Semperfli have recently just brought out a whole new bunch of new and exciting materials. As part of their amazing pro team, each year we all come together for a little something called Fly Jam! we all get to get our hands on the new products and have a play with it all. This year one of the stand out products for me is the new Semperseal sub, an outstanding seals fur substitute.
A Little Bit About Semperseal
First of all in some countries seals fur can be quite difficult to get your hands on and even travel with. look no further than Semperseal! its available in a whopping 41 colours! you can get these in individual packs or in a dubbing dispenser like the image above.
Seals fur can be a tricky material to work with, this new dubbing from Semperfli is some of the nicest and easiest dubbing I’ve used. you’ll notice the fibre lengths are long, this is intentional and you can tie all manner of flies with this dubbing weather that be salmon, saltwater or predator flies! for them smaller flies just cut the semperseal to the length you require.
Semperseal In Action!
Above is another example of how semperseal can be used from fellow Semperfli Pro Team Member Deb Paskall. here she’s used the dubbing on her Seals Bugger and a Leech pattern where she’s mixed Semperseal and Semperfli Ice Dubbing to create a lovely buggy pattern! yet again showing how versatile the Semperfli products are!
Semperseal will be available from dealers worldwide by the end of December. if you’re unsure who your local dealer is just contact Semperfli directly and they can point you in the right direction!
Well just like that another trout season has been and gone here in Yorkshire with the season drawing to a close on the 30th September.
It’s been a funny season, with the cold start we had in April and super low river levels resulting in difficult conditions and sparse fly hatches it was a tough and challenging! The key to finding fish was hitting the river when there was a hatch, being in the right place at the right time and fishing nymphs to tempt them fish to take your flies!
I always remember the first day of the trout season. Things are always a little rusty after a long winter seeking out grayling but after a few sessions it all falls back into place.
I’ve spent much of this season fishing a small local river. Looking back, i think it’s really improved my fishing. Theres many pros to fishing small overgrown rivers and they are full of fly life and lovely wild brown trout!
A small, over grown and narrow river means you might not be able to make normal over head casts, pin point bow and arrow casts & roll casts where possible will give you the best chance of fooling them wise wild brownies!
• When You’ve Caught A Fish
You’ve made the cast, the fly has been engulfed by a trout. Now what? There’s so many trees you need to make sure your fly rod and line doesn’t get tangled around. Before you even start fishing always observe you’re surroundings, plan ahead to where you’re going to play any fish you fool. It’s always worth carrying a smaller like an 8-9 ft rod to give you a little more room to work the rod.
Highlights of my season
There’s always highlights and days you look back on and don’t forget. This year for me mine has to be the simple fact of being able to be out on a river fishing with friends old and new.
Back in august I had the pleasure of showing Aime Battams around my local, The Calder. If you’re familiar with Amie on Instagram you’ll know she’s a brilliant new angler and very funny! We had a brilliant time fishing together and bumped into one of the River Calder’s bigger residents. I’m sure we will have more fishing trips in the future! Im certain she will always remember her trip up norf’ catching her first grayling!
My last outing for the trout ended on a road trip to Hampshire to fish on the River Test with the lovely Gilly & Beaky. It was one of them days where numbers didn’t matter. In actual fact we spent more time laughing and telling stories than fishing. We did, however, catch a hat trick of trout on my silver Sedge that they just couldn’t resist! Each fish requiring a tricky cast under an over hanging tree. Such good and exciting fun!
For now though. There’s lots to look forward too!! For me, my attentions turn to replenishing my fly box, tying up nymphs to target the grayling and standing in the middle of a river fishing for the grayling wishing it was summer again! In February theres the British Fly Fair which will be the first show many of us will have been too for a long while so I’ll certainly be looking forward to meeting up with friends there! A show not to be missed!
Here are a few of my favourite fish this year
I hope you’ve all had a top trout season and it’ll be March before we know it! Tight lines for the winter months!
It’s been an up and down start to my trout season this time round. In all honesty some sessions on the river I’ve stood and scratched my head as to what I might be doing wrong. Don’t get me wrong I’ve had some really good sessions but a few early season blanks too! But at the end of them tough sessions I soon remember we are still very early on in the season!
April saw hardly any rainfall resulting in summer time levels on our rivers. The temperatures have been low, barring a small period of time when we hit the high teens. All making the fishing that little more tough, that said. Us anglers like a little challenge and after all that’s why it’s called fishing and not catching.
Now we’re allowed to travel that little further to fish a few weeks ago I had a couple of friends Jonathan McGee and James Stokoe over for some fishing. We had a cracking little session, not huge numbers of fish. At the moment it’s a struggle to avoid them pesky out of season grayling and we as anglers can’t tell them not to take our flies, a reminder if you find you are catching them it’s a good idea to move spots on the river and reduce the amount of time we are handling these fish until they are back in season! we finally got some connections to some beautiful wild brown trout. Both me and James catching some stunning fish!
As we moved out way up the stretch of river we finally found some rising fish. They were taking super small midge from just under the surface, right on the far bank. Our casts had to be spot on, mending the line to reduce drag. After 2 or three different flies we tried they refused all of them. It wasn’t meant to be!
Despite the hard fishing conditions we had a fabulous day and more importantly it was just nice to fish with other anglers and have a laugh on the way! Huge thanks to Jonathan for some cool images!
Moving on a couple of weeks and this last weekend just gone I hosted my first guests that had come for a days fishing through Fishing Breaks.
I knew the day was going to be tough just like when Jonathan and James came. Again we were met with low water, little fly life and cold winds. There were fish rising but not actively feeding so we opted for the dry and dropper method. A nice buoyant sedge with a pink sighter and a small size 18 copper beaded nymph suspended below was the choice of tac tic, again it brought some success but not the right species we were after.
A quick break for some lunch which we had to eat in the car due to a 15 minute downpour and we were back on the river, this time a little further upstream to see if we could find a trout or two!
We were struggling to get the trout in the net, a couple of misses and the ones that got away we made a decision to jump in the cars and head upstream in the hunt for some wild brownies!
A quick fly change to an olive quill perdigon nymph fished euro style and almost instantly one of my guests had a really decent fish hooked, “please don’t be a grayling” I was saying in my head. When we knew it was a trout and it was in the net we all cheered! It really was the highlight of the day! Ironically my guests were a lovely couple originally from Spain and the fly we caught the trout on, the olive quill Perdigon which is a Spanish fly! It was just mean to be! Smiles all round!
I really enjoyed our days fishing but as I said above it’s just nice to be able to be out and about seeing and fishing with anglers again isn’t it! I hope you are all having success and let’s hope for some rain in our rivers!
This week I’m reviewing another new product from Semperfli, Their Dirty Bug Yarn. Its a material that I have come to incorporate in many of my river dry flies and nymphs. There are many reasons for this. when I first received the yarn the first thing that came to my attention was not the many different colors there are but how natural looking they were.
Immediately I was already imagining what flies I could tie up with the Dirty Bug Yarn? I’ve successfully tied up caddis dry flies using the Dirty Dark Olive & Grey Caddis colors. The Shrimp, Cinnamon & Salmon colors make great use for Gammarus Patterns.
Tying With Dirty Bug Yarn
As I mention above there are many fly patterns you can tie using dirty bug yarn. If you’re new to fly tying you might be wondering how you would use this material? it is super, super easy to work with. If you’re tying small dry flies where you don’t want any bulk simply pinch off the fibers from the rope and dub onto your thread, helping you create a natural looking body!
The other beauty of Dirty Bug Yarn is that you can split the strands, so if youre wanting a thinner profile to your fly simply pull apart the two strands! this is helpful when tying tying smaller flies. Or, if you’re wanting to bring two colors together!
You can of course use it straight from the spool. I’ve found its also a fantastic use for when tying peeping caddis flies. the shades Red, High Contrast Olive and Orange Aphid make great peeping heads on these flies.
It comes in spools of 5M, I like the fact its on a spool too as this make storing it super easy and much more neater!
all in all I have come to love the Dirty Bug Yarn! It’s multi purpose makes sure you can tie loads of different fly patterns with it. You can buy Dirt Bug Yarn from Semperfli Dealers Worldwide! if you’re unsure where your local Semperfli dealer is, simply get directly in touch with Semperfli and they can send you in the right direction!
In the latter stages of last year Semperfli released a whole new and exciting bunch of fly tying materials. Included in these was Kapok Dubbing.
what is Kapok Dubbing?
Kapok dubbing is a highly buoyant, resilient to moisture and quick drying material. This making it the perfect material for tying your dry flies. A little fact – Kapok has been used before in life jackets due to its superb buoyancy and at Semperfli HQ the team there have ran tests on this leaving it in test baths where its taken days to absorb water.
Using This Dubbing
It has to be noted that when tying with this material it is dubbed on correctly. The best way, and to get the most out of it is to NOT dub it on to your thread like you would with a standard dubbing, but split your tying thread. this ensures you don’t crush the fibers and maximize the floatability.
working with the dubbing is a wonder. its super easy to use with sort fibers make it easy to tease apart, especially when your looking for a more sparse and natural body on your dry flies.
some examples of flies i have tied with this dubbing are below.
This dubbing from Semperfli is available in a dubbing selection box or in individual packets through you local semperfli dealers worldwide!
overall Kapok dubbing is definitely my new favourite dubbing for my river dry flies, with the fantastic range of colors it makes it a definite game changer in the dubbing world!
Well it’s the final fly tying step by step on my feature on some of my favourite flies for river fishing. To wrap things up I’ll be tying up a Duracell Jig.
About the fly –
It was designed by Scottish angler and super fly dresser Craig McDonald. A brilliant fly for both trout and grayling and one you can count on to bring you fish to the net in coloured water.
In my box I have a range of sizes from 14 – 18 everyone I speak too has nothing but praise for this fly. Fished on a euro set up you can count on this fly to get the job done! See below my take on Craig’s fly!
Place the bead on the hook and pop in your vice. Start the thread off and secure the bead.
Taking the thread down towards the bend of the hook take a bunch of coq de Leon fibres and tie in. trim away the waste pieces of coq de Leon.
Cut a piece of micro metal or red copper wire and tie in.
Take a pinch of brown UV dubbing and dub onto your thread. I like to try keep the dubbing on the thin side, to achieve a slim profile to the fly which will aid the fly in sinking faster.
Dub the body on and finish behind the eye. Make sure to leave enough space for the cdc hackle.
Wind the rib up the body, trimming away the waste piece.
take a cdc feather, hold with your thumb and index finger. With your free hand draw back the free fibres and tie in where the feathers separate. When secured trim off the tip of the feather.
Take some hackle pliers and grab the but of the feather, wind round, I usually like to take 2 turns. To tie off and secure the cdc I tend to take 2 turns behind and 2 in front then trim away the waste piece.
To finish the fly off take another pinch of the uv dubbing to make the thorax. Then make a whip finish and add a dab of varnish to complete the fly!
I hope everyone who has taken the time to read my step by steps has enjoyed these in the past few weeks! And that it’s inspired some of you to dig out the fly tying kit and tie some of the patterns up!
In the new year I hope to be doing some exciting reviews of some brilliant and game changing Semperfli Fly Tying products! So keep your eyes peeled for them!
As for the step by step blogs please do head over to my fly tying page on facebook “ phillippa hake Fly Tying” where you’ll see regular fly tying and fishing posts but also a chance to win the flies I’ve tied in this feature. All the information will be posted on there!
That will probably be it from me in 2020, let’s hope 2021 brings us a little more joy than this year has and I hope each and everyone of you has the best possible Christmas and new year you can!
Love them or hate them squirmy wormys get the job done! They are controversial however they are hugely successful when fishing for trout, on both river and still waters, brown trout, grayling and are also great for tempting chub and barbel!
You might be thinking, when would I fish this fly? It’s a terrific patten to fish when the rivers are falling from a recent flood. Especially so because the river may be full of dredged up worms. I tend to fish mine the same I do when using a euro style set up. If you’re fishing after a flood look for places such as behind structures in the river like behind rocks/fallen trees etc… You’ll also need to get your squirmy wormy down fast so for the weight of the fly look to use the bigger and heavier tungsten beads such as 3.6 to 4.5!
A couple of tips for tying this pattern.
• don’t use a thread that’s too thin, it will just rip right through the squirmy material, I opt to use the Glo Brite range of threads for theses flies.
• when finishing the fly steer clear of regular varnish and glue. These will react to the squirmy material and un do your work on the fly. If your going to use anything you’ll need to use a good uv resin to finish the fly off!
Start the thread and secure the bead on the hook, trim away the waste piece.
Take the thread down to the bend of the hook.
Take the thread back to the bead, this is to create a nice bed of thread for the squirmy material to lay over so it doesn’t slip around the hook! Trim a piece of the squirmy material and catch it in.
By stretching the squirmy material, not too hard though and keeping tension on the thread, gently wind down towards the bend of the hook keeping the material on top of the hook shank.
Take your thread back to the bead and repeat step 5 to tie in another piece of squirmy for the body!
Tie in and take your thread down to the bend of the hook and then with your thread make a nice tapered body finishing with your thread behind the eye.
Wind the body material up. You’ll find that it can be a tricky material to work with. Aim to put a little tension on the squirmy material and as you wind up on each turn take some tension off to create a nice tapered body. Take tight secure turns to tie secure the material in place.
Trim off the waste piece of material. At this point I like to make 5-6 more turns just to make sure nothing is going to come undone
This is an optional addition to the fly, I like to sometimes add a little bit of sparkle dubbing before finishing the fly.
Whip finish and the fly is done! Remember don’t go in with regular varnish you’ll need uv resin to finish this fly!
Thanks for reading this weeks step by step! Next week is the final week in my little feature on here before Christmas! In the new year im looking forward to bringing you some exciting content reviewing some top fly tying materials from Semperfli!
Also next week as it will be the final fly. Keep a look out on my Facebook page phillippa hake fly tying as I’ll be giving away all 10 flies that I’ve tied in the step by steps! Watch this space!
These weeks are flying past us and already I’m onto week 8 out of 10 of my step by steps! This week I’m going to tie you a CDC & Elk Hair Sedge pattern. A slight disclaimer – I couldn’t find my elk hair so settled for deer hair! However this works just as well I find!
The CDC & Elk hair sedge is an extremely popular pattern and one that you’ll no doubt catch fish on all over the world! Imitating a caddis, this fly is a brilliant pattern through the warmer months fishing in the latter part of the day! I also use this fly or a retirer sedge when fishing the duo on the river. Every fly angler will have a CDC & Elk in their box! If you don’t, follow my tying sequence below and get some tied up!!
Wing – Elk hair (or what I’m using in this fly, deer hair)
Step 1 –
Place your hook in the vice and start your tying thread behind the eye. trim away the waste piece.
Step 2 –
Take your thread down to the bend of the hook.
Step 3 –
Take a CDC feather, hold the tips with your right hand and draw back the fibres with your left. Tie in where the fibres of the feather are separated. Gently pull the feather from the but and draw through so you have just a little bit of the tips poking out like below.
Step 4 –
Take your thread back towards the eye making a nice bed of thread for the body to be wound over.
Step 5 –
Take your hackle pliers and grab the but end of the CDC, gently wind the cdc around the hook. When you start to wind loose fibres round with your free hand draw back fibres with each turn. Stopping just before the eye and Secure with thread turns. I like to make 3 over the top and 2 in-front. Make sure you leave enough space to tie in the wing. Trim off the waste piece of cdc.
Step 6 –
Take your elk or deer hair, cut a bunch off and place them in your hair stacker, tips first. Give it a couple of taps to align the tips. Gently take them out of the stacker and measure up against the fly. Just so they are going a little beyond the bend of the hook.
Step 7 – when your happy, with your free hand pinch the tips where they are. Making sure you holding them directly on top of the hook shank.
Step 8 – to make things less “fussy” take your scissors and cut the buts of the elk hair off so your left with something like below! this makes it much easier to tie in!
Step 9 – at this point I like to make 3 tight turns all the while make sure you keep hold of the tips as if you let go the hair will spin around the hook and you want it to stay right on top of the fly. Take a couple of turns in between the buts of the hair at 45° to secure the fly. I then like to try get a couple of turns under the fly just behind the eye before whip finishing!
Step 10 – whip finish the fly with a dab of varnish or super glue and if your super picky tidy the fly up trimming away any lose fibres of deer or elk hair with your scissors! Although I’m not sure this makes much of a difference to the fish they like them when they are more on the scruffy side!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this step by step! I’ll be back next week with another fly for you to try! Keep safe and tight lines if you get out fishing this week!
A little bit about this fly – It’s a simple fly to tie and A “modern” take on the classic hares ear nymph, which might I add is still a widely used pattern used with confidence all over the world! With the added hot orange rib this variation of the hares ear stands out and looks super fishy! I know if I was a fish on the hunt I wouldn’t be able to resist this coming past! I use this fly when I’m targeting both trout and grayling, see the materials I’m using below and have a go and tie some up your self!
Bead – Get Slotted Black Matt Slotted Tungsten Bead 3.0mm
Step 1 – place the bead on the hook and fix the hook in your vice.
Step 2 – start your thread off and secure the bead in place so it doesn’t move. trim away the waste piece of thread
Step 3 – take your thread down toward the bend of the hook and prepare your tail material. I tend to use 6-7 Coq De Leon fibres. The tail you want to aim it to be the same length as the hook. When you’re happy, trim away the waste pieces of coq de Leon.
Step 4 – take a length of Glo-Brite, here I’m using shade number 5, tie in and cover over any remaining pieces of tail and the rubbing materials.
Step 5 – take a pinch of hares ear and dub on to your thread. In this fly I’ve opted for fox squirrel to achieve a much more buggy effect to the fly.
Step 6 – dub all the way up to just behind the bead. Aiming for a slim but tapered body.
Step 7 – take the glo brite and take open even turns up to the bead. Tie off and trim away the waste piece.
Step 8 – take another pinch of hares ear or Fox squirrel, as I’m using in this fly. this is to make the thorax of the fly.
Step9 – take wraps to make the thorax. Whip finish and add a dab of varnish to finish the fly off
Be sure to have a go and tie your self this pattern up for your fly box!
Recent fishing outings!
Over this last weekend I’ve had the opportunity to get out and tempt some of the local grayling to my net. On Saturday I ventured out quite early before the rain set in and was rewarded with some fine looking grayling.
Sunday saw a trip to a different stretch of water I dont fish much but I know holds some great fish and sport. The river was up a little compared to Saturday but still running quite clear.
Without a doubt the fly of the weekend was a red tag Jig on the point which the majority of the fish fell victim too! See some pics below!
Week 5 of my step by steps of some of my favourite and most productive river flies, this week I’ll be tying you a Purple & CDC jig fly. With just a hint of purple UV dubbing on the thorax the Grayling go mad for it! this fly has brought me great success on them days when your stood scratching your head wondering what you’re doing wrong!