Fishing the Caddis Hatch at Henry’s Fork

Shayne Harrop Spring Caddis

Shayne Harrop Spring Caddis

In recent years I have sometimes struggled to separate the personal importance of fishing hatches larger than size 18 or leaving the season of gloves, heavy fleece, and covered ears. In most years, however, both comforts tend to arrive together around early May when conditions are right for streamside willows to come into bud and the first caddis of the year to begin their emergence.

Like nearly all willows and caddis, I find it difficult to tolerate long periods of below freezing temperatures, especially while in pursuit of rising trout.  And with the sharp vision of youth now only a memory, my eyes become instantly grateful when a size 14 dry fly can attract the kind of enthusiasm from trout that only the warm season can inspire. Learn how casting and perfectly presenting a dry fly will catch you more fish.

In the U.S., the second Sunday in May is a day of honor for mothers nationwide which, by itself, is of no small significance. In much of the northern Rockies, however, Mother’s Day coincides with the appearance of a sizeable, mostly brown caddis that begins a string of like insects that will stretch into early autumn. And while not always the dominant insect of choice, caddis in a variety of sizes and colors play a substantial role in the diet of trout throughout the most comfortable months of the year.

Like mayflies, caddis provide opportunity to fish weighted imitations in their subsurface form. Cased and free living larvae are prime attractions for trout in nearly any season. Pupae, the second stage, become available just prior to and during emergence and are fished differently than the deep, dead drift method that is appropriate for the larval stage.

MY favorite pupal imitation is a weighted Ascending Caddis that is fished either upstream with a lift or across and downstream with a twitching motion applied by the rod tip. With naturals being active and often quick in their rise to the surface, the take on a tight line can be sudden and forceful as the fish rushes to engulf the fly before it can escape the water.

During emergence, an aggressive rise that moves a lot of water indicates a trout taking rising caddis pupae close to the surface. Duplicating the appearance and behavior of the natural in this situation means fishing a submerged rather than floating pattern.

A floating pupae pattern like the CDC Bubble Back Caddis will imitate the brief but often distinct period between the transition from subsurface pupa to winged adult. Fished on the surface without drag or perhaps with a slight twitch, the Bubble Back Caddis creates an illusion of vulnerability if only for a few seconds. However, this slight window of enhanced opportunity can be enough to attract a trout’s attention.

Caddis in the winged stage are known to be more active on the water than mayflies. Following a traditional approach to dealing with this mobility, I utilize a pattern featuring a dubbed body with hackle palmered along its entire length. This, combined with a wing of paired CDC feathers, provides a light foot print on the water and allows the fly to be inched across the surface when such behavior is called for. Flotation of this style is excellent on most water but I will sometimes add a small amount of elk hair to bolster performance on extra rough currents.

Brogan Harrop Spring Caddis

Brogan Harrop Spring Caddis

The CDC Henry’s Fork Caddis was inspired by big, selective trout feeding in clear and slow moving water. Although this pattern floats quite low on the water it possesses excellent flotation and visibility when compared to most other slow water caddis patterns. I find the Henry’s Fork Caddis to be particularly effective on summer mornings and evenings when the temperatures are cooler and the naturals mostly sedate on the water.

Unlike some who tend to trivialize the value of caddis in comparison to well-known mayfly hatches, I carry a rather extensive selection of specialized caddis patterns. The following four patterns, however, comprise a sound foundation for addressing most of what will be encountered during a caddis emergence and their subsequent return to the water when eggs are deposited and the cycle ends

The following is a sampling of some of the most common colors.

Ascending Caddis Tan

Ascending Caddis
Hook: TMC 206 BL size 12-20
Thread: Tan 8/0
Rib: Copper Wire
Back: Brown Marabou
Abdomen:  Tan Dubbing
Legs:  Brown Partridge fibers
Antennae:   2 Wood Duck fibers

CDC Bubble Back Caddis (Tan)

CDC Bubble Back Caddis (Tan)

Bubble Back Caddis
Hook: TMC 206 BL size 12-20
Thread: Tan 8/0
Shuck: Sparse tuft of Tan dubbing over 3 Wood Duck fibers
Abdomen: Tan CDC feathers looped over Tan dubbing to create a humped effect.
Hackle: Brown Partridge
Thorax: Brown Dubbing

CDC Palmered Caddis Adult Brown

CDC Palmered Caddis Adult Brown

CDC Palmered Caddis Adult
Hook: TMC 100 BL size 12-20
Thread: Brown 8/0
Hackle: Whiting Cree or Grizzly dyed brown
Body: Brown Dubbing
Wings: Paired Brown CDC feathers
Antennae: 2 Wood Duck fibers

CDC Henry's Fork Caddis Olive

CDC Henry’s Fork Caddis Olive

CDC Henry’s Fork Caddis
Hook: TMC 100 BL size 12-20
Thread: Olive 8/0
Abdomen: Olive Goose or Turkey Biot
Wing: Paired Med. Dun CDC feathers
Over Wing: Brown Partridge fibers
Thorax: Peacock Herl
Hackle: Whiting Grizzly dyed dun trimmed on bottom

Fly of the Week – Grayling Pink Tag

Fly of the week - Pink Tag for GraylingPink, as most fly fishermen will know is a well re-known colour for grayling. The lady of the stream is partial to any fly incorporating a spot of pink whether it’s a floss tail, pink glister thorax or a pink wire rib. These pink bugs seem to work particularly well once the Salmon make an appearance and start their spawning habits. The fixation on pink may be due to the amount of  ‘pink’ eggs being released by the female salmon. Or, in many cases, because a lot of anglers use it!

Slide a tungsten bead onto your hook, here I have used a silver bead; 3mm paired with a Kamasan B170 size 12. Secure your thread onto the hook and butt up against the tungsten bead to ensure it stays in place. Run the thread down the hook until the bend in the shank and prepare the tail. Cut a length of Glo-Brite floss and create a plump tail. I like to wrap the floss around my two fingers 8 times to get a good consistent thickness. You can get 4/5 flies out of each length so don’t throw away the off cuts!

Tie the tail in securely and take three strands of peacock herl for the body. The grayling like a mouthful so don’t skimp on the peacock. Tie the herl onto the hook and wrap around the thread, this will ensure durability of the herl as it is very prone to breakages. Wind towards the bead and tie off at the head. Take a brown hen feather, or in this case, a brown grizzle hackle and secure onto the hook. Two or three turns onto the hook and tie off. The hackle gives a lot of movement and helps the fly fool both trout and grayling in fast, medium or slow paced water.

Fishtec stock a full range of fly tying materials and hooks.

Tying Material List

Hook: Kamasan B170 Size 12
Thread: Black UTC 70
Bead: Silver Tungsten
Tail: No 2 Glo Brite
Body: Peacock Herl
Hackle: Brown Hen

Fly of the Week – Red Apps Bloodworm

Fly Of The Week - Red Apps Bloodworm

Kieron Jenkins shows how to tie the deadly, but simple red apps bloodworm. Tied with just two materials excluding the hook and the thread, this pattern is one of the quickest, most effect stillwater flies to ever grace our fly boxes. The red apps was designed to imitate bloodworm balling in silt, making a very easy meal for hungry trout. Used as a nymph, under a bung or as a lure, this fly has taken many specimen trout from waters all around the UK including many stillwater records!

Start off by threading six glass beads onto a hook. Here I have used a Kamasan B170 size 10 hook as it gives enough room on the hook to comfortably position six glass beads. Attach your thread just behind the eye of the hook and tie in two strands of flexi-floss. Taper the thread and apply a dab of super glue ensuring to thread the first bead tightly to the eye. The glue will secure the thread and lock the bead in place.

Repeat the process at the back of the hook with another two strands of red flexi-floss. Apply more glue to ensure both the bead and threads security.

Tie an overhand knott in a length of flexi-floss and pass over the front of the hook positioning the knot between the middle of the 6 beads. Pull tight and glue in place, cutting the flexi-floss at your preferred length. You could even leave the middle lengths out if the fly seems too big.

One thing to note with this fly is the beads may twist around the hook, but this isn’t an issue as the two at each end should hold them in place if glued and tied in correctly. Ensure these ‘stoppers’ are secured correctly before fishing with.

Hook: Kamasan b170 Size 10
Thread: Red 70 UTC
Body/Beads: 6x Red Glass Beads
Tail: Flexi Floss
Middle legs: Flexi Floss
Front Legs: Flexi Floss

See more fly tying video on Fishtec TV

Written by Kieron Jenkins

Fly of the Week – Hot Spot Pheasant Tail Jig

Fly Of The Week - Fishtec
The hot spot pheasant tail is a basic but very effective pattern, it can be tied in a variety of colours which makes this pattern extremely versatile on both rivers and lakes. This jig  is a favourite amongst river anglers for stocked fish or whilst the water is up and dirty. Effectively fished on the point of a two fly cast, this fly brings attraction and sheer confidence to a team of flies.

Attach a tungsten bead to one of the New size 12 Fulling Mill Force Jig hook with a slotted 3.3 mm tungsten bead. Run a layer of black thread to the base of the hook and strip 4/5 fibres of red game hackle from the stalk and tie in. Vary the length depending on the hook size and attach a length of gold wire for the rib.

Create a layer of thread to which the pheasant tail body can lay on and attach 3/4 strands of pheasant to the back of the hook. Take the thread to a safe position behind the bead and in touching turns, run the body material towards the bead. Once your happy with the length of the body tie in and cut off, securing with open turns of the gold wire.

Whip finish and cut the thread from the hook and attach a floss type material – here I’ve used Glo-Bright No5 – and secure just behind the bead. Create a thorax from the floss with multiple turns of thread just behind the bead. Whip finish and tie off, securing with varnish.

Tying Materials

Hook: Fulling Mill Force Jig Hook Size 12
Bead: Slotted 3.5mm Gold Tungsten Bead
Thread: Brown UTC 70 Denier
Tail: Red Game Cock Hackle
Rib: Gold Wire
Body: Pheasant Tail
Hotspot: Glo Bright No5

Written by Kieron Jenkins

Catch and Release and Barbless Hooks

The last three or four years catch and release has been a big part of fishing and it’s enjoyment. Anglers ‘back in the day’ took fish for the table, and as much as I believe there’s nothing wrong with this, there is an issue when you reach reach a competitive level. Fly fishing competitions are held at still waters all around the UK and are the pinnacle of a fly anglers career.

A competition is obviously a test against anglers wits and knowledge mixed with a bit of luck. They are usually fished to a limit, be it four, six or eight fish. All of which have to be dispatched and weighed in at the end of the day to determine a winner. Im still quite content as to what the reason is, but anglers seem to be catching more and more fish, is that just me or are others noticing this too? I remember when I started fishing over 10 years ago, the top anglers on the scene were calling 6/7 fish days ‘out of this world’. Now, you see anglers catching 20 fish + regularly. Is it our ability as anglers, our angling skill may be getting better, or is it their choice of fishing tackle? Maybe fish are getting more stupid, or our flies are getting neater…

With Catch and Release dominating the competition scene it is now compulsory that anglers use barbless hooks… The only problem I’ve found is that buying barbless hooks which match my preferred hooks, usually of the Kamasan range, are hard to come by. Straight hooks are usually too thin in the wire or are not heavy enough to sustain takes when being pulled 80mph through a bunch of stockies, or a curved hook for buzzers simply aren’t heavy enough to get down at the pace I wish.

Recently though we’ve had a very nice delivery here at Fishtec, the full range of Fulling Mill Barbless Hooks, with everything from a Jig hook for river fishing to a heavy weight champ barbless hook, which is on par to a Kamasan B175, something I’ve longed for.

Fulling Mill Heavy Weight Competition

022-5 (1)

With C&R being so prominent, no doubt it will be the ruling for most competitions in the future, good fish care is high on the agenda. Barbless hooks is the first, obvious change. Putting a fish back alive and well means they need to be handle as little as possible with no damage to it’s mouth or body. A barb can cause more stress to a fish than anything, having an angler pulling on a barbed hook will undoubtedly cause damage to the fishes mouth, not what it needs before being released!

Check out the full range of fulling mill barbless hooks here – Hook Range


Written by Kieron Jenkins

Fly of the week – Black and Green Lure

Fly of the week fishtec
The black and green gold lure is the ultimate stocky fly, catching a number of ‘best fish’ and winning many Trout Masters competitions. The combination of a drab, subtle but yet very bold colour mixed with a vibrant attractor seems to more often than not sway the trout into taking. Take a look at the tying video below to learn how to tie the Gold Head Black and Green Lure.

A fly such as the above is usually used on small waters where large fish are frequently caught. A strong hook is a MUST when fishing these so I opted for the Kamasan B175 in a size 8, to get the length and size of the fly. Thread a 3.3mm gold bead onto the hook and run a layer of orange UTC thread down the hook and build up a layer of thread behind the eye.

Tare about an inch of marabou off the stalk and offer up to the hook. Cut away the waste from the bottom of the feather and offer the thickest part to the bend of the hook. Simple tie the marabou in on the top side of the hook and cover in a couple of layers of thread, this gives an even tying platform for the body. You should practice this on most flies not just lures.

Once you are happy with the thread under body, attach a length of fritz to the hook. Here I have used chartreuse coloured original vampire fritz. Attach it to the hook with the majority of fibres facing backwards. This makes it easier to wind the fritz and gives a much better overall look. Wind the fritz towards the eye of the hook ensuring that after each turn you pull the fibres back, giving it that sleek look. Tie the fritz off just behind the back of the bead and whip finish the tying thread off.

Black and Green lure tying materials

Hook: Kamasan b175 Size 8
Thread: Fl.Orange 140 UTC
Bead: 3.4mm Gold Head
Tail: Black Marabou
Body: Chartreuse 15mm Fritz

Written by Kieron Jenkins

Fly of the Week – Klinkhammer

Fly of the Week
The weathers changing, more frequent clear skies only means one thing at this time of year.. Frosts! Frosts mean Grayling. Grayling have recently became a big part of fly anglers hit list with more and more fisherman chasing the lady of the stream. This weeks fly of the week is the Klinkhammer, it’s a brilliant all round dry fly, river or lake, summer or winter. This fly is a great searching pattern and will bring the fish up in slow or fast flowing water.

Klinkhammers can be tied on basically any curved hooks. My favourite is the Partridge 15bn, in sizes smaller than 16. Another firm favourite is the Kamasan  b100, a lightweight curved hook which has a great profile for representing emergers. Actual ‘Klinkhammer’ hooks seem to be two sizes bigger than stated so have a check before you order any.

Build a layer of White UTC Thread at the thorax, this will help hold the post in place. Take two strands of Funky indicator post in any colour you wish, I usually use white, but black, pink or olive work well, some colours stand out more than others depending on the light. Loop the two strands around the bottom of the hook and pull upwards, this in effect doubles the thickness of the post, it should be four strands thick. This obviously depends of the thickness of your material and the size of the fly.

To secure in place, simply tie over each side of the post, meeting in the middle and then tying around the base of the post. This ensures rigidity of the post and give a great platform for winding the hackle. Tie the hackle in just like you would a wet fly, making sure it sits on top of the hook and securely to the post.  Run the thread down the hook trapping the stalk waste side of the hackle.

After a layer of thread has been wound to the hook shank, take your dubbing and apply a rope to your thread. I like to use the super fine dubbing box selection, its colours match the hatch to most insects and it’s fairly easy to blend. Tan is one of my favourites, when it gets wet the colour changes slightly darker. Your dubbing should be bulkier than normal, this give the fly shape and once waterlogged the body will fall into the surface and be held up by the surface area of the hackle. Wind the body towards to bottom of the post, creating a fine and evenly tapered body.

Select two fine strands of peacock herl, take then from the eye of the peacock feather, they’re have less ‘herl’ and make a great thorax. Tie these in behind the post and figure of eight the strands around the tying at the post and run towards the eye. Simply tie this off and attach a hackle pliers to the hackle. Wind the hackle around the post, making each turn of hackle below the previous. This is to make sure you pack as much hackle onto the post as tight as possible.

Lie the hackle down, leaving the pliers hang, secure in with two or three turns of thread ensuring not to trap any fibres. Cut off, and pull the fibres up and back, coming from below the hook. Create a head and simply whip finish off. Apply a small amount of varnish to the head to ensure security.

Klinkhammer Tying Materials 

Hook: Partridge 15BN size 12
Thread: UTC White 70 Denier
Post: Funky Indicator Post
Hackle: Red Game
Body: Tan – Super fine dubbing
Thorax: Peacock herl

Written by Kieron Jenkins

Iain Barr – Early January

January saw the launch of the new Airflo World Bank Masterf competition. With heats across the UK that are filling fast, it promises to be a a massive competition. Cash prizes, holidays and more prizes to be won. See for more details.

I took a trip to Ellerdine fishery in Shropshire on the 11th and wasnt disappointed! Ellerdine offers a lake for all with it’s on site 5 lakes to choose from!

Most of the lakes are relatively shallow, averaging 6-8 foot, with the larger lake being 16 feet at it’s deepest. I opted for a 90 degree corner with the light winds pushing in on what was a mild sunny day in Shropshire.

I enjoy the fight from fish when not competing so took my Airflo Streamtec #4/5 which couples for a great small water rod as well superb for the river. Takes can be very subtle during winter months as the fish slow down so I fished a non-stretch airflo floating fly line to pick up the slightest of takes.#5


It didnt take long before my line started to slowly draw away and I landed my first of a 30+ fish haul. When fishing any small water I always start with a SunBurst Blob and two buzzers. I opted for a my original flexi blob as I had one handy in my patch from my last outing.


Remember to stay low at these kind of waters as they tend to slope off close to the shore and fish will not be lurking far out! The line slid away and I was into my first fine Ellerdine trout of about 2lb. It was rapid fire after that with about 10 following in the next hour or so. With the fish still pulling, I was keen to see the other 4 lakes on offer and made my way around them all.

They offer variations and no matter how strong the wind and from what direction you will always find a sheltered spot and almost flat calm somewhere! Superb! I decided not to take the comfort factor and chose again to fish in to the wind and across in a 90 degree corner on the largest of the lakes.

I had switched to a Neon Damsel which will catch on every water you will ever fish. It didn’t take long again until I was in to action but as quick as they were taking the fly they stopped! The lake switched off as bending rods around the lake ceased for everyone. Time for one of Ed’s finest bacon butties!

Refreshed and revitalised I went in search of one of Ellerdines many doubles which had been caught the previous few days. I picked up one here, one there and decided to return to where I started my day. Whereas in the morning I had caught nothing substantial, best of about 3lb, in my last throw of the dice I caught a further dozen with just 3 under 4lb! A great fly this time of the year is the Dancer and I fished my white and yellow uv version on the floating fly line. 12 fish came in the last hour and a half including a cracking 6lb fish and several around the 5lb mark. The double had eluded me although one of 9lb and 8lb were caught and safely returned.

Treat yourself to a trip there where you will receive a very warm welcome from this friendly run fishery.

Iain Barr small water Winter Fly Pack recommendations:-

Iain Barr Blobs

Iain Barr UV Dancers

Iain Barr Gold Head Damsels

Fly Fishing In Wales

These are some of my favourite home tied ‘killer’ patterns. These flies should cover many of the sporting opportunities you will encounter whilst exploring fly fishing in Wales. They should also bring you plenty of fish to the net too! I hope that you will have as much enjoyment tying and using these patterns as I have.

The Jambo

A night time surface lure for Sewin (Sea Trout), this pattern has resulted in many fine fish from our premier rivers including the Towy, Teifi, and Dovey.
It is fished on a floating line with a short strong leader to aid turnover, and cast under the trees on the far bank or across the pool tail. Retrieve with a slow figure of eight or just let it swing round, as long as it makes a wake! The Sewin will show his interest in spectacular fashion.
Surface lures are notoriously poor hookers; this one overcomes the problem by only having the rear treble hooks, the main hook being clipped off at the bend so the fly lies flat on the surface. This gives a much higher hooking ratio. They will work best from July to September when water temperatures are warm and river levels are low.

Photo - Steffan Jones

Hook –Size 2 to 6 long shank
Thread – Black
Body – Black silk
Tail Hook – Treble size 12 –14, attached with twisted 80 lb mono.
Head – Black deer hair
Wing – Sparse pinch of blue buck tail
Rib – Flat silver tinsel; add to treble for extra sparkle.

Tying tips – Use a strong Kevlar thread for the head, compact the deer hair tightly into a big bulbous ball so it will float well. When tying in the mono link superglue it to the hook shank.


A reservoir Trout pattern developed by the members of the Osprey Fly Fishing Association of Pontypridd for fishing Llyn Clywedog, where it has claimed many impressive bags of fish including several double figure Browns and Rainbows.
It can be used on any line from a floater down to a DI7, and creates an almost strobe like effect which pulls fish up from the deeps on dark peaty waters. Use with a fast strip retrieve with plenty of pauses. It is very effective on all of our large Trout reservoirs, particularly early and late in the season. The Goldie has certainly proven itself as a classic ‘when all else fails’ pattern to use when nothing else is producing the fish. Casting it could be described, as a ‘chuck and duck’ affair so be careful!

Hook – Size 4 or 6 Kamasan B940 Aberdeen short shank
Thread- Black
Head – Large Brass Cone head
Tail – Generous hank of gold & black ‘freckle flash’ tinsel

Tying tips – Rub the tinsel between your fingers to crinkle it to make it even more attractive and give it more volume. The sea hook is used because of its very wide gape.

Coch Bugger

This fly excels at catching Wild Brownies, especially the better quality fish. It’s a good imitation of the large leeches that are found in many of our mountain lakes as well as a general attractor.
Its best fished using a floating or intermediate line with a long leader, perhaps teamed with a traditional wet fly on the dropper. It is most effective on rough overcast days, or at dusk when the big Trout come into the shallows. Retrieve with a jerky figure of eight and expect savage strikes. On a river fish upstream on a dead drift or down and across, letting it swing around. It will take fish throughout the season.

Hook –Kamasan B175 size 8 or 10
Thread – Red
Body – Black lite brite
Underbody – Lead wire
Tail – Black marabou
Rib – Silver wire
Hackle – Coch y Bonddu cock
Head – Tiny pinch of peacock lite brite

Tying Tips – Make sure there is plenty of lead wire under the dubbing to get the fly down quickly. Wind the palmer hackle from the head to hook bend and tie in a new slightly larger feather for the head hackle.

Taff Special bug

A Grayling pattern that has its origins on the Taff, it has since proven its worth on all of the major Welsh Grayling Rivers.
It is very heavily weighted and is designed to reach the bottom very quickly. It works best in the top dropper position as part of a team of three, fished on a short line with a long soft rod – the infamous ‘bugging.’ method. Cast upstream at a 45-degree angle and let the flies drift down beside you a rods length out. Once you feel the flies touch the bottom, lift the and lower the rod tip gently to bounce the flies in a jigging fashion as they trundle down and across. Takes can be a gentle stop of the leader or an arm wrenching pull. This fly does best in very cold and clear water in the winter months.

Hook – Knapek barbless or Kamasan B110 size 8 to12
Thread – Black
Head – One or two gold 5 mm Tungsten beads
Underbody – Large diameter lead wire
Body – Peacock lite brite
Rib – Copper wire
Tail – Fluorescent red antron
Collar – Red SLF dubbing

Tying Tips – Squash the body of the finished fly with a blunt object such as your varnish bottle to give it a flat oval profile. Your fly will then cut through the flow even quicker to reach the bottom.

Yellow Devil

A lure for our biggest native fish, the Pike. The yellow colouration seems to work exceptionally well on our waters, such as Llangorse Lake near Brecon.
The fly is a good six inches in length, big enough to attract double figure specimens. A nine weight is the minimum requirement to cast one. Use with an intermediate line and a slow retrieve, casting tight to any weed beds or structure in the water. Use of a wire trace is mandatory! This lure works especially well from spring to mid summer when the Pike are in shallow water.

Hook- Sakuma Manta 540 5/0 or any similar sea hook
Body – Pearl Mylar tubing.
Thread- White ‘big fly’ thread.
Throat – Yellow buck tail
Wing – White slinky fiber and Fluorescent yellow ‘Vampire wing’ from Celtic fly craft, topped with a few strands of peacock crystal flash.
Head – Fluorescent red eyes, coated with epoxy resin.

Tying tips – When tying in each material add a drop of super glue. The fly will survive the Pikes teeth for a much greater length of time.

Ceri’s Bullhead

An imitation of the Bullhead or Millers Thumb, which is a common prey fish found in all of our large river systems. It works well for specimen Chub and Perch and of course big browns on rivers like the Usk. Cast tight to overhanging branches and snags, using a floating line and a sinking poly leader. Twitch occasionally as it swings around, it will be taken with gusto if a fish is there. It will work at any time of the year with the best times of day being dawn and dusk during the summer.

Hook – Kamasan B830 Long shank lure size 4 – 8
Underbody – Lead wire
Body – Pale ‘Haretron’ dubbing
Thread – Black Kevlar
Underwing – A few strands of krystal flash
Wing – Natural Rabbit zonker
Throat – Red SLF dubbing
Head – Natuaral Deer hair clipped to shape

Tying tips – Don’t make the muddler head too tight, the pattern needs to sink, not skate on the top! Keep the Zonker wing fairly short so it cannot twist around the hook bend and pick out the throat to create a hotspot.

Top Pop

This is a fantastic Bass lure for working back across the surface. Use with a floating shooting head and line basket. The retrieve should be on the quick side to induce an attack. A roly-poly retrieve is very successful with this pattern.
It is most effective when fishing a rising tide up from low water as the sea floods into gullies and channels. The Bass will come close in and can often be seen breaking the surface. Pick an overcast day if you can or choose a tide at dawn or dusk for the best sport.
Prime Bass months are from July to September on our coasts. Good marks for popper fishing include Worms Head at Rhossili, the Gwendraeth estuary at Kidwelly Caravan Park and Ynys Las on the Dyfi estuary.

Hook – Tiemco saltwater size 2/0
Body – Wapsi preformed popper body, colored with orange marker pen.
Tail – Mylar tube pearl, picked out
Eyes – Large flat gold holographic

Tying tips – Super glue the mylar to the back of popper body securely and varnish the fly heavily for extra durability. The popper body is secured on the hook with 5-minute epoxy.

Mullet Morsel

A fly for the most difficult of feeders – the Mullet. It resembles tiny crustaceans such as Sand hoppers or Copepods. Use with a floating line and a long fluorocarbon leader of about 5 lb for delicate presentation. A strike indicator is useful to spot subtle takes.
It is best used in tidal creeks and harbors, where the Mullet can be sight fished. Accurate casting is a must! It does help to ‘chum’ the water with bread to get them on the feed. Barry and Port Talbot docks, Aberthaw estuary and Three Cliffs Bay in the Gower are ideal venues for summertime Mullet stalking.

Hook – Kamasan B175 size 14 – 16
Tail – A tiny pinch of peach marabou
Body – Black thread coated in 5 min epoxy

Tying tips – Do not use too much epoxy. Let the fly dry hook point up on your table to give its back a flat profile.

Estuary Eel

A realistic Sand eel pattern, which has caught Bass, Mackerel, Pollack, Garfish and even Wrasse. Its dull natural colours seem to be very effective for our saltwater species over more gaudily tied commercial flies.
If fishing from the rocks adjacent to deep water use with a fast sinking line such as an Airflo depth finder to get it down through the tidal rip and strip back over the weeds. For flat sandy beaches an intermediate line is best. It also works on enclosed docks and breakwaters. Best used during the summer months early and late in the day.

Hook – Tiemco Saltwater size 2 or 4
Tail – 3 stacked layers of supreme hair, bottom layer white, mid layer smoke gray, top layer olive. Add a few stands of pearl Mylar to give a little sparkle.
Thread – Green
Head – 5 minute epoxy, colour with brown marker pen
Eye – Yellow/black model paint

Tying tip – Be careful when stacking the tail, do not let the different colors mix. This gives a great effect in the water.

Maggot Fly

A realistic maggot imitation suitable for catching Perch, Roach, Rudd, Dace, Chub, Tench and even Carp on both river and pond.
It is fished with a floating fly line and a strike indicator. Look for those telltale mounds of sawdust on the bank where the real thing has been used and cast your offering out. Takes will usually come on the drop. Fish around the margins in the summer months – you will have some great action!

Hook – Kamasan B110 size 10 to14
Thread- White big fly
Body – Translucent nymph skin
Head – 2mm gold bead

Tying tips – Build up a nice tapering underbody with the thick tying thread to produce a nice profile.

Fuzzy nymphs and other fly fishing fables


If somebody told you that Fuzzy Nymphs, Super Minkies and Woolly Buggers lived amongst Treebeard, Gandalf and Frodo Baggins in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, you would probably believe them.

Unless, that is, you were partial to a bit of fly fishing. Outside of fiction you won’t find such a weird assortment of names anywhere like those used for fishing lures.

This illuminating list of fishy fables casts light on the origins of some freaky fishing fly names:

Anorexic Hares Ear Nymph

Anorexic Hares Ear Nymph

Anorexic Hares Ear Nymph

Legend has it that if you find a shrivelled, gaunt ear of a hare under your pillow then you would have only 66 days before you had either the finest fortune a person could wish for, or the most gruesome death you could imagine. Whether it be fortune or fatality depended on what hand you picked up the ear with.



Cruncher Ginger Nymph

cruncher ginger

Cruncher ginger nymph

You know it’s coming when you see the plaster on your walls start to crumble … as it stomps closer the window frames shake with fear and the very foundations of your home move with it’s every step … and then, a flash of red and … CRUNCH. Game Over.



Hydro Buzzers

hydro buzzer

Hydro buzzers

Like skinny bees, these strange insects suck up water and gurgle it at such a frequency that the vibrations would paralyze anybody within 100 metres. They would then choose a paralysed victim and wriggle into their earholes, buzzing, buzzing, buzzing until their poor victim’s brain exploded.


Jungle Muddlers

jungle muddler

Jungle muddler

If you so happen to be in the jungle, Jungle Muddlers will do their best to confuse you by replicating the same trees, vines and foliage that you passed ten minutes ago. So after two days of walking around in circles you’ll collapse exhausted and the Jungle Muddlers will get you.






Such was the fear that this giant once spread that it’s name has found it’s way into modern language, YET(!) once upon a time the name would tremble the very shape of your soul. Humungus was so big that you couldn’t see him and if that wasn’t enough to fry your brain, Humungus would crush you like a flea and then ask questions.


Elk Hair Caddis Tan Fly

Elk hair tan fly

Elk hair tan fly

They are found around fresh water lakes in the north of Russia. They look like giant hairy flies with big eyes. They are attracted to the smell of human sweat and when they lock onto an innocent passer-by they quickly multiply surrounding their target whilst releasing a hazy brown chemical which sends the whites of their victims eyes brown, softening them ready for feasting on. Arrrrrghhhhh!






It’s probably best to leave this one alone …