Fly patterns

Flies from shielding

Ken Mackenzie has contributed a couple of what he describes as ‘freestyle Covid shielding’ flies. He hopes to be able to have a cast towards the end of July or early August, so tight lines Ken.

Freestyle: Two from Ken

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Victory celebration

Ian Woolley has tied up a fitting celebration of VE Day with a couple of flies using the purple and green regimental colours of the 51st Highland Volunteers. They are definitely colours for feisty fish!

The 51 Highland
Tyer; Ian Woolley

Hook: Kamasan B175 size 10
Tail: Glow bright floss No. 19
Body: Black thread
Rib: Small copper holographic
Wing: Black marabou
Throat hackle: Green Highlander
Cheeks: Jungle cock

Victory on any fishery!

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A plug from Mick

Here’s something different from Mick Fenion - a small fly designed by Danish angler, guide and fly tyer Marc Skovby to get down to salmon. Its Francis heritage is unmistakable but expands the range of variations that continue to catch salmon around the world.

Plug Francis
Tyer: Mick Fenion

Tube: Plastic liner with cone at the back
Tail: Yellow fox hair over cone to flare out
Feelers: Boar bristles with glister over fox hair held with another cone
Hackle: Yellow cock held with another cone
Note: Other colour versions may be tied, as illustrated. Beads also can be used.

A tail view

Choose your colour

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Long tail triumph

The Monkey fly has burst on to the salmon fishing scene in recent times, building on the success of long-tailed patterns like the traditional Collie Dog and the more modern Sunray Shadow. Angling instructor and fly tyer David Mateer has developed his own version of the fly, the Mateer Monkey.

David reports: “This has been a prolific fly for me, angling colleagues and one or two members of Inverness Angling Club, producing fish on the Ness, Carron (east coast), Oykel, Spey and my favourite river, the Ewe.

“This fly accounted for five fish up to 17lb for me on the Ewe last June. Unfortunately, I lost a couple as well so almost landed a fish every day of our week. Tied on a 1" aluminium tube gives the fly more movement when using heavy sink tips.”

The Mateer Monkey
Tyer: David Mateer

Thread: Light coloured such as white or yellow for the body. Black for tying the rest of the fly
Body: Mirage - large, tied up and down the tube for durability
Rib: Silver oval tinsel
On completing the body, whip finish and apply two coats of varnish and allow to dry thoroughly. Then using black thread......
Beard hackle: Bunch of Yellow Schlappen fibres.
Underwing: Black Arctic fox, comb some of the fluff out to avoid bulk
Upper wing: Black goat hair, with two strips of gold flash up each side
Cheeks: Jungle cock
Head: Black

Proven catcher

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Flies for first fling

One of these little beauties will be Jamie Urquhart’s choice for his first cast when rivers reopen, hopefully on the Lower Fairburn beat of the River Conon. Jamie is an accomplished tyer and enthusiastic member of the close season fly tying group where his creations have won annual awards.

Little specials

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Legendary creation

Another lockdown offering from David Mateer is the Kerry Blue, a fly created by the legendary Harold Davis who owned and ran the Craigmore Hotel in Gairloch with his wife, Vi. Since the 1970s, it has been used to great effect on the River Ewe for both salmon and sea trout. David reports: “I tied this fly for Ross MacDonald and it featured in the September 2019 issue of Trout & Salmon. It’s tied very sparse for photographic reasons. For fishing purposes, I would have more of a beard hackle and wing.”

The Kerry Blue
Tyer: David Mateer

Hook: Salmon double
Thread: Black
Butt: Silver mylar
Tail: Golden pheasant crest
Butt 2: Black ostrich herl
Body: Rear half red Mylar, front half blue Mylar
Rib: Silver oval tinsel
Hackle: Black hackle fibres
Wing: Squirrel dyed black
Topping: Golden pheasant crest
Head: Black


Ewe success

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A fiery variant

Gary Goddard keeps up his good work with a variant of the Cascade that he finds is good for bright and sunny days. The development of the fly is attributed to the late Kenny Macdonald, a passionate salmon angler whose son Ross contributes the ‘Fly of the Month’ feature in Trout & Salmon Magazine.

Cascade Variant (Macdonald)

Tyer: Gary Goddard

Tail: Red and yellow buck tail with strands of pearl Flashabou
Body: Flat silver tinsel
Rib: Oval silver tinsel
Wing: Purple hackle fibres
Sides: Jungle cock
Front hackle: Red over yellow cock
Head: Black

Bright fly for bright days

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Interesting tweaks

Sandy Howie has tweaked two well-known salmon flies to produce interesting variations, tied on US-style tubes. Developing small versions of the Ally’s Shrimp for a friend planning to fish the River Wick, he found that the grey squirrel underwing would not lie well at this size. He replaced this with an additional head hackle of grizzly hen behind the orange.

Ally’s Shrimp
Tyer: Sandy Howie

Tube: 1.8mm fluoro red tubing with a 10mm fluoro orange US Tube slipped on to the rear.
Thread: Personal choice
Tail: Bunch of hot orange Arctic Runner, some strands of fluoro orange and Fluoro fibre on top
Rib: Silver wire
Body: Rear half Globrite no 5 orange floss, front half black floss
Wing: Bunch of hot orange GP tippet
First hackle: Two turns grizzle hen followed by a couple of turns orange.
Cone: Hot orange

The second fly is a Sutherland favourite, The Alistair. Sandy did not have “dirty” yellow buck tail so used a banana-dyed buck tail and added a banana head hackle.

The Alistair
Tyer: Sandy Howie

Tube: 1.8mm fluoro red tubing with a 10mm gold US Tube slipped on to the rear.
Thread: Personal choice
Body: Dubbed ball of SSS nasty rusty dubbing brushed out backwards
Wing: Relatively sparse banana buck tail with a few strands of mastery rusty angel hair added top and bottom.
Hackle: Two turns banana hen hackle
Cone: Dark red


Tweaked: Ally's Shrimp

Tweaked: The Alistair

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Two to try

Cormorants may not be welcome on freshwater fisheries but their like-named flies are a sure way for anglers to attract fish. David Mateer has had a lot of success with them on the competition scene and submits these two for anglers to try.

“They can be fished on a variety of lines,” says David, “but are best fished near the surface. A 3' or 6' midge tip would be my preferred choice on a washing line set up. These are well worth having in your fly box. I would be delighted to accept any black marabou tips from any club member who doesn't use them.”

Tyer: David Mateer

Red Holographic Cormorant
Hook: Kamasan B175 10 or12
Thread: Black
Body: Medium red holographic tinsel
Wing: Tip of black marabou feather, one strand of small red holographic tinsel up each side of wing

Mirage Cormorant
Hook: As above
Thread: As above
Body: Medium mirage tinsel
Rib: Black thread
Wing: As above, but with one strand of small mirage tinsel up each side of wing

Tying tips: Once the body has been completed, whip finish and apply two coats of varnish before finishing the fly.

Cracking catchers

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Fenion’s fancy

Mick Fenion is known as a trout fly specialist when it comes to tying, so we asked him what he liked to fish. “Wickham’s Fancy is my definite favourite fly,” he said, “on river, loch or stillwater - especially when olives are about.”

Wickham’s Fancy
Tyer: Mick Fenion

Tail: Red cock
Rib: Gold wire
Body: Flat gold, pearl or lure flash (“I try then all”)
Body hackle: Red cock
Head hackle: Red cock
Wing: Mallard duck wing quills

One for the trout angler's box

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