Flash, bang, wal­lop

De­nis O’toole sug­gests a new way to give your Scan­di­na­vian-style salmon flies su­per­hero at­trac­tion

Trout & Salmon (UK) - - Contents - PHO­TOG­RA­PHY: DE­NIS O'TOOLE

De­nis O'toole sug­gests a way of adding ex­tra at­trac­tion to your Scan­di­na­vian-style salmon flies

IPLAYED AROUND WITH this idea in my head long be­fore tak­ing it to the vice. It wasn’t the com­pos­ite loop that oc­cu­pied my thoughts – this tech­nique has been used for many years in Amer­i­can In­truder pat­terns – it was the idea of in­tro­duc­ing it to mod­ern Scan­di­na­vian-style tubes. The com­pos­ite loop tech­nique may be alien to some, but it is straight­for­ward and ver­sa­tile. Many of you will be fa­mil­iar with us­ing a dub­bing loop to make a hackle with a longer-fi­bred ma­te­rial (of­ten fur). A com­pos­ite loop is just the same, but as the name sug­gests, dif­fer­ent colour com­bi­na­tions, lengths, tex­tures and ef­fects can be achieved sim­ply by ad­just­ing the mix of ma­te­rial you in­clude within the loop. I’ve tried it suc­cess­fully on Ir­ish shrimp pat­terns and smaller salmon flies dressed on dou­bles for lowwa­ter fish­ing. With a lit­tle ex­per­i­men­ta­tion it is pos­si­ble to achieve strik­ing blends of colour, tex­ture and mo­bil­ity. I use dub­bing made by Loop, which has long fi­bres that are al­ready mixed with flash, mak­ing it easy to work with. In the Scan­di­na­vian-style flies tied here, I’ve added only syn­thetic ma­te­rial to the loop, but the vari­a­tions are end­less: nat­u­ral fur (Arc­tic fox), feather fi­bres

(os­trich, rhea or Lady Amherst’s pheas­ant fi­bres) or even rub­ber legs can be added. As you can see, the re­sults are strik­ing, and the hackle also “kicks” the wing and gives the fly re­sis­tance, mak­ing it dart around in the stream. There is no limit to the size of the fly that can be tied. The length of the flash will de­ter­mine the length of the hackle you spin. Of course, wa­ter tem­per­a­ture, height and colour will in­flu­ence the size and colour of fly you choose to fish. I’ve given sev­eral pat­terns to friends and they’ve worked well. I’ve also landed a num­ber of fish on them my­self. I fish small and medium-sized rivers with a switch out­fit or a 13ft 8wt rod and Scandi line, keep­ing the fly light and us­ing a sink­ing line or tip to gain depth. This en­sures the fly is as mo­bile as pos­si­ble, giv­ing bet­ter bal­ance and pre­sen­ta­tion than, for ex­am­ple, a cop­per tube. What may look like a tricky hack­ling tech­nique is in fact fairly easy. Give it a go.

rod and a A Slaney salmon to De­nis's switch com­pos­ite-hack­led Scandi-style fly. light, mo­bile,

DE­NIS O'TOOLE fishes for salmon, trout and sea-trout on Ir­ish loughs and rivers. He has been ty­ing flies for more than 20 years and gives demon­stra­tions at shows in Ire­land and the UK.

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