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

Posts tagged “photography

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 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.


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

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.

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.


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