a huge range of patterns sporting the signature split hair wings catch trout during the greendrake hatch and the falls of spinners every season. There can’t be many Irish lough anglers who don’t have a few Wulff flies in their box. Outside of mayfly season though they are virtually never used. I kinda buck that trend though!

Lough Carra, home to big hatches of olives in April

Lake olives are large upwinged flies which hatch out from April right through the season. The biggest hatches are in the spring with smaller and less well defined hatches occurring throughout the summer and early autumn. The naturals vary in shade so one day on a certain lough you can find quite yellowish coloured duns and the next day they can be quite dark. I believe this is part of the problem that anglers have when dealing with hatches of olives here on the big loughs. Many anglers really struggle despite good numbers of fly on the wing and fish taking them confidently. I vary the colour of my flies until I find the one which will work on any given day. For that reason I tie this Olive Wulff in a wide range of body and hackle colours.

Lake olives are quite large flies and I tie the Olive Wulff on a size 12 hook to imitate the duns as the drift on the surface drying their wings. I like the Kamasan B170 hook for this pattern but feel free to use the hook of your choice. Olive or brown tying silk works best for this fly. I don’t mention wax very often but you need to thoroughly wax the tying silk when making this pattern. Squirrel hair, which is used for the wings and tail, is very slippery stuff so waxed silk is needed to keep everything in place and stop it sliding about.

Start the tying silk at the bend of hook and run it up the shank to the eye then come back about a third of the hook length. You need to leave yourself plenty of space to work on the wings and hackle. Take a bunch of squirrel tail hair from a tail which has been dyed olive and use a hair stacker to even up the tips. Don’t use too much hair, I find that slim wings are better than heavy ones.

With the tips of the hair facing forward over the eye of the hook use the pinch and loop method of tying in the hair and then make a number of turns with the silk to firmly secure the hair on the top of the hook. Divide the bunch of hair in two with figure of eight turns and build up the silk in front of the wings to make them sit upright. Keeping a good tension on the silk at all times during this process is vital. It all seems very difficult the first time you tie a Wulff but with practice it becomes much easier. Remember to think about proportions – the wings should be the same length as the hook shank and so should the tail.

With the wings completed you then remove the waste ends of hair but do this in steps so you get a tapered body. Start to run the tying silk down towards the bend and tie in another slim bunch of olive squirrel hair which has been even up just as you did with the wings in the stacker. Remove the waste hair and catch in a length of fine gold wire then run the silk to a point opposite the barb of the hook.

Dub the silk with some olive seal’s fur and wind this back up the hook to form the body. Wind the gold wire up the body in open turns, tie in and remove the waste end.

For the hackle you can use either a plain olive cock or a grizzle cock dyed olive. Prepare the hackle in the normal way and tie it in just behind the wings. Make three or four turns of the hackle behind the wings and the same again in front before tying down and trimming the waste off. The head and whip finish are as normal and add some varnish to seal the head after the tying silk has been cut off.

Tie this basic pattern in a range of shades of olive , everything from pale to sooty. It will catch fish during the mayfly hatch too. I can’t decide if the trout take it then as a mayfly or are they picking out olives which often hatch at the same time. Have fun making these Wulff’s, there is great pleasure to be had making something as complex as these flies.

Look after yourselves out there!

 

 

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Fishing in Ireland, fly tying

Day 4, my Olive Partridge

A nice simple fly for you all today but one which has caught me an inordinate amount of wild brownies over the last 50 years or so. Based on the ever popular Partridge and Orange this wee spider is a good fly on the river in springtime when large dark olives are hatching. I originally tied it for use on the Aberdeenshire Don but it has travelled well and works a treat here on the river Robe in co. Mayo.

I like to use a Kamasan B405 in size 14 for the hook. Tying silk is olive Pearsall Gossamer. I don’t use anything else for the tying silk, I have tried other silks but they don’t work so stick to the lovely greeny-olive Pearsall,s.

There are only three materials needed, the tying silk, some fine gold wire and a brown mottled feather from the back of an English Partridge.

Pick a hackle the right size, for a number 14 hook you need a feather from high up on the back of the bird where they are smaller.

Start the tying silk at the eye of the hook and catch in a prepared hackle which has all the grey fluff stripped away. You can tie it in by the tip or the butt, it does not seem to make a lot of difference to this fly.

Run the silk down to opposite the point of the hook in tight touching turns (don’t make the body too long) and tie in a length of finest gold wire. Take the tying silk back up in touching turns again to form the slim body. Now make 4 or 5 turns of the wire to make the rib of the fly. Tie the wire and trim off the waste.

Ready to rib the fly

Now wind the hackle making only one-and-half turns before tying it down and trimming the waste. The only mistake you can make when tying this fly is making too many turns of the hackle resulting in a bushy looking fly. It must be slim and dainty. Form a neat, small head and whip finish before varnishing.

the finished fly

Fished down-and-across as part of a team of wets this fly is a good provider in the early months of the season. You can vary the pattern by using partridge hackles dyed olive but the original still seems to be the most effective. Enjoy and stay safe.

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Fishing in Ireland, fly tying

Day 3, Bibio daddy

This one is simply a mish-mash of a couple of good flies so it really is no surprise that it works.I use it for trout tied on a size 10 hook but there is no reason why it wouldn’t work for salmon tied slightly bigger.

Start by mounting a size 10 wet fly hook in the vice and starting some fine black tying silk, 8/0 will be good.Run the silk towards the bend of the hook and tie in a length of Glo-brite no. 4 floss. Wind a small tag with the Glo-brite and tie it in. Now you need a length of fine oval silver tinsel which will be used for the rib. Once it is secured bub the body which consists of seals fur in the usual Bibio order of black/red/black. Rib the body with the oval silver, tie in and remove the waste.

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The fiddly part of this fly is knotting the pheasant tail fibres. I do them singly and tie two overhand knots in each one. Six legs will be in enough and they should be tied in three on each side of the fly and be about twice the length of the hook. Remove the waste ends and then tie in a pair of black cock hackle tips on top of the hook for wings.

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Finish off with about 6 turns of a black cock hackle, form a neat had, whip finish and then varnish the head of the fly.

Bibio Daddy

This is a variation of a normal Black Daddy which also does good work when tied on size 10 hook. The difference is the Black Daddy has a body made of dyed black pheasant herl ribbed with silver.

The Black Daddy

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Fishing in Ireland, fly tying

Day 2 – The Captain

It was bright an cold outside when we went for our one daily walk this Sunday morning. The crisp air was refreshing on our faces as we trotted along the deserted roads on the edge of town. Already the press are reporting the lockdown could last into the summer so we had better all get used to this strange new life.

After a lunch of beetroot soup I settled down at the vice to tie some flies. Today I made one of my own patterns, a pretty little trout fly I call the Captain. I designed this fly many years ago and it caught me a few trout back in Scotland. Fished on a cast of wet flies it works best on hill lochs on summer evenings with maybe a Wickhams or a Green Peter as a companion.

You will need red and black hen hackles for this fly

I use a size 12 hook and some fine black tying silk. Start the silk at the eye of the hook, catching in a dyed red hen hackle before running the silk down the shank. Tie in a Golden Pheasant crest for a tail. I sometimes add a tiny touch of red to the tail too such as a snippet of red wool or a small Indian Crow feather if you still have one or two in your kit.

About 4 turns of red silk are right on a size 12 hook

The body is the hard part of this fly, it is made by winding two different coloured flosses. Tie in a length of dark red floss and one of golden yellow then take the tying silk back up to the eye. Now carefully wind the yellow floss up the hook shank in touching turns making a smooth body then rib this with the red floss in open turns creating a nice segmented look (hopefully).

Wind the red hackle, tied it in and trim of the waste. A couple of turns is sufficient.

The wings are made of black crow secondary but I guess you could use magpie tail if you want a glossier wing on the fly. Trim the waste and tie in a black hen hackle, giving it 3 turns in front of the wings. Tie off, remove the waste and make a neat head then whip finish and varnish.

the finished fly

When I first made this fly it was intended as an attractor rather than a copy of any natural fly but it takes fish when those little black sedges are hatching during the summer evenings so maybe the trout think that is what it is.

Lough Ben

Hill lochs like this are where the Captain is best used

Hope you have some fun tying this fly. I’ll post anther pattern tomorrow. Stay safe!

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