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Recommended Flies and Lures

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Introduction

No doubt those of you who are keen fly fishermen will possess literally hundreds and maybe thousands of flies, most of which are never used. In truth, I'm sure we could all get by with just a few patterns on most occasions - light, dark, thin, bushy - provided they were tied in a variety of sizes. For example, if salmon and sea trout are in the river you probably stand a very good chance of success by using any fly tied with black and silver materials, such as the renowned Stoat Fly. Of course, the specialist trout angler will try to match the genuine article as far as possible. On the River Usk, for example, which is noted for its prolific hatches and superb wild trout, you should bring imitations of March Browns, Dark Olives, Iron Blues and Yellow Mays earlier in the year, and varieties of Sedge flies for late summer. Stonefly imitations can be good on the River Wye for trout and grayling in the autumn and the Kite's Imperial will do service as a spinner just about anywhere. Between the hatches on the rivers, nymph imitations such as Pheasant Tails and the Gold-Ribbed Hare's Ear will do fine. These and and the many variations of Buzzers will suffice on the reservoirs, as will the classic wet flies such as Black Pennell, Invicta and Peter Ross. Bring something bushy such as the various Bumbles and definitely a beetle imitation such as the Coch y Bondhu as well.

Like anywhere else, Wales has attracted its fair share of innovative fly dressers and there are countless local patterns that can claim their share of success. Some are most unusual indeed. To whet your appetite I have included a few dressings of these below, but for much more detailed information I strongly recommend that you obtain a copy of "Trout and Salmon Flies of Wales" by the renowned angler and journalist Moc Morgan, who is also a tireless campaigner for anglers' rights and conservation issues. If you cannot tie your own flies or you just want the best, please speak to Phil Holding at Spiders Plus, as he has some of the nicest imitative patterns and North Country spiders that you are ever likely to find.

Please note: The following dressings are all illustrated on a standard wet fly hook. In some cases you will want to use other varieties - e.g. Up-eye single Wilson hooks, etc. The complexities of digital photo-editing will not do justice to some of these flies. For masses of other patterns and more exact reproductions see Moc Morgan's book (above) or the excellent "Fly Patterns - an International Guide" by Taff Price. Another excellent book is "Successful Sea trout Angling" by Graeme Harris and Moc Morgan, which is an authoritative introduction to the subject and also contains details on tying a wide variety of flies, especially the "Marchog" series. For more local patterns you can also try "Trout Flies of Shropshire and the Welsh Borderlands" by Michael Leighton and also a brand new book by Roger Smith called "Flyfishing the Welsh Borderlands".

Salmon flies

In actual fact, salmon and sea trout flies are largely interchangeable, although the latter are renowned for taking much larger flies, especially at night.

Haslam

Equally popular for salmon and sea trout in different sizes. The horns are a most unusual feature. A famous Welsh fly.

Hook

Sizes 6 and 8 single

Silk

Black

Tail

Golden pheasant crest

Tag

Flat silver tinsel

Butt

White wool

Body

Flat silver tinsel

Rib

Oval silver tinsel

Hackle

Blue jay or guinea-fowl

Wing

Hen pheasant tail

Horns

Blue macaw

   
Pry Llwyd a Choch

Pry Llwyd a Choch

For salmon and sea trout. If dressed heavily it should be fished on a sinking line

Hook

Sizes 6 and 8 single

Silk

Black

Tail

Golden pheasant crest

Tag

Flat silver tinsel

Rib

Red tinsel

Body

Black seal's fur

Hackle

Badger

Wing

Badger hair

   
Usk Grub

Usk Grub

A classic shrimp pattern for the River Usk. Difficult to tie

Hook

4 and 6 single/double

Silk

Black

Tag

Silver thread

Rear hackle

Golden pheasant red feather

Body (rear)

Orange seal's fur

Body (front)

Black seal's fur

Hackle (mid)

White and orange

Hackle (front)

Two jungle cock feathers

Rib

Silver thread

   

Sea trout flies

   
Dai Ben

Dai Ben

Originating from the River Towy. Tease out the fur to give a good effect and fish on the point.

Hook

6 to 10 single

Silk

Black

Tail

Honey dun fibres

Rib

Flat silver tinsel

Body

Rabbit fur

Hackle

Honey dun

   
Moc's Cert

Moc's Cert

Designed by Moc Morgan. A very good black fly. Try tying as a waddington.

Hook

4 to 10 single/double

Silk

Black

Body (rear)

Flat silver tinsel

Body (front)

Black seal's fur

Rib (front)

Flat silver tinsel

Hackle

Black Cock

Wing

Black squirrel with green peacock sword

Cheeks

Jungle cock

   
Marchog Coch Ddu

Marchog Coch Ddu

The "Brown Knight" is one of a series detailed in "Successful Sea trout Angling" and should be fished slow and deep

Main hook

2 or 4 single

Flying hook

8 or 10 outpoint treble

Link

Plaited 20lb nylon 1 ½ inches long

Butt

Orange floss

Body

Flat silver tinsel

Rib

Oval copper tinsel

Hackle

Orange cock tied false

Wing

2 pairs of furnace cock feathers

Cheek

Cock pheasant back feather

Head

Black varnish

Tail

Black varnish

   

Trout flies

   
Diawl Bach

Diawl Bach

The "Little Devil". A simple but most effective buzzer imitation

Hook

10 or 12

Silk

Black

Tail

Brown fibres

Body

Peacock herl

Hackle

Brown hen

   
Coch y Bonddhu

Coch y Bondhu

The most famous Welsh pattern of all. Every angler should carry one. Very easy to tie

Hook

12 or 14

Silk

Crimson

Body

Bronze peacock herl

Hackle

Dark furnace

   
Kell's Blue

Kell's Blue

Originally designed as a Baetis imitation for the River Usk. An excellent wet fly

Hook

12 or 14

Silk

Purple

Tail

Blue dun cock

Rib

Oval silver tinsel

Body

Heron herl or similar

Hackle

Coch y Bondhu

   

Grayling flies

   
Red Tag

Red Tag

Also an excellent trout fly in larger sizes

Hook

12 to 20

Silk

Black

Tag

Red wool

Rib

Gold wire

Body

Bronze peacock herl

Hackle

Natural red cock

   
Welsh Partridge

Welsh Partridge

A good emerger imitation and a substitute for the Kill Devil Spider. Fish in the surface film

Hook

12 to 20

Silk

Black

Tail

Brown partridge

Rib

Oval gold tinsel

Body

Claret seal's fur

Hackle

Red Cock

Lures

On many rivers in Wales, bait-fishing with a worm is the preferred method, and this is certainly the case with perhaps a majority of club anglers and is not frowned upon. Further restrictions on bait fishing will inevitably mean that many clubs and associations will go to the wall, which will be a great pity. However, the visitor to Kite Country should be aware that certain restrictions do apply on, for example, the River Wye, which also curtail the use of artificial lures. On certain beats on the River Tawe you must use a centrepin reel when spinning. See my Threats page as well for further details and always check locally before you cast. Please note that the owners of some private beats might not allow spinning or bait-fishing on their stretches. Nevertheless, in certain conditions live and artificial baits provide the only real means of catching fish, with the following lures being particularly recommended:

  • Plastic Quill Minnows
  • Weighted Irish "Lane" Minnows
  • Abu or Mepps spinners

Needless to say, a selection of sizes and weights should be brought. Also popular is the "Flying C" or "Flying Condom" - look it up!

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