Items filtered by date: April 2020

A fly that glows

Gary Goddard, the first contributor to the ‘lockdown series’, submits another fly which looks like it will do the business on any river. Says Gary: “This is another freshly tied pattern that will hopefully be christened in the River Ness in the not too distant future.” All Ness anglers will support that!

Golden Glow Living Shrimp
Tyer: Gary Goddard

Tail: Golden orange dyed bucktail, plus four strands orange Krystal Flash
Body: Rear half - gold Mylar or flat tinsel. Front half - well blended yellow and orange SLF hank
Rib: Fine oval silver tinsel
Wing: Well blended yellow and orange Squirrel tail plus 4 - 6 strands orange Krystal Flash
Front hackle: Rich deep orange hen
Cheeks: Jungle Cock
Head: Red

Ready for Ness action

Deadly for trout

The ‘lockdown series’ continues with a pair of Diawl Bach’s from David Mateer. “I’ve had great success with these over the years, both locally and elsewhere in the UK,” reports David.
“These competition Diawl's can be fished as part of a team on a floating, sink tip or intermediate line. They are also deadly on a washing line set up using a blob with a foam tail (FAB) or booby to hold them up. Static or a very slow figure of eight retrieve is best.”

Diawl Bach
Tyer: David Mateer

Red Head
Hook: Kamasan B175 10 or 12
Thread: Red
Tail: Red game
Body: Natural peacock herl
Rib: Medium red holographic
Beard: Red game
Head: Clear varnish over red thread.

Chartreuse Head
Hook, tail, body and beard hackle same as above
Thread: Chartreuse
Rib: Medium mirage tinsel
Head: Clear varnish over chartreuse thread


A pair of beauties

Tying triumph

Elgin-based fly tyer Sandy Howie has sent in two versions of one of the best-known, locally-developed salmon flies - the Black Shrimp, devised and fished very successfully by John Cathcart. The first fly is as John tied it; the second is Sandy’s take on the original dressing.

The Black Shrimp
Tyer: Sandy Howie

Hook: Black nickel Patriot size 6
Thread: Semperfli nano silk 12/0
Tag: Oval silver 4 turns
Tail hackle: Ring necked pheasant rump feather dyed black, wound and sloping rearward. A small pinch of black ice angel hair tied in slightly longer than hackle feather
Rear body: Globrite no 9 yellow floss and silver oval rib
Middle hackle: Yellow cock
Front body: Black floss with silver oval rib
Head hackle: 2 turns orange cock followed by two jungle cock eyes and finally front hackle 2 turns black
Head: Black

Sandy's tying of the original dressing.....

.....And his version of the fly

Splendid specimen

Along with the Hairy Mary, the Garry Dog stands as one of the earliest hair wing salmon flies, developed from a Victorian feather wing version. And like the Hairy Mary it is still a popular and successful fly today, especially in the early part of the season. Jimmy Stewart, an experienced IAC member and fly tyer, has submitted this splendid specimen to add another historic fly to the lockdown series.

Garry Dog
Tyer: Jimmy Stewart

Hook: 8-10 single or double
Tag: Oval silver
Butt: Yellow floss
Tail: Golden pheasant crest
Body: Black floss
Rib: Oval silver
Throat: Blue Guinea fowl
Wing: Yellow buck tail over red buck tail
Thread: Red

A fly for every box

Extra time to tie

Another three weeks in lockdown means we won’t be fishing any time soon, on river or loch. Please - stay home and stay safe so that you are fit and able when re-opening arrives.
Meantime, those who tie could make a contribution to our popular ‘lockdown series’ of fly patters. And it’s not confined to members of Inverness Angling Club. Anyone who ties can submit their favourite trout or salmon flies, standard patterns or inventions of their own.
All we need is the name of the fly, detailed dressing and a JPEG picture, e-mailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Flies for the north

The village water of the River Helmsdale is an attractive trip for Ness anglers. A highly productive river, it needs a different set of skills. It is where locals practise the art of dibbling - fishing a two fly cast and lifting the rod to make the bob fly stream across the pool. The method can be visual, exciting and deadly.Recommended tube flies, which don’t need names, incorporate the following choices of dressings:

Helmsdale tubes
Tyer: Alex Elliott

Tubes: 1/2 to 3/4 inch
Thread: Red or black according to pattern
Tag: Oval gold or silver wire
Body: Red floss or holographic tinsel of choice
Rib: Oval or silver gold wire
Wing: Stripped hen hackle of choice or black buck tail
Head: Red or black
Light dressings are the norm but adding a cone head can be useful in high to moderate water.

Tiny tots

A powerful fly

Club president Alex Elliott submits a successful fly with a curious history, first tied about 12 years ago on August 4. Says Alex: “Being a true romantic, I tied a fly using the colours of Eileen’s birth stone. The truth is, I forgot her birthday! I named it the Eileen Killer but, in a chat with Alan Scott at the Mill Stream soon after, he suggested naming it the Elliott Ness after the famed TV crook catcher. And the name stuck.

“Eileen and I were having a fish supper by the Little Isle one night when John Anderson, the insurance man, appeared. He told me he hadn’t had a salmon for four years so I said I would give him a fly that was sure to get him a fish. He tied on the Elliott Ness and hadn't been in the river five minutes when he got into a salmon. To say he was chuffed would be an understatement!”

It is interesting to note that the August birthstone Peridot, with its signature lime green colour, is believed to instill power and influence in the wearer.

The Elliott Ness
Tyer: Alex Elliott

Tail: Yellow and green buck tail with two strands green/yellow Krystal Flsh
Body: Gold flat tinsel
Rib: Oval gold tinsel
Wing: Black squirrel tail
Rear hackle: Two turns yellow cock with two turns green cock over
Head: Black


A fly is born

Attractive tube

Next from the Stronach family is a Willie Gunn variant chosen by Gordon.

Willie Gunn (variant)
Tyer: Gordon Stronach

Tube: 22mm aluminium tube
Thread: Red Semperfly
Body: Gold holographic tinsel
Rib: Fine copper wire
Hackle: Yellow cock
Wing: Black buck tail, two strands gold Krystal Flash, black squirrel tail over
Eyes: Jungle cock
Head: Red or clear varnish

A tidy fly

A busy bee

The Stronach family are committed supporters of Inverness Angling Club and angling in general. And all four - Tracy, husband Stephen, daughter Cheyenne and son Gordon - attended the fly tying group meetings over the close season, building skills that they've used to good effect. Tracy's choice for the lockdown series is an interesting combination which she has named after her Dad who is, she says, "a bee Mannie. Tie on and fish with a smile!"

The 'Billy Bee'  
Tyer: Tracy Stronach

Hook: Ahrex size 8 Black nickel finish
Thread: Semperfli nano black
Tail: Red feather fibres
Body: Black mini fritz, yellow mini fritz, black mini fritz
Wings: Jim's Wings - Daddy
Hackle: Two turns of black hen or cock
Head: Finish and vanish with Sally Hansen or UV bug bond
Eyes: Gold Pebeo

Fly with a buzz

Subtle differences

Ian Woolley contributes a couple of flies which show the subtle differences between regional patterns - another version of the Black Shrimp and an Irish fly, the Bann Shrimp. The dressing for this version of the Black Shrimp is close to the original, with the addition of black feelers. The dyed red Guinea fowl and badger hackle are interesting additions in the Bann Shrimp. Both look likely lures for salmon.

The Bann Shrimp
Tyer: Ian Woolley

Tag: Silver oval tinsel
Tail: Dyed red Guinea fowl feather (substitute for dyed red GP rump feather)
Body: Rear half bright yellow floss, front half black floss
Mid hackle: Orange
Rib: Silver oval tinsel
Front hackle: Badger

The Bann Shrimp

A variation of the Black Shrimp

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