Chris McCully

Fishing Diary

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Little Red Sedge

Saturday, 20 April 2019 at 17:50

Little Red Sedge I know.... The Super Pupa, the CDC sedge are just as effective on flowing water, but sometimes it's nice to tie up old-fashioned sedges.

Having fumbled together some Silver March Browns last week I was much taken with winging using hen pheasant fibres and thought the feather might be a useful substitute for landrail on some older patterns. One such fly is Skues' Little Red Sedge. Accordingly I knocked up a handful of these wonderful little (size range 14-16) dry flies. I'd fish anywhere on the Dales rivers (and elsewhere) during the summer with this one, working it under the trees... though I see that I've made a bit of a bugger's muddle of the head on the fly illustrated. Still, I doubt the trout will mind.

Yellow May Dun

Saturday, 20 April 2019 at 17:44

Yellow May Dun Having tied up a handful of Yellow-legged Bloas I had a shuffle around the interweb and looked for dry patterns of the Yellow May Dun (Heptagenia sulphurea to you). The world and its dog apparently tie up these flies for breakfast, lunch and tea. I'm not conscious of ever having tied any so I knocked up a few Klinkhåmer-style dries. It's a most beautiful artificial fly though I had very few pale yellow hackles and therefore improvised. Will it work?  Well, as the poet said, we shall find out.

Yellow-legged Bloa

Saturday, 20 April 2019 at 17:36

Yellow legged Bloa One for May, though the artificial doesn't appear anywhere in my own records (yet). I must have fished when these heptagenids (Heptagenia sulphurea) were hatching - I have a dim memory of doing so in Pennsylvania, years ago, when local anglers were raving gently about 'the sulphurs', but the Pritt-based pattern is so lovely that I tied some up in anticipation of another Yorkshire trip next month. The hackle is too dark - Pritt specified ginger ('from a Cochin China hen's neck') and he winged his wet-fly with starling, too, but I don't suppose the fish will notice. I provided yellow(ish) legs by working in a few yellow-dyed guinea fowl fibres into a starling undercovert hackle.


Thursday, 18 April 2019 at 15:49

Buzzers April Vanishingly rare that I kill a trout these days but if there's a family request then what can you do? I went down to the rainbow lake ('because a fire was in my head....') and fished for a bare three hours, from 11a.m. till just after 2p.m. The conditions weren't great: high hazy cloud, warm and strong sunshine, light SE wind. The buzzers did put in an appearance around lunchtime but the fish didn't move nearly as well to them as they did in the cold E wind and under the overcast skies of last week. I fished only buzzers - a sort of self-denying ordinance - because I fairly quickly get stalled fishing e.g. Damsel nymphs at depth. In the event the rainbows responded only to the Heron Herl buzzer (size 14), a little pupa pattern I presented just sub-surface. I fished Shuttlecocks and Shipman's but they didn't want the fly floating; they only wanted the about-to-hatch flies. i.e. the ones hanging down from the surface film. This was confirmed when I spooned the fish I did retain (see image): a maw-ful of still-wriggling buzzers. Most were big black ones but there were some little black and olive ones too...and a bloodworm for good measure. I released three more trout. The rise, such as it was, was over by 2p.m. Then I went home.

Silver March Brown

Sunday, 14 April 2019 at 12:12

Silver March Brown Looking ahead, one thing that trout on both river and stillwater do during the summer is predate on fry (on stillwater - often perch and roach fry) and/or minnows and bullheads (on the river). Two patterns which often stand me in good stead are the Silver Invicta and the Silver March Brown. Thinking of June and July I tied up some of the latter. Silk: black 6/0; Hook: Kamasan B175, size 10-12; Tail: brown partridge; Body: silver holographic tape ribbed with oval silver wire; Hackle: brown partridge; Wing: Hen pheasant, rolled. Make the black head prominent and varnish it well (it stylises the eyes of the fry or minnow). It's a fairly easy fly to tie and I like working with hen pheasant as a winging material: it rolls and compresses well. You could probably use hen pheasant as a substitute for landrail (e.g. Skues' Little Red Sedge, which is a cracking pattern on the Dales rivers in the summer).

Spider silk

Saturday, 13 April 2019 at 10:02

Ubi sunt? I've been tying plenty of Northern spiders of late. As fly-dressers will know, Pearsall's gossamer is no longer manufactured. For a few years I obtained replacements from Langley Threads. They are also now out of business (although some stock may be available from I've used Veevus and other threads, and very efficient they are, but I still repine over Pearsall's. It was a known quantity, took waxing well, came in a wonderful range of shades - and not least, darkened predictably when wet. It also had a historical link to some of the great angling authors of the past: H.H. Edmonds, of Edmonds and Lee fame, was connected to the textile trade in Bradford. Now, I'm not going to hang myself because I can't tie up the classic Northern spiders with the original materials but I do miss Pearsall's gossamer, even down to its little wooden bobbins.

First rainbows

Friday, 12 April 2019 at 16:20

Good fish It's been difficult to get away but today I stole three hours on the rainbow lake. It wasn't altogether easy but I left having released four brace or thereabouts. The fish moved well to a hatch of buzzers from 1100 to around 1400. It took an hour of experimenting before I hit on a convincing presentation. The right colour on the day was washed-out grey - the fish rejected black, olive and red - and the right size was a small 14. The trout were feeding in or just under the surface. This was the best of the rainbows, a chunky fish of around 2¾lb.

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