Jan's Flys

This season has been difficult and has really made the fishing population think on how best to catch fish. The weather has been the main contributor in making the fishing quite difficult at times; there was no warmth to speak of until well into the New Year. Mayfly hatches have been spasmodic to say the least, only occurring for short periods and not very often at that.

I have been in the right place at the right time a couple of times at Arthurs Lake to see major black spinner falls. This makes one think that maybe there are mayfly hatches over-night as I have not seen a dun hatch big enough to supply the amount of spinners in the air I witnessed on occasions. Who knows, maybe there has been the huge hatches we love to see.

The middle of January saw the first of the fruit salad hatches where there is a little of everything and it was just great to see the fish up and looking for surface food; up until this time the fishing has been fairly hard. We have had some good sessions but have had to really work hard for our catch. The main method for making this happen was explained in the December issue of Fishing and Boating News.

I am writing this on 26th January so the season is well and truly into the better half for the highland lakes. This time of the season is dry fly time and there are numerous flies one can use, remembering to look hard at the water before choosing what to put on your line. In saying this I mean it is no good at all tying on a size #8 dry fly when the weather conditions are mirror smooth. Watch and try to choose well!

As there are so many insects hatching at this time of the year, the fish, if feeding well, will take most well presented flies so I tend to pick a favourite and stick with it in anticipation of catching a fish.

Over my fishing career there would be no other fly that I have fished more successfully than a Red Tag. It would not matter where in the world it was fished it would catch trout. I have taken grayling in some European counties on the tag. Nobody seems to know what it represents but trout in particular seem to really love it.

Red Tag
Hook sizes - #8 to #18 all work well at the right time.
Thread - black or brown.
Gold wrap tag - flat gold tinsel
Tag - red floss
Body - peacock herl
Hackle - red cock feather

1.Take thread slightly past the bend of the shank
2.Tie in flat gold tinsel, wrap this around the hook shank three times, tie down firmly and cut away excess.
3.With strand of red floss laid on top of the hook shank so one end is protruding, as a tail should, tie down firmly and cut away excess floss.
4.Tie in two really good peacock herls and take thread forward to the eye. Bring peacock forward forming a nice little body, cut way excess herl.
5.With red cock hackle tied in wind a nicely formed hackle; tie down firmly with thread, cut hackle (or tips) away. Whip finish, varnish head and cut thread.
6.While the fly is still in the vice fluff the red floss tag up so it is quite noticeable.

Since doing this article I have had a few days walking and fishing our remote lakes and it's still as beautiful as ever. The polaroid fishing, given blue sky, has to be the ultimate in fly fishing. To spot the fish and put a fly in the right position then have the fish sight and take the fly is nothing short of superb, The dry flies used for this was a Red Tag and a Trothhodg. Sizes depend on the day and how hard the wind is blowing i.e. given rough water the larger the fly should be.

Happy fishing & tight lines,


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