It’s been raining for a few days now and the rivers are in spate. Some salmon are running and a few have been caught, but not by me! My last outing resulted in one pike, all be it a good one of just over twenty pounds. As we are now into the month of May my thoughts have turned to the upcoming grilse run and the gaps in my fly box.
I tied up a few tiny trebles today as I was completely out of these useful flies. I don’t use them much these days but when the river is dead low and the grilse hard to catch I reach for these little beauties. I first used these in Scotland many years ago after seeing an excellent fisher tie them for sea trout. I was using tiny tubes for grilse and figured the small trebles should be just as good. They certainly are and I can recommend them to you. Yes, they are fiddly to tie but you only need a few for the really difficult days. Here is how I make them.
1. Take a size 16 treble and start the tying silk behind the eye. The secret of tying these flies is to keep the number of turns of silk to the minimum. 8/0 thread is a good size to use. Here I will make a Stoats Tail.
2. Select a golden pheasant topping. I prefer to use a large one as it is easier to handle at this stage.
3. Tie the topping in on top of the hook with tight wraps of the silk and then continue to the start of the bends.
4. Now catch in a length of fine oval silver tinsel which will be used for the rib. Run the silk back up towards the eye in tight, touching turns.
5. You can make the body from black floss silk but I prefer to use black holographic tinsel instead. Tie in a piece leaving a gap behind the eye of the hook.
6. Wind the tinsel down to where the rib and tail are tied in then back up again to the eye. Tie the tinsel off with the silk and cut off the waste.
7. Now wind the silver tinsel rib in open turns up the body and tie that off too. Remove the waste.
8. I form the wing/hackle from dyed black squirrel tail hair. Firstly cut a small bunch of hair from the tail and offer it up to the top of the hook.
9. Use the ‘pinch and loop’ method of tying the hair on. This is a bit tricky on such a small treble but take your time and adjust the length of the hair before tightening the silk. Don’t take too many turns!
10. I now reverse the vice and and repeat the winging process below the hook. Use a slightly shorter and slimmer bunch of hair for this.
11. Return the vice to the normal position and trim off the excess hair. Form a neat head with the tying silk and whip finish with the tying silk. Remove the waste end.
12. The fly finished and ready for a couple of coats of varnish on the head.
You can tie just about any fly you like on these small trebles but I prefer simple hairwings and shrimps like these:
Black and Gold Shrimp
Red and Silver Shrimp
A word of warning; do not use these tiny trebles if there are smolts or other small fish in the river. They are intended for use in late summer when the small lads have migrated. The trebles are efficient hookers of grilse but can cause terrible damage to small fish so please be mindful of this before you try them out.
Small flies won’t fish properly on heavy leaders so use something around 5 or 6 pound breaking strain. Vary the retrieve till you find what the fish are looking for, some days a very quick retrieve is effective. Hope you enjoy tying and using these patterns!