Fast­mail flies

Phil Dixon picks six suc­cess­ful flies for win­ter sport

Trout Fisherman (UK) - - Contents -

russ symons shares a pat­tern that does the job in win­ter but works all year too!

MANY reser­voirs are now closed for the sea­son. Low tem­per­a­tures are be­gin­ning to ice up the edges of small wa­ters and the fish are deep for all but the balmi­est of win­ter days. It’s time for lures fished deep – dredg­ing tac­tics! I must con­fess that my sink­ing lines get their most ex­er­cise now. Qui­etly bim­bling a fly through those clear patches be­tween where the weedbeds are in the sum­mer is a tac­tic that puts fish in your bag – be­fore you head to the pub to get warm again. This marabou-tailed Beady Fly was de­signed just for this pur­pose. It’s one of those flies that has been around for a few years but never re­ceived the pub­lic­ity it de­serves. I say that be­cause I think it is a bit more than just a ‘pulling’ lure. Cer­tainly, it works on a sink­ing line and a fast-to-medium sort of re­trieve, just as you would with a lot of other lures. But in the tough times of the bak­ing hot weather we en­joyed for a few weeks ear­lier this year, a small Beady fished off a float­ing or sink­tip line with a fig­ure-of-eight re­trieve caught me fish when more recog­nised flies were not do­ing the busi­ness. It has a lot to do with the mo­tion of the high­ly­mo­bile marabou tail and the al­most sub­lim­i­nal glint and flick­er­ing mes­sage given out by the en­cap­su­lated glass beads. It just works!

Choose the right hook

Ty­ing the Beady is not dif­fi­cult, but give some thought to what hook you choose. I use a size 8 Ka­masan B120 when I’m ty­ing the larger sizes be­cause the bead body will tend to nar­row the hook gape. Sim­i­larly, if I’m ty­ing a smaller lure I’ll still tend to use a hook size larger than I might nor­mally con­sider. This is some­thing which fly-ty­ers some­times fail to con­sider with other flies as well, where the bulk of the body in­ter­feres with the hook’s abil­ity to get a pur­chase. How many times have we heard an an­gler say they’ve had three good pulls, but noth­ing stuck. Trout have quite large mouths, so don’t be fright­ened to use a size 8 or even size 6 hook if you are ty­ing a fly that has a thick, bulky body. One thing is for sure, you’ll not lose fish be­cause of the larger hook. The glass beads I use are pur­chased from fly­box.co.uk . A pal of mine gets his from a craft shop and they’re very sim­i­lar, but I like the colour se­lec­tion from Fly­box and they’re not ex­pen­sive. These glass beads are not pre­ci­sion made: some are thick, some thin, some the hook barb goes through eas­ily and oth­ers you’ll put to one side to use with a smaller hook size. To some ex­tent, I think it’s this dis­par­ity be­tween the bead sizes and shapes that adds to a ran­dom

“When the cold is just be­gin­ning to bite...try a few, they’re not dif­fi­cult to tie and they might end up be­ing one of your favourites as well.”

glint and flicker of the body as you move it around in the light. If there is a prob­lem with the glass beads it is their fragility. The slight­est tap on a stone or any­thing hard while cast­ing and the beads will shat­ter, which is why – on this pat­tern – the beads are covered with a light coat of UV resin or epoxy. This coat­ing of UV resin also acts like a Fres­nel lens, am­pli­fy­ing the flick­ers of light that em­anate from the beads – another rea­son I’m sure, why this fly catches as well as it does. There are two ver­sions of this fly. One is weighted, as I’ve tied here, with a metal bead up front. The other ver­sion is tied with­out the metal bead. It’s all to do with how fast you want it to sink and how you want it to fish. An Olive Beady with­out a metal bead, or per­haps even just a small metal bead, will loi­ter, move and flicker mid­wa­ter off a float­ing line, per­fect at damsel time and it’s a fly which re­ally works – be­lieve me! At this time of year, when the cold is just be­gin­ning to bite, a white marabou Beady with a yel­low or green tung­sten bead with clear glass beads or what­ever takes your fancy, is one of my favourites. Also the black or orange ver­sions can be use­ful now. Try a few, they’re not dif­fi­cult to tie and they might well end up be­ing one of your favourites as well.

This rain­bow couldn’t re­sist the Olive Beady.

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