Jan's Flies

by Jan Spencer

Winter time is a traditional time for fly tying and certainly I have done my share this winter. Winter is also the time for end of the year dinners, always great nights, where many fishy stories are swapped.

One night still to come is in Hobart where the Australian Fly Fishing Team, who will travel to Poland later this year to fish in the World Championships, will be presented with their blazers. I wish them well and lots of luck.

One highlight for me since the end of last season has been nominated as a member of The Fly Tyers Club of Tasmania, it's great to be accepted.

As the new trout season approaches there is always great anticipation on what the coming months will bring. Some hardy souls will brave the elements to catch their first trout of the season. Many will only venture as far as the lowland streams and hope they will find flooded backwaters and ditches. It is in these areas trout love to forage for tasty morsels such as worms, snails, beetles and frogs. Trout will cruise these areas in quite shallow water, particularly where there is a fresh, so be observant for any tell tale movements that mat indicate trout in the area.

A Mrs Simpson, Robin, Green Matuka or Woolly Worm are favourite flies for early season, fished on a floating line around the rivers should be quite adequate. Those hardy enough to venture to the highlands for the opening will need to be warmly clothed. Some will boat fish, while others will be shore based. For the boat angler I advise a weighted line or at least a sink tip as the fish are normally still quite deep. Flies for this type of fishing can also be weighted, so with both line and fly with weight the sinking rate is accelerated and is quicker to cover more water.

If fishing the shore, personally I would choose a nice marsh somewhere. Always be mindful of any movement as trout will glide in and out of these areas making very little disturbance. Early season marsh fishing can be fantastic with trout moving into newly flooded areas, but stealth is a must.

The previous mentioned flies are all good for the highlands, if used from a boat some added weight is advised, but leave normal for marsh fishing.

I asked three well known anglers if they were to go fishing on opening day where they would go and what flies they would use.

Ian Donnachy  Would take his boat to the highlands and would use a sink tip line and black and red or black and green Matuka, Woolly worm or Woolly Bugger Mark 2.

Rob Sloane  Rob could be found around a lake margin, preferably on a marsh and would use a fur fly or a small black beetle.

Noel Jetson  The lowland rivers would be Noel's choice, especially if it was a nice sunny morning with no wind. A Wigram's Robin early and then mid-morning a nice quiet corner and a small black spinner, the small black spinner can be found in the lowland waterways most of the year.

The following two flies would be my choice:

Woolly Worm

This fly is so versatile and can be tied in dozens of variations.

Hook Kamasan B175, size 10, 8, 6

Rib Fine copper wire

Tail Red or orange Marabou

Bod Medium green chenille

Palmer Hackle Black cock hackle

1. Take the thread the full length of the hook shank.

2. Tie in a small bunch of marabou for tail, I like the tail around half the length of the hook shank.

3. Tie in the copper wire for the rib.

4. Place the chenille on the shank and tie down, bring thread forward to within a half cm of the eye.

5. Wind chenille forward to the thread and tie off.

6. Tie in black hackle firmly, make four close turns of hackle then take the hackle back to the end of the body.

7. Upon reaching the end of the shank with the tackle tie down with rib, bring rib forward in nice even turns finishing at the thread tying off with the same.

8. Form a nicely shaped head, whip finish and varnish.

Green Matuka

Over many years the Spencer family have fished Arthurs Lakes with the Green Matuka and it has taken hundreds of fish.

Hook Kamasan B175, size 8 or 6

Rib Flat or round gold wire

Body Apple green chenille

Body Feathers Badger feathers dyed apple green

- Two matching Jungle Cock eye feathers

1. take the thread the full length of the shank.

2. Tie in rib.

3. Take the chenille and tie in, bring thread forward to within a half cm of hook eye.

4. Bring chenille forward to thread and tie down, then cut away any excess chenille.

5. With four equally sized badger feathers, take two and place them with the concave side up, the other two place with the concave side down, place these on top of the first two making sure the tips are matched equally. Hold the feathers very firmly and measure the length of the feathers on the hook shank. When this is done to the tier's satisfaction strip off enough of the under feather fibres allowing to sit neatly on top of the fly's body material.

6. sit the feathers on top of the body with the feathers tips extending at least the length of the hook shank over the bend of the hook. Tie the feathers down at the shoulder with the thread.

7. with the rib start to come forward winding through the feather being careful not to crush any of the feathered fibres. Tie of the rib.

8. With the jungle cock feathers place one in each side of the head so the eye is on an angle up the main feather.

9. Whip finish forming a nice head. These two patterns are highly proven patterns.

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