Fishing in Ireland, fly tying, salmon fishing, wetfly

The Carrowmore Bumble

This fly reminds me of a Mark 2 Ford Escort 1300. A reliable if unexciting run-around which has been tarted up by an enthusiast and is now all bling. The bells and whistles have been grafted on and it is now a much more exciting package all together.

The basis of this new fly is of course that wonderful old campaigner, the Claret Bumble. Originally tied to fool sea trout and brownies, the ever inventive Irish minds went to work on it years ago and it morphed into a very good salmon pattern by tying it on much larger hooks than the normal 12 and 10’s. Other refinements such as a flat gold tag, dying a topping sunburst and using that for a tail and adding knotted pheasant tail legs all made an appearance relatively lately. But the Carrowmore Bumble was born when the DNA of the Claret Bumble and Clan Chief was deliberately mixed. I personally have a hunch this could only be achieved after imbibing a large volume of Guinness but hard facts to support this supposition are scarce. The Clan Chief can be deadly for salmon, so mingling the attributes of the two flies was an excellent idea.

I have seen a couple of variations of this fly in other anglers boxes so I will give you two of these here today. The first one is probably the most common and is available commercially.

Hook: sizes 6 to 10 heavy weight trout hooks

Silk: black or brown 6/0

Tag: fine oval gold tinsel, about 5 turns

Tail: a Golden Pheasant crest feather with a doubled length of Globright no. 4 on top

Rib: oval silver tinsel

Body: medium claret seals fur

Body hackles: a black and a red cock hackle wound together

Head hackle: Guinea Fowl dyed blue

The second variation is the one I prefer.

Hook and silk are the same as above. I like the extra movement provided by the legs but they are optional.

Tag: Opal Mirage tinsel

Rib: oval silver tinsel

Body: medium claret seals fur

Body hackles: a black and a red cock hackle wound together

Legs: 6 cock pheasant tail herls knotted and tied in on each side and slightly raised. Can be natural or dyed claret

Head hackles: a long fibred claret cock hackle wound first followed by a grizzle cock hackle dyed blue.

Did you know there is a Green Peter version of the Clan Chief too? The Clan Peter it is called and while I have yet to use one it looks like it should work. Here is the dressing I was given last year.

Hook:  6 – 12

Tread: Fl. Yellow

Tag – Opal mirage

Tail: Globrite yellow under red

Body: Green seals fur

Rib: Oval gold

Body hackles: A grizzle cock hackle dyed green olive and natural red game cock hackle wound together

Wing: Hen pheasant tail

Head hackle: Red game cock

Head: Formed with the tying thread and coated with clear varnish

All of these flies will produce a salmon on Carrowmore on their day. I don’t class myself as any sort of an expert when it comes to fishing Carrowmore but I know my way around the place so I will write a short post on the fishery soon.

The title photo is Ben Baynes with a nice little salmon off Carrowmore a few seasons ago.

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fly tying

My take on the Gold Butcher

Everyone knows this fly – right? Gold Butchers are just a ‘normal’ Butcher with a gold tinsel body instead of a silver one! Well I see this pattern very differently, and I would urge you to make up a few for yourselves. It is a versatile fly which works well for trout (brown and rainbow), seatrout and it will even tempt an occasional salmon. Here are the basic instructions for making them:

  1. Start the black tying silk behind the eye of the hook. Here I am using a size 12 Kamasan B170 and, keeping it traditional, some black Pearsall’s Gossamer silk.

2. A small slip of swan or goose feather dyed blood red is tied in to form the tail.

3. Continue to wind the silk towards the bend in touching turns, catching in a length of fine gold wire as you do so. Snip off the waste end of the tail material.

4. At the bend tie in a piece of flat gold tinsel of a strip or a narrow strip of Crunchie wrapper.5. Wind the tying silk back up to a point about 3 mm behind the hook eye. Now wind the flat gold tinsel up in touching turns a secure with the tying silk. Rib the body with the fine gold wire to give the tinsel some protection from the fishes teeth. 

6. Cut two matching slips form opposite secondary flight feathers from the wings of Crow or Jackdaw. Tied them in on top of the shank, taking care to align them properly. When tying this pattern it pays to concentrate on getting the proportions just right, especially if you decide to use the crow feathers for wings. It is very easy to end up with a fly that looks ‘wrong’ if the wings are too short or the hackles are too sparse.

7. Select two cock hackles, one dyed blood red and the other dyed black. Trim the excess ends of the wings and tie in the butt of the red hackle.

8. Wind one turn of the red hackle and tie off before removing the waste. Repeat with the black hackle.
    

9. Whip finish to make a neat head and varnish.

10. As an alternative you can make the wings from a bunch of Squirrel hair dyed black.

Hook sizes range from miniscule size 16’s all the way up to wolloping great size 6’s. I love this fly for those small bog lakes and sizes 12  – 14 would be my favourite when fishing these smaller waters. It does its best work as a tail fly on those overcast days with something claret as a partner on the cast. Those of you who know me will not be in the least surprised to hear that I often add a small black muddler head to the larger sizes. Happy tying!

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