I adore all fly angling.
In fact I am an addict whether I am chasing salmon, steelhead or seatrout in a far off land or drifting one of Ireland’s great majestic loughs hunting for big wild brown trout with a team of my Irish lough flies. I even love fishing in the salt for hard fighting pollock, mackerel or mullet, I just LOVE IT, yes I truly am addicted to our sport. I am content as long as I have a fly rod in my hand.
Now all of the above pleasures are fantastic aspects to our sport, nevertheless I suppose my first love still has to be what I spent most of my childhood doing, which is basically fishing for wild brown trout on rivers, streams and burns. When i'm at home I live not far from the Sixmile water - a river in Co. Antrim. This is the river that I have fished all of my life and one I will visit at least two or four times a week during the season, sometimes even more if I can get away with it. Occasionally this will only be for a couple of hours after my dinner, but at times that’s all I need for my little fix. I also guide on this river and I must say I have a true devotion for fishing it.
This month I want to share a few patterns that were given to me by another fly fishing addict that also loves his river fishing. A fellow country man, that I have a lot in common with as he works also in the angling trade - he is the sales director for Partridge of Redditch and over the last few years has become a good friend. His name is Darryl Mooney and his passion for trout fishing is infectious.
This fact became even more apparent as last year we travelled to the British Fly Fair, where I was giving fly dressing demonstrations on the Partridge Stand and we spent many hours driving to and from the venue talking about our shared passion; fishing in wonderful streams and rivers for trout.
Darryl is also interested in angling literature and its history and he reads like me about some of the greats from yesteryear such as angling heroes Sawyer, G.E.M Skues and Halford. He has been fortunate in his angling life to have fish many great trout rivers in England and even some as far as New Zealand; the lucky sod. However, also like me, he is just as content on one of his local streams, which for him are the Rivers Lagan and Bann in N.Ireland. So when we are chatting about flies I know his river patterns will work for me too and they will also for you - so I hope you dress these patterns and get out to and cast on a river near you.
Bear in mind even if it’s a small river, scale your tackle down and enjoy your surroundings. There are few things better than chasing wild trout one is a shinning stream, but a word of warning - the addiction to fly fishing these wonderful places is a disease that once cultivated, will consume your life... (Evil laugher, ok im nuts).
Here are three of Darryl’s favourite flies and the dressings in his own words. Tight Lines.
PURE MIDGE LARVA
Hook: 20-24 Partridge CZ
Thread: Fluorescent Red 70-denier UTC
Body: Clear Micro Tubing by Hareline
Head: Tying Thread coated with Sally Hansen's Hard As Nails
This is a pattern I discovered in a book by John Barr from Colorado called Barr Flies. It is a simple midge larva imitation that can be tied in a range of colours. I've found this fluorescent red version to be my most consistent fish catcher on my local Rivers Lagan and Bann, usually fished New Zealand style 6 to 8 inches behind a weighted nymph.
BWO SPARKLE DUN
Hook: 16 Partridge SLD
Thread: Olive Dun 8/0 Uni Thread
Body: Blue Winged Olive Superfine Dry Fly Dubbing
Tail/Shuck: Medium Dun Z-Lon
Wing: Comparadun Deer Hair
I was first shown the Sparkle Dun style of Dry Fly whilst fishing in Utah in 1996 and it has formed part of my armoury ever since. It is an evolution of the Comparadun Style made famous by Al Cauuci, where a trailing shuck has been added with the use of Z-Lon in place of the microfibbets. The trailing shuck gives the impression of an emerger and greatly improves the pattern's effectiveness. I tie this pattern in various colours and sizes to cover all my upwing dry fly needs.
VINYL RIB NYMPH
Hook: 14-16 Partridge SUD
Thread: Light Olive 8/0 Uni Thread
Tail: Coq De Leon Fibres
Back: UTC Opal Mirage Medium under the Vinyl Rib
Body: Midge UTC Vinyl Rib Clear
Thorax: Peacock Black Ice Dubbing.
Bead: 2.5mm Silver
I've called this pattern the Vinyl Rib Nymph. It is a variation of a pattern first shown to me a number of years ago whilst fishing the River Fane by my long time friend and fishing colleague Brian Molloy who I think had picked it up from a member of the Scottish River Team. Anyway it is an absolutely deadly pattern and forms the core of my river nymph box. You can make a whole series of variations by changing the colour of the bead, the size of the hook and the colour of the thread although I have found the silver bead to be the most effective. A version which I'm doing well with at the moment involves stretching the Opal mirage to give a blue hue.
Stevie works full time in the angling sector as a guide, writer and qualified game angling instructor, he has appeared in many angling books, DVDs and angling shows all over the world. He has also fished many places in the world but grew up fishing on rivers and loughs of Ireland where he often guides. He runs teaching courses in fly fishing at home and host groups fishing in many parts of the world. You can contact him via email firstname.lastname@example.org or get more info at www.Irishflyfair.com or visit his PRO-Team page here.