Archive for the ‘Fly Tying’ Category

A New Arrival

February 28, 2014


Well would you know it, I have a new baby.  It has taken the better part of two or more years to get to this point, people might think that in-vitro fertilization is a long and troublesome process but with no real motivation towards fatherhood and with a natural human longing to leave something behind on my demise, I decided to produce a book, Ok another book so I should have known what I was getting into, but I never realised that the birthing process would make the gestation of the African Elephant seem like quick trip to the shops.

GuideFliesBabyPramMy New “Baby”. . 🙂

In hindsight simple conception, even fertilization in a small glass tube might have proven less troublesome, had I managed to skip the glass tube bit it could have been a heap more fun too for that matter. If I had simply required some lasting acknowledgement of my existence I could have chosen to go with the now almost universal tagging option. Got hold of a spray can and scribbled my name in relative permanence on a variety of train carriages or roadside brickwork. It seems to work well for people like Banksy but then again it isn’t really that permanent and has the added disadvantage of being, to my mind at least, eminently anti-social, destructive and not really worthy of the epithet of “art”. It would however have had the allure of speed.

I suppose I could have simply opted for a spray can to achieve some level of immortality.

One might imagine that having done this previously in print and electronic formats, with publishers and without, well it would all be a piece of cake wouldn’t it?

Alas writing a book isn’t the hardest thing on the planet, it is all the other stuff that goes with it that proves to be the troublesome part, particularly if you have perfectionist tendencies and are pedantic about things like graphics and video content. Yes there was a hiccup right there, having produced eBooks with video content previously (and probably a world first when it comes to fly tying tomes) I found myself rather backed into a corner, some people expressed their dissatisfaction with reading off a screen, wanting to hold and flip the pages, fold down the corners and all that goes with a “proper book” but then again they didn’t really want to miss out on the video bits. So this book includes a CD of video clips that you can read on your computer.

Having produced “Essential Fly Tying Techniques” in electronic format I ventured to produce this publication in similar vein, with a little more anecdotal information on the fishing and thought processes that go into the flies that I fish and use in my work. Simple, Durable Flies that Catch Fish, is what it says on the cover.

It says “Simple, Durable Flies that Catch Fish” on the cover.

Once the decision is made the challenges come thick and fast, to go with photographs, easy in this digital age, or stay with the somewhat retro graphics option. Firstly I like graphic drawings, they have more feel to them somehow compared to photographs, more to the point in a graphic you can clearly demonstrate the exact position of a single turn of thread and other such detail lacking in a photo, it is no mistake that authors such as Oliver Edwards used graphics in his exceptional “Oliver Edwards Fly Tyers Masterclass”.

Fig21Fig5I like graphics over photo’s and that seemed a good enough reason for all the work.

Trouble is that I am not an artist, certainly not with pen and ink anyway so digital graphics had to be the way forward, just that there is a steep learning curve if you want to do something as odd as try to draw peacock herl on a computer screen or convey the ethereal delicacy of a CDC plume. Some feathers had to be constructed fibre by fibre in painfully slow attention to detail. How on earth does one “draw” marabou, or crystal chenille? In the end it all proved to be good entertainment, if frustrating at times.

Fig55 Fig50Drawing things like marabou and crystal chenille posed something of a problem.

Still that was all going well, I found myself a publisher in the form or Barbara Mueller at “New Voices Publishers” and Barbara proved to be a real asset, she, as the name of her business would suggest, specialises in assisting authors to self publish. Having been down the spectacularly unrewarding process of publishing a book with a recognised major publisher in the past I didn’t wish to follow that route again. It is galling in the extreme to see a book that you created with your own blood, sweat and tears sold where the government makes more money from the tax on it than the author gets from the sale.

WealthWarningThere were many further hurdles, how to set up a system where someone might purchase the book? It is remarkably tricky and the banks, despite their constant advertising for “entrepreneurial clients” actually close the shutters just as soon as you say the words “self-employed”. In the process it has necessitated rebuilding my website, learning some basic HTML code and more. I am not sure that it is entirely solved but it is mostly solved.

PayFastLogoThe book “Guide Flies” has been completed in eBook format for some time but now finally the glossy printed, page turning, corner folding, paper textured “real book” is available. Not only that but it comes with its own compact disc containing video clips of every fly in the book so even if you prefer to do your bedtime reading with nothing more electronic than a decent lamp you can still check out the tying processes on screen next time you return to the computer. I suppose it really is the best of both worlds when you get right down to it.

“Guide Flies” boasts some 150 pages, 60 odd full colour graphics, detailed descriptions of the flies, the tying process and perhaps as importantly the thought process behind their development. The CD has 25 video clips of fly tying covering everything from the torque of thread on a parachute dry to the ultra-durable “Super Glue Whip Finish” and effective fly patterns to cope with almost every trout fishing eventuality from stillwater to spring creeks.


It has been a labour of love, a learning curve of stupendous gradient but I am well pleased with the result, in the end I suppose that “the proof of the pudding will be in the eating”, if not yours hopefully the trout’s..

If you would like to obtain a copy of my book in either paper or electronic format you can do so in a variety of ways:

Email me your request on

Purchase on line from my website at

Purchase from Netbooks on line at

Purchase from a fly fishing outlet or and hopefully more in due course.



It’s Complicated

July 4, 2013

Complicated Head

One of my favourite writers is Bill Bryson, he has that ability to make complex things simple enough for the average person to grasp. Who can have read “A Short History of Nearly Everything” without walking away with a better grasp and greater appreciation of the world and the people who have shaped our understanding of it? It’s a trick to be sure, to be able to do that. To make it as entertaining as Bryson, well that really puts the cherry on the cake but I am finding that making things simple is actually pretty complicated.

So to me fly fishing is actually pretty simple, or as one wag commented in mid international competition, “Come on Tim, just chuck em’ out and pull em’ back”, it certainly isn’t rocket science and I have over the years become more and more enamoured with the idea of trying to make learning the disciplines associated with fly fishing simple for the average bipedal hominid to grasp. But apparently making things simple is a complicated affair.

It is an oddity that in many fields of endeavour one sets off on a path and becomes diverted. Many fly anglers have become more focused on casting, fly tying, photography or whatever than they have with actually catching fish.  For my sins I have become rather obsessed with writing about it all, you may or may not think that is a good thing, I am not entirely sure that I know if it is either.

But much as one lesson in fly casting leads on naturally to the next, one fish leads to bigger fish, more fish, specific fish etc so everything seems to be in natural progression. Things started off with little more than a reasonably regular newsletter, then a website, then a blog and books and then electronic books. In the midst of all this I had to learn to use computers, teach myself to type, learn graphics programs, wriggle my way around international taxation requirements, get (would you believe) an American tax number, and a whole lot more. All supposedly such that I might get what I thought were some fairly simple messages across.

 BooksHeaderThe graphic images have all been updated on the site.

Now I have just updated the website once more, this time incorporating a book shop. But it’s complicated, when I left school nobody had a computer, in fact the hospitals in which I worked didn’t have computers and even had they been available it wouldn’t have done a lot of good, I spent the first year of my working life heading to the laboratory on a bicycle, where was I going to put a desk top computer, even if one had been available?

cheaterOliveThe Fly Images have all been updated.

Later those hospitals had computers, massive things that required reinforcement of the floor if you were anywhere above ground level and housed in an air-conditioned room with “Computer Room” stencilled on the door along with grave warnings that mere mortals should “Keep Out”. Nobody needed to worry, the bloody things terrified most of us and the inner workings of bits and bytes were so far beyond us that we still did most of our calculations with a pencil.

Format_BookFormat_CDFormat_DownloadNew buttons have been created to assist with navigation and book orders

Now I have become overwhelmed by this tidal wave of complexity, in this recent little jaunt, apart from updating graphics and modifying links (I only hope that they are all working), I have even been forced to dip an intrepid and quivering toe into the murky (at least for me) waters of HTML code. I didn’t set out fishing so that I could learn the vagaries of Hypertext Mark Up Language, I just wanted to catch a few fish and perhaps help a few other people do the same. It is, as said, all a bit complicated.

PreviewBookPreview images of the books have been added along with an entirely new Bookshop section.

Anyway, with some good fortune perhaps there won’t be too many complaints and I shan’t receive and overabundance of sniggering emails pointing out broken links and incorrectly rendered graphics.

This whole “Making things simple” thing is becoming too complicated for my rapidly aging synapses. When I started fishing I only owned one rod, I used to phone my fishing buddy Johnny Hallet from a red British Post Office Telephone box about half a mile down the street from my house to make arrangements, it was most useful because you could check the weather on the way down the road.

The phone had a dial not push buttons, never mind touch screens. We fished three methods, Fly, Spinner and worm and catch and release hadn’t even been thought of. Now I can cast my plans on Twitter, Facebook, eMail or Smartphone, I have to choose which rod to take with me, what lines, even which digital camera for that matter, and I can get an hour by hour prediction of the weather before I leave without so much as opening the curtains. Some colleagues will use GPS on their way to the water, some souls, ( of in my opinion questionable ethics),  will use fish finders to try to locate the trout. When did it all become so complicated? It used to be simple, you would go out, sometimes catch some fish and sometimes not, now each escapade takes on the dimensions of a military operation.

Format_DownloadYou can even order and download pdf versions of my books direct from the site if you wish.

Having said all of that, I am rather proud of what has been achieved with the website, you may wish to have a peak at it on the link I think that it is pretty neat to be honest, in essence it is as simple as things get, just an array of zero’s and one’s apparently, but darn it seems flippin’ complicated to me.

Bookshop_WordsBookShopHeadThe “Bookshop” provides links to download books as well as to all the other places they are available including Netbooks, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Sony and Kobo

Variations on a Theme

April 23, 2013


Variations on a theme:

I often think that fly tying books and even instructors do the neophyte tyer and perhaps some of the old hands a great disservice. There are “new” patterns being invented all the time and there are those so besotted with the concept of having the “right fly” that they spend all their mental energies on such. Truth be told fly tying hasn’t changed a whole helluva lot in the years since Halford and Skues fiddled about with hooks and feathers. There have been innovations to be sure. In his book “Sunshine and the Dry Fly” (1924) John William Dunne described such esoteric niceties as painting the hooks white and the effects of thread colours on dubbing. As anglers it seems we are always looking for “that edge”, if nothing else it is entertaining.


Image courtesy of Essential Fly Tying Techniques

However as time has gone by I realise that much of it is just a rehash of the same old same old. Most anglers are less effective than they might be more as a result of their presentations than their flies and most flytiers would do well to spend a bit more time on technique and proportion than accumulating the latest synthetic dubbing or pre-printed plastic wing.


Jock Scott Salmon fly, beautifully fashioned by Brian Ebert image courtesy of

The arguments have raged for decades, the concept that a Jock Scott just isn’t as effective without the jungle cock sides or kingfisher cheeks perhaps, or that your favourite woolly bugger really needs that blue flash in it, not the silver one that everybody else uses.

It is nice enough, fun even, (and where Salmon Flies are concerned pure art to be sure), perhaps it builds confidence which is not insignificant but in the final analysis fly tying hasn’t changed that much. There are really relatively few techniques to learn, perhaps a dozen or so and you can manufacture, albeit with a little practise and a modicum of dexterity, any number of trout, salmon, steelhead or other flies using the same tried and tested methods.

As a self-confessed pragmatist I like to keep things simple, I would rather have more flies than less and speed and simplicity of manufacture aids that particular goal.

Not that I can’t appreciate the thought and skills in what some would call “advanced fly tying” I really do and there are more than a few little tricks that I have learned from people such as Olive Edwards whose “Masterclass” book really should be required reading, if only to point out what is possible. It’s just that I can’t get overly excited about it. I sure as hell don’t feel comfortable trying to whisk a fly, that took me two hours to make, at a reticent brown hiding in a tangle of tree roots and overhanging branches.  To quote John Gierach “to be of any use at all a fly should be thoughtlessly expendable” and one doesn’t wish to have to fish with a limited supply of complex patterns and a team of navy divers in case one of your creations requires retrieval from an underwater snag.

The ability to tie touching turns of thread is the basis for all fly tying, smooth under-bodies of neatly aligned thread wraps go a long way to making a durable and neatly fashioned pattern.


Image courtesy of Essential Fly Tying Techniques

Starting the thread off on the hook is a struggle for the beginner but quickly mastered and to my mind performing a neat and durable whip-finish a basic requirement. (I do so hate to see good tyers throw in a few half hitches and rely on the varnish to hold it all together and I am not much given to using a whip finish tool either for that matter, you simply don’t need one).


Image courtesy of Essential Fly Tying Techniques

The pinch and loop is a necessity unless you wish to be chasing materials about the hook, but no matter that you are tying in duck quill wings or a piece of tinsel ribbing the process is the same.


Image courtesy of Essential Fly Tying Techniques

One can argue about wrapping hackles but there really aren’t that many variations, even the difference between Catskill ties and parachutes aren’t that significant, and variation between winding palmered hackles and standard one’s is little more than a matter of the spacing..

Dubbing is as old as the hills, there are a few ways to do it, the direction you spin it is important and of course there are variations using loops of thread or even special tools but for the most part lashing hair onto a hook is a basic and simple process.

Winding neat open turns of ribbing as a must for many patterns to be sure but it isn’t rocket science.


Image courtesy of Essential Fly Tying Techniques

Perhaps a more troublesome fiddle is spinning of deer hair, many never really master it and I could suggest that spinning deer hair on a bare hook requires slightly different methodology to doing the same when there is some thread already laid down on the metal, but it just takes a little instruction and practise


Image courtesy of Essential Fly Tying Techniques

However the problem for most new fly tyers, or for us old hands when tying a new pattern is more a matter of consistency than anything else. It isn’t unlike backing a cake, you might have all the correct ingredients but if you don’t master the proportions and the methods you are not going to particularly enjoy your afternoon tea.

No doubt we all develop our own little quirks and it is remarkable how one can identify patterns tied by different anglers. For example all my parachute patterns are now finished around the post, I suppose quite a modern innovation, but in the end consistency wins out and all flies become simple variations on a theme.

BSP Variations

In the final analysis though, once you have mastered perhaps a dozen techniques you can tie pretty much anything and with practise you can “churn em’ out”. On a winter’s evening I am happy to play but in the midst of the season, battles looming in the morning and with water to cover and fish to catch, well I would rather be holding a box of dozens of tried and tested durable flies than a few complicated experiments.


Read an eBook Week

March 4, 2013


This week, up until March 9th is the Annual Smashwords “Read an eBook promotion”, providing people with the option of downloading books of all types from fiction to non fiction at discount prices. There are loads of books, even free ones to suit every taste and if you are new to electronic books the promotion offers you a great opportunity to test the waters at low cost. Mind you, electronic books are generally cheaper in the first place, they also provide all manner of advantages to traditional books.

  • They are available near instantly (no going to the shopping centre, parking the car or dodging the traffic)
  • They are more eco-friendly (no shipping, no chopping down trees)
  • They are more easily searched (you don’t need to fold down the corners to find your favourite bits)
  • They are available in numerous formats to suit whatever devices you have from.pdf files to Kindle editions.
  • They offer the advantages of both internal and external links and even video something that no paper book can provide.
  • They are instantly available anywhere in the world with an internet connection.
  • And probably more important to me than you, the author who has slaved over the graphics and content and shared their input, knowledge or literary skill actually gets some remuneration for their efforts, unlike the pathetic pennies offered up by traditional publishers.


So why not try a eBook today?

You can search for titles on all manner of subjects on and for those with a distinct piscatorial bent interested in fly tying, fly casting and tackle rigging I provide you unashamedly with links to my on line books all discounted for this week on the Smashwords website. Just click on the image to be transported to the relevant page.

Don’t forget to use the special promotional code to get your discount. !!

You can even see a preview of the some of the content of the books before purchase, by following the relevant links.

WhoPackedFREE: Who Packed Your Parachute:

Yes this one is always free not just this week and it provides some great information on tying Parachute Fly Patterns. If your parachute patterns are troublesome to tie and tend to fall to bits it makes for a great investment. Better than great because it will cost you zip!!!

Review comments “Who Packed your Parachute”: This simple little booklet has proved a real winner. I have always had problems with parachute flies falling to bits after a fish or two. Rolston’s insights and descriptions have changed the way that I tie flies and there won’t be any going back to the old ways for me. If you are a fly tyer you are going to love this simple explanation of how to make your parachute flies more durable, more imitative and faster to manufacture.

LTFC50% OFF: Learn to Fly-Cast in a Weekend:

Originally published in soft cover and now out of print this book in electronic format provides explanations as to how fly casting really works and more importantly a pile of exercises which you can do in the garden to improve your casting skills. 80% of the clients I guide would catch a lot more fish if their casting was up to scratch. Now you can get that monkey off your back at a ludicrously low cost or give the book as a gift to anyone anywhere in the world using the gifting option.

Review comments: Learn to Fly-Cast in a Weekend:

I’ve finished Learn to Flycast in a Weekend and I have to say this book is a must have for every fly fisherman whether you think you’re casting is perfect or not. It will help you get rid of all of those bad habits and teach you a new way to better your casts, timing and eventually distance accuracy. if you are a new caster this book is for you. You can have the technique down in four sessions and believe me when I tell you, you won’t need any lessons afterwards. A true find and as I said a must have.

EFTT 50% OFF: Essential Fly Tying Techniques

A book that has been described as “A World First”, the original on disc contains embedded video of all the techniques as well as graphic and written descriptions of numerous essential techniques and a number of different and highly effective fly patterns. The electronic version provides links to the very same video clips and all the same graphics and instructions. A book for novice fly tyers and containing a lot of tips that may well help the old hands as well.

Review comments “Essential Fly Tying Techniques”: some amazingly simple techniques that make ALL the difference to things that I have been battling with for ages e.g. tying posts are now so much less messy and complicated.

AFTMA50% OFF: An AFTMA Fairytale

A compendium of some of the most popular posts on The Fishing Gene Blog, light reading but some useful information too, just the thing for a rainy day when the season is closed or the rivers in flood.

Review comments “An AFTMA Fairytale”: I loved this….it is warm and funny. Tim’s anecdotes are amusing and informative, beautifully written little gemstones containing many lessons from years of experience and true passion. You learn and smile at the same time, the sign of a great teacher.

100Tips50% OFF:  100 Tips, Tricks and Techniques of tackle rigging. 

Tips, tricks and techniques that will help you enjoy your fishing more, catch more fish and be better prepared on the water. Filled with graphics of knots and other tips to make you a more effective angler.

Review comments for 100 TipsFull of simple easy-to-follow tips that are a great help and clearly have stood the test of time in the hands of an expert and dedicated fisherman. Great for reference and dipping into.
The diagrams are some of the best I have seen.
Strongly to be recommended.

So whether you choose to download a copy of one of my books or someone elses, give eBooks a try, for those of us hell bent on instant gratification you can be reading your new tome in a matter of minutes..

A Barbed Comment

February 19, 2013

Barbed Head

A barbed comment:

I recall an episode from my youth, the only time I ever received any formal fly fishing tuition, a weekend at the Arundell Arms in Lifton in Devon. The hotel is renowned for its fishing, fly fishing courses and is surrounded by numerous trout, sea trout and salmon rivers. I was only in my early teens and was on a weekend course run by Roy Buckingham. In my youthful arrogance I wasn’t overly interested in the casting instruction; I just wanted to get to fish their waters and was champing at the bit to do so. On the second day we were left to our own devices, fishing for the resident brown trout and I struck late at a slow rising fish ending up with my fly hooked firmly in my neck. As I remember it I think that the fly was a Royal Coachman Dry and being as pragmatic then as now I simply cut the nylon, left the fly in situ and continued to fish, but of course had to admit to the error on returning to the hotel.

Arundell ArmsThe Arundell Arms in Lifton, an English Fly Fishing Institution.

The problem was viewed by the staff as a simple one, the local GP down the road had , as you might imagine in such a location, removed countless hooks from numerous anglers and we all expected the problem to be resolved in short order. The only problem was that the local doctor was apparently taking leave, lounging on a sun bed in the Bahamas’s or something and we instead found a locum with very little experience of GP practise, or at least little of removing barbed hooks from youthful necks.

He became instantly besotted with the artistry of the fly and didn’t wish to destroy it, I simply advised that he should pull the hook all the way through, cut off the barb and be done with it. He was however reluctant to destroy what to his eye was “feather art”. One fly represented a substantial investment of pocket money to me, but I was more than willing to forego its future use for the benefit of my hide. The young doctor was having none of it, convinced that we would be able to free the barbed hook from my skin.

Barbed in FaceThis is when you start to think “I should have taken the barb off”.

I am going to ask you a question; “have you ever seen your own neck without the aid of a mirror?”  Because I have, foot on chair, forceps grasped in both hands and local anaesthetic administered the aforementioned medic (some might venture butcher), pulled and pulled until I had a clear view of my skin, stretched taut as a bow string. Eventually the hook bent, the skin ripped, the doctor nearly fell backwards onto his rear and the offending dry fly released its overly robust grip on my epidermis.  Now it was just a matter of stitching up the hole that had been torn out of my throat, I suppose I might have protested but in reality I was happy the offending pattern had been removed and thankful, given the less than efficient technique used, that my thyroid hadn’t been ripped free with it.

Barbed fly hooks are an anathema to me, they are ineffective and as the above story will confirm, potentially dangerous. At least that was my neck, but what if an eye? I don’t like barbs on flies, simple as that and I don’t see any point in having them there.

Barbed Coachman

A beautifully tied pattern, would it be less so with the barb removed?

Where I fish the waters have been under compulsory Catch and Release and Barbless Hooks Only regulation for over a decade by now. Not that that is really a milestone, many of us were fishing barbless well before that. The oddity of it is that our decision had very little to do with the wellbeing of the fish, or the wellbeing of ourselves for that matter,  at least at that time. We were fishing light gear, #2 weight rods and 7X tippets, and before you think that wasn’t particularly light the only #2 weight rod at the time was the original Orvis superfine which was far softer in action than more than a few #1 weights and such that one sees on stream these days.

It became apparent that the barb was a serious setback in terms of hooking and landing fish on light gear. With ultra-light gear and fine tippets you simply cannot pull the wedge of a barb into a fish and you either snap off or drop the fish early in the fight. I am one of many anglers who have absolutely no faith in barbed hooks, they simply are not as effective particularly when fishing fine.

In some bizarre twist of fate that has proven an advantage in international competition, some teams who fish with barbed hooks in their home waters lose confidence when fishing barbless, for us it is just normal.

To be frank after some forty five years of fly fishing, using both barbed and barbless hooks I have come to a conclusion that the only real disadvantage of barbless hooks is that the easily fall out of your hat. Beyond that there is no comparison and yet barbed hooks in flies persist.


Spiders are simple and quick to tie, surely leaving time to remove the barb.

It seems that for some the presence of a barb offers some sort of comfort, a superstition or act of faith that the barb is helping them to catch fish, whereas my personal experience tells me that the barb is a hindrance and a potentially dangerous one to boot.

I suppose that it is fine that we all make up our own minds, but in searching my mind I cannot really find a good reason for using them. Certainly not for trout anyway.

Barbless hooks penetrate faster, with less force and less damage to the fish, in fact virtually no damage as can be attested by the number of times I have inadvertently stuck one in my finger without ill effect.

So no I don’t like barbed hooks, they are offensive to me, the fish and the thoughtful angler, and they serve little to no purpose.

What is bothering me though is that surfing the net, reading magazine articles, blogs, books and such I keep on seeing images of flies with barbs on them. Barbed hooks in vices, barbed hooks in trout and occasionally, (oh blessed karma that is it), barbed hooks in ears.

Barbed SmallFish

This barbed fly is very likely to cause unecessary damage to a juvenille trout.

I really see no need to fish with barbed hooks, they are counter intuitive in terms of hook-ups, dangerous to the angler and to the fish. Those who write, publish, blog or whatever would do us all a great service if they took a little more care in showing pictures of hooks that have been de-barbed or are barbless.

I don’t wish to pick on anyone particularly but throughout this post are images of barbed hooks which were collected off the internet. I have against my normal policy, not provided credits, for the very reason that I am not suggesting anyone is worse than anyone else. Some of the images come from anglers who I know personally fish barbless all the time. Some of the patterns are so beautifully tied that one would expect they come from experienced and thoughtful anglers. I am just trying to illustrate that perhaps we need to be more careful about the images we use.

Barbed DDD

I am certain that this pattern comes from an angler who fishes barbless.

Let us all demonstrate some leadership here and make a commitment to avoiding images of barbed hooks in the same way that most have, over time,  given up on those pictures of dead fish strung on a fence. I believe that writers and editors have a responsibility to their readership, to show some moral guidance and to, over time, sway public opinion; publishing only images of barbless fly patterns would be a small step forwards in convincing others that barbs are unnecessary.

BarbedStringerImages such as this are generally now viewed as unacceptable, perhaps barbed flies should be viewed in the same way?

Barbed hooks will cause untold damage to the fish that you wish to release and perhaps worse still will not easily come out of fish should you break off during the strike or the fight. I have only caught a trout with a hook already in its mouth twice in over twenty years of fishing our streams. Both hooks had barbs on them.

Barbed Adams

So I am hoping that we can all avoid the use of images of barbed hooks, that we can continue to influence others in terms of being more responsible, and promote sustainable angling and safety at the same time. Once one realises that fishing with barbless flies is a win win, for you and the fish, the decision to switch is a no brainer.

Barbed in Finger

Books by the author of this blog are available for download from Smashwords. (just click on the image below to find them)


Match the Hatch – Goose Biot Caddis

October 14, 2012

In general I would be the first person to tell you that “it’s not about the fly”, and mostly to be quite honest it isn’t. Presentation always comes first, always, but there are times when matching the hatch becomes more or less important, even on relatively infertile freestone streams.

I fished only days ago on a local water which is just settling down from the spate conditions of winter, a month into the fishing season and still cold and moderately high but definitely “fishable”.

Up in the mountains it was still quite cloudy and there was a nip to the South Easterly wind which was blowing upstream, hard enough to make good presentations a little problematic but not sufficiently so to make accurate casting impossible.

The first run didn’t produce any response from the fish and there were no discernible rises, but there was lots and lots of insect activity. Thousands of net-winged midges huddled out of the breeze on the sides of the rocks and formed rafts of bodies along the margins where the hapless insects , unfortunate enough to end up in the drink, had spun off the main currents.

There were micro caddis flies in both black and tan hues running about on the streamside boulders and it all looked promising, just no rises.

The next pocket saw the first fish come to the net, nothing spectacular, although I was pleased to be able to effectively “high stick” a drag free drift at the top of the little waterfall that defined the back of the pocket. It isn’t always easy to get right and this time it worked perfectly, the upstream breeze helping to be sure and the fish taking just as the artificial came over the lip..

The next run and another fish, both taken on a fairly large and nondescript spider pattern, things were looking up and despite the conditions and lack of rises it seemed that the fish were feeding happily. Then there was a long period of nothing, good drifts, at least as far as I could tell, and no action. I lengthened the leader and considered adding a subsurface pattern but to be honest I didn’t really wish to do that. This was an R & R day not a work day and I really wanted to catch fish on the dry, plus with all these bugs around the fish would have to come on at some point surely.

I missed a half-hearted take in a shallow run under the bankside vegetation, I really got the impression that perhaps the fish didn’t fully commit to the fly, it would be considered quite a large pattern and I was using it primarily to aid visibility in the high and slightly choppy water. Plus as the fish weren’t coming up I was hoping to appeal to their sense of greed and “drum up” some interest.

Things carried on like this, I kept on expecting the fish to start moving and once the sun broke through and the early morning mountain clouds burned off I was even more hopeful. I lured one more fish out of the corner of a deep run, he wasn’t big but was inordinately fat, the fish in general seemed to have been doing well over the winter months and were in fine fettle.

Then searching through shallow pockets I saw a fish head and tail, it was the first activity other than that elicited by my own imitations, and it looked to be a half decent fish too. I carefully changed position and put out a reasonable cast, no response from the fish, perhaps the fly landed just short?

Another presentation and the fly landed perfectly, I prepared myself for the take but nothing happened and I rather feared that I had put down, what was to this point my only feeding fish.

Then I decided to change flies, with all these caddis about surely that would be a better option than the spider. I tied a small parachute caddis pattern onto the fine tippet, trouble was that it really is a rather tiny size 20 and in the windy and choppy conditions not easy to see on the water. Not the sort of fly for use during general prospecting in such conditions.

Fortunately the fly landed where intended just above where I had seen the rise, and managed to keep track of the tiny white post sufficiently well to see the gentle sip of the fish as the fly was inhaled. I set the hook after a short pause and the fish took off like a rocket. Then the battle really got going, in the high water amongst the rocks the fish went berserk, jumping completely out of the water several times, trying to duck behind and under the boulders and using the strong current to its advantage. The fragile 7X tippet however held and I eventually got the trout into the net.

I must digress for a moment and say that I have become seriously impressed with this Stroft™ tippet material, it has rarely if ever let me down, even the fine stuff I prefer to fish.

A gorgeous 17 inch rainbow, fit as a flea, and in perfect condition. A few quick photographs and I released it to fight another day. From then on the fishing was a struggle, the wind worsened, the wading became tiresome and as the swirling breeze grew stronger tangles in the long leader became more frequent. In the end I packed up and headed back to the car, I had only intended to fish for the morning anyway.

It hadn’t been the best of days, and things hadn’t really lived up to the early morning promise, but I was most satisfied to have fooled a few trout and in particular one which had eschewed one pattern in favour of another more imitative fly.

The goose biot micro caddis pattern that I was using was designed years back, specifically to cover the early season emergence of these tiny black caddisflies. The conditions weren’t ideal for fishing such a small and delicate fly but the proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating. There is always something satisfying about catching a fish that has refused previously, all the more so if one succeeds with a fly of one’s own manufacture, never mind design.

Those caddis should hang around on the river for quite a few days yet, it tends to be a long lasting event and hopefully I shall be able to trick a few more fish with the same fly before the water drops and the caddis die off.

Red Letter Day

September 18, 2012

After a poor start to the season fishing the remote Witte River in mono-vision, due to the loss of a contact lens en-route to the stream, I decided that the weather was looking good and it was time for me to head out onto the water and, if you will excuse the pun, “get my eye in”.

The weather was perfect with a very slight downstream breeze on the river, the first few runs didn’t show any fish and I switched from a spider to a beetle. Then I spotted the first rise, I have to admit I was somewhat in haste and made the cast from a less than idea position. The fish came up for the beetle but an intervening current grabbed at the leader and drag set in, game over.

I chastised myself for being impatient and carried on up-stream taking more care, slowing down, scanning the water carefully; and then I saw it. The languid rise of a massive trout, bigger than I have seen on these rivers before and quite obviously a brown, even at this distance the spots were easily recognisable, it looked huge.

I watched for a while, and now and then, the brown would put in a spate of rises, each time his tail wagging good-bye well above the water. Large trout head and tailing give away their size from the delay between the break of the surface with their noses and the wave of the dorsal and then tail as they sink back to the depths. This one took an age and was obviously huge by local standards; by most standards to be honest.

After the previous error of judgement I was determined to keep cool and get into position, a practise cast for the distance and I delivered a little olive over the lane in which the fish was feeding. Not a murmur, I changed the tippet down to 7X and pushed the leader to 18 feet long. Another cast and the fly was ignored, so I added a nymph. The tiny brassie which tends to be all things to all fish landed perfectly and drifted back over the fish, but again no response. I feared that I may have put the fish down, despite my care and stealth, I waited, the fish fed in batches, three of four rises in quick succession followed by a pause that had me thinking that he had gone down again, I waited some more and he rose again. A long drawn out languid roll on the surface to something far too small to see..

This time a size twenty ant was affixed to the leader, it is a very good bet when you are stuck and the fish was obviously not eating anything particularly large, this pattern has produced most of my bigger fish on these streams and I was hopeful that it would break the impasse, however two drifts and the ant was equally ignored, not so much as an inspection rise and I was getting stumped. I knew that it was only a matter of time before a wayward cast put the fish down but what to try next?

The fly that eventually fooled the fish was a version of the above pattern.

I tied on a #12 black and red parachute spider pattern sporting long wiggling Coq de Leon halo hackle and lots of life simulating movement. I hoped that perhaps, although much larger than the natural fodder on which this trout was focused, it may trick the trout into thinking a tasty terrestrial had dropped out of the bush representing easy pickings.

The fly alighted without so much as creasing the surface film and drifted down the slow current on the edge of the stream that held the trout, I mended the intervening line upstream to compensate for the different current speeds and the fly drifted perfectly over the fish’s lie. A tilt of his fins and he glided up and inhaled the fly with total confidence, I had to steel myself not to strike too soon, very easy to mistime things with these larger fish, particularly the browns which seem feed with a remarkable lack of haste.

Trouble was that, after setting the hook, the game was far from over, this fish was huge for this stream and pretty close to the limit of what one may hope to land on 7X tippet in relatively high water. He bored away upstream and I kept as much pressure as I dared on him, being forced to give line and then more. Fortunately it was quite a large run and he had space to move without too much risk of finding a hidey-hole.  He got about fifteen metres or so upstream before I turned him but then made a dash for some overhanging bush. I had to hold the rod horizontal with the tip underwater in the hope of avoiding getting snagged. He made a second and third dash upstream, each time the power of his large tail registering in the bend of the delicate two weight rod that I was fishing. It meant that I couldn’t apply a lot of force but equally was protecting that gossamer tippet. The fight seemed to go on for an inordinately long time. Hereabouts for the most part the fight of the fish is short lived, even on light gear but not this time. The line jammed twice along the side of the reel, which I think had been slightly overfilled with backing, a dangerous situation when tied to a trout of this size, but I managed to clear the jam each time and maintain a modicum of control over the fish. After some minutes he was almost ready to come to the net but far too large to be able to lift his head out of the water and I stumbled around trying to get into a good position to net him.

Eventually after what seemed an absolute age with heart pounding and legs shaking I landed my prize, an absolutely gorgeous dark spotted brown trout of 21 inches. Fat as a brewer’s apron and probably touching the scales at around four pounds. A massive fish for these waters, possibly the fish of a lifetime.

I took some photos of him, but of course that is tricky when one is on one’s own and the fish won’t fit in the net easily. The fly in his jaw, about the largest pattern that I generally fish on these waters, looked tiny against the size of the fish’s head and after releasing him I just sat in the early summer sunshine and calmed down.  Not only a fantastic fish but equally only the second fish of the season for me and the first had been spoiled by the monocular vision and lack of control brought on by the loss of that contact lens. What a start to the season. There is little hope of repeating such a capture in the near future. I have fished these rivers for about 26 years and have captured two fish this size before. One a rainbow of 22” and the other a brown of 21” but the brownie had been thin and past his prime, nothing like this specimen. Undoubtedly the heaviest fish I have ever landed from a local river, to be honest I would have been pretty happy to get him out of a stillwater somewhere.

I fished on, even caught some fish,but even the ones that I would have considered large simply confirmed how huge my brown had been. I dropped a rainbow of about 18” later in the day, I didn’t even mind to see her get off, my day was complete and nothing was going to top that experience or detract from it. It had been a red letter day and eventually sunburned and tired I headed home, just hoping that some of the photos had been in focus and that I had a record for posterity.

Note: The Coq de Leon parachute spider is one of the featured flies in my book, “Essential Fly Tying Techniques”,  you can see how to tie it on the following private You Tube Link.

Guide Flies

December 7, 2011

Things have been busy of late and that means that other than a lot of additional shopping, sandwich making, car servicing and such there is the perennial issue of having the right flies. If you are a social angler not being able to match the hatch or fool the fish is simply a matter of annoyance but if you are a guide it represents a most serious professional faux pas. I have to admit that I did once forget to take the rods with us in the car but I pride myself on finding a solution to finicky fish even if I have to chop up a pattern on the river to make it work.

Flies of course wear out, they get lost, hooked in bank-side herbage, caught in client’s socks and clothing and even simply fall out of one’s hat or fly box. In short they have a limited lifespan. With windy conditions, a bushy stream and an impatient and unskilled client their longevity is only marginally better than that of an unstable sub-atomic particle. More than a few give up their brief lives without ever having been presented near to a fish. I figure that if flies had feelings they would undoubtedly feel disappointed, perhaps even insulted by the way they are discarded with gay abandon. Trouble is, as one of my favoured writers, John Geirach, points out, to be of any use at all flies must be “thoughtlessly expendible” and that is pretty much it.

With all of the above then – there is the necessity to match the hatch, carry plenty of patterns, replace those lost and worn out and still have flies that are sufficiently efficacious to satisfy both discerning trout and fussy clients. One then has one’s work cut out work that frequently requires long hours at a hot vice in the wee hours of the morning.

Guides want their clients to catch fish and we want them to catch fish on the flies that we supply and recommend, but we don’t want to be spending an hour constructing a pattern that as likely as not will end up in a bridge support before it gets wet.

Guide flies are therefore a little different to standard shop bought patterns. Firstly I would venture that they are generally “more” and at least “as” effective. Secondly they are carefully geared to the likely requirements on specific waters with which the guide is intimately attuned. As far as possible they are equally durable, inexpensive and quick to manufacture and most of the time it is a huge advantage if they are also highly visible. People with sufficient time and financial resources to utilize guides are rarely blessed with 20:20 vision any longer, mind you neither are most of us aged, bent and arthritic guides either. For the client to miss a take is forgivable, the same doesn’t apply to the guide, so visible flies are a professional necessity.

So it comes to pass that I have been in need of churning out more than a few patterns of late and I thought that I might share a couple with you. You don’t need to be a guide to benefit from them and indeed anyone can make use of these invaluable patterns and adapt them to their own requirements.

The Key Patterns I like to carry are:

Elk Hair Caddis 

Once you get the hang of them Elk Hairs are pretty simple to tie, bleached or light hair makes them pretty visible and they not only make for great caddis flies but are respectable “bugs” covering any number of terrestrials, they will even fool more than a few Mayfly feeders much of the time. They have the added advantage of being one of the few patterns that are sufficiently aerodynamic to be easily forced into a stiff breeze when the need arises and equally act well as high floating indicator patterns when nymphing with a two fly rig. If there is a disadvantage it is that they are not that durable and require a palmered body hackle which if you are using genetics can be wasteful. On the smaller sizes you don’t really need body hackle at all and brushed out dubbing bodies will suffice. On the larger ones one can frequently use oversized hackle and trim them without ill effect. Either way they are patterns that you can’t really go without. Details of how to tie Elk Hair Caddis Flies can be found in my eBook “Essential Fly Tying Techniques”

Parachute Mayflies:

I carry virtually no “standard” or “Catskill” ties at all in my boxes, the parachutes have major advantages in terms of presentation, they always land the right way up, are easily spotted on the water even in small sizes and require less hackle to make them float. They can therefore be tied more sparsely than Catskill ties which provides in my opinion better imitation and improved economics. My standard parachute pattern is the BSP “Bog Standard Parachute”. The flies vary in only size and colour, but their manufacture is identical. Again this is a major advantage in production tying, once you get in the groove you can churn out effective patterns at a rate of a dozen an hour or more. The key issues for me are that the BSP’s don’t use any dubbing, they sport bodies of thread only. Thread colours are easily and cheaply obtainable in such variety that you can match near anything that you may encounter and for our streams the slim bodies better match the anorexic forms of most of our naturals. We don’t have fat mayflies for much of the time, simple as that. There is a post on this blog “Bog Standard Parachutes” which gives step by step instructions. Also there are two parachute patterns detailed in my “Essential Fly Tying Techniques” eBook demonstrating the various techniques of tying in the post and performing a “super glue whip finish”. (the SGWF is a boon to guide flies, it does an amazing job of increasing durability and speed of tying, most flies get lost before they get broken)

Parachute Caddis Patterns:

It is odd really that the Elk Hair Caddis is such an effective pattern, on our waters we don’t have a single natural caddis fly that would grow larger than a size 18 and most are considerably smaller. Small and micro flies require trimming down compared to their more robust brethren and the goose biot micro caddis is the perfect example. It is tied with exactly the same technique, thread body, post and hackle as the small BSP’s just that it sports neat little biot wings. As a guide fly it is superb because you can always pull the wings off and have a reasonable midge or mayfly pattern. It lacks tails of course but sometimes it will work if you are stuck.

Spun Duns:

I have written about variations of spun duns on this blog previously, in fact in the article “No Hackles” you can find a link to tying a pretty complicated goose biot spun dun. Most of mine are however once more simple in the extreme. Split tails (a twist of complexity to be sure but even guides have been known to give in to vanity and they just look nice). Thread bodies (again that ease of matching various colour variations) and a collar of semi-spun deer hair. These are superb mayfly patterns and have the major guiding advantages of being quick to tie, easy to see, floatability and near ludicrously economic. They can further be trimmed on stream to produce spinner patterns, floating nymphs, cripples and emergers if the need arises.

Drowned Midges:

These patterns are actually drowned anything, although originally designed to copy net winged midges they do a great job of covering cripples, stillborns, drowned duns, midges and even spinners and are so simple to manufacture that there is no excuse not to have dozens of them. Simple brushed dubbed thorax to imitate legs and movement and hackle point wings, added more from vanity than necessity. They aren’t visible patterns and generally get fished in tandem in much the same way one would a nymph, but they are effective. Detailed instructions in graphic and video format for this pattern are part of my eBook “Essential Fly Tying Techniques”

The Brassie:

If there ever was a quintessential “Guide Fly” then the brassie has to be it, simple, quick and inexpensive to tie, durable and deadly. It is my “go to nymph” when the fish are being difficult. We don’t have a lot of serious hatches and the fish rarely get the luxury of honing in on specific sub-aquatic forms. The brassie does a great job of covering tiny caddis larvae, baetis mayfly nymphs, black fly larva and more, plus it has that “certain Je ne sais quoi” that lures fish the world over. Tying the brassie is covered in “Essential Fly Tying Techniques” eBook, available from

Pheasant Tail Nymph:

In case I feel the need for something a tad more complicated the Pheasant Tail nymph covers more sub aquatic life, a universal pattern effective everywhere. Sporting on occasion a tungsten bead and always with my favoured peacock herl thorax for that added touch of sparkle. Another killer pattern in various guises. The PTN breaks one of the guide fly rules, it does lack slightly on the durability front, but wrapping the pheasant tail over a bed of thread moistened with head cement will provide additional longevity. The PTN is also covered in detail in “Essential Fly Tying Techniques” eBook.

The Compar-ant:

This has to be one of the simplest patterns of all, I don’t use it frequently but when you need an ant then you need one badly. Flying ants have the ability to hook fish into selective feeding more than any other natural on our streams. The fish simply love them and you can sometimes break a hatch with an ant if you can’t copy the actual hatching fly. Trout will deviate from established feeding patterns to take ants and they represent a great trick to have up one’s sleeve. The Compar-ant is made entirely of synthetic materials, a poly-yarn wing and superfine dubbing body, has a superb and uncomplicated profile which I think better imitates the key segmentation of the real insect. It is well established that the thin waste and distinct thorax and gaster of the ant act as a trigger to the fish, one doesn’t want to mask it.

All the above flies can be varied in terms of size and colour to suit, with a few colour and size variations in each of the above you will still be carrying hundreds of flies, but they won’t take long to manufacture or replace, they will catch you fish almost anywhere that you go and you won’t break into a cold sweat of panic if you lose one in a tree.

Guide Flies are essentially simple and quick to tie, inexpensive, durable and effective. You need to be able to whip them out by the dozen but still fish them with confidence.

This post brought to you by the publisher of the world's most innovative fly tying book. Essential Fly Tying Techniques

No Hackles?

October 3, 2011

No Hackle Flies,

Or should that be no hackles no flies?

You will be well aware by now that fashion industry has done a bit of a hostile takeover within fly tying circles, pushing up the price of particularly saddle hackles and denuding shelves of the dry fly purist’s most prized possessions. All in the name of the latest fashion fad: feather hair extensions.

Of course fashion is a fickle mistress and it has always amazed me that women around the world will follow the opinion of some unspecified and self appointed luminary who ups and decides what this year’s hem line, fabric  colour or hair style will be.

This lot have managed to convince the fairer sex at different times that outer garments should vary from Islamic propriety to hooker like knicker flashers, somehow they have persuaded that propolis, avocado, soya beans, cucumbers, natural essences, bees wax, or even volcanic mud is good for the hair, complexion or libido.

Over the years women have voluntarily  (frequently at great expense), allowed themselves to be incased in painful whale bone, dipped in volcanic springs or pierced with metal objects in almost every portion of their anatomy. They have primped and preened in front of mirrors ranging from the still reflective surface of the common or garden pond to the burnished metal of a conqueror’s shield.  They have ironed, curled, cut, blown, died and dried their hair, they have permed it, plaited it, woven it and covered it with wigs, hats, ribbons and flowers

And now, NOW! as an affront not only to their own senses of propriety but equally in a declaration of war against fly anglers the world over they are weaving our treasured feathers into their pampered, coloured, conditioned, hot ironed and waxed locks in yet another wanton frenzy of unabashed consumerism. All apparently in the name of beauty.

Mind you even the most callously chauvinistic of us would have to admit that the hair extensions are a tad more comely than plastic curlers and they represent less of a danger to your eyesight should you roll over in bed for that matter. Still it ain’t right, there are any number of animal parts with which the ladies might adorn themselves and one would have to suggest that delving into the fly tying box is just taking things a little too far.

At least hair extensions aren't quite as dreadful or dangerous as curlers.

From now on selecting a date might get even more complicated, no longer enough to pick a curvaceous blond with the aforementioned belt wide mini and a whale tail of black lace, you will now have to ask if her hair extensions are the required light dun size 18’s that you have been seeking out for those essential midges and will have to invite her to stay over that you might pluck the odd feather whilst she snoozes in post coital bliss.

Really not only has the world gone a little mad but it is making things darned inconvenient for those of us wishing to simply whip up a few mayfly patterns and head for the water. Apart from the allure of actually fishing,  being “on the water” is also one of the few means left to avoid the fashion houses, the cosmetics counters and previously mentioned consumerist frenzy undoubtedly occurring right now at a shopping mall near you. Time on the water is sacred, time on the water with sufficient flies is not something that should be messed with, even in the name of beauty.

Anyway enough of the frivolity, what is to be done? Carefully selected genetic roosters have a naturally determined lead time before they produce perfect dry fly saddles and of course it won’t escape your notice that they can only do this once. The upshot being that there is a shortage of feathers and that the shortage is expected to last well into 2012.

With that in mind it is the perfect time for inventive fly tyers to revisit some ideas of no hackle flies and even synthetics which will obviate the need for the products of our slow growing cockerels.

Indeed to my mind it wouldn’t be a bad thing if these became, to borrow a phrase from the fashion fundis  “in vogue” and it would be wonderfully ironic if by the time the sellouts in the feather world have spent their twenty pieces of silver they were to find that demand from trout anglers was at an all time low.

I can understand that in the business world one needs to take the best price, but to leave all of your loyal customers in the lurch for what will surely be a flash in the pan is lacking a bit in terms of customer relations.

Therefore I thought it appropriate to investigate some other fly patterns, devoid of genetic hackle and just as effective.

Comparaduns, Spun duns, F flies and the like will cover a lot of bases on the stream allowing the fly tyer to either do without precious saddles or at least save their stocks for essential patterns only.

A number of flies, like this thread bodied Spun Dun offer alternatives to using hackle

So for those willing to take up the fight, and of course those who have already exhausted their supply of suitable hackle and are now visiting discotheques in the hope of finding the occasional plume on the dance floor here is at least one option.

The Goose Biot Spun Dun,

This is a tremendously effective and highly adaptable mayfly imitation that can be modified to suit almost any hatch and happily requires not a single fibre of hackle, genetic or otherwise.  The spun dun is effectively an offshoot of the Comparadun , the greatly vaunted invention of Caucci and Nastasi and brought to public prominence in their book “Comparahatch”.

To be honest I can’t find who came up with the spun dun, it could indeed been have invented first for all I know. What I can tell you is that it is a little easier to tie than the Comparadun and boasts a far slimmer abdomen than can be obtained with the Comparadun version. It also has the benefit of its own personal life jacket of hollow deer hair butts set about the thorax region that greatly enhances its buoyancy.

To tie:

  • Lay down touching turns of thread preferably 120 Denier or similar, you are going to need some strength when you tie in the hair collar.
  • In my version keep the tag end of the thread on top of the hook to assist in splitting the microfibbet or nylon bristle tails. You can use other materials for the tails if you wish.
  • Tie in two microfibbets or bristles from a Hamilton’s nylon brush (the fibres should be tapered).
  • Pull the tag of the thread up between the tails helping to separate them and splay them apart.
  • Tie in a dampened goose biot of suitable colouration, (you can use just the thread, dubbing or any other abdominal material if you wish, it makes little difference).
  • Wind the thread to just behind the eye of the hook and follow with the body material.
  • Tie in a small amount of dubbing to neaten up the thorax (this is entirely optional)
  • Now select a bunch of deer hair from the skin and remove the under fur before stacking in a hair stacker.
  • Align the hair on top of the hook shank, just behind the eye of the hook and tie in, adjusting the overhanging tips to the length you wish for the hackle
  • Tie down tightly with three or four wraps of thread, don’t allow the hair to spin.
  • Cut off the tag ends of the hair leaving a neat thorax of butt ends.
  • Take the thread to the front, stand up the hair with your thumb nail and build a neat ball of thread in front of the hair to hold the wing vertical.
  • Whip finish or use a super glue whip finish and cut off the thread.
  • Watch the video if you wish to see more clearly the sequence of tying.

This post brought to you by the publisher of the world's most innovative fly tying book. Essential Fly Tying Techniques

Disclaimer: From time to time these posts attract advertising and the publishers of the blog have no control over advertising content, nor do we gain any financial benefit from such adverts. Whilst they may be of value to you please do note that their presence does not imply any endorsement or recommendation of the products or services offered by anyone associated with this blog. Thank you.

The Easiest Way to Learn Flytying.

August 29, 2011

Launch of the World’s most innovative flytying instruction book.

It has been a dreadfully time-consuming exercise it has to be said, enough so that had I known the amount of work required maybe I would never have started, but that said my new eBook “Essential Fly Tying techniques” has now been “officially” launched. Perhaps most gratifying of all is that it has received some very very positive reviews from those who have seen the finished product and some very well-respected names amongst them.

Tom Sutcliffe, the elder statesman of South African fly fishing and well-known fly fishing author provided a wonderfully positive review of the book on his website “The Best Way to Learn Fly Tying”

Tom is the author of “My Way with a Trout”, “Reflections on Fly Fishing” and “Hunting Trout” a new version of the latest title is due for release shortly so I am even more grateful that Tom found the time to review my book.

The book contains some 80 full colour graphics, over 30 video clips of essential fly tying techniques and complete flies, full instructions on tying 14 killer patterns which at the same time illustrate the various techniques highlighted and one hopes it will indeed prove to be a new standard in fly tying tuition.

Some comments from reviewers of the book to date:

“This publication bridges the gap between traditional books and on-line video”…..Ed Herbst Editor of Piscator Magazine.

“Awesome, I wish I this had been available when I started flytying”…. M Spinola, SA Commonwealth Flyfishing Team and bronze medalist in the SA National Championships.

“This is perfect, the video clips fill in the gaps that step by step sequences in traditional publications can’t cover and the patterns shown can form the basis of any worthwhile fly box……..MC Coetzer, Protea Team Angler and Coach of the SA Junior World Championship Team.

“This has to be the easiest way to learn,…engaging, ingenious and comprehensive, …this book is surely the first of its kind in the world…..Dr Tom Sutcliffe, Author of “My Way with a Trout”, “Reflections on Flyfishing” and “Hunting Trout”.

So pleased as I am with the response now comes the hard part, marketing the book and I am hoping that those of you out there in the fly fishing underground can assist. The book is available directly from me at Inkwazi Fly Fishing both on a retail and wholesale basis. It is also currently available from fly fishing retailers and bookshops: Netbooks (On line book store), Mavungana (Fly Fishing retail in Johannesburg and Dullstroom), Wild Fly (Fly Fishing retail Nottingham Road) and hopefully more stores will follow shortly.


If you have a retail outlet anywhere in the world and would like to see a review copy of the book contact me on and I shall endeavor to provide you with a sample, alternatively if you can’t wait I will include a demo version with your order just so that you can see what all the fuss is about..

I am expecting reviews of the publication in key local and overseas magazines shortly and shall no doubt be able to keep you all posted in terms of progress there via this blog.


If you edit a fly fishing magazine and would like a review copy to feature your comments in your publication please again contact me and I shall willingly send you a review edition free of charge.

For more information you can see a breakdown of the contents of this unique eBook on the following You Tube Link


Should you wish to place an order you can do so by mailing me directly Mail Order Enquiry or you can download an order form from our website at options are available for both retail and wholesale orders from this page. Order your copy before the end of September and I will cover the postage no matter where you are in the world.

If you have seen the finished product please do feel free to leave a comment on this blog, it helps others to find it and of course provides unsolicited review of what I think is an exceptionally useful publication.

Now it is only a couple of days to the start of the fly fishing season on the streams of the Limietberg and hopefully I will once more be able to re-acquaint myself with rod , line and moving water, too much time in front of the computer can make Jack a dull boy, or indeed if not dull at least more than a trifle frustrated.

Thank you to those who have supported this blog to date. Don’t forget that you can subscribe to receive updates if you wish.

The book contains detailed graphics and embedded video clips