Bored? Try Recycling.

The rivers have finally had some rain and they are looking very good. I would love to say that this means I am so busy fishing that I have no time to write anything, but no, here I am…….writing.

I have been in my sick-bed for several weeks now and I can’t get onto the water, which isn’t too bad when the rivers are on their bones and not very promising, but when the rain comes it’s most frustrating.

Anyway, to help pass the time I have been watching Davie McPhail tie flies on You Tube. He really is a master of his art. Have a look.

So inspired was I that I got my fly tying kit out and set about knocking up some flies myself. In itself this is nothing out of the ordinary – I have been known to bind fur and feather with silk and call the resulting ensemble “a fly” many times before – but this time I found that I had no salmon double hooks on which to bind. What I did have though (after a lot of searching through boxes!) were several old shop bought efforts that had fallen to bits without ever even being sniffed at by a fish. These, I decided, would be recycled.

Stripping these sorry looking things should have been easy you might think, especially as they had started to fall to bits by themselves, but you would be wrong. The whole thing was very tedious and time consuming (although the latter was in essence the idea in the first place). Still, it was eventually done and I ended up with half a dozen good as new double hooks.

Some salmon fishermen and women down here use only two flies. One is the Cascade and the other the Silver Stoat’s Tail. The latter is used by an awful lot of sea-trout anglers too and has to be one of the most often cast flies in the whole country and so my new hooks were destined to become versions of this classic.

Here are a couple of pics to show you the process.


This is the sorry state of a shop bought Stoat’s Tail. Utter rubbish!

Here is the stripped hook – I think it looks better already! Don’t you?

The finished fly is, I am sure you will agree, in a slightly better state than the original one!

Although not a Stoat’s Tail in the traditional sense, it has all the attributes of a successful salmon and seatrout fly for the waters of The West Country. The body is pearly tinsel and the beard hackle and tail are orange cock hackles. The wing is black squirrel and I have run the 6/0 thread tight against the stem of the underside  of the wing to make it stand a little away from the body and pulsate more in the water.

So there you have it. Recycling is good!


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