Blog, news and reviews from Snowdonia Fly Fishing Guides
I usually tie spiders on #12 or #14 hooks but occasionally tie up a few on size 18's. these are tied in a range of colours and all have a starling hackle.
Dead easy to tie, perfect for tempting wild brownies and very effective on heavily fished waters.
The lady of the stream can be a fickle mistress. A couple of weeks ago she dined on pink spider and dry fly patterns, but just a few days later her craving was for something citrus.
Pull apart a net bag, the sort satsumas are sold in, stretch it a little, use it as a body wrap and lightly varnish before adding a rib and hackle. Grayling love them, well they did this week!
After guiding a client in the morning I had a cracking few hours on Monday afternoon. Three fish in my first ten minutes fell for the charms of a pink and red spider. I was so impressed with it's catching abilities I tied a load more this morning. I've also tied a few as a dry fly variant and will give that a go over the next few days.
This cracking late winter wild brownie was caught on a clients first freestone river fishing trip. The fish took a spider pattern fished high in the gin clear water.
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.
Fishing for me has never been about catching the biggest fish or the most fish, though I accept it feels good to catch a big one occasionally. Because I'm not under any self imposed pressure to catch I often set myself challenges when I go fishing, only use dries, or spiders, or nymphs etc. Today's challenge was to only carry with me 12 flies I'd tied myself. Well 12 was plenty, I caught all the fish mentioned in a previous post on just 5 - 1 dry, 1 spider and 3 nymphs.
My tying isn't particularly pretty but the fish don't seem to mind!
Below are the flies I used. I'm not aware that these patterns have names (please tell me if you know otherwise) so the names are my own.
Guided fly fishing trips on rivers, streams and upland lakes in Snowdonia. and surrounding areas of North Wales.
Fishing for summer & winter grayling and wild brown trout.in the spectacular, tranquil countryside that is Snowdonia National Park.
Fly fishing and casting lessons for beginners. Casting fault analysis, single handed spey, slack line and presentation casting tuition for more experienced fly fishers.
Develop your watercraft skills on freestone rivers and upland lakes.