Tag Archives: Education

emerald treasures in the evening


The following pattern is simple and fun for beginners…

* Fine ultra wire – I used chartreuse this time
* Soft feathers – one per fly
* Tying thread – I used 8/0 Uni thread in olive
* Hook – I used a size 14 long shank for damselfly nymph proportions

For the soft feathers:

I picked these up under some trees where the ring necked parakeets spend most of their time...

I picked these up under some trees where the ring necked parakeets spend most of their time…

All you need now is a hook, some chartreuse ultra wire and some olive green tying thread. I complete the process with a dab of superglue on the head. Here’s how it went:

easy does it! take care on the hackles... small feathers call for dexterity and a light touch.

easy does it! take care on the hackles… small feathers call for dexterity and a light touch.

delicate shadows from soft hackles play in the late evening sunlight...

delicate shadows from soft hackles play in the late evening sunlight…

I strive to create symmetry and uniformity even though each one is unique…

Verdant green, yet another nod to the ring necked parakeets... how well will they mimic damsel fly larvae?

Verdant green, yet another nod to the ring necked parakeets… how well will they mimic damsel fly larvae?

The simple, soft hackled wet fly with no tail is often called a spider pattern. Have a go tying your own using feathers collected from the grounds surrounding your favourite lake or stream.

Good luck!

Thank you for reading.

nature really is our best friend – bees and flowers in the city


When I wrote my first blogpost (appreciation and sharing) I wrote the following:

“Conservation and appreciation of Nature is the primary focus of my blog – sustainable use of the outdoors with a view to unearth and hopefully master long forgotten traditions, celebrating experiences and, through teaching others, paving the way for new pathways into the future.”

It seems fitting to post something that brings all these elements to the fore amongst the hustle and bustle of London’s Sloane Square. I salute people who think in terms of flower superhighways and who take the trouble to hand out seeds that will help build them…

respect to J. Crew for taking the initiative and building walls of flowering plants on their Sloane Square outlet... If you are in London, go and get some of their seeds and plant them this summer...

respect to J. Crew for taking the initiative and building walls of flowering plants on their Sloane Square outlet… If you are in London, go and get some of their seeds and plant them this summer… Photo – worklondonstyle http://worklondonstyle.com

I thank my Darling Wife for her infinite patience and support of metiefly over the last 15 months. As we sip our Twinings English Breakfast, I wish to share a strong message on behalf of fauna and flora all over the world… Thank you J.Crew for this fabulous project!

a picture tells a thousand words... What can you do to make your own little corner of the universe a better place for all living things?

a picture tells a thousand words… what can you do to make your own little corner of the universe a better place for all living things?

Lastly, on my 100th blogpost, I wish thank you, my plethora of very special readers for joining me in my little adventure… I look forward to your next visit.

27 July update... Fantastic to see the flowers opening, just in time to help the bees through the late stages of summer and into autumn. Please share your results if you also grew some this year!

27 July update… Fantastic to see the flowers opening, just in time to help the bees through the late stages of summer and into autumn. Please share your results if you also grew some this year!

August update - a picture tells a thousand words!

August update – a picture tells a thousand words!

99 blogposts – not out!


For my 99th blog entry I feel honoured to share this video.

It is not my work.

It definitely echoes my sentiments – great work by its creators.

Enjoy it and thanks again for visiting my site

I look forward to your return!

JLM Special makeover – back to Abaco?


Constructive feedback is a wonderful inspirer. Esteemed fellow blogger and author of a stunning Bird book, RH (of rollingharbour.com) painstakingly limited his catch rate on my behalf during his last sojourn in the Abaco Marls. Persisting long after his wiser companions abandoned the JLM Special in favour of their tried and tested stalwarts, RH very kindly gathered all the empirical evidence he needed to tell me the following:

These flies don’t work in Abaco! Not even by accident! (These are my own words – RH is far more generous and polite :-))

RH went on to provide constructive insights to help me refine my approach:

“Basically, much too dark for the waters of Abaco, too bushy, no streamer tail, no sparkle.”

My first creative reaction is to take care of the colour tones…

Prototype1 - this albino variant is made by combining arctic fox tail with ginger (yes ginger!) elk hair and white embroidery thread. To give it some colour and fine movement, I used blonde hare fur tips. For the telson, a sliver of red wool . Photo - metiefly

Prototype1 – this albino variant is made by combining arctic fox tail with ginger (yes ginger!) elk hair and white embroidery thread. To give it some colour and fine movement, I used blonde hare fur tips. For the telson, a sliver of red wool . Photo – metiefly

The streamer tail and addressing the bushy profile is a matter of correcting proportions:

Longer and fewer arctic fox fibres , a whiff of red in the main body - each iteration is a little step closer to the end goal!

Longer and fewer arctic fox fibres , a whiff of red in the main body – each iteration is a little step closer to the end goal! Photo – metiefly

I have no idea what the final design will look like – in the meantime, I thoroughly enjoyed myself in the ongoing pursuit of what Abaco’s bonefish consider a tasty morsel.

Ready for postage... Thanks again to RH for his great attitude and collaboration...

Ready for postage… Much appreciation to RH for his patience, great attitude and collaborative spirit. Photo – metiefly

Thank you for visiting – I look forward to your return.

Fishing in Holland Park… Naturally!


I had occasion to visit one of my favourite haunts today, grateful for the opportunity to charge my batteries in bright sunshine and (albeit in the middle of the city) surrounded by Nature.

I had my iPad with me, ready to take the odd snap if the right moment arose…

The quizzical look on the drake's face begs for a comedic caption!

The quizzical look on the drake’s face begs for a comedic caption! Photo – metiefly

I strolled on a bit

A closer look will reveal some tiny blue spring flowers... Details, details!

A closer look will reveal some tiny blue spring flowers… Details, details! Photo – metiefly

These creatures always take my breath away…

I have a fly tyer's appreciation of this exquisite beauty. Form and function, together with unsurpassed aesthetics...

I have a fly tyer’s appreciation of this exquisite beauty. Form and function, together with unsurpassed aesthetics… Photo – metiefly

What happened next was quite remarkable. I was humbled to bear witness to the rawness of Nature at it’s cutting edge:

I was pleased to get this delicate pose from the heron... Little did I know what was about to unfold :-)

I was pleased to get this delicate pose from the heron… Little did I know what was about to unfold 🙂 photo – metiefly

What a strike of luck - fortunate timing! I love the structure of this amazing bird's wings. It had something else in mind...

What a strike of luck – fortunate timing! I love the structure of this amazing bird’s wings. It had something else in mind… photo – metiefly

Still gazing...

Still gazing… Photo – metiefly

Look at the focused intent in it's expression!

Look at the focused intent in it’s expression! Photo – metiefly

Entering stealth mode... In my mind I'm thinking: (Bet he wishes the fish were smaller...'

Entering stealth mode… In my mind I’m thinking: ‘Bet he wishes the fish were smaller…’ Photo – metiefly

What's that over there...?

What’s that over there…? Photo – metiefly

This is going to be like taking sweets from a little child... In front of everyone!

This is going to be like taking sweets from a little child… In front of everyone! Photo – metiefly

I could not believe the opportunity I was being given! Time stood still at this point... Was the aim correct?!

I could not believe the opportunity I was being given! Time stood still at this point… Was the aim correct?! Photo – metiefly

This is a picture of a frustrated, humiliated and very embarrassed heron!

This is a picture of a frustrated, humiliated and very embarrassed heron! Photo – metiefly

He's thinking: "Do you think anyone saw me?"

He’s thinking: “Do you think anyone saw me?” Photo – metiefly

Still embarrassed - moving the crowd along! I'm fascinated by the oil slick left behind on the surface of the water... Did not realise how much oil or wax is on a heron's feathers. No animals were harmed in the making of this series ;-)

Still embarrassed – moving the crowd along! I’m fascinated by the oil slick left behind on the surface of the water… Did not realise how much oil or wax is on a heron’s feathers. No animals were harmed in the making of this series 😉 photo – metiefly

I hope you had a chance to get outside today – tomorrow is another gift… Make the most of it in the Great Outdoors if at all possible!

Thank you for your visit as always…

celebrating Nature’s palette… Mr & Mrs Mallard


I just love this picture… I read somewhere that globally, Mallards are the most widespread species of duck. They always make me smile when I see them.

striking a pose... completely at ease with my proximity these two were enjoying Spring in the Serpentine in Hyde Park

striking a pose… completely at ease with my proximity these two were enjoying Spring in the Serpentine in Hyde Park. Photo – metiefly

Thank you for visiting, as always.

lessons from history – Walker’s Killer pattern


I understand I’m getting older when what was once considered current affairs is now taught in the form of history lessons!

I met my first Onchorhynchus mykiss on Mare Dam in the Rhodes Nyanga National Park. In the words of my beloved Granddad, I stood “knee high to a grasshopper” at the time. Magical fly fishing holidays now flit amongst my neurons in the form of spectacular memories and deep seated core knowledge… No box is a fly box if it does not contain Walker’s Killers. Some of the finest fishermen in the land would carry only this pattern, save for a dry fly or two in case of an evening rise. They had good reason too!

Attributed to Mr. Lionel Walker, the Walker’s Killer consists of a tail of black dyed squirrel tail fibres, a red chenille body and several paired sets of double sided wings. Literature mentions up to eighteen striped partridge feathers per fly tied opposite so as to present a slim, almost flat profile. This allows for streamlined casting and straight swimming once submerged.

Trout guzzle this fly when conditions are perfect, when conditions are awful, and wherever conditions may fall in the whole spectrum inbetween!

In London most of the people I have spoken to about this pattern are unaware of it. Time for one of the most wonderful blasts from the past:

There was a time when this fly needed no introduction!

There was a time when this fly needed no introduction!

Beautiful construction - if one parts the wings a body of scarlet chenille is revealed.

Beautiful construction – if one parts the wings a body of scarlet chenille is revealed.

The slim profile allows it to cut through the air during casts and to swim straight as an arrow underwater.

The slim profile allows it to cut through the air during casts and to swim straight as an arrow underwater.

Please drop me a comment if this fly stirs up great memories, or even if it piques your anger - the pattern was so successful that some traditionalists even considered it to be cheating!

Please drop me a comment if this fly stirs up great memories, or even if it piques your anger – the pattern was so successful that some traditionalists even considered it to be cheating!

This fly happens to be my only one, still treasured after I discovered the hook had snapped off during one of my early adventures many decades ago. I strive to learn how to tie such neat and robust flies… This one is my motivator because it still looks good after more than thirty years!

I look forward to teaching myself to tie this pattern… Thank you for reading as always.

once in a blue moon…


Last Saturday we visited Orvis – at their newly opened flagship store on Regent Street. True to my high expectations, they have created a fine space, befitting of their core values, their trusted brand and exemplary service. Silver Birch tree trunks bring the Great Outdoors right inside, wooden fittings and tasteful decor sumptuously punctuated by stylish apparel and accessories lead shoppers through to a full range of fishing rods. A floor to ceiling bank of fly tying materials on the left hand side, lots of well crafted flies, literature and DVDs to the right, then follow round to spacious fitting rooms.

Jimmy Boyd and his team bustled about, expertly navigating the fine balance between ensuring everyone was catered for and affording them the space and time to browse and make wise choices. My Darling discovered and treated me to a much coveted DVD – click on this link for the award winning clip http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=A4pOOMpFW_8

...the title says it all!

…the title says it all!


The story from 2009 is one that has fascinated me for some time now: once per decade a population explosion of mice in New Zealand’s most remote hideaways causes strange behaviour amongst a variety of underwater giants. Now a global phenomenon, On the Fly Productions has been lauded for their filmography: majestic landscapes and breathtaking underwater sequences make this a visual feast for fly fishers and non fly fishers alike. Definitely a wonderful treat if anyone is still looking for a last minute, fully worthwhile stocking filler.

Who knows how many times my copy will be watched and studied during winter nights as I indulge in my love of the great outdoors from the comfort of my living room…? If you have already seen it, or if you have caught trout in New Zealand I would love to know your thoughts – please drop me a comment below.

Thank you for reading, I look forward to your return!

making hay…


Today was split in two by an icy wind from the North shortly after lunchtime… This blog entry is about the first half – I had arranged to meet some special people at the lake and made the most of the sunshine before they arrived.

A beautiful creature welcomed me to the lake and I was honoured to be allowed this close:

goldeneye - such a vivid colour and so clear!

goldeneye – such a vivid colour and so clear!

I wandered only a short way along the bank and paused to capture the ambience…

I took this picture in an endeavour to convey the water clarity - what is that weird line?

I took this picture in an endeavour to convey the water clarity – what is that weird line?

The answer was right above me, in a perfect sky:

ah - now that makes sense!

ah – now that makes sense!

I am fascinated by water… Here it waits patiently for the sunshine to give it a lift:

Such is the mystery of the Universe that when conditions are right, the very element that can be used to extinguish a fire out, can also be used to make it...

Such is the mystery of the Universe that when conditions are right, the very element that can be used to extinguish a fire, can also be used to make it… So much depends on how energy is focused!

I made the most of the sunlight to get a photo opportunity that describes the season:

amazing to think that only a few months ago this was a sugar and oxygen factory... now it is a work of art

amazing to think that only a few months ago this was a sugar and oxygen factory… now it is a work of art

Today’s catch put a serious bend in my rod!

When is the next time you go fishing? Tight lines - metiefly

When is the next time you go fishing? Tight lines – metiefly

I was grateful to have caught my fish early on, so I could spend some quality time with two people that I had been looking forward to meeting for a while…

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

running repairs – staying sharp


I try to minimise what I carry with me while I fish. Mobility and comfort are essential and the more I lug around, the higher the chances of forgetting something along my way during my adventures. One of the key items I take along is a little whetstone, mine is actually a fragment of one that was passed on to me as a boy:

This is a key piece of my kit, useful for running repairs and using it improves my catch rate significantly

This is a key piece of my kit, useful for running repairs and using it improves my catch rate significantly

Here’s how I put it to use: Regardless of how skilled or experienced one may be, there will be a time that your fly hits an object, either on the back cast or perhaps a tree, or any number of underwater possibilities. If you are lucky enough to retrieve it, very often, the point of the hook is blunt. Sometimes, usually after a back cast strikes a stone, the very end of the tip may have snapped off. Instead of just forging ahead, or discarding the fly, I reach for my whetstone and similar to using a nail file, I hone a new hook point. For best results, hold the fly hook point upwards, then create a three sided pyramidal point by filing either side and the top edge to meet in a sharp point.

It may take a little practice at first, however the payoff is definitely worth it when the fish are biting on the only fly in your box of a particular pattern!

This beautiful specimen bit shortly after I had re-sharpened my hook after connecting with a barbed wire fence on my back cast... Glad I had my handy whetstone and that I had made the effort to use it!

This beautiful specimen bit shortly after I had re-sharpened my hook after connecting with a barbed wire fence on my back cast… Glad I had my handy whetstone and that I had made the effort to use it!

Hope this helps you in your ongoing adventures – best of luck…

Thank you for reading, as always.