Fly­box fillers

Russ Sy­mons ties a Yel­low Owl dry fly

Trout Fisherman (UK) - - Contents -

SO far this sea­son I have found the weather and the fish­ing to be some­what un­pre­dictable. What has struck me more than I can re­mem­ber is the lack of fish feed­ing off the top. Maybe it is just where I have been fish­ing, but I don’t think I have ever used my in­ter­me­di­ate and sink-tip lines as much as I have this sea­son. So what, you might say, has this got to do with a dry fly emerger such as the Yel­low Owl? Liv­ing as I do, well to the west of Bris­tol, it’s of­ten the case that the best of the dry fly fish­ing hap­pens in the early spring, then again as the trees change colour at the back end of the year. This Yel­low Owl seems to work par­tic­u­larly well at about the same time as the Daddy Lon­glegs be­comes the dom­i­nant dry fly. So, this ty­ing is par­tic­u­larly rel­e­vant for this time of year. The Yel­low Owl is an im­por­tant fly, but what is of even more im­por­tance is the method of ty­ing be­cause it can be used to tie a whole ar­ray of colours and sizes. This is a fly where the body and tail of the fly hangs be­neath the sur­face, suspended by the cul de ca­nard (CdC), suggest­ing a hatch­ing in­sect that is al­most ready to take to the wing. You will find, as I did, that a par­tic­u­lar colour will suit cer­tain wa­ters bet­ter than an­other colour. Fine tun­ing it with a black ab­domen and a white wing, for ex­am­ple, might be par­tic­u­larly ef­fec­tive where you fish. It will surely be a lot of fun find­ing out.

How to fish the Yel­low Owl

As with most dry fly fish­ing on still or mov­ing wa­ter, if you just tie a fly on and throw it out, it is very likely that you will meet with dis­ap­point­ment. Fish­ing a dry fly de­mands a dis­ci­pline un­like any other type of flfly­fi­fish­ing. If your dry fly lands on the wa­ter and there is a crinkly bit of line float­ing on the sur­face lead­ing up to it, fish will come up and look at the fly and most times swim away. Even the most art­fully tied fly will be given away by that crinkly bit of line.

“You will find that a par­tic­u­lar colour will suit cer­tain wa­ters bet­ter than an­other.” Owls can be tied in many difff­fer­ent shades.

So, what to do? Your leader is half the rea­son for suc­cess in dry the other half is the it­self and its pre­sen­ta­tion. This is what I do and it works for me. Let’s say you are a small still­wa­ter, Tav­i­s­tock, which is my lo­cal You ar­rive at the wa­ter’s edge be­fore the sun gets over the cor­ner of the moor and you sip­ping from the top. That lit­tle switch goes offff in your head: “I am go­ing to spend an hour or two on the dry be­fore the sun comes over the top and drives them deep. If I get one or two on the dry, I re­ally don’t care what hap­pens dur­ing the rest of the day!” If I know this is likely to hap­pen I will have my 9ft 5wt out­fit in the back of the car. At this time of year that 5wt line will have been cleaned and slicked so that it will fly through the rings and float high in the wa­ter. The nine-foot leader will be stretched and lie straight as an ar­row. I put five feet of 4lb or 5lb break­ing strain monofil­a­ment on the front of the leader with a drop­per com­ing off the join. I grease the leader up with Mu­cilin so that it will float and then (this is the key part, of­ten missed by so many), de­grease the drop­per and the 12 to 18 inches of line lead­ing to the point fly. You want this bit of the leader to sink, so that there is no line show­ing above the sur­face lead­ing to the fly. On days when there is an al­most ‘dusty’ ap­pear­ance to the wa­ter, you might need to de­grease those bits of line ev­ery other cast if you want it to sink. No­body said this was easy fish­ing! But that’s it – you are ready to fish the Yel­low Owl dry fly.

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