Alive & Well

Alive & Well

Martyn White | Thursday, 7 April 2022

I'm back to tying loch style flies recently, some of the old staples and a few patterns that I don't tie so much-I'll probably do some of those for myself in case my imaginary Hebrides trip ever takes place. As usual I've been filming some of the tying as I go along.

There's a fairly common type of response that I get to these videos, mostly from Americans and it goes something like; "I never tie these classic wet flies, it's great that some peole are still tying them". Maybe there's some mention of Bergmann's overrated collection of wetfly illustrations in Trout or something about keeping old skills alive. I always think it's a bit odd, as it supposes that loch style wet fly fishing isn't a lively, versatile and dynamic part of modern fly fishing. Which it is! Sure, there are still a lot of old patterns or variants of them in people's boxes. But that's cause they work- in the right conditions they work better than anything else! There are also going to be plenty of moden wets like octopuses, snatchers, pulling hogs and slappers or something even more intriguing from the likes of Arthur MacDonald(Scotland), Rob Denson (North of England), George Barron (Wales) or Cathal Rush (Ireland). It's no coincidence that the guys I've mentioned are all from the British Isles, as that's where this and the other aspects of loch style fishing really are alive and well. Incidentally, Arthur's threatening to finally get his wet fly book to print this year and I can't wait!

I'm sure, that if the guys fishing lakes in the States were to try fishing a team of wets against the wave, ahead of a drifting boat they'd find it to be just as effective as it is in the UK and Ireland. It's exciting too, especially if you can fish a floater or slow intermediate so you see the fish chasing through the wave or boiling at your top dropper as it creases the surface before turning to take the middle or point fly. It's an emotional rollecoaster excitement turning to despair at the refusal and then jubilation as the line springs to life. Brilliant stuff.

Now I'm not criticising the folk in the states who think the wet fly is something from a book rather than a working box, not at all. It's a different fishing culture and crossover is fairly limited, and as most folk over that side of the pond know, Phil Rowley invented loch style..

These guys are out there looking for this stuff and are finding their way, I just hope they go beyond simply tying the flies and try to get out in a boat with a long rod!