The aim of this blog is to connect fly-tyers all over the world, to share, techniques, patterns, information and knowledge.

Step by Step

Helter Skelter Pike Fly jig.

My Helter Skelter pike jig works on all the pikes attractor senses!

Hook Mustad S74SZ # 2/0-4/0

Thread Dyneema

Body E-Z Body XL filled with 3-5 beads

Under wing White buck tail

Wing Chartreuse and white Icelandic sheep

Over wing Lime green Big fish fiber

Sides Grizzle cock hackles coloured yellow

Eyes Large mobile eyes and bug bond or epoxy

I developed the Heltor skeltor to maximize all the attractor elements possible in one fly.

The Icelandic sheep and big fly fiber are extremely mobile in water, but their effect is enhanced by the weight of the brass beads that roll back and forth in the body tube giving not only a sporadic jerky swimming action but also rattle against each other sending out an audial signal to predators. Not forgetting the eyes which are an attack point, are oversized for additional predator impact. If you keep all these factors in mind when designing predatory patterns you wont go wrong.

Secure your hook in the vice. Attach your tying thread at the bend of the hook as shown.

Cut a length of E-Z body XL and singe the fibers at one end with a lighter. This is important as it will give purchase for the tying thread and stop it slipping off the tube.

Thread the E-Z body over the hook shank until you come to the tying thread.

Tie the end of the E-Z body down. Make sure this is secure.

Whip finish and remove your tying thread. You must now apply varnish or bug bond to the tying whippings. Trim the E-Z body down to about 4 mm longer than the hook eye and seal the fibers again.

Draw back the E-Z body tube and attach your tying thread 4-5 mm behind the hook eye.
Now insert 3-5 large beads inside the E-Z body cavity. These have several purposes. They not only give weight and sound by rattling against each other while fishing, but they also influence the swimming action of the fly. As you retrieve, the beads roll back and forth in the belly of the streamer making it tip up and down and extremely attractive.

Tie down the E-Z body tube to seal the the body.

Tie inn a under wing of white buck tail, this will support the finer more mobile over wing material.

Now tie in a length of white Icelandic sheep, the wrong way as shown. This will give a little volume to the head section. This should be a little longer than the buck tail under wing.

Now fold over the white Icelandic sheep. You will see that the head of the fly will be lifted, like a pompadour.

Cut a length of chartreuse or yellow Icelandic sheep and tie this in the correct way over the white wing.

Cut a smaller bunch of lime green big fish fiber keeping the crimped ends, these again will give volume just above the head of the streamer.

Colour two large grizzle hackles yellow with a waterproof felt pen.

Tie these in as the sides.

Using a drop of super glue attach two large mobile or dolls eyes, one each side and central to the hook eye. Once the eyes are attached you can then fill the opening between both eyes over and under the hook eye with Bug Bond or Epoxy.

The finished Helter skelter pike streamer.

Elasticaddis in the house!

The elasticaddis is a Impressionistic larva house built from rubber legs.

House building caddis larva are available in most waters all year round, and are an important segment of the diet of trout and grayling.  There are many techniques that have been developed over the years from fly tying benches all over the world to imitate the house of the caddis larva, but this technique really gives the right impression.  This is a pattern I believe was developed in the US, but other than that I cant find any other information about it.  The great thing about this pattern is if you trim the rubber legs close to the body you get the impression of a caddis larva house built out of gravel, but if you spin the rubber legs not so tight and trim them a little longer it makes for a great house made of vegetation and sticks.  Also the rubber gives that extra needed weight when you need to get down deep and not least extremely durable.

You may find that this isn´t the easiest pattern to tie at the first attempt as the rubber legs seem to have a life of their own, but after a few attempts is no more difficult then any other pattern.  Try mixing colours and rubber types to achieve different effects.

Hook Mustad R72NP-BR # 12-6 with Bead head

Tying thread Dyneema

Body Rubber legs

Collar CdC

Head Course antron dubbing

Place a bead head on hook and your hook in the vice.

Attach tying thread to hook and run a foundation of thread along the whole hook shank.

Cut 3 small strips ca. 2 cm long, of double rubber legs in various colours and diameters if available.

Tie in the three rubber legs at the rear of the hook. If you are going to use heavy rubber legs, with a large diameter it is best to make a foundation of tapered loose dubbing on the hook shank first, otherwise the rubber will not flare as easy as fine rubber legs.

Once they are secure you can pull on them to split the double legs into single.

Carry on with the same procedure, mixing the colours as you go along the hook shank.

After each bunch of rubber legs is attached use the bead head to push the legs and pack them tightly. This will give a more compact body.

Attach more rubber legs until you have covered all but 3-4 mm of hook shank.

Now you can trim the house / larva case.

Continue all around the body of the fly until you have the desired size and shape.

Spin a couple of CdC hackles in a dubbing loop, just behind the bead head.

Wind on the dubbing loop brushing the CdC back over the body of the fly with each turn, so as not to trap the fibers.

Now dubb the tying thread with a little coarse dubbing with longish fibers and dubb the head of the fly tight into the bead head.

Whip finish and remove the tying thread. Using an old tooth brush brush out all the CdC and dubbing fibers, so they lie back over the body.

The finished elasticaddis.

No matter what you tie there is always room for artistic expression.

Tying the fur crab

Place your Mustad circle hook in the vice.

This is a quick and easy salt water crab pattern that I haven’t done any text for, other than the step by step. Enjoy.

Hook     Mustad circle streamer

Tying thread    Dyneema

Beard    Siberian squirrel & Grizzle hen hackle

Eyes    EP crab eyes

Claws    Red fox zonker

Body    Muskrat crosscut zonker

Tie in a good bunch of Siberian squirrel tail hair for the crabs beard.

Trim off the excess squirrel hair and tie down, Turn your fly up-side down in the vice.

Tie in a grizzle hen hackle at the base of the crabs beard.

Wind on a a trditional wet fly hackle over the base of the beard.

Now tie in the EP crab eyes one each side of the hook shank.

Cut two red fox zonker strips for the crabs claws. You can use rabbit zonkers if red fox is not available.

Tie in the red fox zonkers one each side of the hook shank tight into the beard base.

Take a short length of muskrat crosscut fur for spinning.

Make a dubbing loop and spin the muskrat fur into a dubbing brush.

Wind on the dubbing brush, taking care to brush down the fibers each turn. Tie off.

Brush out the fibers with an old tooth brush and whip finish. Varnish.

With curved scissors trim the body shape of the crab.

The finished crab.

Only just realised that the crab when viewed this way will double as a long eared owl!

A quick and simple one for Friday night.

This is a quick Friday night, simple and realistic melt glue caddis pupa. Although it takes a little practice to master the use of melt glue, once mastered its a great material.

Secure your caddis hook in the vice and tie in a long olive osrtrich herl at the bend

Remove your tying thread and apply a little melt glue on top of the hook shank.

With a lighter soften the melt glue, so it runs around the hook shank. But be careful not to burn it.

While the glue is still soft, but not too soft, wind on the herl rib so it sinks a little into the glue.

Once the rib is on wet your finger and wipe the top of the body from the eye to the bend so the herl sits fast into the glue.

Take a water proof felt pen and mark the top of the body. Attach your tying thread again.

The body should now look like this from above.

Make a dubbing loop and spin a little CdC for the collar.

Wind on the CdC dubbing loop.

Now apply a little buggy dubbing to form the thorax.

Whip finish and brush out the fibers of the dubbing. I use an old tooth brush.

Your finished melt glue caddis pupa. You can see the transparent body.

The Bulldozer pike popper

Pike candy anyone!

Gluing three pre-made popper heads together not only considerably increases the overall dimensions of the finished fly but also moves three times as much water when popped!

For a long time after I began fishing with poppers, I was constantly disappointed with how little water the pre-made cork and foam heads actually moved – when yanked, after all, optimal  popping, gurgling and splashing is what we are trying to achieve!

I then experimented with cutting my own popper heads from foam blocks, but found it difficult to sculpt the heads symmetrical enough to get a balanced presentation so the popper fished on an even keel. But that wasn’t the only problem – they were ugly – they looked like they had been carved by Freddy Kruger!

After much trial and error, I started gluing three pre-made popper heads together to attain the desired volume. Through this I achieved what I was looking for. By increasing the overall bulk of the head, I increased the buoyancy – and by tripling the surface area of the nose (or the bulldozer end of the popper), my popper now pushed three times as much water when retrieved. Hence the name Bulldozer.

Gluing pre-made popper heads together also considerably increases the overall dimensions of the finished fly, if required.

The fly for Autumn Pike…

Pike Steamer, a sure attractor for autumn pike

“Steaming is term given to a style of mugging where an unsuspecting victim is chosen, followed and attacked suddenly at great speed without warning”.

The art of camouflage, surprise and speed are the pikes most powerful weapons for securing a meal. Of course some meals are obtained easier than others, but generally speaking the freshwater crocodile wont say no to a free meal.  Like the muggers victims the pikes are chosen for much the same reasons, easy pickings! weak and old, or both, unable to move fast or get away, once attacked and of course the bounty.

The idea behind this pattern is to work on all the pikes predatory instincts, and make the victim (the fly) as attractive and irresistible as possible. I do this through fly design and presentation.  When designing predatory patterns there are several things to consider and a few key elements that all patterns should have. If you want a general pattern that you could use just about anywhere for anything, then you should choose to imitate a natural food that is widely available – like small bait fish. Then you have to consider the four most important attractor factors:

Movement… colour… eyes… and sound.

The movement in this pattern is achieved through a combination of materials. Both the marabou and Icelandic sheep hair are extremely mobile in water, but their effect is enhanced by the weight of the Epoxy head. Predators find this swimming action, irresistible.

The eyes, which are always an attack point, are oversized for additional predator impact.

If you keep all these factors in mind when designing predatory patterns you won’t go wrong.

During a three week fly fishing tip to the Amazon, home of more fresh water predatory fish than anywhere else on the planet, I developed a technique using surface splashing to stimulate feeding and awareness of my streamer, which works just as well for our own pike. Maybe you’d like to add this technique to your own armoury of tactics.

It requires though a specific leader set-up to work at it’s best, especially when fishing large flies. And it’s simplicity in itself – take around 1.5m of 30lb mono, and connect the fly to the mono with a Rapala knot. This will give a better swimming action on the stiff mono. (By the way, I have never encountered a leader shy pike, and seldom use a wire trace.)

This short, stiff leader will not only give bigger flies better turn-over when casting, but also better control and precision in presentation, and (touch wood), I have never had a break-off. The following technique is only possible with such a leader.

Firstly, find a likely spot on the water, where there’s maybe a pike lying in wait, or resting after a hunt. Before casting, make sure that your streamer is well-soaked and all air removed. This will not only make it sink quicker but also make it more aerodynamic and so easier to cast. Then with a short, hard and direct cast, shoot your streamer into the water as hard as you can – then repeat this three or four times in the same area of water. Splash that fly and heavy leader as loud as you like, it will surely attract the immediate attention of any pike within spitting distance.

Make one last cast and this time let your streamer sink… and then retrieve as normal. If there’s a pike in the vicinity it will come to the fly, the rest, as they say, is up to you…

Hook: Mustad S71SNP-ZS # 3/0-5/0

Thread: Dyneema

Wing: Icelandic sheep hair

Flash: Holographic tinsel

Over wing: Light Brite

Collar: Spun rabbit

Cheeks: 2 Grizzle hackles

Wing topping: Five strands of long natural peacock herl

Hackle: Spun Marabou Yellow

Eyes: Large mobile eyes coated with resin

Place hook in vice as shown and attach tying thread at the rear of the hook shank.
Tie in a long length of fine tapered Icelandic sheep hair or synthetic sub. If you choose a synthetic substitute make sure that its not so stiff it doesn’t pulsate in the water, and that its not so soft it lacks body.

Now taking the wing material in your left hand, back comb the sheep hair. This means run the comb the opposite way you would normally, like girls did the the early eighties to get more body for bigger hair. This will accumulate the shorter hair fibers at the base of the tail and create the illusion of more body volume, with out adding extra weight to the pattern.

Tie-in on top of the wing approximately 10 long strands of holographic tinsel, or another chosen flash material of your choice. Place a few drops of glue or varnish on the whippings to make the fly stronger and more durable.

On top of the wing tie in a bunch of pearl light brite to add a little more volume and attractor flash to the wing and body.

Cut a short length of cross-cut rabbit strip and place the rabbit strip in a dubbing loop and spin to make a nice dense dubbing brush.
NB. If spinning a thick-dense rabbit fur, with under wool, you will need an extremely strong tying thread to make the dubbing loop. If you use a standard thread it will most likely break before the loop is spun enough to hold the fur securely. It also helps to use a heavier dubbing spinner rather than a lighter one.

Wind in the spun rabbit hair making sure you comb back the fibers with each turn when winding inn to form the collar as shown.

Select 2 broad grizzle hackles and colour on both sides of the hackle with a waterproof felt pen.

Tie in the grizzle hackles one each side of the collar.

For the wing topping tie in 5 long strands of peacock herl. The strongest herl is found just below the peacock eye on the tail feather. If you are having problems getting the herl to curve over the wing correctly, run them one at a time, carefully over the blunt side of a pair of scissors, between your finger and thumb, just like you would with a ribbon when wrapping a gift.

Make another dubbing brush as in steps 5 & 6 but this time with long fine tapered marabou.

Wind the dubbing brush on to make the front hackle. Finish off with a couple of whip finishes.

Glue on 2 large mobile dolls eyes. Make sure that these are evenly balanced on the hook shank. Or if you wish to give your steamer a injured affect, glue on the eyes unevenly or even, two different eyes, one much larger than the other, and the fly will fish off center.

Give the eyes and head a coat of Bug Bond or Epoxy resin, making sure that you coat both eyes in a “glass ball” of resin.

Once the Bug Bon is applied you give it a quick blast with the UV light to cure. Or if you have used Epoxy place it on a rotary dryer if you have one until set.

Your finished and fish ready Pike steamer.

Just thought I would re-publish my most popular post. Bee Cee Caddis Pupa

Caddis Pupa

Bee Cee Caddis Pupa

Hook Mustad  C49S curved caddis # 6 -14

Thread Dyneema

Gills Ostrich herl

Body Fine leather strip (chamois)

Under body Dubbing / Lead free wire if required

Legs Partridge hackle & CDC

Collar/Head Hares ear dubbing & CDC Dubbing

Each summer a few fishing freinds and I make the annual fishing trip from our home town Skien in southern Norway to Lofsdalen in Sweden. A journey that under normal circumstances will take six hours driving, from door to door.

Lofsdalen is acctually known for two things, skiing and bears. During the winter, when the bears are sleeping, Lofsdalen is a Mecca for ski and snowboard enthusiasts and becomes a throbbing white metropolis of snow scooters, snow cats and ski lifts. But at the time of our annual trip, the first week of July, most of the snow, and all of the winter turists have long gone, and the bears along with the vast amounts of mosquitoes awake hungry from their long winter sleep.

The timing of our trip is not coincidental,  with the help of the internet and telephone, 14 days before our trip we start a network of weather information between us. Sending web cam links weather forcasts and any other related info as to the conditions in Lofsdalen. Beacause each year around the first week of July ephemera vulgata can start hatching in fantastic numbers on these mountain lakes, and the big brown trout that have also spent a long winter, under the ice, are also hungry.

Yes, I know what you might be thinking, ephemera vulgata is a mayfly and this is a piece about caddis pupa ? well the past two years we havent managed to get our timing right, because of freak weather conditions, Lofsdalen is from 600 -1200m above sea level, and is subsiquently, subject to dramatic weather changes.

The back up plan, if you like, for not getting our mayfly timming right is the hatches of aeuropes largest caddis fly Phygania Grandis or great red sedge.  These first hatches are not as proliphic as the vulagta hatches and no where near as challanging for the fly fisherman, but a emerging pupa fished correctly, just under the surface can result in fantastic sport.

A good  caddis pupa  pattern can make the difference between no fish and fish !

When the caddis fly hatches into the adult insect the species are more or less, divided into two. The ones that hatch at the surface in open water and the those that make there way to the shore, where they climb out on plants or any other structure that is available.  When this occurs and caddis pupa are on the move  this pattern fishes extremely well.

When fishing this pattern, I like to dress only the head and collar with a good floatant ie: cdc oil, this also creates a perfect air bubble around the head just like the natural, and only when the pattern has soaked a little water does it begin to fish correctly.  When the porus leather and dubbed underbody have taken on water and the head is dressed with floatant, this pattern sinks so slowly that it almost “hangs” just under the surface.  I like to let it sink for 10-12 seconds or so, but you should keep alert during this “free fall” period, as criusing fish will also pick this pattern up “on the drop”. After the pupa has had time to sink I carefully mend the slack out of my fly lineand then lift the tip of my rod so that the pupa rushes towards the surface, this is when the take normally comes.

Decpite the multitude of families, sub families and species of caddis flies, the only thing you have to change is the colour and size, the pattern can remain the same.


Contre-jour Fine art photographic prints

Arctic char detail from the comming Contre-jour exhibition of photographs by Barry Ord Clarke

The 32 images in this coming exhibition endorse Barry’s love and passion for the sport as a fly fisherman, photographer and artist.  The viewer is taken on a journey into the world of fly fishing that is rarely seen. On first encountering these beautiful images, they are sufficiently recognizable as images of fish and fishing, but as you approach and view them at close range, they transform into a graphic and sometimes abstract, overlapping of organic patterns and colour.

All images are for sale, signed and numbered by the artist. Barry is also making a series of limited photographs with hand tied flies in beautiful mounted frames. I will keep you posted regarding the exhibition. For sales and enquires please contact:

Skyrise. Black & White hand print 80×60 cm

Vulgate mayflies. Colour hand print 80×60 cm.

Sea trout fishing. 80×60 cm Black & White hand print

New Hatches cover shot

Check out my stone fly nymph photo on the cover of the new Hatches magazine.

A Shrimp for all seasons

Circle shrimp

From late autumn until early spring the majority of bait fish around our coastline leave the shallows and head out for deeper water where they will be protected from the bitter cold of winter. Many of the species of shrimp that can be found on the other hand move into deeper tidal pools and onto shelves were the coastline is steeper.

Therefor shrimps are on the coastal sea trout’s menu the whole year round, and are found in great numbers all over Northern Europe’s coastline.  These are particularly important to fly fishermen because they mature in the shallows where we do most of our fishing, and all sea trout fishermen should have at least a couple of good shrimp patterns in there fly box at all times.

The most effective colours for shrimp patterns in my experience are Red, Pink, White and Orange.  Sometimes it can be rewarding to tie some very small shrimp flies in sizes 10-12-14 and in more natural mundane colours. Shrimps of all shapes and sizes are without doubt one of the most important food sources for salt water sea trout. Unlike other important seasonal foods like rag worms, sand eels and small bait fish, that the sea trout feed on throughout their first years in salt water.

 Where, When & Why ?

A perfect small translucent shrimp pattern fished blind, is not the most easy prey for a sea trout to notice in a large body of water. But if you fish something that   “ stands out in a crowd ” a little colour and movement,  increase the chances of it being noticed and picked-up proportionally.  Natural selection takes a favorable view of effective and adaptable feeding, a proficient predatory fish when feeding will maximize energy intake and minimize energy consumption. Predators quickly learn to avoid areas where there is little or no food. These rules also apply to the fish adapting their feeding locations and habits to the different seasons.  So its paramount that the effective fly fisherman is aware of this and adapts his techniques, flies and strategy to that of the sea trouts feeding habits. This is especially important during the winter months when food is few and far between. Look for the signs, deeper bays with vegetation and structure, where prey can have sufficient food and cover from predators. If there is ice on the surface, pockets of open water generally indicate warmer water or flow. Both these elements will attract prey and predators alike.

Fast or Slow ?

Shrimp have three very different ways of locomotion. When foraging for food or resting on the bottom they use their front walking legs (periopods) for moving short distances on vegetation and other structure. When migrating or moving over larger distances they use their swimming legs (pleopods) These are located under the abdomen and undulate (like a Mexican wave) when swimming, and can be used to propel the crustacean in all directions slowly. But when alarmed or fleeing from a predator they use a contraction of their strong abdomen muscle which results in a powerful rapid snap of the tail plates (uropods) propelling the shrimp quickly backwards.

With this in mind one has a better understanding of the type of retrieve required to imitate a swimming or fleeing shrimp. Your retrieve will not only decide the speed of your fly but also its action in the water. If you know your prey and choose the correct retrieve, your overall chances of connecting will increase. If you choose the incorrect retrieve even the right pattern may not result in a take or even a follow.

Secure the circle hook in the vice.

Run the tying thread along the hook shank until it hangs over the barb of the circle hook.

Tie inn two lengths of lead wire side by side on the underside of the whole of the hook shaft length. This will ensure that the shrimp fishes a little deeper and the right way up. Tie in a short bunch of Ultra hair as shown on top of the hook shank. This should be approximately 10 cm long. You can trim it down to the size and taper required later.

Once you have trimmed it down to size you can tie in a small bunch of twinkle or crystal hair to add a little sparkle. This should be a little longer than the Ultra hair.

Burn the ends of two lengths of mono and dip in black varnish and then coat with Bug Bond. These should be prepared before hand as they take some time to dry. Alternatively you can use fly eyes.

Tie in the eyes one each side of the ultra hair as shown. these should be about one third of the beard length.

Select two hackles for the claws. This detail can be left out if wished, but its a useful technique to know for other shrimp and crab patterns.

Strip off the fibers from the shaft of the hackle and carefully cut away the point of the hackle to form a claw shape of the correct size in correspondence to the hook size being used.

I use Bug Bond a UV cure resin to coat the claws. If you dont have Bug Bond you can alternatively use epoxy, it just takes a little more time to dry.

Coat the claws in Bug Bond and give them a few seconds under the UV light, until cured.

Tie in the finished claws one each side at the bottom of the shrimp beard as shown.

Cut a length of crystal chenille and tie in at the base of the shrimp head.

Wrap the chenille around the whole length of the hook shaft to form the body. You should take care as to comb the fibers forward each turn, so you dont trap them with the following turn and get a nice full body.

Tie off the Crystal chenille and trim off the fibers on top of the hook shank as shown.

Now tie in two long Ultra hair fibers, just behind the hook eye.

Tie in another bunch of Ultra hair fibers at the tail of the fly. These should be just a little longer than the existing bunch.

Firstly make a whip finish and remove your tying thread.
Now place a drop of Bug Bond on the Ultra hair just behind the hook eye. Unlike epoxy Bug Bond doesn’t dry unless exposed to a UV lamp of natural day light.

Give the Bug Bond a blast with the UV light for a few seconds. Now while holding all the long ultra hair fibers down with your left hand apply a small amount of Bug Bond or epoxy to form the shell back. Be sure not to use too much epoxy as this will make the pattern top heavy and fish up side down. You may have to hold the ultra hair in place a short while until it sets.
Repeat this process until the whole shrimp shell back is adhered to the chenille body and forms a nice transparent shell that tapers off just beyond the shrimps eyes.

To give a little extra touch to the pattern pull the two long fibers between your finger and thumb nail, as you would do with ribbon on a christmas gift to curl it. Your finished circle shrimp ready for the salt.

Edson Tiger



The modifide Edson Tiger with the Brass Eyes.

One of the great classic American streamers, developed by the well know fly tier  Bill Edson in 1929. The Edson Tiger dark & light where influenced by a streamer called “Dick´s Killer” that Edson received from fellow fly tier Dick Eastman of New Hampshire in 1928.  The original patterns tied and sold by Edson where with jungle cock cheeks, but later he replaced the jungle cock with small teardrop brass plates which was apparently done, not only because of the increasing price of the already expensive jungle cock but also difficulty in obtaining a regular supply of it. But soon after the introduction of the metal cheeks they became so popular with his customers that they replaced the jungle cock on all his streamer patterns. But truth be told,  the metal cheeks added a whole new dimension to how the patterns fished. With extra flash and weight in his streamers, there where few other patterns at this time that offered this. Although this pattern is almost a century old it still accounts for many a trout and has proven an excellent late season pattern for salt water sea trout fishing here in Scandinavia. A couple of years ago while tying at the Dutch fly fair, I was lucky enough to meet Chris Helm, who had for sale, the Edson Brass eyes.

Chris Helm doing his thing at the Dutch fly fair

If you contact Chris and purchase these eyes to add that extra dimension to you Tigers they do need a little work doing to them before they are ready to tie in. Using a pair of sharp wire cutters, these are not difficult to cut, they are made from brass after all, but sharp cutters make for a neater finish. You need to trim the side of the eye that is square into a point. Once this is done I use emery paper to sand the edges of the point to a fine taper, otherwise you will get a distinct mark under the tying thread where the the eye is secured.

Hook: Standard streamer # 6

Tag: Flat gold tinsel

Tail: Barred wood duck

Body: Peacock herl

Wing: Yellow buck tail

Topping: Red hackle fibers

Cheeks: Jungle cock or Edson Brass Eyes

Head:  Yellow varnish

Secure your streamer hook in the vice. Attach your tying thread and run this along the hook shank.  Tie in a length of flat gold tinsel for the tag, this should be just three or four turns.

Once you have tied off your tag and removed the surplus you can tie in three or four long strands of peacock herl at the base of the tag.

Select a wood duck flank feather with good barring and cut out a slip, line up all the bars if uneven and fold in half. This will give barring on each side of the tail. Tie off.

Run the tying thread back to the tail and twist together the peacock herl and tying thread to strengthen it and wind on to form the body. Tie off the peacock herl.

Select and clean a small bunch of yellow buck tailf or the wing. Stack the hair in a hair stacker. This should be no longer than the tail end.

The topping is a small bunch of red hackle fibers tied in on top of the wing as shown. It should be approximately one-third of the total wing length.

Now tie in the jungle cock cheeks, one each side. Make sure that both jungle cock eye´s are equal in size and well balanced. Whip finish.

All that is left to be done now to finish your EdsonnTiger is varnish the head yellow.

The Eyes are available along with a good

selection of Mustad streamer hooks from

Chris Helm at:

E-Z Sand Eel

A great pattern for salt water sea trout and Sea Bass.

Hook Mustad S70SNP-DT Big Game Light # 4-6

Thread Dyneema

Body E-Z body tube

Tail 15 strands of Flashabou 

Eyes Fleye Foils

Head Bug Bond

The original pattern this is based on is form the vice of my late, old friend Jack Gartside. This is not only an extremely effective pattern but also requires the minimum materials and once you have mastered the technique is very quick to tie.

Like the most effective coast wobblers that represent Tobis this pattern is a darter, and has next to no movement in the materials, but like a fleeing sand eel it “darts” in a short fast “zig zag” movement.  Another “problem” for many fly fishermen is that the hook on this pattern is mounted at the head of the fly, leaving a good length of body for the sea trout, sea bass to bite at without being hooked.  This can be the case with smaller fish but larger fish tend to take this pattern contant.  Also a interesting little experiment that I have undertaken a few times is, if you are cleaning a fish that you see has been feeding on sand eels just have a look at which way the head of the sand eel is facing in the stomach of the fish, nearly always, has the sand eel been swallowed head first!  The attach point for pradatory fish is the eyes and these new Fleye foils from Bob Popovics make very realistic sand eel and bait fish patterns.

Sand eels shoal in very large numbers, but are seldom seen during the day in the shallows as they lie buried in the sand, away from predators.  They first appear during the evening, when they come out to feed through the night.  But despite there nocturnal habits sand eel patterns can be fished around the clock the whole year.

You can also try other colour combinations, but keep in mind the general rule of the lightest colour on the stomach and the darkest colour on the back.

Secure your salt water hook in the vice. I like to use a Mustad C70SNP Big game light for this patter beacause of its wide gape and short shank.

Take a length of medium E-Z Body tubing about 6-7-cm long. Measure the the tubing along the hook shank, so that you know where to insert the hook eye into the tube.

Make a opening in the tube where you are going to thread it onto the hook shank.

Thread the tube onto your hook as shown.

Slide the tube back and attach your tying thread behind the hook eye.

Thread a long loop of mono through the E-Z body tube towards the tail.

Thread the bunch of Flashabou through the mono loop and pull this through the tube and out at the hook eye.

Tie down the Flashabou just behind the hook eye.

Tie in the end of the tube and make a neat tight head.

Select your chosen Fleye Foil product. I have used small 25 mm. sand eel foils.

Remove the Fleye Foils from there card and stick them in place, one each side of the eel head and tie down using the small attachment on the foils.

Once you have whip finished and removed your tying thread, turn your fly in the vice so you can tie down the tail at the base of the E-Z body tube. Once secure give it a small drop of Bug Bond just to hold it in place. Remove tying thread and reset hook the correct way in the vice.

The sand eel should now look like this. You can trim the Flashabou tail down to your required size and shape.

You can now colour your sand eel if wished with water proof felt markers.

Carefully coat the foils and head of the eel with Bug Bond and cure with the UV light as you go.

If you want a more three dimentional effect make small colour ajustments with felt pens after every coat of Bug Bond. This builds up layers and gives more depth.

If you ‘open’ the tail of Flashabou and place a tiny drop of Bug Bond at the base and cure! the tail will remain flaired and open.

One of the great things about E-Z body tube is that it remains flexible.

Fleye Foils. Orders and info at:

Bug Bond. Orders and info at:

E-Z Body Orders and info at:

Mayflies and More

A Fly tyers’ Guide to the Chalkstreams

Mayflies and More

A fly tyers Guide to the Chalkstreams

Chris Sandford

Chris is better known in the UK for his many years work as an actor and his numerous appearances on TV and in Film.  More recently for his international angling TV series, Just Fishin’ on the Discovery channel.

Mayflies and More, is an elegant, well presented little book and DVD combo, that covers the tying techniques for ten modern patterns, that Chris recommends for the English chalk-streams. Although these patterns will work just about anywhere else as well!

If you are relatively new to fly tying and wish to try something a little more challenging than a red tag, or even a well seasoned tyer for that matter, Mayflies and More, is a joy.

The DVD reflects Chris’s background in TV and film, through a clearly professional production and execution, unlike the majority of the fly tying DVD’s produced to date! Chris, also has the on-screen charisma, to make these ten patterns, not only fun to tie, but also to keep you entertained throughout. It also gives extra clarity to the already clear and well presented step by step images and text in the book. These are simple but extremely worthy patterns to tie and include in your fly box.

Booklet & DVD £19.80

Copies: Unlimited

Extent: 32 pages plus DVD

Size: 210mm x 148mm

Binding: Booklet with inset DVD

Illustrations: Photographs throughout

DVD Running Time: 70 minutes

To order:

Chris Sandford Mayflies & More

Check out a preview of the DVD on the link below:

Chris Sandford talks about “Mayflies & More …

Minnivallalækur, Icelands prehistoric monster trout

One of the huge wild trout from the Minni

After a short drive, south east from reykjavik, a small farm road leads us the last few kilometers to the fishing lodge at Minnivallækur, the weather was perfect, for September. A little overcast, with small patches of blue, a slight breeze and 14 degrees “dry fly fishing was written all over the sky.

Jan and I where so hyped, we could almost hear heavy brown trout rolling in the surface and sucking in size 22 midges, over the sound of the engine of our four wheel drive hire car.  But in true Icelandic fashion, by the time we had pulled on our waders and put up our rods, Ice cold pounding rain and hail , that with the help of a force 10 gale from the north, made not only up-stream dry fly fishing, but any kind of fly fishing, down right impossible.

Minnivallækur is approximately one and a half hours drive along the coast road south east of  Reykjavik, through the most interesting volcanic landscape.  If you mention Iceland to most fishermen, they immediately think of fast flowing rocky rivers and million dollar salmon fishing.  This is of course what Iceland is internationally known for, but the fantastic fishing that is to be found in it’s slow – winding  trout rivers and streams can only be compared to that of Patagonia and the Russian tundra.

Fishing one of Minni’s many pools, with mount Hekla in the background

Situated in the shadow of Mount Hekla, Europe’s most active volcano, Minnivallækur is small to Scandinavian standards, and for the most is quite shallow.  Snaking it’s way slowly through the impressive treeless landscape of flat volcanic fields and improvised farm land,  like a giant serpent, each bend in the river revealing  new pools and new fish.

It was my fishing friend and companion for this trip, Jan Idar Løndal, that first turned me on to Minnivallækur.  He had fished the river for the first time some years ago, and Jan being a hardened salmon fisher, this was a little out of character to be so enthusiastic about brown trout fishing, so I immediately new that it had to be something special !

Our first day was, to say the least, disappointing, NO – disastrous! After arriving late in the afternoon to be met by the worst weather imaginable, we could only manage a couple of hours of waving carbon. We retired to the fishing lodge, and indulged ourselves in 12 year old Scottish culture, while searching text TV for the mornings weather forecast, and admiring the two monster brown trout trophies  the walls of the sitting room taken from the river last year. One of 8 kg taken on a nymph and another of 10 kg that was found dying in one of the pools.

The next morning we where out and fishing at day break.  The wind had dropped but there was still a light rain, and heavy black clouds hung low in the sky hiding Mount Hekla.  We began fishing at the hatchery pool.  This is one of the widest stretches of Minnivallækur and the uppermost beat. Not the prettiest beat, as there is an old hatchery research center on the west bank, one of the few buildings to be found on the rivers banks.  This hatchery caused some problems a few years ago. Some visiting foreign fishermen had travelled long and far to fish for these monster wild trout. While two of them where fishing the hatchery pool one of the employees emerged from the hatchery with a big landing net containing some huge brown trout, made his way down to the river, and released them !!!  To say the least the fishermen where shocked ! This was supposed to be a wild fishery, with NO stocked fish. The fact that the trout are so big fueled there misunderstanding. There was no way that such a small river could  possibly grow such large wild fish.  Our host Throstur Ellidson explained that several times each year the hatchery which grow salmon to fingerling size have to remove the brown trout that have made their way into the settlement pond of the hatchery in search of food. And as for this river not being able to sustain trout to this size: this is nonsense.

Jan’s tiny dry worked again!

Jan began fishing with the fly that produced the most fish for him on his last vist, a tiny #22 dry. Constructed of nothing but a little dubbed body of black seals fur.  After a short while when our eyes adjusted to the low light and the ripple of the uppermost part of the pool, we began to see small steady careful rises, but still no sign of insects.  I positioned myself up on top of the highest advantage point of the pool upstream form Jan. As I approached the river a huge long thick shadow shot out from under the bank and into deeper water. This was a fish of 5-6 kg. I turned and gestured to Jan with both my hands wide apart, he responded with the same gesture and then pointed a few meters up stream for him,  this is what we had come for.  Like most big fish rivers, Minnivallælakur doesn’t grow fish.  These huge trout spend the winter months in large lakes and migrate up this small river in search of food and spawning.  Thrustor Ellidson who,s is as a fresh water biologist, leases this river along will several others in Iceland told me about this special strain of brown trout in Minnivallalækur. We believe that they are some of the very last remaining trout of this strain. It was this brown trout that was over the whole of Northern Europe, this is the original “Salmo Trutta”

It didn’t take long before I heard Jan shout “Fish On” . His # 5 weight rod was bent double as he tried to back his way out from the middle of the river to the east bank.  The fish managed to round him twice before he reached terra firma.  After several powerful runs, ripping line of his reel, our first Minnivallækur brown trout was in the net.  We where both, nothing but astonished!

A fish of  no more than 600 grams. Even Jan who had fished this river before was amazed by the sheer fighting power and strength of this fish.  On closer examination this trout was very different from any trout that I had ever seen.  Apart from the condition of the fish, short  and deep, with a small well proportioned head,  the spots on its side continued around and under it’s stomach.

The next few hours we explored the pools of the upper 3 km of the river.  Its essential while fishing in Iceland that you have a four wheel drive, as there are no roads, only farm tracks that follow the river, if your lucky.  The last part of the day produced several more fish up-to, and just over the kilo mark, most of which fought  with just as much passion and determination as the first.

Our last days fishing produced better weather, with the occasional sunny period, we could now observe the smallest midges hatching everywhere and the odd caddis fly coming off, but for some reason there where less rising to be seen.  This is a challenging river to fish as these big trout are spooked easily, with gin clear water, high banks and a minimum cover. We spent a lot of time on all fours crawling to the bank and spotting fish, rather like fishing for big trout in New Zealand.  The traditional Icelandic method of fishing here is with large normally traditional streamers, Black ghost, Muddler minnow etc;  in the early part of the season fished down and across stream, and later on it the year with small weighted nymphs fished upstream in combination with a strike indicator when fishing deep. Iceland has no tradition with dry fly fishing.

We had spotted several big fish during first half of the day but with no results, we tried fishing some of the pools Iceland style with streamers and heavy nymphs, but without producing a single take. We both agreed to move back up stream.

As we made our way to the uppermost pool it looked like the weather was about to go sour on us again, we had to hurry.  While crossing the bridge, some 100 meters below the pool we saw a good fish,  tight into our bank, he was a steady riser. We played stone, paper, scissors, and it was decided that Jan would put the first fly over him. I moved up stream to the bend above the pool, giving his fish a good birth so as not to spook it.  To my surprise as I crawled to the edge I saw several fish rising just of a point some 15 meters above me, a sandy coloured caddis fly danced across the surface in a back eddy just behind the rising fish, “SPLOSH” it was gone.  I quickly clipped of my tiny midge and and tied on a streaking caddis.  With the minimum false casting possible I placed my fly behind the rising fish, and as my fly line hit the water, that big dark shadow, right under me shot out into deeper water, F****!! How could I be so stupid. To make things worse just at that moment another fish rose, splosh, my fly was gone. I lifted into my rod to find only slack line and a drowned streaking caddis.

Releasing another huge Minni brown

Jan on the other hand was doing things right! He was into another fish, but this time it was bigger.  After a good fight and several acrobatic leaps the best and last fish of our three days at Minnvallalækur was in Jans net, not a monster but a perfect specimen of a brown trout. We never did catch that huge trout, but we saw them!! Not just one but several.  Taking into the weather factor and that we fished the very end of the season, I am without doubt that this is some of the best dry fly trout fishing in the world. Our return trip is already booked.

Fishing Home pool right outside the lodge

Our short stay at Minnivallalækur, produced 16 fish, the majority of which where taken on dry fly, with a couple of fish on small gold head nymphs.

The fishing at Minnivallalækur is fly only and catch and release, but you are allowed to take the occasional fish for the table. The beat covers about 7 km of river, which is fished by only four rods at one time.  The season runs from 1 April – 30 September. The average size of the fish in Minnivallalækur is an amazing 1 to 2 kg.  The new fishing lodge is first class and has 4 double bedrooms and a view from the sitting room over home pool.  A visit to  will give you all the info you need.

‘Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art’ Leonardo Davinci

Tied in Hand

Odyssey of a Fly-Tyer


Sven-Olov Hård

In his early teens, Sven-Olov Hård began attaching yarn and hackles to the shank of a fishing hook with thread, struggling to copy the illustrations of salmon flies he found in old Hardy fishing catalogues. Little did he know, that a little over three decades later, he would be a master of the craft and one of the most distinguished ‘in-hand’ fly tyers of our time.

I myself have been tying flies for many years, and have gained through my contributions to fishing magazines and books, the unfortunate label of an “Expert” but when I examine a salmon fly tied in hand by Sven-Olov, I am soon brought down to earth, feeling rather like a second rate art student, studying an old master.  Anyone who has ever tried to tie a fully dressed salmon fly, will know of the patience required for building a mixed wing, or a flawless floss body!  Sven-Olov does all this without a vice!

Tied in hand, takes you on the fascinating journey of a salmon fly-tyer, that begins with a young boys interest in fishing and results with a grown mans obsession with the classic salmon fly, ending in Scotland on the rivers Tay and Spey to cast his flies into the waters they where originally made for. With every step along the way wonderfully illustrated with full page photographs of his flies and charming water colours by Lars Sundström. He writes, not only with a great knowledge on the subject of materials and the techniques of tying in hand but also with a heartfelt affection for his passion.

This is a delightful book, full of beautiful fishing flies tied as originally intended and accompanied by their history and recipes.


Tying the Detatched body mayfly

This is a simple but but effective mayfly pattern that fly tyers of any level can tie with a little practice. Once you have masterd this technique all you have to do is change the size and colour to match most mayfly hatches.

The chioce of colours and sizes of fly to be used when tying this pattern is determined by what mayfly you intend to imitate and under what conditions.  In still water fishing, trout can be extremly sellective when feeding on mayflies, they have good time to check them out before sucking them in.

Body form: Upholsterers needle

Hook: Standard dry Mustad 94840 # 16-10

Thread: Dyneema

Tail: Peccary or moose hair

Body: Flyrite dubbing

Wing: CDC fibres

Place the upholsterers needle in the vice. You can use a regular straight needle for this if you would like to make a body that lies flat in the surface like a spinner. The upholsterers needle can be bought from most good hardware stores.

Apply a little fly tyers wax to the area of the needle that you will use to make the body. This will make removing the body later much easier.

Attatch your tying thread and run a foundation of thread the full length of the intended body on the needle. I only use Dyneema tying thread, this is a multi filament thread that if spun in the bobbin anti clockwise will open the filaments and lie flat on the hook shank. If spun clockwise the filaments twist together and reduce the size of the thread down to 16/0. This thread comes in only one colour, white, but can be coloured with waterproof felt pens.

Sellect 3 long peccary fibres. I like to use Peccary fibres for the larger mayflies and moose hair for the smaller patterns. Tie in the peccary fibers as shown. Its a good idea to choose fibres that are long enough to run the full length of the body, and then some, this will make it stronger and more durable.

The dubbing that I use is flyrite, but you can use any synthetic dubbing that has long fine fibres. The long fibres help you wrap the dubbing around the needle and again make the body strong. If you use a straight needle, once you have tied in the tail fibers you can attatch the dubbing material and remove the needle from the vice. You can now roll the needle between finger and thumb of one hand while you feed on the dubbing with your other hand, this makes super fine and even bodies.

Attatch your dubbing to your tying thread and begin at the base of the body. Make sure that the dubbing is applied firm and even but not too tight, this will make it difficult to remove when finished.

Once you have made a couple of turns of dubbing you can now apply a little glue to the foundation of tying thread Copydex or super glue are best. The wax that you applied earlier will stop it being glued to the needle.

Now you can dubb the whole body. Make sure that you get the taper correct, and the right size for the speices you aim to imitate.

When you have finished your body tie it off at the base and make 2 or 3 half hitch finishing knots. You now place thumb and index finger each side of the body and carefully loosen the body from the needle by rolling it between your fingers and eas it off the needle. You will now see that the dubbing, tying thread and glue have merged into one hollowbody tube, that should have retained it’s shape.

Secure your hook in the vise and attatch your tying thread.

Half way down the hook shank you can now tie on your detached mayfly body.

Once your body is secure apply a little dubbing on your tying thread, and dubb the rest of the rear of the body. Again make sure that you take your time and get proportions correct.

Select a good bunch of long cdc fibres and tie these in almost paradun style to form the wing.

Once the wing is secure proceed with dubbing the rest of the mayfly body.

When the body is finished taper off the dubbing to form the head.

Whip finish and remove the tying thread. And there you have it, the finished cdc mayfly.

Front view.

Yabba Yabba Hey!

Tying realistic patterns is an exercises in observation

Although I don’t fish with realistic patterns, I do enjoy tying them every now and then. If you are starting from scratch, as I did with this crayfish, it takes a little time to actually work out the fundamentals, scale, hook size, proportions, materials and techniques.

I always start with a morphology  image from the visual dictionary, this gives you the basic shape, scale, body segment and leg count. Once this is established I select the materials and then try and plan the correct order to put them together. This can be rather like building a piece of IKEA furniture without the instructions, you get half way and realize that you have left something out! and have to start again.

024 Morphology of a crayfish.jpg

But for those of you that would like to have a go, I have photographed each step of this pattern, trying not to miss anything out and explaining each stage as I go. Although it looks complicated, its not difficult, but does take some time. You can tie it in stages tie up the legs one day, the claws another etc. So give it a go!

If you have any questions post them in the comments box at the foot of the article and i will try and answer them ASAP.

Good luck.

Cover the hook shank with a foundation of tying thread

Tie in a bunch of bucktail for the beard. This should be a mixture of natural brown and white

Take some E-Z body small and medium tubing and cut to length for the legs and claws

Holding the medium tubing and tying thread end in your left hand, make the first joint. Once this is done finish with a half hitch and remove the thread for the next joint. You can coat each joint with Bug Bond or varnish as you go

Bug Bond is perfect for coating the whipings on each joint

Once you have coated the claw with Bug Bond you can cut it to shape

Now move onto the next joint

Once you have made all the joints for the left claw you can now move onto the right one

I have made one claw a little larger than the other just to give it a more realistic feel

Make sure that when you tie in the first claw that the positioning and scale are correct. once its tied in coat the whipings with varnish

When tying in the claws the ends of the E-Z body tubing can be flattend with flat nosed plieres first

Now you can tie up all the walking legs. Befor you do this seal the ends by burning them with a lighter, taking care they dont catch fire

Tie in the joints of all eight walking legs

When you start tying in the legs make sure that you position them correctly as realistic as possible

All eight legs in place, remember that the two rear legs should be faceing backwards

Select two large brown cock hackles and strip off the fibers to make the antennas

Tie these in as shown. If they are too long they can be trimmed down later

Spinn some dubbing onto the tying thread and start at the front and dubb in between the legs, making sure you get the right thickness and taper

Cut a piece of foam sheet for the exoskeleton. This can be measured against the hook for the correct size

Place the foam in the correct position and tie in the first segment between the third and fourth pairs of legs

From the underside this first segment should now be dubbed and the tying thread moved behind the rear legs

Now make the next segment over the foam

Dubb the next underbody segment while lifting the foam

Continue dubbing and tying the segments as in stage 23 until you are finished

The underbody should now look like this

From the neck of a pheasant skin select three church window hackles for the tail

Strip of the fibers at the base of the hackles

Tie in the first tail plate as shown

The second tail plate

And the third central and on top of the first two

You can now colour the crayfish with a waterproof felt pen

Take two crab eyes and trim the ends to a point. This will help attach them to the foam

First make two small holes for the eyes with a dubbing needle in the foam. Then dip the ends of the eyes in super glue and attach

Your crayfish should now look like this

You can now coat the whole crayfish with Bug Bond

The finished beast

X flies – I want to believe…

Madam X

Two great patterns but do they really have the X factor ?

X Caddis

We all have patterns that for some reason or another, deliver every time, here are two that I just wouldn’t go fishing without.  But its strange, some of my fishing friends know how many fish I catch with these patterns, especially when nothing else will work, but they still wont use them. They wouldn’t even consider  having them in their box, not to mention tying them on !

What’s that about ? No really, I mean it,  is it all down to personal taste or does it go deeper into aesthetics and traditions or is it just down right stubbornness ? Which leads to the next question, do you have to really believe in a pattern for it to work ?

“If you fish the wrong fly long and hard enough it sooner or later becomes the right fly” - John Gierach

Although I tie flies to fish for just about everything that has fins, and then some… When it comes to trout fishing I am a simple soul, and could probably manage with a handfull of patterns, that would cover most situations on most waters. But what about you ?

Let me know why you choose the flies you do and why you don’t or wont fish with others.

Small flies big fish. Fly fishing for the worlds largest Arctic Char:

The shear size and power of these sea run char has to be experienced to be believed!

In Ungava Bay a two hours flight north of Montreal in Quebec, swim the worlds largest Arctic char.

Don’t expect too much of the cabin!  these are the last worlds of the legendary  bush pilot Johnny May  as we unload the last of our gear from the plane and he wishes us farewell with a smile.   We don´t really care about the condition of a cabin as long as his stories about char of  7, 8 and 9 kilos are for real. We climb aboard a bright red De Havilland DHC-3 Otter – better known as a  Single Otter.  A few minutes later our bush-pilot, Jonny´s brother Billy, throttles up  and accelerates against the wind. Then the planes pontoons lift of the water, we are on our way from  Kuujjuaq, to the Arctic Char adventure on the Nunavik tundra.

After three quarters of an hour flying over the endless tundra and endless lakes and rivers, we finally get to our destination which is the small river that runs out from Lake Dulhut out into the powerful Pelledeu River.   When Billy makes a sharp turn to land against the wind I see the flash of white tipped red fins in the clear water beneath us. Jon, my fishing companion who has been  Billy´s co-pilot turns to me with his cap on backwards and gives me the thumbs up.  We have been travelling for three days, Oslo – London – Montreal – Kuujiuaq – Dulhut and now he is suffering from a very high fishing fever.  The only cure is a fix of Arctic char, and he needs it quick.


The hut afetr a visit from a Black bear.

Only a few casts:

First when the August night came rolling in over the tundra and the glow of the cleaned-up campfire was dying out we are ready to fish.  In a small waterfall which was only two flycasts north of the cabin Jon hooked a very powerful fish  on his first cast.

From my previous experience of fishing these Arctic giants, they not only refuse large flies but they are spooked by them.  Jon’s first fish took the size 14 shrimp imitation in orange glimmer chenille and had total control for the first few minutes.  His #7 rod was bent deep into the handle under the power of this mighty fish..

Jon’s first fish.

Having caught a few fish we had the fever under control and more important  it had been confirmed that Dulhut could offer world class Arctic Char fishing.

Both red and silver:

After a breakfast of toasted white bread and scrambled eggs, we spend the first half of the day in the river mouth just above the cottage.  We fished with the same flies as the evening before but soon realised that the fishing was even better if we fished a bit deeper – as we fish for char in Norway and  Iceland.

Many fly fishers choose bead head nymphs for fishing like this, but we have a simpler technique, simple by threading the required amount of loose tungsten beads on the leader above the fly.  This technique makes it possible to fish more varied and you can manage with much less flies.

During this first half of the day there was one big happening with consequence.  The steady wind we had had the night before and in the morning died down and in only a few minutes clouds of meat eating black-flies swarmed in to feast on the Norwegian buffet. We are experienced travellers and can read the signs, so it only took us a few seconds to kit ourselves out

– 100 % DEET –  mosquito jackets, waders and fleece mittens.

All geared up. Keeping the black fly and mosquitoes out was essential !

The fishing continued to be fantastic and we experienced that there were two kinds of Arctic char on the way up-to the spawning grounds. The large males who had arrived early in the river and already taken on their spawning colours and fresh run females where a rich silver grey.


A large fresh run Char that fell for a size 12 gammarus.

The largest fish of the day?   yes, Jon played it for a long time, but he eventually lost it, right by his feet without ever being able to get a look at it.!  First it ran straight across the current like a sailing boat and confidently stripped  meter after meter of fly line from his already screaming reel, until he was down to the last few turns of backing.  After a few minutes he managed to pump the the fish closer and put line back onto the reel, I could see Jon´s rod tip bouncing up and down from the fish shaking his head, but when he wanted he made a run stripping more line from my reel. It was a strong as a dolphin and Jon began shouting somthing about saving his fly line!  He was worried the fish would break it off and disappear with it.  After 15 minutes of hard fighting his rod sprung to attention and his line fell slack. The knot on his fly gave and the heavy leader slipped away. And so did the fish. He later told me that, that was the strongest fish he had ever played….

Standing like this with maximum rod bend we could hear the varnish on the rings and carbon fibre crack in the rod under the strain of these powerful fish.

Above the river mouth from the hut, the river runs several hundred meters through large boulders which the last ice-age left there ten thousand years ago.

The surface exploded with char on the move.

Here the Arctic char follow the deepest runs and pools, where they often stood like bonefish with their fins above the waters surface watching each other like Olympic sprinters at the starting line waiting for the sound of the pistol. And even if their behavior showed that spawning was just around the corner, they willingly took our small bright coloured imitations of gammarus in chartreuse, pink and orange. Here it was a great advantage to stand and fish from the top of large stones as it was impossible to wade and follow a hooked fish.-  Some places the bottom was like a garden path of  fine shingle, but other places large sharp edged stones. To break a leg out here seemed like not such a good idea.  So the tactic was to tighten the brake, lean backwards and hope for a quick raw explosive fight.

We hadn´t seen any wild life the first few days, but the first caribou showed itself on a hilltop just above the lower pool.    Then there were several more-  Soon a flock of  cows and calves came between me and the hut.  Then on top of the hillside in the east three or four bulls appeared with antlers that would have made Norwegian reindeer hunters stand with open jaws and rub their eyes. The herds of caribou continued to trek for  three days and how many thousands of animals passed us  is difficult to say.

Need I say more!

The patterns that worked.

A more detailed check list of equipment is available from the outfitters along with prices and all other information.

I will be posting a step by step for the char grub later.


The Virtual Minnow:

This is a great method of making perfect strong minnow bodies, that make a good baitfish attractor in both reflected and back light situations.

The original zonker pattern was tied by the American fly tyer Dan Byford in the 1970s and was quickly recognised the world over, as a big fish fly and extremely easy to tie, yet realistic imitation for most smaller bait fish. The original pattern used a lead or tin sheet that was folded and glued over the hook shank and then cut to shape to make the underbody.   This melt glue body technique gives the zonker a new life. If viewed by a fish in reflected light the shine and flashing of the maylar mixed with the animation of the pulsating fur strip, makes it a first class bait fish attractor pattern.  But when viewed by a fish in a back-lit situation ( in  silhouette ) this pattern really comes to life,  with the light penetrating through the transparent melt glue / maylar body and fur guard hairs.

Hook: Mustad S74S SS Salt water R74 freshwater # 6

Under body: Melt glue

Over Body: Mylar tubeing

Thread: Dyneema

Wing/tail: Fur zonker strip

Eyes: Prizma tape eyes.

The flexibility of the Zonker as a bait fish imitation pattern is only limited to your own imagination. There are a huge amount of rabbit fur strip materials on the market in just about every colour imaginable, not to mention fox, squirrel, mink etc. Along with the vast array of tubing materials available the combination possibilities are endless.

I was first shown this melt glue body technique in 1993 by the innovative Danish fly tyer Dennis Jensen who developed it for salt water sea trout fishing in Denmark. He used a home made mould constructed from plastic padding. He would insert the hook in the mould and then inject melt glue into it and wait a few seconds for it to dry before removing it. The result was a perfect and identical minnow body every time.  Dennis also made very clever subtle body colour changes to his flies by wrapping the hook shank first with tying thread in fluorescent orange, green or blue.  Orange when he was imitating sticklebacks, green for other small fish and eels and blue when fishing in deep water.

This technique shown here requires no mould. It does take a little practice to master and a few minutes longer, but still produces the same effect.

Another advantage with the zonker, unlike bucktail and feather wing streamers, is that it is an extremely robust pattern. If tied correctly the fly will normally outlive the hook, although the eyes and Mylar tubing are somewhat vulnerable to the small sharp teeth of trout. This can be improved by coating the eyes and Mylar body with varnish or head cement.

When fishing this pattern or any long tailed streamers in general for that matter. Many fly fishermen are of the thought, that when fishing a long tailed streamer the fish tend to “Nap” at the tail and won´t take the fly properly! This can be the case for smaller trout but generally speaking a large trout will take this pattern hard and fast. If you do experience napping at the tail when fishing, stop the retrieve dead and let the fly sink a little for two or three seconds, nine times out of ten the attacking fish will pick it up on the drop.


Plug inn your melt glue gun as it takes a few minutes to reach temperature.
Meanwhile secure your hook in the vice, making sure that the hook shaft is in a relatively horizontal position.
When your melt glue gun is warm, run a small amount of clear melt glue along the top of the hook shank as shown. You may find that when you try to remove the melt glue gun you get a long strand of glue that stretches from the hook to the gun. This can be avioded or resolved by wrapping the strand quickly around the hook shank behind the eye of the hook. This pattern as described sinks slowly but well when fished, but if you would require a faster sinking pattern you can attach one or two lead strips along the hook shank before you apply the melt glue body.

When the glue is dry ( use 10 second melt glue) carefully apply a little more to form the under body and belly of the minnow. If your glue is too runny you can shape the body with a wet finger and thumb. This also quickens the drying process.

Continue forming your body to the required shape and size.

If you are not satisfied with your minnow body shape, warm up the glue with a lighter (taking care not too burn it) and re model again with wet finger and thumb. When the glue has dried you can even shape it first with by trimming the glue body with scissors and then take off the sharp cut edges by warming it again with the lighter.

Attach your tying thread right behind the melt glue body at the base of the tail.

Cut a 5-6 cm length of the Mylar tubing and remove the string core. Mylar tubing comes in a variety of materials, sizes, diameters, weaves and colours. Not all Mylar tubing works for this particular pattern, so its advisable to experiment a little before hand. The originator Dennis Jensen used a clear mother of pearl Mylar wich gives a wonderful transparent effect to the body. This can also be achieved to a degree by eliminating the Mylar tube all together and just using the raw melt glue as the finished body (see illustration 17). Now thread the sleeve over the melt glue minnow body.

Tie this in, fraying 1cm if wished, to give a little more flash at the tail base.

Select a strip of zonker fur (I have used red fox for this pattern) and prepare the tail end by cutting it to a even point. Taking care not to cut or damage the fur.

Part the fur with the help of a dubbing needle and moist fingers at the desired position and then tie it in over the foundation wrappings used to secure the Mylar sleeve as shown. I use a simple materials clip to hold the fur strip in place. Finish off with 2 or 3 half hitches and remove the tying thread. Apply a drop of cement to the tail whippings, taking care not to get any on the fur strip.

Place the zonker strip back over the tail of the fly, and secure in a material clip if needed, this will keep the fibres out of your way and make the next step easier. To attach your tying thread, make a couple of loose turns around the maylar sleeve so as to catch it just in the right position for the head. Now before you tighten these pull the access maylar through the tying thread so as to tighten the sleeve around the body, and then pull up on your bobbin holder so as to tighten the tying thread and secure the Mylar tube in place.

Once you have trimmed off the access maylar use your lighter again to burn off the rest. This is the advantage of using Nylon tying thread, it has a much higher burning point than plastic, so this should remain intact.
Pull the zonker strip over the body and while holding it tight separate the fur at the required position and tie in, but only with a couple of tight turns, tight in too the melt glue body.

Carefully trim off the zonker strip and burn the head once again with the lighter. If done correctly you will see the remaining head of tanned hide, shrink and disappear under the tying thread,( giving a small neat finished head) whip finish.

If you have used Dyneema thread you can now colour the head red with a waterproof flet pen.

Glue on your chosen colour and size of Prisma tape eye and then varnish both tail and head whippings.


The colour combinations for this pattern are endless…















Melt Glue Caddis Pupa:


The melt glue caddis pupa has a semi transparent body that becomes extremely realistic when wet !

Keeping on the theme of melt glue I thought I would show you this pattern that has a little different technique than the Mutant. Here I combine the  material into the melt glue. It does take a little practice and time to master these melt glue techniques but the results are worth it! For more general info on caddis pupa take a look at the Bee Cee caddis in the archive.

A melt glue gun can be purchased from a hobby shop for just a few pounds.

Melt Glue Caddis Pupa:

Hook: Mustad C49SNP-BR # 12-8

Thread: Dyneema

Body: Melt Glue

Gills/rib: Olive Ostrich herl

Thorax/Head: Black and brown Antron dubbing and CdC

Secure your hook in the vice and tie in one long olive ostrich herl at the bend of the hook. Whip finish and remove the tying thread.


With a melt glue gun starting just behind the eye of the hook apply a layer of melt glue along the hook shank.

When you warm the melt glue with a lighter the glue will ‘flow’ around the hook shank. Take care not to burn the herl and you must rotate the hook (vice jaws) to even the glue.


This stage has to do with timing! When the glue has ‘set’ but is still pliable, wind on the gill rib, so that it sinks a little into the glue with each turn. This takes a little practice but works well when you have done it a few times.

The herl should be held in place by the glue! Now with a wet index finger srtoke the herl on the top of the body down towards the hook bend.

Using a water proof felt pen make one belt of colour along the back of the body as shown.

The body should now look like this!

Attatch your tying thread again and spin a sparse dubbing loop with CdC.

Wind on the CdC dubbing loop as a collar.

Now apply a little black and brown Antron dubbing mix to the tying thread and wind on to form the thorax and head.

Once the head is formed, whip finish. Now take a soft dubbing brush, I use an old tooth brush and brush out the fibers backwards towards the hook bend.

The finished melt glue caddis pupa.












Streaking Caddis:

The adult caddis fly

I belive that many great trout patterns have several things in common: they are quick and easy  to tie, no special tecniques or tools required.  The materials are easy to obtain, that would say available from most fly tying stores. They cast without problems and last but not least they catch fish.  This legendary pattern comes from the vice of the Swedish fly tying Guru, Lennart Bergquist.

The shear “fishability” of this pattern just has to be tried to be belived.

The bullet shaped aero and aqua dynimic form of this pattern makes casting a dream and presentation precise, for me there is somthing magical from the moment my SC lands on the water with a its distinctive “plop” that attracts attention, even from resting or lethargic fish. The body semi submerged and the wing and head floating high. This I always follow with a pause, let the fly rest on the surface for 5-10 seconds, allowing the leader time to sink and the fly to settel and hang. Then comes the retrieve. With your rod tip down, close to the water, and your line taut, start with short jerky retreives streaking the fly 10-15cm at a time, creating a small wake behind the fly as you pull. After you have covered a meter or so of water, take another short pause. Follow this procedure until the cast is fished out. When fished as an attractor pattern,  you increase the speed and length of your retreive plouging the streaking caddis just under the surface causing it to pop and gurggle as it goes. This can induce fast and aggresive takes, even when there is little fish activity to be seen.

The shear “fishability” of this pattern just has to be tried to be belived. Firstly, as it was ment to be fished, under a caddis fly hatch. Where adult caddis are streaking across the waters surface.But in recent years the streaking caddis has also found its way into the fly boxes of sea trout and salmon fishermen. Fished in the same way, as a wake fly, it has teased up fish from the bottom of otherwise dead pools of many a salmon and sea trout river.

Streaking Caddis

Hook: Mustad 94840 # 8

Thread: Dyneema

Body: Poly dubbing

Wing: Deer hair

Head: Spun and clipped deer hair

Secure your hook in the vise as shown and make a foundation of tying thread.

Dubb the body of the fly.

Sellect your deer hair. The best deer hair to use for this particular pattern is taken from a deer that is killed during the coldest part of the year, the hair I use is from the European Roe deer that I have shot myself on the last day of hunting (23rd December) here in Norway. The colder the climate the thicker and more bouyant the deer hair.

Cut a large bunch of deer hair. The most common mistake in tying this popular pattern is to use too little deer hair. Remove all the under wool and short hairs with a dubbing comb.

Stack your deer hair in a hair stacker. Before you remove the hair completly from the stacker measure the correct wing length.

Holding the wing in place with your left hand, make, not one, but two loose turns of tying thread around the deer hair as shown. This should be made at the point where the clipped head goes over to the wing.

Now tighten the turns by pulling the tying thread ”upwards” this is important, if you tighten the thread by pulling downwards the wing will slip around the hook shank, and you need all this hair on-top of the body.

Now you can continue over the head of the fly as for a regular spun deer hair pattern.

Whip finish your Streaking caddis and remove the tying thread.

You can now begin the clipping process. Long serrated scissors are best for this as these grip the deer hair and give a better cut. It also helps to clip from the back of the fly as shown. The head should be cone shaped.

Clip all around the overside of the head.

Now finish the rough clip on the underside.

The next step is a good trick for all spun and clipped deer hair patterns. Take a lighter, with the gas set on the lowest position and carefully ”singe” the clipped head. This will seal the ends of the deer hair and give a very even surface and form to the finished head. It will also tighten the hair and make the wing lie flat in the correct position. But take care not to burn the hair and tying thread.

With an old toothbrush, remove all the soot from the head.

The finished Streaking caddis.

A sure winner when caddis are skating the surface
















Tying Mutantz:

The tell tale sign of flying ants, seagulls feeding.


Hook: Mustad R 30 94833 # 12-14

Tying Thread: Dyneema

Body: Black & red melt glue

Wing : CdC

Hackle: Black cock

On the warmest summer days the tempreture rises in the south facing ant hills and triggers the annual swarming.  Ants are not good flyers, so they leave the nest in large numbers to increase the chances of establishing a new colony. When they take to the wing they are at the mercy of the wind and end up where it takes them.

If they are unlucky and land on water, the fish go into a feeding frenzy. In extreme situations I have experienced that the trout will take just about any fly that is presented for them. But other times they can be so selective that they will only take the perfect pattern with the right silhouette, colour and behavior. Therefor its important to to have a good imitation too hand, and a more realistic ant imitation than this is difficult to find. Without of course going way over the realistic boundaries and tying a ultra realistic pattern.  This is after all a fishing fly! Here I have made the two most characteristic body parts with melt glue, that shine just like the natural in the summer sun. I have also coloured one half black and the other red, I have found that this works under both colours of ant swarming.

This pattern has i in built drowning affect.  Right after a ant has crash landed on the water, the rear body part begins to sink, while it’s legs and wings hold it afloat a short while.  If you are going to fish this pattern ‘dry’ I recommend that you that you impregnate it well with floatant.

For those of you that are not familiar with melt glue and Dyneema tying thread here´s a little technical information that should help you get started.

 Melt glue:

Tying with melt glue does require a little more practice and patience than most regular materials. Melt glue is a material that one has to get used to using. Once its mastered, it can be put to use not only in developing new patterns but also as a substitute in existing ones. Melt glue guns come in various sizes from hobby to industrial, I find the hobby size not only the cheapest but also the easiest to employ. Another advantage with the hobby gun is the amount of different glue that is available. Although for this pattern I use a coloured glue, in most patterns I use the transparent or “regular” glue that can also be coloured with waterproof felt markers. The regular glue is also much easier to handle and shape than the coloured. In most cases, It has a lower melting temperature and a shorter drying time than the glues with added colour and glitter.

After tying with melt glue for over a decade and a half, nowadays I seldom use my gun to apply the glue, only for patterns where a large amount of glue is required. Otherwise I melt the glue direct from the “glue stick” with a lighter, or I first cut the required amount of glue from the stick with scissors, hold one end of the glue fragment with needle nose tweezers and warm the other end with the lighter and apply it to the hook. I then continue to melt and form the glue with the lighter on the hook. The clear glue can also be coloured by applying a foundation of coloured tying thread over the hook shank before you apply the glue.


For the past five years I have used only one tying thread for all my fly tying, for everything from the smallest size 28 dry´s to the largest salt water patterns. There are so many advantages with tying with Dyneema it would require an article all on it´s own. Maybe I will publish that later?

Secure you dry fly hook in the vice. Make sure that the hook shaft is horizontal.
Attach your tying thread and run it from just behind the eye of the hook all the way along the hook shank and a little down the bend. Make a couple of whip finishes and remove your tying thread.

You will now need a stick of black and red melt glue.

Cut a small piece of black melt glue and hold at one end of the glue in a pair of needle nose tweezers. With a lighter carefully melt one side of the glue. While the glue is hot, stick it to the hook in the correct position for the rear of the ant body.

When the bit of back glue is stuck to the hook you can proceed to melt it with the lighter. Was the glue is warm it will naturally flow around the hook shaft. You may have to rotate the hook to get the body the perfect shape.

Once the black part of the body is dry you can repeat step 5. but this time with a little smaller piece of red melt glue.

Now attach your tying thread again in front of the red glue.

Take a small bunch of CdC and tie this in up on top of the hook shank tight into the red body segment. The wing should be the same length as the whole body.

Select a top quality black cock hackle and tie this in at the base of the wing.

Apply a little black Antron dubbing to your tying thread and dubb the rest of the hook shank forward to the eye of the hook.

You can now wind on your hackle in traditional dry fly style. Trim off the access hackle and tie off.

Make a couple of whip finishes and remove your tying thread. Varnish. Your Mutant is now ready to swarm!







Fly Photography…

Artistic fly photography for framing

Fly Photography service:

When you have spent several hours or even days, tying a fly for a competition or commissioned sale, its a real shame to have no record of it! Now is your chance to correct that!

Being a professional photographer and fly tyer I know exactly what’s needed when it comes to fly photography. I offer a service for simple fly archive photography on white background or artistic fly photography for framing.


Archive photography (white background) Euro 30 per fly.

Artistic fly photography (still life) Euro 150 per fly.

Step by step tying photography  Euro 200 per pattern.

I can also offer a service for catalogue photography for materials and tackle.


e mail

Archive fly photography


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 5,520 other followers