Monthly Archives: February 2014

deer hair parachutes


Huge respect to Mr Barry Ord Clarke – thefeatherbender – a masterful professional who has more than accomplished the mission statement of his blog:

“THEFEATHERBENDER The aim of this blog is to connect fly-tyers all over the world, to share, techniques, patterns, information and knowledge.”

I follow many incredible online sources of inspiration and this one is right up there amongst my favourites. I strongly suggest clicking on Barry’s link in “blogs I follow” on the bottom right of this page.

Tonight I improvised slightly, exploring an ingenious deer hair parachute technique in my ongoing search for my ideal adult damsel fly pattern. The Fender Parachute fly is as slick as it is effective and I believe I am almost at the stage where I can bring all the components together. As I did not have any moose mane fibres in my kit, I used some elk hair fibres to produce my first attempts. Bug bond is another ingredient I do not have (yet!) so I used some liquid fusion superglue instead.

thank you Mr Clarke - these variants are close approximations of the Fender Parachute... I hope the technique transfers well to my adult damselfly pattern next weekend!

thank you Mr Clarke – these variants are close approximations of the Fender Parachute… I hope the technique transfers well to my adult damselfly pattern next weekend!

Next weekend I plan to tie a couple of metiefly adult damselfly patterns using this technique. What will my local rainbows make of them when the temperature rises? Only time will tell…

A drop of liquid fusion will keep the parachute open... Less is more on tiny flies.

A drop of liquid fusion will keep the parachute open… Less is more on tiny flies.

I used tiemco size 13 fine wire dry fly hooks in this prototype for maximum buoyancy

I used tiemco size 13 fine wire dry fly hooks in this prototype for maximum buoyancy


Thank you for reading – I look forward to your next visit.

adult damselfly prototypes


I was delighted when Orvis had exactly what I was looking for this afternoon! A brisk walk into town paid off when I was able to source some blue closed cell foam and some navy blue hackles. The prototypes of my blue damselfly are not ideal yet, however each time I tie another one, I am a step closer to unlocking the perfect formula. I was impressed with the wrapped deer hair tails on some of Orvis’s flies however they lack the sparkle of the Krystal Flash.

I might try some of these tomorrow in the hope of coaxing an unsuspecting trout into thinking he’s getting the first one of the season!

A variety of different techniques show certain promise however I'm not there yet - looks like I still have some exploring to do!

A variety of different techniques show certain promise however I’m not there yet – looks like I still have some exploring to do!

Early days - they need some field testing to see what O. mykiss thinks so far...

Early days – they need some field testing to see what O. mykiss thinks so far…

On our return walk from Central London, I picked up a piece of orange Organdie ribbon, which I turned into streamers for the Thames – orange is a hot favourite when water clarity is not great.

Remember to keep your eyes peeled at all times - tying materials are not necessarily expensive and you never know when your next breakthrough ingredient is about to reveal itself!

Remember to keep your eyes peeled at all times – tying materials are not necessarily expensive and you never know when your next breakthrough ingredient is about to reveal itself!

If you click on my link to the Featherbender blog on the right hand column, then search the site for 'organdie' you will find an amazing pattern for saltwater shrimp... Enjoy!

If you click on my link to the Featherbender blog on the right hand column, then search the site for ‘organdie’ you will find an amazing pattern for saltwater shrimp… Enjoy!

Thank you for reading, I look forward to your next visit!

metiefly – adult damselfly


Since I first watched the ‘Damsels in Distress’ video by Sharptail Productions (see my blogpost ‘catching up!’), I have been contemplating how to tie my own version of an adult damselfly… The blue has to be eye catching, yet the form of the fly must be slim and lifelike – at least the proportions have to work.

Browsing in the bookstore yesterday afternoon, I read a section about sinnets (plaits or braids). I began thinking about how to tie one strand of Krystal Flash just so, in a way that creates the desired effect. I will experiment with twisting another time, for now, allow me to indulge in this evening’s adventure:

1) learn how to tie a Portuguese Sinnet:

Google search to learn the technique

Google search to learn the technique

2) practise on a suitable length of cord:

Once you figure out the rhythm, symmetry is easy to achieve...

Once you figure out the rhythm, symmetry is easy to achieve…

3) practise on a single strand of Krystal Flash – in this case, Pearl Blue

Patience is a virtue... This will definitely help you exercise it!

Patience is a virtue… This will definitely help you exercise it!

4) make sure you have a good approximate size – how big are your local damselfly adults?

Size and shape are key - trout will definitely let you know if you get it wrong

Size and shape are key – trout will definitely let you know if you get it wrong

5) make the fly so it sits in the surface film, keeping a slim profile

I can hardly wait to test this in the spring and summer... More tweaking is necessary to ensure the correct proportions and buoyancy  - there is a fine balance between too much deer hair and not enough

I can hardly wait to test this in the spring and summer… More tweaking is necessary to ensure the correct proportions and buoyancy – there is a fine balance between too much deer hair and not enough

Please let me know your thoughts and if you can help me name it, I’ll gladly post one to the reader who proposes the winning name. Better still, if you can improve the look and feel of the fly using this technique, please share your ideas!

Thank you for reading – please return soon…

World Wetlands Day today


I just discovered that today is World Wetlands Day… Thanks to fellow blogger dearkitty1.wordpress.com

Please take a moment to read the cartoon and contemplate how you can make a difference in your local area.

Thank you for reading, see you again soon!

Dear Kitty. Some blog

Wetlands cartoon, from www.ramsar.org

From BirdLife:

Celebrating World Wetlands Day

By Martin Fowlie, Sun, 02/02/2014 – 07:40

February 2nd marks World Wetlands Day, the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea (the so-called Ramsar Convention). This year the focus is on Wetlands & Agriculture: Partners for Growth, placing a focus on the need for the wetland and agricultural sectors (and the water sector) to work together for the best shared outcomes.

Wetlands provide vital benefits for millions of people, including food, fibre, flood protection, water purification and supply. Their importance is reflected in the designation of nearly 2,000 Wetlands of International Importance (or Ramsar sites) covering more than 191 million hectares.

Wetlands have often been seen as a barrier to agriculture, and they continue to be drained and reclaimed to make farming land available. But the essential…

View original post 340 more words

…catching up!


Today we attempted to visit a far flung spot that I had marked in my mental mapbook about three Augusts ago. Back then I had been walking with a friend, collecting lost golf balls and enjoying the great outdoors despite being firmly within London’s giant sprawl. Lured by the sound of gurgling water, we chose a path that meandered down into a tightly wooded valley and suddenly we found ourselves alongside a beautiful stream.

As most readers may understand, the instinct to look for fish in likely spots never fades and although the chances were improbable, I peered keenly through the leaves and twigs into a perfect lie behind a large rock. A fallen tree arched across the river onto the rock and the current had gouged a hole about a metre deep. Imagine my joy and disbelief when I saw, neatly contrasted against the pale gravel stream bed, two trout silhouettes lightly sculling in the backwash. We tried to edge closer, to get a proper look… As my friend crept cautiously towards the fallen tree, he slipped awkwardly, hurting an injury he’d been nursing. We prudently decided to call it a day.

This morning the sun shone brightly, glinting off surface water that has flooded every low lying piece of land. Puddles in unusual places bear testament to how high the water table is after all the rainfall earlier this week. My Darling and I tried our best to pick our way through the muddy trail, always keen to explore new places. It was not long before we faced the truth: sometimes it is best to stop before a leisurely stroll becomes an ordeal. We retraced our steps and planned to return in better conditions. The whole of spring and summer lies before us and today it was not meant to be: the stream was in full spate and muddy, scuppering the likelihood of a photo of a gorgeous urban trout.

Returning early gave me a chance to catch up on some of my favourite blogs – what a pleasure to see their inspiring pictures and read through their recent posts. Currentseams and SwittersB both shared some stunning footage that resonates perfectly with one of my recent posts “flying Tigers, hidden dragons”.

I humbly suggest if you have not yet seen this video, invest your next two and a half minutes wisely and click on this link:

http://www.orvis.com/news/fly-fishing/video-damsels-in-distress-on-a-new-zealand-stream/

http://vimeo.com/85147880

Turn up the sound and enjoy the experience…

It is a dream of mine to be able to capture such high quality footage, hopefully on the Zambesi River in order to share some of the stunning memories that I carry with me from my childhood days. Thanks very much to SwittersB and Currentseams for sharing this link and huge congratulations to Simon Perkins, the photographer.

Thank you for reading, I look forward to your next visit.