Up she rises

Paul Proc­ter se­lects a hand­ful of dry-flies proven to raise back-end grayling

Trout & Salmon (UK) - - Contents - PHO­TOG­RA­PHY: RICHARD FAULKS

Grayling dry-flies. Paul Proc­ter se­lects a hand­ful of his favourite au­tumn pat­terns

1. MIDGE

Hook Size 18-22 TMC 2488 Body Black 8/0 Nano silk Wings Pearl Sem­per­fli Mi­cro Glint Tho­rax Hare’s ear dub­bing Wing­post Nat­u­ral CDC I know ex­pe­ri­enced fish­ers who have long re­lied on small flies to fool win­ter grayling, which of­ten seem to rise to fresh air. The truth is that, due to in­creased sil­ta­tion, midges have be­come more wide­spread. Thirty years ago, few streams had a hatch. To­day, chi­rono­mids emerge through­out spring and au­tumn. They’ll come to the dry-fly even on chilly days. A shut­tle­cock dress­ing has taken pride of place in re­cent years. It not only passes as a bedrag­gled adult midge, but also a swamped tiny ter­res­trial, a bibio. Var­nish the silk body to make it last. Add a wispy CDC wing to keep it afloat and to act as a sighter to help you time your strike.

2. WINGED GRIF­FITH’S GNAT

Hook Size 14-20 Par­tridge SLD2 Thread Black 8/0 Nano silk Body Pea­cock Ice-dub Hackle Griz­zle cock Wing Nat­u­ral CDC A favourite for smut­ting grayling or trout. The orig­i­nal Grif­fith’s Gnat is hard to beat, but adding a tuft of CDC makes a more con­spic­u­ous fly on dull au­tumn af­ter­noons. Prin­ci­pally a midge pat­tern, this tiny, bushy cre­ation will also work its magic on fish feed­ing on olives and stone­flies, which I’m sure is due to its “busy” ap­pear­ance. In swifter runs, I favour a size 14-16, which I think mim­ics the olives or stone­flies. Where the flow is slow, I tend to score bet­ter with an 18 or 20. Dress­ing the fly couldn’t be sim­pler. For a bombproof pat­tern, run your tight­ened (twisted clock­wise) thread through the palmered hackle be­fore a whip fin­ish. Grayling oc­ca­sion­ally rise but miss this fly. In which case, trim the fly’s un­der­side flush to the body to cre­ate a pat­tern that sits in, rather than on the sur­face.

3. THE APT (ALL-PUR­POSE TER­RES­TRIAL)

Hook Size 14-18 TMC 2487 Thread Black 8/0 Nano silk Body Pea­cock herl Wing Nat­u­ral CDC Hackle Black cock Tho­rax Pea­cock Ice-dub It’s a mis­take to dis­miss ter­res­tri­als on cooler days. Many mem­bers of the bibio fam­ily (black gnats and fever flies) re­main ac­tive in Novem­ber. When these land­born flies fall on the wa­ter they soon be­come swamped and this there­fore calls for a low-rid­ing dress­ing rather than one sat pertly on its hackle tips. With its clipped-out hackle and down­ward-curv­ing pro­file, the APT is a dead ringer for all man­ner of ter­res­tri­als that have fallen foul of flow­ing wa­ter. One dressed with pea­cock herl is a good all-rounder but I also have a soft spot for melanis­tic cock pheas­ant tail fi­bres. To make it more durable, be sure to twist any herl around your ty­ing thread prior to wind­ing. Nat­u­ral CDC stands out well on glassy glides and wher­ever light is re­flect­ing brightly off the river's sur­face. If you’re work­ing the edge of a tree­line, paler shades, such as beige or white, are much more ob­vi­ous. Lightly dous­ing floatant on the hackle is all that’s re­quired for a buoy­ant fly.

4. CDC OLIVE EMERGER

Hook Size 14-16 Par­tridge Cad­dis Emerger Thread Yel­low 8/0 Nano silk Tail Yel­low Sem­per­fli Mi­cro Glint Body Olive Su­perfine dub­bing Wing Nat­u­ral CDC (two plumes) Tho­rax Hare/squir­rel dub­bing The looped CDC wing of this emerger not only ap­pears au­then­tic, but the fi­bres help to trap air, giv­ing an il­lu­sion of trans­parency, which is helped by a flashy trail­ing shuck. The shuck is formed by tak­ing two strands of Nymph Glint and twist­ing them in the same di­rec­tion un­til they be­gin to dou­ble. Make sure the tips of the CDC point back­wards and then se­cure. Hav­ing formed a leggy-look­ing tho­rax, the CDC plumes are brought for­ward over a dub­bing nee­dle to the hook eye. With a loose turn of thread hold­ing them softly in place, you can tweak the nee­dle to achieve a de­sir­able wing. Don’t make the loop too tight or the essence of the fly will be lost and you’ll com­pro­mise its floata­bil­ity. Ideally, this is a pat­tern re­served for the slower parts of a river; for ex­am­ple, a pool tail where heavy sur­face ten­sion traps emerg­ing nat­u­rals.

5. CUL STONEFLY

Hook Size 16-18 Par­tridge SLD2 Thread Claret 14/0 sheer Tail CDC fi­bres Body Stripped pea­cock quill Wing Nat­u­ral CDC This flimsy fly by Bos­nian Re­nato Opan­car first ap­peared in T&S a few years ago and I make no apol­ogy for in­clud­ing it again. On many out­ings at home and abroad, this stonefly im­i­ta­tion has come up trumps. It is de­signed to mimic egg-lay­ing fe­males re­turn­ing to the wa­ter, rather than emerg­ers, which crawl up the bank be­fore mor­ph­ing into winged adults. Although highly re­al­is­tic, wound stripped pea­cock herl is del­i­cate at best. For this rea­son, add a coat­ing of fine var­nish. Smaller species of stone­flies do not have tails, but egg-lay­ing fe­males con­stantly flut­ter at the sur­face and a wee tuft of CDC helps the fly’s il­lu­sion of move­ment.

6. KLINKHAMER SPE­CIAL

Hook Size 8-12 Par­tridge Klinkhamer Thread Tan 8/0 Nano silk Body Tan Su­perfine dub­bing Tho­rax Pea­cock Ice-dub Post White TMC Aero Dry Wing Hackle Red game cock John Roberts brought the Klinkhamer Spe­cial to my at­ten­tion dur­ing the early 1980s through his writ­ing in T&S. Oliver Ed­wards was an ad­vo­cate, too, of what was then an out­landish grayling fly. Two York­shire­men with a track record for grayling, they were quick to re­alise this large-hack­led dress­ing was a killing fly. Yet some viewed Hans van Klinken’s pat­tern with scep­ti­cism. Af­ter all, we were used to tar­get­ing grayling with more re­fined flies. But where cur­rents were fast, or lit­tle stirred, this huge fly gained a rep­u­ta­tion for en­tic­ing the stub­bornest fish to the sur­face. The busi­ness end of a Klinkhamer hangs be­neath the sur­face, mak­ing it an easy tar­get for grayling. While I’ve pro­vided the orig­i­nal recipe here, there are many vari­ants that are equally lethal. For ex­am­ple, in high wa­ter when foam lanes stripe the sur­face, a Klink with a pink wing is con­spic­u­ous. I tend to stick to big Klinkhamers that show up well in the rough and tum­ble of a stream.

7. TREACLE PARKIN

Hook Size 12-16 Par­tridge Dry Fly Supreme Thread Black 8/0 Nano silk Tag Yel­low wool or floss Body Pea­cock herl Hackle Red game cock As evoca­tive of grayling fish­ing as the Red Tag, this pat­tern has stood the test of time. In many re­spects, the Treacle Parkin is an al­ter­na­tive to the stan­dard Red Tag. In smaller sizes, with its soft tail, it is a use­ful im­i­ta­tion of small bee­tles or black gnats. For a ro­bust fly, add a layer of var­nish to the hook shank, then twist three or four strands of pea­cock herl around your thread be­fore form­ing a com­pact body. I dress my Treacle Parkins with a full shoul­der hackle. But I’m no stranger to clip­ping the hackle un­der­neath when nat­u­ral flies are on the wa­ter, es­pe­cially as grayling tend to sip down in­sects in the sur­face film.

8. KLINKHAMER RED TAG

Hook Size 12-14 Par­tridge Klinkhamer Thread Black 8/0 Nano silk Tag Red wool or floss Body Pea­cock herl Tho­rax Pea­cock Ice-dub Post White TMC Aero Dry Wing Hackle Red game cock A twist to a time-hon­oured grayling fly, which on its day is lethal. It il­lus­trates how old and new can work in har­mony and that fly pat­terns are not set in stone. Nu­mer­ous other dress­ings can be given this treat­ment, in­clud­ing the Treacle Parkin (above). More of an at­trac­tor pat­tern than an out-and-out im­i­ta­tion, the Red Tag is worth try­ing on days when few fish stir at the sur­face. My usual tac­tic is to con­cen­trate on medium to fast wa­ter, no more than thigh deep. Grayling hold­ing in deep pools might see the fly, but will be re­luc­tant to make the long jour­ney to the sur­face.

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