Chris McCully

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The Grafham flies: Big Red

Wednesday, 6 December 2017 at 09:08

Big Red Fishing's been at a standstill for five weeks - a combination of work and domestic circumstances which has left me chained to the desk or in a worrying relationship with the A1, a road I'm getting to know rather too well. Still, I've done a bit of fly-tying and last weekend was reviewing the patterns that seem to have worked well at Grafham over the past season. (I rarely fish Grafham for trout in the winter, though the lake is open till the end of January and there are those who swear that the winter months offer some of the best of Grafham's bank fishing.) Though I caught fish on buzzers, Daddies, Snakes, Hare's Ears and even the odd Blob I usually used more or less representative patterns and of them, have here selected a dry pattern, a pupa, a floating fry and the Pitsford Pea, which last is a sort of mini-lure.

The Big Red (size 12) is a great dry-fly and one I used (and will use) gladly throughout the summer and early autumn. It's slightly more vulnerable then the other patterns listed here - the parachute hackle tends to get mangled in trout teeth - so I tie and carry plenty.

The Grafham flies: Pitsford Pea

Wednesday, 6 December 2017 at 09:02

Pitsford Pea This simple little pattern, in sizes 8-12, was rarely off the leader in the first part of the season - late March and April. I don't know quite what it is about the fly that works so well: that combination of black and fluorescent green, so easily visible to feeding trout? The attractively wavy marabou tail? Whatever the attraction, the pattern seemed to work wonderfully well. I usually fished it fairly slowly on a DI3 line or a slow intermediate.

The standard Pea is tied with sparkle chenille at the head of the fly. I tend to use fluorescent lime-green fur and dub it. As the fly gets knocked about by caught and released rainbows it seems to become more effective as the green fibres get messy.

The Grafham flies: Cove PTN

Wednesday, 6 December 2017 at 08:56

Cove PTN If ever I need a pattern to represent almost any buzzer pupa I reach first for the Cove PTN, designed over four decades ago by Arthur Cove. I remember that in the 1970s Arthur Cove recommended that the pattern be dressed on a longshank size 8 hook - a giant stylisation of a natural pupa - but these days I think we tend to tie the pattern on normal size 10-14 hooks. It's hugely simple to tie - just pheasant tail closely ribbed with fine gold wire, and a thorax of rabbit fur. These days I spruce up the front end of the fly by working some sparkle fibres into the thorax. (You can glimpse those variants at the bottom of the image.)

The Grafham flies: Suspender Minkie

Wednesday, 6 December 2017 at 08:50

Suspender Minkie The Suspender Minkie (see also below) is a great fry pattern. I use them in sizes 8 and 10. As well as tying some white versions of the pattern myself I also, and unusually, ordered some from the Bay of E: the fly-dresser 'marker6688', based in the UK (in Northern Ireland I think) supplied half-a-dozen wonderfully dressed white and brown variants, and did so very speedily. These patterns can be fished static, twitched, drawn stripped or in a figure-of-eight retrieve.

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