Flash, bang, wallop
Denis O’toole suggests a new way to give your Scandinavian-style salmon flies superhero attraction
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.