For quite some time I've been looking at various fly tying vices. There are so many out there the choice is overwhelming.
My old vice frustrates the hell out of me. The jaws are adjusted by a screw that draws them into a collet. it's okay if I was tying loads of flies on the same size hook, but that's not what I do. I'm constantly changing the hook size so have to fiddle about to adjust the jaws each time, a really rubbish system.
I've been using the Regal Medallion for a couple of months and it is stonkingly good and so easy to use it allows me to tie flies quicker, it's has made me realise how time consuming my old vice was.
The Regal Medallion is a side lever vice so no adjustment needed, ever, brilliant! Okay it isn't cheap, and there are cheaper side lever vices out there, but you get what you pay for and this is a serious piece of kit that will last a lifetime. It's simple, robust and heavy with few moving parts or gimmicks, just a good quality, solid, well made, nicely finished tool and I recommend it.
The full range of Regal Vices are available from www.flytyingcompany.co.uk
During the BFFI, I spent some time at the Fly Tying Company stand. James and his team were happy to help all visitors to their stand and give good advice, always with a smile. This family run company sells an extensive range of fly tying materials and tools as well as an ever expanding selection of fly fishing tackle, accessories and clothing.
I was delighted to see they now stock Trout Hunter tippet material as this isn't easy to get hold of in the UK (I'll be posting my review shortly).
Well done to all at The Fly Tying Company.
There are times when larger flies just don't work. I rarely use anything bigger that a size 14 and even these are occasionally to big. Over the last couple of weeks there have been a few times when smaller dries are needed.
This is when gnat patterns come in to their own.
These griffiths gnats are tied on size 20 & 22 Daiichi 1110. I like these hooks as they have a straight eye, that is big enough the see even on smaller sizes.
The hackle is Natures Spirit cape tops, different colours are available but I've use grizzle (and purple for the variant) on the ones below. These are perfect for hackles on small flies
The body is peacock herl.
These are great little flies on river and lake for wild brownies and graying and are quick and easy to tie.
Now I start by admitting the flies I tie are not works of art (and I greatly admire those that tie amazing patterns) they are functional and tied to catch fish.
So what do I look for in a good wet fly? A few things come to mind: size, colour and contrast, and movement. So when tying flies I choose materials that provide these fundamentals and are easy to use:
In terms of size I tend to use size 14 -18 hooks (I find smaller flies work well). Hook sizes frustrate the hell out of me, but that's another story! And I try to be sparing with the dressing often using just a few turns of thread and a hackle, as in spider patterns.
Colour and contract are important especially in clear water. I like to tie flies that are not too garish but have a small hot spot or a strand or fritz to make the fly more visible without being ostentatious!
Movement too is key is getting a fish interested and a nice soft hen hackle and sometimes a few tail fibres can achieve this. In deeper water where light diminishes and colours are of secondary importance movement becomes paramount.
The result is a simple pattern but one with plenty of interest to whet a fishes appetite.
So my advice is to keep wets simple but interesting.