Sunday, November 24, 2013

Some good Sedge's and how to fish them.

Sedge's are one of the most important species of fly for fly fishermen who chase wild brown trout. There is nothing like seeing a sedge fluttering across or floating on the surface of a river or lake, especially when we see that great wake or hear the big 'sloop' as it is swallowed down by a greedy trout. There are actually over 200 species of sedge flies identified in Ireland and the UK but generally only 20 are of major interest or concern for the fly fishermen.

There are many great sedge fly dressings out there, particularly the Goddard's Caddis and Elk Hair Caddis patterns that have provided deadly

sport on both rivers and lakes for decades. Another great fly imitating the caddis is the stimulator, various patterns of these imitations have evolved to be very productive on our Irish western lakes during the summer windy days. The natural behavior of a sedge is to skate across the surface of the water leaving a wake and making noise which in turn attracts hungry fish. This makes our tied imitations of these flies not only good lake flies in windy days when trout are looking up but also good to suspend buzzers or nymphs below on rivers, lakes and not only act as an indicator for the angler but tweaked across the surface will attract trout up to the sedge or take the nymphs below. 
When on the river and your set up is drifting down stream try stopping the sedge which forces the suspended nymph to rise and then drop again when the sedge is released on to continue its dead drift down stream this can be very effective for grayling as-well as trout.

Also on lakes and reservoirs, a team of flies with some buzzers or nymphs along with a good sized sedge suspending them, is best positioned in the feeding zone, which can commonly be only 18" to 2 feet down during that time of the year when sedge's are about. Simple slow retrieves of the sedge fly, about 12 to 18 inches at a time with a pause between retrieves, causes the sedge to ripple across the lake, simultaneously lifting the buzzer which then drops

back down into the feeding zone. This technique looks both like a natural sedge moving across the water and the buzzer lifts and drops like the natural buzzer emerging in the water. Fishing with Stimulator's in this manner is a deadly summer technique, especially early in the evening as the sedge's are more prevalent on the lake. Also this method on stocked lakes with blood worms as the tail fly can be irresistible to rainbow trout.

Do not be afraid of using two sedge's on a dry fly set up. This can be highly productive on rivers fishing fast water and keeping your dries as close to you as you can with very little line or tippet on the water, doing this you can maximize your catch very quickly. Even pull the sedge's across the current at the same time pulling them under the ripples and they in turn will pop back up as you lift your rod tip up this disturbance and movement in the runs will most definitely attract the trouts attention; thus increasing your rise rates.
I have found that fishing sedge hogs, which are generally associated with lough style, can be very very productive on rivers fishing this method. 

In the European Championships in Poland some years ago fishing a large Olive sedge hog proved to be very productive when a rise began in one session and left me in a positive fifth place for that session. Also I regularly fish these sedge's in the small tributaries of the River Nore, pulling them across the current in the evenings have given me some cracking fishing.  Deer hair is a very common factor in most sedge patterns and is vital to the success of the dressing and the flies presentation to the trout.

When I am on or heading to the river for a session knowing that sedge's are on the menu, I will always tie patterns that can be trimmed, if I don't already know the correct size of the natural sedge. I have found that having the correct length and size of the tied fly is crucial to be exactly the same as the natural one. 

I do think we should be more adventurous with sedge fishing and look to our techniques of fishing them especially in rivers and on fast water, keep your flies close to you and using stealth to hide your position from the trout, skate your flies across the runs, almost like our methodology of nymphing. Being experimental with your tying and getting your sedge's to sit in the water in different ways is also an important factor in trying to get the trout to take your fly over the natural sedge that is beside it on the water. I have found over the last number of seasons that I get better results with much simpler tied flies than complex patterns that seem to catch more anglers than fish, so concentrate on your sizes and profiles and you won't go too far off matching the natural. These are my two most reliable sedge dressings:

Hook: Dohiku Barbless Dry fly hook  size 14
Thread: Olive Twist tying thread
Rib: Clear 1.5lb mono
Dubbing: Tag is Spectra no 96 and body is no 46 spectra dubbing
Body Hackle: Grizzle Cock
Wing: natural deer hair firstly then CDC lightly over the deer hair.

Hook: Hends Barbless Dry fly hook 404 size 14
Thread: Black Twist tying thread
Tag: Glo- brite no 12 
Dubbing: Hares ear mixed with a small bit of UV ice dubbing then brushed out really well.
Wing: natural deer hair firstly then 2 CDC  feathers tied over the deer hair.

The first fly is one I use commonly on the fast water it sits up quite well and is a hard dry to sink, I would fish two of these on the white water of a run and drag them across to get a fishes attention. The second sedge dressing is more for the calmer water and I tend to tie the wing a bit longer and pluck off some of the length from the CDC to match the length of the natural on the water, this sedge sits well into the water and by brushing out the body give it a very attractive and fishy look. You can play around with the tag on the second fly and try out some different colours.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this post and if you have any comments or questions just drop me a line below, also if you would like to see whats coming next on this blog just sign in and follow me. Thanks for reading and if you are looking for any of the materials used just follow the links to irishflytying.com where you will find all you need. 

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Some Tips on Working with Dubbing

I have been asked many times by other anglers and I find myself asking the same question every time I sit at the vice, what can I do to better my tying and continue to develop my flies; it can be a frustrating question at times and the answer is different for every pattern. But there is one area that I have been focusing on, adding to and developing my dubbing by mixing it to achieve desired looks and movement from it.
Often the dubbing can be a bit overlooked by ribs, body hackles and the like, especially in lough style tying, where by working the dubbing through the dressing and by using mixed dubbings can help create very attractive and full bodied flies that work well with and in the water. I spend a good bit of time mixing dubbings to create different and sometimes effective changes to patterns, then by brushing them out at different stages or applying them in different ways to the hook I tend to gain more confidence in the fly which also I feel is a very important component of fishing the fly effectively.
Spending a week with some Polish fly dressers several years ago I saw them making all their own dubbings and how effectively their methods enhanced their flies, I began to do the same and have continued to do so till today for some of my dubbing.  I am always on the look out to buy packets of different and unusual dubbings from different places and when I am tying a fly I'll mix the different materials to get my desired look from that fly. Also buying and dying wool's can be a good source to experiment with, mixing dubbing and getting different looks to your flies; chop them up, blend them and  mixing them through with other materials you can create wonderful colours and textures.
There is a few things that will help you achieve unique colours and textures in dubbing and dressings, two of the most important tools you will need you won't find in any fly-tying shop and they are:
A Tooth Brush

This tooth brush has brushed out thousands of flies for me and remains one of the most important tools on my desk. You must trim down the fibers as seen this allows you to have short hard bristles to the front to dig out the dubbing and longer ones at the back to drag the dubbin fibers in the right direction giving you what I call the fishy look to the fly. Brushing the body at several stages while making the fly gives you that nice folded back look on your hackles and draws out the fibers of dubbing out through the hackle or rib. Some tiers also use a stick with some velcro stuck to it for this brush but I do find the trimmed back brush digs deeper into the body. But you do want to make sure your dubbing is tied in well and maybe even spun onto the hook so when you are brushing it out you don't expose the under body.

A Coffee Blender
This device is the best way to mix dubbing, if I am mixing up Hares ear dubbing I trim the hare and put it into the blender I use different parts of the mask to achieve the tone I am looking for, then I might add in some other synthetic dubbing like Hends UV Ice or spectra Dubbing and blend it all up, if it does not turn out right then I just add more of either dubbing till I get it right. 
As you can see from this picture i have three different tones and textures of hare dubbing from the same mask depending on how I have mixed it and where I have trimmed it from the different parts of the hares mask and added in some synthetic materials to enhance some of the dubbing. 
The blender is also very important for mixing up your wool's you must cut it up into lengths, short sections will give you a fine dubbing and long sections will achieve a more course texture, once blended up you can add in other products to give the required effect. 

Point to note the blender won't cut the dubbing but if you blend it for too long it can heat up so its worth doing the blending in short bursts. Its really worth trying different stuff in the blender like Glo-brite and see what you get, one of my favorite dubbings is red egg yarn cut up and add in UV Ice dubbing, I use this in a lot of flies for hot spots, bodies, tags and anywhere else I feel it will be effective and trout love it.
Here you can see how brushing out and using the different Hares ears dubbing in this nymph has created a real fishy and scraggy look that looks really natural when in the water and more importantly attractive to fish.
I am always on the look out for different materials that I can cut up and blend into or with other furs and hairs to create unique looking dubbings for my flies, this can include carpets and rugs. But I can't over state the importance of the tooth brush and brushing your dubbings out to give your fly's extra life.
I hope you have enjoyed reading this post and if you have any comments or questions just drop me a line below, also if you would like to see what post I am doing next  just sign in and follow this blog. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


If I was heading to the west of Ireland fishing on the great lakes like Lough Corrib, Conn or Mask I would not be going with out some of these flies tied up as I always have had good fishing on them any time of the year from the first weekend of the season to the last few days in October. The Fiery Brown fly is renowned in general to be a versatile fly through out the lough angling World. It can represent fresh water shrimp in the early part of the season, duck fly in the spring also and sedge's in the summer.
Fishing out of Ballindiff Bay a few years ago for the opening day of the season myself and my boat man Joe Trill had a cracking day landing several good trout on on the following fly. Fishing it on the point with clear fast intermediate lines the trout couldn't resist it and out on the Corrib in February meeting a few fish helped us to take our minds of the freezing wind.

Dubbing: Fiery Brown Hares dubbing mixed with some orange spectra flash 
Beard Hackle: Brown Hen Hackle
Cheeks: Jungle cock split in half and tied in on each side. 

The next dabbler dressing was on a team of flies that I fished on the Corrib in late September three years ago when I fished the national finals out of Oughterard Bay, in a high blustery wind this fly was my top dropper and attracted a lot of the trout I took that day.

Tail: Cock Pheasant 
Dubbing: Fiery Brown Hares dubbing Mixed with some orange spectra flash 
Body Hackle: Brown Hen Hackle
Under Wing: Badger Hackle Dyed orange and several strands of Hends Krystal Flash 

During a summer session on lough Mask a few years ago with my dad who was just getting over a heart operation we had fantastic fishing in a summer breeze ginking up some fiery brown bumbles and sat them out on the lake for the cruising trout to feed on, I thought that the excitement of the rising trout was going to put my dad back into the hospital.
Dubbing: Fiery Brown Hares dubbing Mixed with some orange spectra flash 
Body Hackle: Brown Hen Hackle with Badger dyed orange 
Cheeks: Sunburst Turkey Biots.
Shoulder Hackle: Partridge dyed Brown.

I do tend to add a lot of orange into my fiery brown dressings I find that it gives it a nice brightness and attraction point to the fly in dark or turned up waters when the wind is blowing up the waves. These fly's are worth tying and I give them a swim on most days when I am out on the lakes; like all my fly's they will have there good days and days when the fish just wont look at much but I do find that these patterns will produce takes when the fish tend not to look at much else. 
I hope you have enjoyed reading this post and if you have any comments or questions just drop me a line below l, also if you would like to see what post I am doing next  just sign in and follow this blog. click on any of the materials and the links will lead you to where you can find them. Thanks for reading. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

A Few Weighted Wet Fly's Worth Having in Your Fly Box

Three traditional wet fly patterns that have been catching fish for decades and continue to do so today are  the Wickhams Fancy, the Black and Silver and the Greenwells Golry. Swinging these fly's on a intermediate line down and across some fast water was the only method I knew as fly-fishing growing up.  I have studied many other disciplines in fishing sense then but the flys that formed the foundations of mine and  many young anglers are still as productive. I do however tie many forms and colours of the original dressings and I will post some more of these variations shortly, but here is some of my point wet fly's that I use during the early part of the season or when there is high water. I vary my retrieves once the fly has swung around from its starting position and on occasions I will submerge the tip of my rod to allow the fly to swim deeper in the current, very similar to today's method of streamer fishing. These fly's should be fished on the point and smaller versions on the droppers without the bead head as a team of two or three. 

The Black & silver

Hook: Size 12 Hends BL200
Thread: Black twist thread 
Bead: Black Tungsten size 3mm
Tag: Glo-Brite no 5
Body: Dual Mylar tinsel 
Hackle: Soft black Hen Hackle 

This fly is a must when a shower of rain falls, trout feed heavily on it at that point.

The Greenwells 

Hook: Size 12 Hends BL200
Thread: Olive twist thread 
Bead: GoldTungsten size 3mm
Tail: Coq De Leon fibers 
Tag: Glo-Brite no 12
Body: Primrose thread 
Rib: Gold wire 
Hackle: Soft Greenwells Hen Hackle.

The Wickhams Fancy  

Hook: Size 12 Hends BL200
Thread: Olive twist thread 
Bead: GoldTungsten size 3mm
Tail: Ginger hackle fibers 
Body: Dual Mylar tinsel
Rib: Gold wire 
Hackle: Ginger Cock Hackle.
Wing: Starling or mallard wing
This fly is excellent when the water is slightly coloured before or after a flood. 

These fly's are well worth having this coming spring for those hungry trout, enter your email to follow this blog and see what I will be doing next as it is the time of the year to strip out my fly boxes and start retying and developing most of my patterns. Thank you for reading this post I hope you enjoy tying these fly's.