A glimmer of hope

A glimmer of hope

Martyn White | Sunday, 20 September 2020

Recently I've been tying a box of flies to take to Caithness and the Hebrides once we're able to travel again and I can get to Scotland. The Hebrides, Uist's machair lochs in particular have some of the best wild brown trout fishing out there, mostly traditional wetfly, with dapping also being worth a go if you fancy something a bit different and exciting.

There's nothing groundbreaking going in the box, the usual wets, snatchers, muddlers and hedgehogs mostly. Dapping flies, well you only need 2 or 3 patterns; daddies, loch ordies and maybe a tricolor or 2.  Really, whether from boat or bank,  these wild lochs are all about simple fishing, you don't need much more than floating and intermediate lines. It's more about covering ground and finding fish.  


I've almost stocked up on all my favourites, but was looking through some books and  online for some local patterns or a bit of inspiration. There are some fantastic tiers of wet flies out there at the moment which is nice to see, hopefully it's indicative of a resurgence in popularity for the wets. I'm sure  work  like George Barron's writing -his 2 recent books are really great-  and Davie Mcphail's YouTube videos are playing a big part in this. But whatever the reason, it's created enough demand for small suppliers to start providing high quality, non standard materials which through their availability feed into the tying scene even more- a virtuous cycle. I'm sure a big contributor to the fading of traditionals was the need to source and dye your own materials that often weren't readily available.  Although I still dye my own I like not having to too, especially with the more noxious dyes - last month I took delivery of a lovely red game saddle and hen pheasant skin both dyed in picric acid, which I don't want to be messing around with in my kitchen! There's no way I could have just bought them like that 20 years ago.  Whatever the reasons,It's a trend I like. Maybe we'll even see a return of nice loch style rods to manufacturers lines- it's become pretty hard to find a good 10'6" #6  in recent years.  


George's books are available her;,  https://amzn.to/3kyJowU or if you find him on twitter you can get them directly from him. Not sure how many are left though.