Fly of the Week – CDC Red Tag Jig

Fly Of The Week - Red Tag Jig
The Red Tag Jig has been a firm favourite amongst river anglers, both competitive and pleasure, right across Europe and the UK. This pattern is a variation of Martyn Flynn’s ‘red tag’ dry fly which was meant for grayling. Still a very successful fly in it’s dry fly form, the Red Tag has been adapted and varied to create a killer all-round fly pattern. Here’s Kieron Jenkins’ favourite variation.

Take a Fulling Mill Barbless Force Jig Hook and attach a suitable sized bead, here I have used a 3.5mm slotted tungsten bead. Attach the thread – here I have used UTC Thread in black – just behind the bead and build a layer of thread to secure it in place.

Take the thread down to the end of the hook shank and stop just where it bends round. Double up a few strands of Glo-Bright No5 floss and tie in as the tail. Cut, but leave generous amount of floss as the tag, grayling and trout love colour! The length can be varied depending on the attitude of the fish. It’s always good to have some long and some short depending on the pressure the fish get.

Take a large CDC feather and tie in half way along the stalk, with the thick end in hand. Secure in with a few wraps of thread and then pull the feather back so that the tips are tied in. This should give you a generous length of feather to use as the body. Simply latch the hackle pliers onto the end of the CDC feather and wrap in touching turns up the body. The CDC produces a lovely tapered effect as the stalk gets thicker towards the head, and also a very buggy looking profile  as the CDC feathers act as legs.

Tie the feather off and cut the spare stalk away. I like to leave the CDC messy at this stage and run some dubbing through the ‘hackle’ at the head. Dub some glister onto your thread and wind between the CDC and pull any stray fibres back over the fly and tie off the thread. Et-Viola.

Red Tag Jig Tying Materials

Hook: Fulling Mill Force Jig Hook Size 12
Bead: Slotted 3.5mm Gold Tungsten Bead
Thread: Black UTC 70 Denier
Tail: Glo Bright No 5
Body: CDC (wound)
Hackle: CDC
Thorax: Hendz Glister No45

Red Tag Jig Fly

Written by Kieron Jenkins

Fly of the Week – Cat Booby

Fly Of The Week - Cat BoobyThe booby has to be one of the most devastating flies on the fishing scene, be it on a small water or a large reservoir. One thing most people fall down on is tying the eyes onto the hook, it’s a simple task which is made harder by most who try and find the quickest or easiest way. Take a look at this video on how to round and attach booby eyes to a hook. This is not the most complicated way but on large boobies it gives the best results.

Attach a strong hook into the vice, here I have used a Kamasan B175 size 8 as the tail on this booby is fairly long. To get the correct size booby eyes what I prefer to do is measure the booby cylinder against the hook shank, obviously this will differ if you’re using long shank hooks. Try and keep the eyes no wider than the hook gauge.

To round the eyes, hold the scissors at an angle and slightly take the one edge of the booby cylinder off. As you cut, turn the eye so you get more of a curvaceous cut. Apply this to each end of the booby eye and the eye should be more or less complete. My preferred thread for tying in booby eyes is 140 UTC range of threads, it’s strong and is not as coarse as others to cut through the plastazone foam.

To tie the eye in, run two layers of thread over 1/3 of the hook returning back to the eye. Place the booby eyes on top of the thread positioning them where you think they look most symmetrical. Lift the thread over the  eye making sure the eyes stay in the ideal place. Once you are happy with their positioning pull the thread tight and figure of 8 the thread around the eyes, keeping as close to the ‘bite’ point as possible, where the thread eats into the foam.

Once you’re happy, run the thread to the back of the hook and pull around an inch of marabou from a turkey feather. Remove the waste material at the bottom of the feather and tie to the back of the hook. Secure the tail in place by running the thread over the waste piece of marabou creating a tight under body for the fritz to grip too.

Tie the fritz in by removing a section of the synthetic material to expose the core and take the thread back towards the eyes. Wind the fritz over the body towards the eye, ensuring after each turn you pull the fibres backwards to get a neat body and profile. Tie the fritz off behind the eyes securing with a few extra turns. Whip finish the thread in front of the eyes to complete.

Cat Whisker Booby Tying Materials 

Hook: Kamasan b175 Size 8
Thread: Fl.Orange 140 UTC
Eyes: Yellow Booby Eyes
Tail: White Marabou
Body: Chartreuse 15mm Fritz

Written by Kieron Jenkins

Fly of the Week – Hot Spot Pheasant Tail

Fly of the Week - Fishtec
The Hot Spot Pheasant tail is a great pattern for both river or lake. This pattern was originally designed by Frank Swayer and has evolved from his original swayer nymph. The hot spot gives the fish a trigger point in clear water and also adds to its visibility in coloured water. Picked out the thorax could look like legs and would represent most insects that inhabit the lake or river bed.

Thread a bead onto a strong hook, here I have used a kamasan hook B175 size 12 with a 3mm gold bead. Tungsten beads are a great addition to a river nymph.

Run a layer of white UTC thread down the hook until opposite the barb. Take six or seven strands of pheasant tail fibres and attach to the back of the hook. Measure the length accordingly to the hook shank and wind the thread over the hook and excess pheasant tail to just over half of the way back to the eye, leaving the excess PT out the front, this will become the thorax cover.

Attach a length of gold wire to the hook and run the thread down to the back of the hook. Again, attach another four or five strands of pheasant tail to the hook, this time in reverse to form the body. Tying in tip first means that you create a tapered effect on the body as the pheasant is wound towards the eye. Wind the body up in touching turns and, tie off just in front of the thorax cover. Wind the rib in the opposite direction to secure the body and tie off.

Twist a piece of orange antrondubbing onto the thread, creating a rope around an inch in length. Wind the dubbing onto the thorax towards the eye and pull the thorax cover over the thorax. Simple secure with a few wraps of thread and tie off.

Hot spot pheasant tail tying materials

Hooks: Kamasan 175 size 10
Bead: 3mm Gold Bead
Thread: White UTC 70 denier
Tail: Pheasant tail
Rib: Gold Wire
Body: Pheasant Tail
Thorax Cover: Pheasant Tail
Thorax: Orange Antron Dub

Written by Kieron Jenkins

Fly of the Week – Cased Caddis

Fly Of The Week

Being well into the grayling season and the rivers here in south Wales getting back to their normal height for this time of year, it’s time to start looking at the grayling. This weeks fly of the week is the Cased Caddis. A firm favourite as the heaviest or sacrificial fly on most grayling anglers casts. With very sporadic fly hatches this time of year most of the graylings feed is close to the bottom, you need something to get down there! View the video below to see how to tie a cased caddis.


First of all attach a tungsten bead to a kamasan b175 hook. Here I’ve used white UTC thread and built a layer behind the bead to secure everything in place. Run the thread down the hook to opposite the barb. Peal off a length of fine lead wire and wrap from the back of the hook, along the shank and tight against the bead. Break off each end and cover in a layer of thread. This stops any slippage.

Take a length of wool, green is a firm favourite of mine, but feel free to experimenting! Take a lighter and offer the wool to the flame, slowly so it doesn’t catch on fire, and wait until the end of the wool starts to burn. Gently blow on the end to extinguish the flame when you want. To the wool to the back of the hook, this represents the head of the caddis when its active, measure the length to around 1/3rd of the hook shank.

For it’s legs, take around 8-10 strand of pheasant tail fibres and tie in underneath the hook just a bit longer than wool tail and secure in.

Attach a length of gold wire to the hook and create a dubbing rope of Hares Ear. Keep the dubbing fairly tight and compact, your looking for a slim but tasty looking fly. Wind the thread to just behind the bead and run the wire rib through in the opposite direction. This gives the fly strength and robustness along with a great looking segmented effect. At the head, wind another turn or two of hares ear to the thorax to neaten things up.

Cased Caddis Tying Materials

Hooks: Kamasan 175 size 10
Bead: 3mm gold Bead
Under body: Medium Lead Wire
Thread: White UTC 70 denier
Tail: Flo Green Wool (Burnt)
Legs: Pheasant Tail
Rib: Gold Wire
Body: Hares Ear

Written by Kieron Jenkins

Fly of the Week – Roach Fry Pattern

Fly of the Week
At this time of year fry are in abundance and occupy the most structural parts of the lake. Boat jetties, boils, floating weed rafts or buoy markers seem to be favourites. It’s not often you see a shoal of fry in the middle of nowhere, but when you do, you can almost guarantee something to be lurking beneath. This weeks fly of the week is a video of how to tie a Roach Fry. Have a look at the you-tube clip below for a tutorial.

Tying Instructions

Fulling mill all purpose hooks are ideal for fry patterns, they offer a powerful strong bend, sharp points and a great shank and gape for packing on the material.

Run a layer of White UTC Thread for a layer of lead wire to sit on. The wire can be varied depending on how heavy you want the fly, here I have used a medium thickness which gives a fair amount of weight to the fly, but not making it too heavy to cast. Remember, the wing will hold water and add weight to the cast. Wind the lead to the eye, leaving sufficient room to tie the wing off. Cover the lead in a couple of layers of thread to ensure when wet the thread wont loose its colour.

Mylar tubing is the ideal body material for this fly, its available in a wide range of colours and sizes which give your fly a great profile and also ‘scaly’ look on the flanks. Simply cut the end flush and remove the inside core. Push the tube over the hook leaving around 5/6mm of the frayed end over the back of the hook. This frayed area lets the wing sit up have less chance of it running around the hook bend.

Latch a length of Rabbit zonker strip to the hook. Measure against the hook the length of the ‘tail’ and part the fur to expose the skin, simply place the rabbit strip in position and wind the thread onto the exposed skin and pull tight. Pull the whole of the rabbit strip back and tie the thread off.

Re-tie the thread at the top of the hook at the same time tying in the mylar tube. Once happy with it security push the tube towards the eye so it ‘bulbs’ up and cut as close as you can to the thread. Pull the rabbit strip forward and separate the fur where you want to tie in, gently pull the thread through the gap secure in place. Cut the skin as tight as you can to the tying thread and cover the stump with thread and tie off.

Adding eyes to this fly completely transforms it from a fly, giving the fish something to ‘target’, I prefer to use funky 3d epoxy eyes, they are strong and very reliable. Ideal for attaching to fry patterns.  Add a small amount of bug bond to the side of the fly at the head and spread just onto the body, attach a 3d eye and cure with a UV torch. Repeat the process on the opposite side and the fly is complete.

Suspend Fry Tying Materials 

Hook: Fulling Mill AP hook Size 8
Thread: UTC White 70 Denier
Underbody: Medium Lead Wire
Wing: White rabbit zonker Strip
Body: Pearl Mylar Tube
Eyes: Funky Fly tying  Red/Silver holographic eyes

Written by Kieron Jenkins

Fly of the Week – Suspender Fry

Fly of the Week
When it comes to ‘fry time’ getting them up on the surface is key. Watching the fish come and engulf your fly half way through an agitated retrieve can leave your heart in your mouth when you see some of the sizes of fish which come to take a look. This suspender fry pattern, as featured in Total Flyfisher magazine, October issue,  is one of the most favoured amongst competition anglers, myself included!

Tying Instructions

Fit a Kamasan b175 Size 8 hook into the vice. Size 10’s or various other hooks can be used to fit the fly into the international gauge. The thing is with hooks on fry patterns is that you never really know what your going to hook, so you need something substantial to sustain the pressure a large fish can put on your wire.

White UTC Thread is great for this fly, it makes it easy to bulk up the body and trap materials in securely. Lay a couple of turns of thread on the hook and create a platform for the suspender head to sit on. Cut a booby eye cylinder in half, and at a 45 degree angler to create a point. Tie in the point of the foam so the angle lays flat to the hook, this allows the popper head to work better against the water when pulled, completely cover the foam on the hook and run the thread down to the bend of the hook and cut to length.

The wing of the fly adds the movement and shape, Minky strips are ideal winging material here as it keeps its shape a lot better than rabbit when fished slow. Spread the fur from the skin to reveal a ‘bald’ patch to tie the skin to the hook, this ensures the mink sits snug on top of the hook and not offset. A few thread wraps should secure it in place, you can always varnish the thread after finishing the fly.

Pull the mink back and out of the way clearing space to tie in the Vampire Fritz body. Pull some fritz fibre from the fritz hank to reveal the core, and tie in. Wrap the fritz towards to eye of the hook ensuring to stroke the fritz back after each turn this makes sure none are trapped. Tie to the eye of the hook, tie and off.

Simply pull the mink strip over the back of the fritz and spread the fur again to tie in. Cut close to the mink not to leave too much of a gap between the suspender head and whip finish the fly off.

Attaching the eyes couldn’t be more simple with use of Bug Bond Resin – What I like to do is build a platform of the glue first, this gives the eye some structure to sit on when gluing into place. Take a pack of funky 3d epoxy eyes and dab a small amount of UV glue to the back of the eye and nestle in place with little pressure. Once you’re happy with the position set the glue with your UV torch. Repeat the process on each side and then fill the gaps above and below the eyes for strength. Fly complete.

Suspend Fry Tying Materials 

Hook: Kamasan B175 Size 8
Thread: UTC White 70 Denier
Wing: Natural Mink Strip
Body: Olive Fritz
Head: Plastazote Foam cut to size
Glue: Bug bond

Written by Kieron Jenkins

Fly of the Week – The Cruncher

Fly of the Week

This weeks ‘Fly of the Week’ has the be the Cruncher. A generic, all round pattern which can be tied in a variety of styles, colours and sizes. My most favourite thing about this fly is that it can be tied to represent anything from corixa, olive nymphs or even small fry. A fly which can be used anywhere on the cast, it makes a great dropper or point fly. This fly can also be used to good effect between two boobies at the start of the season, ideal to entice those fish which follow the boobies out of interest.

Tying Instructions

Insert a Kamasan b175 size 10 hook into the vice – The great thing about this fly is that varying the hook gauge and size you can represent almost anything that inhabits the bottom of a reservoir.

Run your UTC thread down the hook, laying a perfectly flat bed of thread to tie over. Take five or six strands of red game hackle to use as the tail and attach with a couple of thread wraps. The tail should be kept to about the same length as the overall body, just to keep things in proportion.

Attach a rib of Uni Soft Wire, vary the colour depending on what fly you’re looking to represent. Latch three our four strands of pheasant tail to the back of the hook for the body then run the thread back to the top of the hook leaving a gap of about 1/3 for the thorax. Wind the few strands of pheasant back up the hook in touching turns and tie off. To secure, wind the wire rib in an opposite direction to the body, evenly spacing each turn to give a nice segmented effect.

The thorax is usually a darker colour than the body such as it is on most insects, here I’ve used olive glister but any sort of dubbing and fur can be applied. Create a dubbing rope but don’t tighten too much, this will allow the thorax to be picked out – especially after a couple of fish. Build a neat tapered thorax leaving enough space at the head to tie the hackle.

Prepare a hen furnace feather, the type with a black centre and light tips, by removing the fluff at the bottom of the stalk. Tie in at the head with a couple of turns of thread and wind the hack around the collar just once. Hackle turns can be varies to influence sink rate, the more turns, the slower the cruncher would sink. Tie the hackle in and varnish.

Cruncher Tying Materials 

Hook: Kamasan b175 Size 10
Thread: UTC Olive 7- Denier
Tail: Red Game 5/6 Strands
Body: Pheasant Tail 4 Strands
Rib: Silver wire
Thorax: Olive Glister
Hackle: Natural Hen Furnace

Written by Kieron Jenkins

Fly of the week – Black Hopper

Fly of the Week Last weeks ‘Fly of the week‘ was the Shipmans Buzzer a great emerger pattern which takes it’s fair share of fish. But what happens when the buzzer has hatched and is classed under its ‘adult’ stage. The Hopper is the ideal fly to represent an adult chironomid sitting on the surface. Once the fly has hatched it stays on the surface for a while until it’s wings have dried, allowing the fly to become airborne. Another stage of it’s life where it is extremely vulnerable.

Tying Instructions

Kamasan B405 hook is the ideal steel for such hooks. Lightwire and strong, these hooks let the fly sit as high on the surfaces as possible and give anglers peace of mind that the fish of a lifetime wont straighten the hook.

Wind the UTC thread thread onto the hook just behind they eye and lay a layer of thread down the shank. Simply attach a length of UTC Mirage Tinsel to the hook for the rib and create dubbing rope of genuine seals fur, black but choose the colour according to the insect colour on the day. A range of colours is best.

Just like the Shipmans Buzzer wind the seals fur along the hook creating a slim but slightly tapered effect leaving enough room to tie in a thorax. Wind the rib in an opposite direction to the seals fur three times is usually enough to give a segmented effect. Bulk the rest of the fly up with a good amount of seals fur, creating a  ‘carrot’ shape, thicker at the head than the tail. Always remember to leave enough room between the thorax and the eye when tying hoppers, there’s a lot of work to do at the end of the fly.

Ready knotted pheasant tails make tying hoppers so much easier and quicker. Sitting there with a dubbing needle and a pheasant tail tying knots in thin and brittle feather can become daunting and very stressful. Pulling 6 of these of a full ready knotted pheasant tail feather makes tying such flies a breeze. Take 6 or so feathers, marry up the tips and simply tie in on the underneath of the hook, trim the waste and prepare the hackle.

Take a hackle feather from a cape, something that will produce enough mass to keep the fly afloat. Remove the waste from the bottom of the feather – this should reveal the stalk and make it easy to tie in. Tie the feather in and attach your hackle pliers, wind the hackle back towards the bend of the hook in touching turns, covering the thread just above the thorax. Tie off and ‘wobble’ the thread between the hackle ensuring not to trap any herls and tie the thread off at the eye.

 Material List

Hook: Kamasan B405 Size 10
Thread: UTC Black 70 Denier
Rib: UTC Mirage Tinsel
Body: Black Genuine Seals Fur
Thorax: Black Genuine Seals Fur
Legs: 6x knotted hopper legs
Hackle: Black Cock

Fly of the week 1

Fly of the week 2

Fly of the week 3

Written by Kieron Jenkins

Fly of the week – Shipmans Buzzer

Fly of the Week Following on from last weeks ‘Fly of the week‘ is the Shipmans Buzzer. Again, a buzzer is an imitation of the common chironomid midge. As the pupa makes its way to the surface within the top couple of feet it’s wingbuds and legs start to take shape and emerge from the body. The insect is then stuck in the surface as it tries to free itself from the surface tension. This is the stage where the wings are almost fully formed and the fly is emerging from its shuck.

Tying Instructions

Insert a Kamasan B405 hook into the vice. A lightwire hooks is best for this pattern as it allows the fly to sit on, in or just under the surface. Exactly where it will be most effective. The hook will also aid your casting when covering fish, letting the flies be lifted easier off the water and re-cast.

Latch the tying thread to the hook a few millimetres behind the eye and run the thread down the hook and stop just as the shank starts to curve . Again, UTC thread is the ideal component as it lies flat and spreads along the body.

Take a length of white Polypropolyne Floating Yarn, this will be used as a sighter and also represent the emptying shuck. It will also help the floatability of the fly, making sure it’s sitting where it should be.Tie a length in over the end of the hook and tie the thread over the top back towards the eye, leaving around 2/3 cm each side. Once the full length of full is covered, trim each end to around 4/5mm.

The rib, UTC Mirage Tinsel can be tied in at the top or bottom of the shank, catch it onto the hook and run the thread back to the bend of the hook. Create a dubbing rope of genuine seals fur, here I’ve used black, choose the colour according to the insect colour on the day. A range of colours is best.

Tie the seals fur towards to eye, creating a level, thin body, leaving sufficient room for a thorax. Wrap the mirage rib back towards the eye, three turns is usually enough to create a well segmented body. Trap the rib in with the thread and tie off.

Bulk the rest of the fly up with a good amount of seals fur, creating a sort of ‘carrot’ shape, thicker at the head than the tail. This gives the fly a great profile and lets the back end sit in the water, rather than on top of it.

 Material List

Hook: Kamasan B405 Size 10
Thread: UTC Black 70 Denier
Breathers: Polypropolyne floating yarn
Body: Black Genuine Seals Fur
Rib: UTC Mirage Tinsel
Thorax: Black Genuine Seals Fur

Fly of the week 1

Fly of the week 2

Fly of the week 4

Written by Kieron Jenkins

Fly of the week – Black Buzzer

Fly of the Week
Following on from last weeks ‘Fly of the week‘ is the Black Buzzer. Again, a buzzer is an imitation of the common chironomid midge. As the bloodworm matures and pupates the next step of it’s life cycle is the pupa. Possibly the most important stage to both trout and angler. This is the stage where the wings form inside it’s thorax and the pupae makes it’s way through the water column to the surface. It’s most vulnerable state.

Tying Instructions

Here I’ve used a Kamasan B110 hook, the heavier the hook the better when fishing a team of buzzers, the flies will fall quickly through the column and hold at the required depth when held by the fly line.

Start off by tying the thread to the hook a few millimetres from the eye and run the thread down the hook, around the bend and to about opposite the barb in touching turns.  UTC thread is the ideal component as it lies flat and spreads along the body very easily with minimum bulk.

The rib, Uni Soft Wire can be tied in at the top or bottom of the shank, I prefer to tie in at the top of the hook, this ensures that the wire is completely covered in two wraps of thread. Tie the wire in with touching turns and run the thread back to the top of the hook, leaving sufficient room for a thorax. Wind the silver wire rib back up the fly leaving equal spacings between each turn, this gives the banding effect which buzzers gain when they fill with air as they work their way to the surface. Finally, leave a gap of about 4mm behind the eye and tie off. Rib Complete.

Tying in Goose Biots. Simply take a goose biots from the stalk and tie in at the back of the thorax by the fine tips of the feather. Simply duplicate on the other side of the hook, and build a neat ‘lemon shape’ thorax (thicker in the middle) and secure with a half hitch at the eye, this helps keep everything in place in case of accidental slips. Pull the two biots forward and secure with a few turns of thread, build a neat head and tie off.

Fly tiers have recently been using a new UV reactive varnish called ‘bug bond‘. A varnish which is set with the use of a UV torch. Simply cover the fly in the glue, less of the glue the better, trying to keep everything as thin as possible but coating the fly for security and weight. Simple ‘zap’ the glue once applied for 15/20 second and the fly is complete.

 Material List

Hook: Kamasan B110 Size 10
Thread: UTC Black 70 Denier
Body: Black thread
Rib: Silver Wire
Thorax: Black Thread
Glue: Bug bond LITE

Fly of the week 1

Fly of the week 3

Written by Kieron Jenkins