Wednesday 23 December 2015

seasons grettings from the cave


so a few days away from Christmas and hope your all looking forward to it and id like to say have a good one to all who visit here.

i did plan to do a lengthy post about the state of predator fly tying in 2015 but ill save that till my next post as i have quite a lot to say on the subject from my own prospective .

so for this post ill keep it short and sweet and just throw a few patterns out there that ive been doing recently  

black ep baitfish
hook : 6/0 octopus
fibre : black ep
eye : animal eye 8mm
thread : clear mono
flash : black flashbou

big black ep
hook : 6/0 octopus
fibre : black ep
eye : animal eye 8mm
thread : clear mono
flash : black flashbou

now the 2 flys above both made with the same materials but both look and work and look very differently in the water , although the bigger fly looks very bulky it is in fact not , its tied using the least material i could get away with , what you have is a big fly with bulky profile in the water and hardly any weight   

hook : 5/0 ultra strong aberdeen 
belly flash :platinum micro tinsel from castlefeathers
back flash : rainbow micro tinsel from castlefeathers 
eye : deercreek gator eye 8mm
thread : clear mono

hook : 6/0 etra strong aberdeen
tail : grizzled metz cape
body : blue bucktail
thread : clear mono 
flash :blue flashbou
(this fly incorporates a rattle tied in the bucktail)

black streamer 
hook : 6/0 aberdeen
tail : black saddle hackle x4
flash : black flashbou
thread :clear mono
head : 2 palmerd marabou feathers (black) 

this fly also has an inbuilt rattle and being marabou has a fantastic pulsing motion when strip paused 

mixing it up again

nice to see flys appearing on facebook groups have been made by using both  natural and synthetics  , i harped on some time ago ago about doing just this and there was no reason on earth not to add a bit of bling to your fluff 

you know sometimes you just look at a fly in the vice and you dont want to put it in your fly box or even fish it , this fly was one of those moments anyway the pattern is  

hook : 6/0 octopus 
fibre : belly white ep / back pink ep fibre 
overback : blue grizzed metz
eye : deercreek 8mm
flash : olive ep flash tied in behind the eye and overtied with ep fibre
thread :clear mono

so thats it for Decemberer said i was going to keep it short , id like to say many thanks for all the views this year and visits to the page  next year will be much of the same except ill probably be out more fishing and of course even more flys.

and i hope to be tying overseas as well this year so watch this space , and many thanks to all those who take the time to email me with questions its always a pleasure to talk to you.

so i bid you farewell and for those of you lucky enough to be out fishing over the festive period i had you catch plenty of lumps and stay safe

(a cave in scotland)

Friday 4 December 2015

life on the edge


darn where has this year gone, as i write this the time is 3:30pm ive just finished work and its nearly dark , where the hell did summer go where did all my fishing hours go its nearly Christmas for gods sake , oh well another year done , not that ive been sitting on my backside doing nothing, ive been bloody busy tying flies for clients who have been out catching some bloody great fish on my flies but not on my rod is there something quite not right about that funny old world .

but next year will be different as i will be out a lot more as ill be teaching the delightful cazz the fine art of feather and fin , everything from small stream trout to saltwater to chasing old esox on the fly something im looking forward to greatly but that's next year  and i also have some stonking trips with brian over at highland guided fishing   trolling my special little fish crack snacks for ferox (this makes me excited) have been working with brian on some ferox flies especially for trolling and so far brian is quite excited about the results so far , and to be honest we got started on this fairly late last year so next year i think is going to be an eye opener i think this space for whisky fuelled ferox antics.  


i need to be filling my subbug boxes up over the winter as well , bloody flies are so popular i end up giving loads away the reason is quite simple i met people we get chatting about flies and inevatabley it get round to deer hair flies at some point and i show my subbugs and i get the standard response "oh a dalberg diver" er no its a completely different fly and has a completely different action oh heck here take one try it , so my box gets quite sparse as i have a lot of these discussions over a year .......its a subbug people  

so get some vice time to myself for a few hours and im quite taken in the last few months to start going large again , i (for regular followers of my blog will know) have mostly been tying small stuff over the last few years for my box and i have more than enough (if thats possible) for a few seasons and ive been doing large stuff for bespoke ties , but ive been playing for some years with mixing natural materials with synthetics and to be honest the results can be great and they look fantastic in the water as well as out and it opens up a whole new world of possibilities , bellow is a few of the latest ones  sure to be more to follow 

the whole idea idea on this i suppose is to get a really big fly that is also very light to cast with ease all and these certainly do the job and with using different materials your also creating material contrast as we know synthetics fish differently to natural materials so by combining the 2 you really are creating something different and hopefully interesting enough to get a fishes interest , i suppose in human terms its like having a deep fried mars bar (scottish delicacy for tourists for my non scottish followers) you know it shouldn't work  but you still have to try it .

so how to go about it well the easiest thing i suppose would be to do a step by step but due to lack of time this week i guess is just to try and explain the process.

the fly above has been tied with the worlds greatest synthetic, gliss and glint plus from deer creek which basically makes up 80% of the body and the material is the reason you you can make a big light fly so all you need then to do is add the naturals of your choice , so how do you go about choosing them , well bucktail head is always a good starter and maribou also works well , then have a dig and see what you have lurking in your boxes.

i love using guinea fowl as cheeks , you can get these in lots of different colours and in a bag you get lots of different sizes and its cheap at around £2.37 (uk) a bag its a cheap way to add something different to your fly only thing i would say is make sure you match your sizes of feather or you will end up with a lot of miss matched sizes and then theres jungle cock as well to add a bit of flare , the fly above has been tied using just these mentioned materials and a good way to start experimenting .

so taking it a couple of steps further besides the guinea fowl and jungle cock , ive added a couple of barred saddle hackles (one on each side) and some peacock hearl along the back and of course the gliss n glint plus for the main body , you can see on this fly that it has a good big profile , but again incredibly light to cast and has a killer action in the water.  

almost the same tie as above but used tip died bucktail again nice profile .

so have a dig through your boxes and see what you have lying around doing nothing think outside the box and most of all have fun .

all the flies above have been tied on 7/0 sakuma mantas , these are a fantastic hook and are needle sharp but if you plan using them close to the bottom on rocky areas check your hook points regularly as they can dull .  

so there we go never a dull moment and still going strong , i think any hopes of getting out fishing have been dashed for the the next few weeks but i will be spending a serious amount of time at the vice knocking out new patterns and catching up on some weird stuff in my head that i need to put on hooks .

oh and watch out for the next blog where im winding up some african scammers big time, these people really are stupid.

life on the edge my friends 
a cave in scotland   

Saturday 7 November 2015

busy days ahead , busting Pollock and Scottish pike

 at least somebody's getting out to fish, yes indeed and getting some stonking pollock , i was recently away with work for a few days when i got these pictures from stevie at guided pike fishing , he was away for a few days and decided to throw a few of my gliss and glint deep sandeels from the shore and bugger was he at the right place at the right time and absolutely hammered them 

from stevies account the pollock were chasing smaller fish and putting one of these in front of did the trick with him landing bucket loads and apparently he got smashed by a monster as well , if you havent caught pollock on the fly you really should get out and try it even the smaller fish go like rockets so i can only imagine what these went like , and cool pics as well never easy taking good pictures when your on your own well if your a photography Luddite like me , so appreciated the snaps

stevies set up was as follows
rod 10wgt (trust me needed)
intermediate line
and 25lb seager flurocarbon

not a complicated set up but then you really dont need to complicate things and as you can see the old adage of keep it simple paid off big time 

stunning looking fish 

and obviously better with one of my flies hanging out its chomping gear 

what its all about the end of a good fight and its still hanging on thanks to stevie at 
for the pictures 

so not only is stevie bagging up in the salt one of few guys i tie for (as you know i only tie for select folks ) darren barcik has recently become a total convert to the fluff and is getting some great results in scottish waters doing short sessions (never easy) so total respect there heres a few of darrens recent catches (photos used with kind permission cheers darren) 

again darren was on his own and never easy taking pictures by yourself but nice to see the fish being unhooked in the water as it should be done 

sneaky peak at the fly in the corner of the picture , a blend of naturals and synthetics (and some people scoffed at me making these flies a few years ago bit of humble pie being eaten just now i suspect) i like to think outside the box now and again and the proof is in the eating , i think the pics say it all 

again big shout out to darren for the pics and please as has happened before dont ask me to disclose locations as this aint happening , unfortunately the internet has been influential in the killing of a lot of waters in scotland so i aint going to add to that and client confidentiality is everything .

darren gets out a lot more than me for shorter chucking adventures and he has agreed to keep me up to speed on his catches so youll probably see a few of his pics popping up but maybe not all the flies 

cheers again darren    
and remember folks theres no pike like a scottish pike 

so still doing a lot of tying bespoke flies , but in-between been getting some other stuff out ,the flies below were for nick at   

blended gliss n glint with an 8mm gator eyes (i still think these are the sexiest eyes on the planet)

synthetic and natural deep down weighted head baitfish 

blended breamer streamer weighted head 

blended lite tye - although this looks quite bulky there is actually very little materials in this, which gives it the most translucent and awesome movement when in the water 

welcome to the freak show 

just got to love these eyes.

in search of perch  

as some of you may know perch drive me crazy i just cant catch the bloody things so ive started to fill up a new fly box with some patterns for the local canals , im determined to get a load at some point , my biggest perch is 3.5lb  on the fly and that was by accident on a pike fly , always happens to me whenever i catch a perch its big and ive not targeted it so next year im on a mission to actually target the things this space 

so winter is pretty much nearly upon us and the days shorten so its the time of year i get most time to myself on the vice and this winter will be extra cool as ill be teaching the lovely caroline the fine art of  tying predator flies so that will be interesting and just watch her out fish me next year and probably catch a shed load of perch on the flies she tyes , i can so see that happening .

so with that i have to get off and feed my son lots of e numbers before he goes back to his biological mother and i have to go finish some neutral buoyancy flies im working on (yes ill be filling up the bath to try them out) so hopefully some pics next blog post .

see ya all soon and if your out on the water this winter , stay safe and stay warm 

(a cave in scotland) 

this is the only wire i fully endorse , buy it from the uks original supplier 

Tuesday 6 October 2015

standing the test of time


I had an afternoons guided planned , probably the last day i could access the boats on my favourite loch and i was well looking forward to it , although i had to scale stuff down to a mobile bag with basics , wallet of flies , unhooking gear , etc , and that let me tell you is no easy feat with the amount of gear i have  , but when i packed the bag i found i had a spare pocket what do i do with that well obviously chuck in another box of flies just in case as we as anglers do , never have too many flies in your box so a box of gurglers and bangers was chucked in, well you never know when some top water sport will present itself 

so headed off and the weather was showing blowing a westerly at 25mph . now although this sounds like quite lumpy for boat fishing its actually fine when fishing this loch and not really an issue , so full of excitement at the thought of some airborne fighting fit predators going nuts on the fly i arrived with client at loch. 

what i hadn't bargained for was getting there to find the wind had shifted to an easterly gusting to 45mph this is probably the worst conditions for this loch and there was no way i was going to risk going out in that let alone chucking big flies about . again ill say no fish is worth risking your own safety and life just don't do it folks there's always another day , but ive rebooked so hopefully ill get another one in before the boats come out. 


the biggest question I always get is to my leader set up , back in the early days we used pretty much standard pike dead bait traces without the hooks opting for a cross lock swivel instead of nasty trebles  , then we started using fox soft steel wire to make our traces which was ok but you did find they suffered from chaffing on the wire from fish and you’d have to change it quite often , then the titanium revolution happened and to be honest it was great stuff until you discover that it acts like a cheese wire on the fish and if a fish takes a fly deeper in the mouth then you’re going to slice up its lips so that’s now been binned (saw it happen once to a lure angler not nice) please don’t use this for fly fishing it’s just not good for the fishes health .

We then had the range of wire from America hit these shores by forward thinking fly anglers , things like pro leader , surflux etc. , but even these came with their problems , being expensive to start with and most of the time when I used it I found that it was a bit to shiny in the water although it probably doesn't mater to the fish , it bothered me as an angler as I was sure it was off putting to the fish I may be wrong but that was my general thoughts and I ended up colouring the stuff with black marker pens to take the shine of it  ,

This obviously aint the ideal thing to do as it takes a lot of time and is a pain in backside , so I had priviously been using fluorocarbons in the 90 to 120lb range for most of my pike fly fishing and before the “you can’t do that” brigade start I can tell you I did not lose any fish to bite offs with this method , but and it’s a big but , I always had in the back of my mind it could happen although it never did and at the time it was top of the tree where traces were concerned for pike fly fishing .

That was until I came across Authanic wire , I was quite amazed at the quality of this trace material it handles like a braided line which makes it completely knot able which is really quite incredible just check the video , ive now had countless fish on Authanic wire and to date I have not needed to change it to another product , this really is a breakthrough material when it comes to trace material and I can’t think of any product out there that is better than this stuff you may think it’s expensive but actually its bloody good value for money as you can catch multiple fish on a length without having to change it so it actually works out better value than wire , if you haven’t tried Authanic then give it a go and it will change the way you think about leader materials for predators ,ive now been using it for nearly six years and i still have the utmost confidence in its ability that pretty much speaks volumes in my book , do yourself a favour and get some  


bog standard plain old marabou flies, you know when i started tying pike flies all those years ago we had nothing in the way of synthetics no not even ep fibre marabou was the best thing available to us along with chicken feathers and rabbit strips but as you know chucking wet rabbit strips is like chucking a wet sock around , oh home times have changed .

marabou has great properties in the water and has fantastic movement when paused and is the ideal fly to get you started when tying there's a few step by step on my you tube channel you wanna check em out , but marabou still on its days will out fish all other flies .theres a massive range of colours out there and endless possibility's in design, give em a shot  

 so today i have the choice of doing housework or tying flies bet you can guess the outcome there folks 

see ya on the water 

(a cave in scotland)

Saturday 3 October 2015

living on the edge

indeed shit happens , as youve probably noticed ive not posted in a little while well pressures of work and all that and then to cap it all my laptop goes kaput , bang , not working , now to be honest im not on a massive wedge of money for what i do (god i should be) so its taken me a while a while but i know a guy on facebook (itjeff) bless him who rescues my laptop when it dies from my abuse of it , so took me a while to get round to it , so then i gets it home goes on a 24 hour shift come home 24 hours later to find out my effing freezer had packed up and all my food was ruined know its like some f@@ked up version of feris bullers day off .

so its been a f@@ked up year yup it surely has but its not as f@@ked up as the year before as regular readers of my ramblings will know , but to be honest ive hardly fished this year pressures of work and keeping a roof over my head has had to be a priority , dont mean i haven't been sitting on my backside though indeed not , been tying bucket loads unfortunately ive not been able to post pictures of the flies due to, well folks i tie for not wanting there patterns know out there on the interweb but dispersed in-between my ramblings is some stuff ive been doing for my own boxes , indeed like i need more flys buhahahahahahah   

so you know although ive not been overly active on the blog front i have been watching whats going on in the pike fly fishing world and ive got to say WTF is it with all these rubber tail wiggle fly bollocks i mean seriously is it needed are we pushing boundaries too far well actually these latest round of must have flys (and i use the term flys lightly) are too me actual bloody verging on lures for spinning rods , you know way back in the early days of pike fly fishing in this country i making a fly called "franken flies" which were basically rubber sandeels with the heads cut off and spun deer heads with dumbell eyes and you know i got laughed at for doing these , dont get me wrong they caught a few fish but mabey its because im a pike fly purist (if theres such a thing) i felt weird using them but you know a few years ago it was the flashtail whistler was the must have fly and now its these monstrosities with they big wiggle tails ......FFS just go but a lure rod give up the flies your nearly there already and you know what they look like way too complicated changing tails and all that bollocks seriously WTF , do they catch more fish than normal flys NO PEOPLE ITS A FAD DESIGNED TO CATCH ANGLERS i mean whats next year going to bring , bloody crankbaits and jerkbaits for fly rods can you see where this is heading , i mean really .........BAN THE RUBBER NOW its just not fly fishing go back to prober flys dont be a feckin lemming , but if you wanna fish then go for it i just dont see the point they catch no more fish than trad materials  and cost a 
bloody bomb ridiculous 

ok so rant over about rubbery stuff and ive been playing with mixing up materials and playing with what various bits and ive come up with some , well i think some pretty cool 7 inch baitfish , now all ive done here is tied in an underbody of white superhair  and placed some deercreeks gliss and glint plus over the top , what this achived is creating body profile along with some lovely flashy bits in it along the body and if that aint good enough ive added some angel hair around the head (the yellow) , teased out into the body and then ive placed ep sparkle(olive) over the back added an 9mm eye and sealed the head with deer creeks uv fine .........and achived quite a nice looking baitfish pattern , 

same idea as above but ive added a red gill area but used slightly more materials to create a wider bodied fly 

ok so thin one again with no gill flash colour but plenty of flash 

yea floats my boat spotted a bit of orange fibre there not part of the build just my useless photography

had an urge to do an all flash fly after using the flash on the previous flys , quite a simply fly to make and ive found very effective seet of fish a volcano (i think) eye from deercreek and finished with diamond flex 
hook - 2/0 stainless
belly - yellow orvis angel hair 
back - ep olive sparkle 
eye - volcano eye from deercreek
head -finished with diamond flex uv 
bloody cameras i hate em , i find in my cave i need to do videos and picture in the early afternoon to make the most of the best light obviously im no david bailey

although ive not really fished much this year im still enjoying tying i find tying flies a very peaceful thing gets me a real zen place i sort a lot of my day to day problems sitting doing this mabey more of our worlds leaders should do this im sure the world would be a better place   

those final few moments when your just about to tie off and you know youve nailed it  

my lastest of the vice cw"s fancy , why the name well all will become clear soon 

again a mix of gliss and glint plus and peacock herl and has turned out really nice im loving mixing naturals and synthetics and using peacock herl for backs is one of my favourites just now seeing these things work in the water is quite a sight give it a try , when you tie a fly tie in a few pieces and see what you think , you can always cut them off if you dont like it but it really does add a new dimension to tying 

so a few things in the pipeline for the winter months and im going to be teaching a lovely lady to tie flies and then fish them in the spring this is something im really looking forward too as i love to teach , im also working on some epoxy headed predator flies for spinning rods which is quite a learning curve  and a lot of fun to do so hopefully ill have some pics up soon.

so if your out there stay safe this winter 
(a cave in scotland)

Sunday 16 August 2015

a rant


Ive not really had a rant for a while but sometimes things just piss me off to the extent I have to vent , so this time its at the uks glorious postal system let me explain.

I work in a quite stressful job working shift patterns that can sometimes at least a couple of nights a week do sleepover shifts (12pm till 12pm) so this does effect my fly tying to the extent im limited to how many customers I take onto my books so to speak , so I keep a small list of regulars who place fairly regular orders which im usually able to fulfil within 7 to 14 days , shifts permitting , my regulars understand this and it works well for all concerned and of course my flies catch fish which is why they keep coming back .

So when things are quite I take on the odd bit of extra work, now I had a couple of weeks holiday recently and I had a couple of largish orders come in which I was able to take on , as id just finished 3 regular customers orders one of the orders was to southern Ireland and one to England which although was time sensitive I worked out that even with materials having to be ordered I would be able to do it in time .

So I set to work on both orders and it worked out quite well , the order to southern Ireland was finished and bagged up ready to be posted and I started on the last remaining flies for the other order although I was waiting for materials I could still complete most of it .

So job done I set off to the following day to do a 12 – 12 shift and arrived in work an hour early because this one time there wasn't a Q in the post office so parcels duly dispatched I felt quite relived that it was done and dusted.

So over the coming weeks out of the 5 packets I sent out that week these 2 orders hadn’t yet arrived and I was starting to get concerned after a few more days it became clear that they weren’t going to arrive and I would have to replace them (gutted).ive had to send replacement flies for the time sensitive ones from my stock of extras luckily I get a few orders for chew so I have a stock of these flies which work there , although not what the customer ordered I simply cant afford to refund as ive already bought the materials and again id have to re order the materials for this bespoke order at my own expense meaning id be making a loss let alone the hours and days put in to make them

Now let me tell you im in a very low paid job and I kid you not 90% of my wages goes on household bills , rent , council tax , electricity gas , etc and making ends meet is bloody hard any money I make from flies (which isn’t a lot after buying materials) goes on luxuries like food and the odd night out with friends , which I need to do for my own sanity (my fishing trips are few and far between and they don’t cost much) so having to replace 70 odd flies wipes out any potential extra I would make for these little luxuries and that’s not even mentioning the time it takes to make them .

As to the post office they really couldn’t give two shits about me the customer as far as there concerned its my fault anyway , you know I once had some hooks go missing to a customer some years ago and you know eventually after 4 months they were returned to me with a note saying very sorry we found these down the back of a machine , we will try to improve our practises to stop this happening again , oh great that makes it fine then maybe you can tell the guy that ordered them that  and he may order from me again …..

So im actually sitting here now wondering if its even worth continuing tying flies for folks unless A- im going to go fishing with them or B- they can come and pick them up themselves i.e advertise on gumtree or craigslist ……..really really burned out by this, bastards
Ok so usually before I start on any orders I like to warm up with a few ties for myself so heres what ive been tying , mostly on 4/0 and 6/0 

Murdich minnows are a cracking fly and used quite a lot in the states quick and easy to tie and look great when figure of eight back through the water and you can tie t
Em as big or as small as you like

Gliss and glint flies

Despite having left the deer creek prostaff I still fully endorse there gliss and glint as one of the finest synthetics out there for large pike flies none finer 

Check out there full range at


Brian from is one of my regular customers and all uses my flies as another weapon for chasing the elusive ferox trout around the deep lochs of Scotland, brian comes to me with ideas for trolling flies and I put them onto hooks send him pictures in case he needs to change anything and then we roll from there.

And here is the result 

10lb 6oz of finest Scottish ferrox can’t really argue with that as proof of my abilities, it still amazes me that out there in social media land that there are people who have only been tying predator flies for such a short time and selling them as the best there is and put my flies down as rubbish, jealousy is a terrible thing , when your flies catch such rare fish as this in the hardest of lochs well your argument is invalid frankly , you know ive never claimed to be the greatest tier in the world , far from it and you know I really couldn’t care less , my regular customers know better 

Brian is probably one of the best guides out there and his detail to fish welfare is second to none , no wonder he gets booked up so quick , go check his website and do yourself a favour book a day in the finest of boats in the most beautiful locations in the word .Scotland.


Simply stunning what a way to end the blog

See ya out there
(a cave in scotland)