Russ Symons’ easy-to-tie fry imitation, the perfect choice when you need to work hard for your fish
Step-by step to an easy-to-tie Black Pinfry
AS summer begins to mellow into autumn the trout instinctively start looking for protein to pack on as much weight as they can to withstand the rigours of the cold winter months. The smorgasbord of insect life has very nearly shut up shop so the fish turn their attention to fry. These fry-feeding fish are often fullyfinned, long-term residents, which have learned survival the hard way. These usually wary fish will leave the sanctuary of the depths and weed plantations to haunt structure and the margins, looking for fry. You will often see hunting packs of trout herding fry against a dam wall, or driving the fry into a small bay where their inbuilt predatory instincts then take over. It is now that anglers unlimber their casting arm and start pulling lures to tempt these hardfeeding fish. These fast, strong fish know every trick in the book when it comes to breaking free – often giving life to yet another hard-luck story! Most of the flies used at this time of year are large patterns like Snakes, Minkies, Floating Fry and Humungus – and when fish are feeding hard these can be lethal flies. But fish don’t feed all the time. In fact fry feeders seem to feed in short dynamic spells, then there are long periods when just nothing seems to be happening. The fish are still there and still looking for something to eat, and this is when this little Black Pinfry pattern seems to score. Work it along the edge of weedbeds and drop-offs, parallel with the bank, and near any sort of structure or outcrop where fry tend to congregate. Fish a floating, sink-tip or intermediate line with a snappy figure-of-eight retrieve with maybe two Pinfry patterns or a Minkie on the point and a Pinfry on the dropper. I have been more than surprised on a number of occasions when the best fish have come to the Pinfry dropper. It really is a good little fly to keep in the corner of your lure box for those dire days when you need to prospect hard for your fish.
Top tying tips
In truth, the Black Pinfry evolved from flies similar to the Cormorant. In fact, the first time I saw something like this the angler called it a Silver Cormorant because it had a wrapped and wire-ribbed silver body, much like the traditional wet flies of the time... but it worked and it worked very well. Then came a spell when the silver body lost the wire rib and was simply painted with Superglue and that still works as well as ever. Today we wrap a carrot-shaped body and coat it with UV resin which, when wet, looks superb. The body is wrapped from either silver tinsel or whatever reflective tinsel takes your fancy. For some years I have been using a pearly pink tinsel which is so old its origin is lost in the mists of time. Truthfully, I don’t think its colour
matters that much, because when shrouded with the black marabou wing I believe it is the movement, flicker and suggestive flash that tempts the fish. If you have lot of coarse fish in your waters then perhaps a hint of colour to suggest a tiny coarse fish fry would be a good thing to try. The red of the gill is suggested by Gel Core Micro Body from Flybox which makes a superb job of adding small hints of colour right where you want them without any fuss or bother. A green Micro Body also works well. The wing of black marabou needs to be plucked to length so it is just a little longer than the length of the hook. Use your thumbnail and forefinger to pluck the fluff from the stalks that you are going to tie in, so that you can tie a tidy black head to the fly without marabou fluff sticking out everywhere. Normally I try to make the heads on my flies as small and inconspicuous as possible, but on this pinfry pattern the black head is a part of the pattern. So after fastening the marabou tightly, build a black thread head in proportion to the fly.
Red and Green-throat Pinfry ready to go.
Structures such as rock walls or pontoons are ideal places to target autumn fry-feeders.
This Colliford brown trout was duped by a pinfry pattern.
Floating line, sink-tip or intermediate Pinfry 5ft 5ft Minkie