What’s in YOUR BOX?
Steve Cullen highlights a few patterns from his grayling fly box …
STEVE is an experienced fly angler and no stranger to the competition circuit on river and stillwater. As he says in this feature, he goes fishing to catch fish so has the utmost faith in his flies.
1 Steve’s Bug
A fly that came about through luck and necessity. My mate showed me his Fox Squirrel Nymph which featured a black thorax. He was called Tam and the fly was called Tam’s Bug. I never had any fox squirrel, but I did have lots of nice spikey olive seal’s fur. It was my main body material and again I used some black dubbing for the thorax, coupled with a gold bead – and Steve’s Bug was born. I’ve caught on this fly the world over.
2 Red Tag variant
A Red Tag but not the usual black-bodied one, this one features an olive Glister body and red wire rib. I couple this with a rainbow tungsten bead. I love this fly in smaller sizes in late autumn and early winter when the grayling are still looking up. I had my largest English grayling on this fly, a tiny size 18 version of it. The huge grayling weighed an impressive 3lb 2oz. It’s quite a feat landing a fish of that size on such a tiny fly!
3 Hare’s Ear Bug
A buggy-looking fly that works extremely well on wary, pressured fish. It’s basically a dark hare’s fur body and a darker thorax and a very thin gold holographic rib through it all. Whether you are fishing two flies or a team of three, this one always goes on the top dropper position! It’s a fly I have the utmost confidence in, as I do with most drab-looking flies. There’s a time and a place for the brightly-coloured ‘bling’ flies, but I’ve yet to find any of them that outfish the scruffy-looking plain ones. They just look more natural to the fish.