Monday, January 23, 2012

Dabbling in the dark arts - married wing wet and salmon flies

The last little while I’ve been experimenting with tying some married wing flies.  My inspiration was a memory I had from my youth. My dad has a book called ‘500 Fly Dressings by John Veniard’. On the cover of that book is an illustration of one of the most complex married wing salmon flies, the Jock Scott. So I thought to myself, I’ll have a crack at that as a little challenge. I tied it, it looked liked it had been fished for 10 years and hooked numerous salmon, and that was even before the head cement had dried!

The first Jock Scott

I posted this little gem on numerous forums for critique and feedback, and the overwhelming response was to simplify my efforts. So I looked to classic winged wet flies for some easier patterns to help me learn techniques. My two favorite wet flies are the Alexandra and the Trout Fin, of which there are 6 different variations. So I got to tying some of those. They first one didn’t come out so well, but I persevered and tried to get better, again, posting the pictures on forums for critique and feedback.

First Trout Fin

Since those first two flies, I’ve gotten somewhat better at tying the winged wets, trying a few different patterns of varying complexity. One thing I’ve learned, there’s a lot more that meets the eye with these flies (as with all flies I suppose). Dimensions are key and the standard seems to vary from tyer to tyer. From what I’ve gathered from forum feedback, some folks either like what you’re tying or they don’t. Some go out of their way to help you improve, while others just point out the obvious. All this is well and good, as for me, I want to understand every detail I have missed in order that I can tie the best flies possible.

Here are some of my more recent attempts at wet flies.



Trout Fin

Brookie Fin Variant

Watson's Fancy

 Pellee Island


Parmachene Belle


Brookie Fin


And finally, another Jock Scott.

This one is not perfect either, in fact, while I looks better than the first, it is a very long way from the shadow box quality I hope to achieve

In the coming weeks I’m going to take a step back on the married wing salmon flies and tie what has been suggested to me as a much simpler and less daunting pattern, the Irish Thunder and Lightning, as well as continue with the winged wets. They sure are as much fun to tie as they are to look at!

Watch this space…

Thursday, January 12, 2012

New year, new blog....another one for the blogosphere, though its my first ever blog.

I'll start of with a short introduction. You can expect to see a lot of fly tying, and some fly fishing, as I don't  get to fish as often as I'd like. 
I'll update as regularly as something new happens, which might not be that often.

And, we're off!!!

I've been a fisherman for as long as I can remember. My dad used to take me out as a very young boy to one of his favorite rivers. He fly fished mostly then, but as I became able to handle a rod, we switched to worms. We even collected our own the night before trips in the local fields near home.
Fishing took a back seat for a while, then I got called up as a substitute on my dads winter league time when I was 11 or 12 (1991/92). My first experience of fly fishing with rod in hand. I fished hard that cold winter day, and was rewarded about 30 mins before the horn with my first fish on a fly. We ended up placing in the competition and I was presented with a brand new fly rod and tackle bag.

Shortly after that I started tying flies. I'm not sure what my first was, but based on what we were fishing in those days, I wouldn't be surprised if it was a Cat's Whisker or Viva (we fished stillwaters in Northern Ireland)

Fishing and fly tying took a backseat again for the best part of 15 years. School, women, beer and work got priority, but we still fished every now and then.

In 2009 I took up fly fishing again when I moved to Philadelphia. Chasing the elusive fish of 1000 casts on the Salmon River NY. I'm still waiting to catch my first steelhead!
In 2011 I started tying flies again too. Mostly nymphs and eggs for steelhead, and then I progressed to streamers after stumbling around the internet for a while and finding great looking flies by Greg Senyo, Mike Schmidt, Kelly Galloup, and Rich Strolis among others.
This fall (2011) I tried my hand at a Jock Scott, and while it was a reasonable effort, advice from smarter tyers than me recommended a step back to some simpler patterns. That is when I fell in love with winged wets.
The journey countinues as I write this. Tying my favorite wet of all the Fontinalis Fin. I've since discovered there are 6 variations - and with thanks to many better tyers than me on various forums i'm progressing in my learning of the techniques and intricacies of tying these little gems!

Currently I reside in Philadelphia, Pa. I'm a 32 year old Irish guy, with 1 daughter, just about to turn 1 year old. I'm working toward a PhD in Biochemistry. In my free time l tie flies, fish a little (not nearly enough) and watch my baby grow up!

I sell some of the flies I tie, mostly designs by other anglers/guides which i've found to be effective for me when fishing.

As time goes on I'll add some links to the stuff that interests me and also to my ebay auctions for flies.

The journey begins.....