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

Archive for February, 2019

Glasgow Angling Centre open weekend

The show season has started. On March 1st, 2nd & 3rd 2019 you will find me at the Glasgow Angling Centre open weekend, where i will be tying and demonstrating lots of techniques on the Veniard stand.

Call in and say hello and make use of all the great special offers the centre has especially for the weekend. Veniard will be supporting the fly tyers row along with samples of razzle dazzle chenille for the first 50 customers…

I hope to see you there…


Diawl Bach Hot Head

This little devil is probably the most popular nymph in the UK. Easy to tie, and found in many variants, this is one of my favorites, with a hot head. The jungle cock can be dropped or substituted with biots.

For all you lovers…

Share a fishy valentine with the one you love…

Bubble Caddis

An easy but effective little CDC bubble caddis pattern that can be quickly tied in various colours and sizes.

IOBO emerger

Tying the IOBO emerger  (It ought to be outlawed variant)

Hook: Mustad C49S # 16-22
Tying thread: Grey
Trailing shuck: Two strands of crystal flash
Body/wing: One CDC hackle

The original IOBO emerger or IOBO Humpy, as it is also known, was designed by Jack Tucker and for years was a somewhat secret pattern, only known to the privileged few. But this tiny non-specific emerger caught on fast and should not be under estimated, it is truly a deadly pattern, and a absolute must have pattern for all grayling fishermen. This little variant shown here has the addition of a small crystal flash trailing shuck that has turned many a possible blank day into a bonanza! 

Although there is only one single CDC hackle in this pattern, the key to getting it right is using the correct CDC hackle.  You should look for a hackle that is not too short, you need the length for wrapping the body and then the shell back and wing. But the hackle should also have long dense fibres that will give a little more volume to the body and wing if tying them in larger sizes. I find that natural (un-dyed) hackles are best as some dying processes make the hackle stem brittle causing it to break when wrapped.

The IOBO emerger can be fished whenever there is surface activity going on throughout the year, although I have found it to be less effective in the autumn, in larger sizes than earlier and later in the season. Use it as a searching pattern when there is no activity, letting it dead drift over pocket water or possible holding spots.  It has also fished well for friends, static, on still waters especially on flat calm days when buzzers or on the go.

When dressing this pattern its important that the crystal flash shuck is tied in long and remains long throughout the whole tying procedure. The long crystal flash fibres enable you to hold them out of the way with one hand, when the CDC fibres are collected with the other, to be folded over to form the shell back and wing. Not until everything else is finished can they be trimmed down to a few centimetres long. It’s not the most robust pattern around, the delicate CDC shell back is easily broken by the small needle sharp trout teeth, but ist so quick to tie, I find it no trouble tying another one on…

Attach your grey tying thread to the hook shank. Wind your thread back to just before the hook bend and then forward in open turns to just behind the hook eye. This will give the CDC more purchase.

After you have selected an appropriate CDC hackle tie this in 90 degrees from the hook shank with a little of the stem showing.

Tie the stem of the CDC hackle along the hook shank and place your tying thread at the tail base.


Attach your hackle pliers to the tip of the CDC hackle and wrap back towards the tying thread. make sure that you brush the CDC hackle fibres back with each turn forming the wing material. Tie off.

Once secure wind your tying thread forward through each turn of hackle stem and finish just behind the hook eye.


Grip all the CDC fibres with your right and fold over the body to form the shell back, similar to a Humpy. Secure with a few turns of tying thread, close to the hook eye.


Lift the wing and whip finish under the wing behind the hook eye. Remove your tying thread and trim off the wing tips to the desired length.

You can also tie the IOBO variant, with a little Crystal flash shuck in the tail as shown here.

British Fly Fair International 2019

At this years BFFI I will be demonstrating wing and body techniques.

This weekend Saturday 9th & Sunday 10th February
I will be tying on the Veniard stand at BFFI.
If you have an opportunity to visit the show please do. For fly tyers its the best show around, with over 80 individual exhibitors.
Just check out the website above with tons of materials for sale and the famous fly tyer row with over 50 world class fly tyers from all over Europe and North America, who will be tying all day, each day.
If any of you intend to go call in and say hello and I’ll be happy to tie a fly for you.
I hope to see you there!

BFFI 2019 will be held at:
Staffordshire County Showground ST18 0BD
9th and 10th February
9.30am – 4.30pm
The UK’s Premier Fly Fishing Show
Admission on the door
£12 – 1 Day or £20 – 2 Days
All accompanied under 16s free entry.

The burnt wing sedge

A quick little semi realistic caddis pattern with burnt feather wings, for those of you that like that little extra. One of my subscribers very kindly sent me a set of Renzetti wing burners, something that I haven’t used for years, but I have found going back to these lovely little tools a load of fun. This is the first of a few I intend to tie over the next few months. If you haven’t used wing burners I can really recommend it. I have sent Renzetti a couple of e mails asking about availability but with no reply.

Wally wing mayfly spinner

This Wally wing mayfly is a semi-realistic spinner, that is fun to tie for those of you that enjoy this type of pattern. Not only a good looking fly but also a great fishing fly! Don’t be fooled by the delicate looking wings, they are surprisingly robust.



The animal or Dyret as its known in its native Norwegian is a relatively new pattern, but one that has been embraced by Scandinavian fly fishers with open arms. It’s inventor Gunnar Bingen from Norway developed this pattern for fishing  both trout and grayling on the famous river Rena in Norway, He’s quoted as saying, ‘it’s really nothing but a cross between a super pupa and a devil bug” But this offspring of cross breading these two patterns has proven to be a deadly one. Originally thought to imitate an emerging caddis, of which its does so elegantly. But it really comes into its own by pressing all the right buttons for feeding trout when swimming caddis pupae are on the go, from late afternoon and into the night. Night fishing with this pattern under a caddis hatch can put you on the verge of madness, listening for rises in the direction of your stripped fly and striking to sound in stead of sight!

The deer hair used for this pattern should be from the winter coat and reasonably long hair makes this pattern easier to tie giving you something to grab hold of when trimming the head. You can decide what type of head you prefer, whether it be a small tight trimmed one or a large open one that pushes more water as you tug it in. Some tyers prefer to use an extra large hackle so the fibres reach out further from each side. I feel the Dyret fishes best, high and dry, so it should be well dressed with a floatant. I personally like to dress it first with a liquid floatant, give it a good shake and blow off the excess and then followed by a quick shake in a powder floatant. This results in a super water repellant dry fly. 

On flowing water I feel it fishes best in smaller hook sizes, using a dead drift method making presentation over rising  or feeding fish if possible. Also for searching faster riffles and pocket water just letting the fly drift quickly through possible holding spots is extremely effective. I have also had great success with this pattern on still waters but with short strips across the surface with pauses at intervals were you just let the fly sit on the surface for a few seconds and then start again with short pulls. Its normally at this exact moment the fish will take quite explosively.

When wrapping the hackle, palmer style, don’t make too many turns. If you wrap the hackle too tight along the whole body you may find that under casting it propels, and will twist your leader into the mother of all tangles. This should be avoided at all costs especially during night fishing! Although the original retained the full hackle most tyers now trim it on the underside as in this pattern.

Regarding colour all the olives work well for me from light to dark but many swear by grey and even yellow bodies, for night fishing black bodies or even entirely black flies are the trend. But try your own favourite trout and grayling combinations just as Gunnar Bingen did, you never know you may be on to something!

Hook: Mustad R30 # 10-16

Thread: Dyneema

Under body: Natural deer hair

Tail: Natural deer hair

Head: Natural deer hair

Over body: Superfine dubbing

Hackle: Brown or badger cock


Secure the hook in your vice so that the hook shank is horizontal. Attach your tying thread and run a foundation over the whole hook shank to the bend and then back to just behind the hook eye.


Cut a small bunch of nicely marked long deer hair and remove all under fur with a comb. Stack the deer hair so that all the points are even and measure the length of the tail. If you use long deer hair its easier to cut down the head later if you have something to hold.


Once the length of the tail is determined grip the hair with your left finger and thumb and remove the hair stacker. Without realising the deer hair from your left hand make a few tight turns around the deer hair to form the head as shown.


Once the head is secure tie down the body while sliding your left hand back towards the tail without letting go until you have tied down the deer hair all the way to the tail. 


Run the tying thread, not too tight, over the whole body. Now you can tie in your hackle at the tail base.


Choose your desired superfine dubbing body colour.


Dub your tying thread and cover the whole body tight in between the head and tail as shown. Finish with your tying thread at the head of the fly.


Wrap your hackle, palmer style along the body with open even turns. Tie off and remove the excess hackle.


Whip finish and cut away your tying thread. Now grip the long deer hair at the hook eye and trim down the head of the fly.


Last but not least, trim off the hackle fibres on the underside of the hook shank as illustrated.

Hunting for fly tying materials with Markus Hoffman

After holding a fly tying course for my good friend Markus Hoffman in Sweden, for one of his legendary Woodstort weekends, where about 25 fly tyers come together to tie flies, fish and eat some great food, that Markus takes care of himself. Many of you may know Markus and his great flies from Face book, Markus and I not only share fly tying and fishing in common, but we are both passionate hunters, after the show Markus said he would guide me on a buck hunt on the opening day, it didn’t take long. Markus filmed the last three minutes.

Tying up Madam XXL

A simple tutorial for tying perfect bullet heads. This XXL variant of one of the great attractor flies, has accounted for at least 3 of my top 10 largest trout on dry fly.