Old flies and new tactics

Old flies and new tactics

Viking Lars | Saturday, 22 June 2019

I’m sorry - I’m going to be talking a little bit about old flies again. This time a spey fly. Not as old as the “really” old ones. This one appears in Pryce-Tannat’s book, “How To Dress Salmon Flies” from 1914, where many of the older spey-patterns are from the first half of the 19th century. I’m not sure exactly how old The Gold Sylph is, but it’s pre-1914.

The Danish salmon waters are quite heavily fished (less now as most of the bog-salmon kill quotas are closed), but still, the salmon see a lot of flies and other hardware during a season. And if there’s one tactic I believe in, when nothing is working, it’s not only doing something different than whatever you’re doing (which is not working), but it’s also doing something that all the others aren’t doing either.

If the local wisdom is to fish a deep as possible, go lighter, if local wisdom is to fish as slow as possible, fish faster. I local wisdom dictates orange flies, go black - etc. That’s one possibility.

Instead of going home and spending the evening trying to come up with a new pattern (which can be very satisfying - especially if you get salmon on it the next day), try looking back. Back in time - hindsight is always 20/20, and flyfishers have *always* been coming up with new patterns. And there’s plenty of inspirations to be had. You can tie the old patterns, or convert them to modern hairwings, or simply use them for new inspiration for colour combinations.

I’ve been practising tying mallard spey-wings - simply because I find the exquisitely beautiful, and because I love the old patterns. I came across this, slightly unusual spey-fly called The Gold Sylph. The colour scheme spoke to me, so I tied up a batch, which not only served as practice, but also gave me a handful of great fishing flies. Flies I can guarantee that no Danish salmon has ever seen.

I’ve haven’t had the opportunity to fish the flies yet (due to back injury), but I will later this season, and I can’t wait. I’m sure the flies will be effective, and just thinking about hooking a salmon on a +100 year old pattern would be a great experience.

Have a great weekend