Nymphs

RIVER NYMPHS & STREAMERS

NymphsGo to
Nymphs...
are essential for successful fly fishing on rivers throughout the world. If there is no hatch and no fish rising then fishing nymphs is often the way to go. Nymphing techniques, of which there are many, should be bread and butter to every fly-fisher. Employing the correct nymphing technique is only part of the solution, selecting the 'right' nymph for the situation is key. River nymphs need to be small, with the correct silhouette and, very importantly, carry the right amount of weight. The weight required might be an un-weighted nymph, a leaded underbody, a metal bead, a tungsten bead, or a combination of lead and tungsten bead.

StreamersGo to
Streamers...
are finally making a breakthrough into the UK flyfishing scene. They have been used successfully in Europe and the USA for years, but they have been slow to catch-on in the UK. Now times are changing and anglers here are beginning to realise how successful streamers can be when the situation and conditions suit. Modern river fly-fishers are now adding streamer fishing to their range of techniques.

Bespoke Tied FliesGo to
Bespoke Tied Flies...
- I now offer a very small selection of bespoke tied nymphs and streamers. These are flies I use that are very effective, but not viable to have tied for me in larger quantities. Many of my bespoke flies are patterns I've seen in magazines, social media, friend recommendations, etc. I've then tied a few for myself and discovered that they 'work', to the point that I feel it worthwhile to make them available for all. Bespoke nymphs and streamers can be found at the bottom of this page hereGo to
Bespoke Tied Flies...
.

Nymphs

A variety of nymphs that will see you through the whole year, from spring trout fishing, through summer and into autumn and winter for grayling.

Gold Head Pheasant Tail Nymph

Gold Head Pheasant Tail Nymph £1.70

Gold Head Pheasant Tail Nymph is nothing short of outstanding on the Yorkshire Dales rivers. It is a versatile nymph; I use it when upstream nymphing, as a point fly when fishing North Country Spiders and for fishing the 'duo' through shallow water. Once wet this fly looks so natural and juicy it's hard to imagine any trout refusing it! Size 16.

Temporarily out of stock

Copperhead Nymph

Copperhead Nymph £1.70

The Copperhead Nymph is tied with a tungsten bead and lead under-body to get down quickly. I like to think that it is a representation of a cased caddis. Such a simple nymph but it can be devastating, particularly when Czech nymphing when I use it as a top dropper fly! If I had to use just one nymph this would probably be it! Size 14.

Edwards Baetis Nymph

Edwards Baetis Nymph £2.50

An early season nymph originated by my friend Oliver Edwards to represent the Large Dark Olive Nymph. Early season until May, this fly catches lots of trout, fished either upstream or in a team of wet flies. It is an intricate tying (hence the price) and incorporates many features of the natural nymph. Size 14 and 16.

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Mary Copperhead

Mary Copperhead £1.70

Named after one of the best fly anglers in the country, Simon 'Mary' Robinson. This fly uses a 2mm tungsten bead to fish at depth quickly and has a wing case of pearl to add attraction. It is used for fishing the 'duo' and 'trio' methods (teamed with a Pinkhamer), upstream nymphing and on a French Leader. A deadly fly! Size 14 short shank, wide gape, hook

Duracell Jig Nymph

Duracell Jig Nymph £1.70

A fly from the Scottish competition scene. The body is made from a UV dubbing, which is very attractive to trout and grayling. The CDC hackle cloaks the body when fishing giving added movement and translucency to the fly. CDC is becoming quite a popular material for incorporating into nymphs. It traps tiny bubbles of air and its movement underwater imitates gills and legs of a live nymph. Tied with a tungsten bead on a jig hook so that it fishes point up, avoiding snagging the bottom. Highly recommended. Sizes 12, 14 and 16.

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Cat Gut Nymph

Cat Gut Nymph £1.70

I started to play around with cat gut in my flies a few years ago and found it to be a very effective material. It gives subtle colouration to flies and just the right amount of translucency. This is a good pattern throughout the summer months and into autumn when the nymphs of the paler upwing species are active. Well suited to fishing on a French Leader. Sizes 16 and 18.

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Squirmy Wormy

Squirmy Wormy £1.60

Loved by some, hated by others, no-one can question the effectiveness of the Squirmy Wormy! In fact, it is because it is so good at fooling trout and grayling that some anglers dislike it. I'm firmly in the 'love it' camp and a big fan of this fly. Originating in Scotland, it is a favourite of winter grayling flyfishers. It even works on lakes for rainbows. I have caught fish on this fly all over the country; in swollen rivers and low rivers; I've had grayling hit it as soon as it hit the water! It is best fished on a short line, Czech style, or on a French Leader. Available in sizes 8 and 12.

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Quill Body Jig Nymph

Quill Body Jig Nymph £1.60

This is another tungsten bead nymph tied on the currently fashionable jig hooks. Jig hooks fish point up, meaning fewer snags on the bottom and in my opinion look the part as well. The quill body imitates the segmented body of a nymph and flashy thorax dubbing provides just enough glint to attract trout and grayling. This fly and the Duracell Jig above are both perfectly suited to fishing on French Leaders and the bigger two sizes are perfect for Czech Nymph type (short line) presentations. Sizes 12, 14 and 16.

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River Strike Indicators

River Strike Indicators £4.25

Self adhesive, pinch on, foam bite indicators made by Fulling Mill. These are by far the best strike/bite indicators to use for river fly fishing as they are virtually weightless, give little wind resistance and, therefore, cast well on light river rods/lines. I use them for upstream nymphing by attaching one to the leader where it is knotted to the braided loop. They do not peel, fade or suffer from colour run. The closed cell foam won't get waterlogged like yarn indicators. The aggressive, waterproof adhesive backing, stays on the leader until you decide to remove it - and will leave minimal residue when it is removed. Available in yellow and hot pink - I carry both to cover differing light situations. Each sheet contains 32 punch-out indicators in two different sizes. Useful also for Czech Nymphing.

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Streamers

Streamer fishing in the UK is now on the rise. For many years it was frowned upon, for what reason I've no idea. Fishing streamers is an exciting and skilful way of fly fishing, much underrated here in the UK. I have been fishing streamers for a number of years and when conditions are right I find it enjoyable and very successful, often accounting for big trout. The following is a selection of the most popular and successful streamers in use today. It is important to carry a range of sizes, colours and weights to cover varying conditions. I fish streamers on either a sinking line (DI3) or fast sinking Polytip with an 8lb fluorocarbon tippet section.

Black Wooly Bugger

Black Wooly Bugger £1.60

If you only carry one streamer for occasional use then it should be one of the Wooly Bugger family. My favourite is this black version, which you can use with confidence anywhere. Successful throughout the world, the Wooly Bugger is an imitator of many things that swim below the surface, from baitfish to leeches. Weighted - Size 6.

Black & Gold Humongous

Black & Gold Humongous £1.60

It was my good friend and one of Scotland's top anglers, Dave Downie, that first showed me the Humongous. It's one of his top flies and he rates it very highly. The Humongous is now one of the best known modern trout lures in the UK. It is very effective for both rainbow trout and brown trout, in rivers and lakes. In March 2016 it caught me my then PB river trout, a fish of 4lb 3oz! Size 8.

Black & Silver Humongous

Black & Silver Humongous £4.25

It was my good friend and one of Scotland's top anglers, Dave Downie, that first showed me the Humongous. It's one of his top flies and he rates it very highly. The Humongous is now one of the best known modern trout lures in the UK. It is very effective for both rainbow trout and brown trout, in rivers and lakes. In March 2016 it caught me my then PB river trout, a fish of 4lb 3oz! Size 8.

Minkie White

Minkie White £1.60

Once wet and in the water Minkie flies swim and look amazingly lifelike and are therefore extremely attractive to trout, both rainbows and browns. I have used the White Minkie with success world over, from Chile to Slovenia, and even off the UK coast fishing for bass, pollock and mackerel. They can be used with confidence in rivers, lakes and even saltwater. Size 6.

Natural Zonker Skullhead

Natural Zonker Sculpin £1.60

Sculpins, also known as bullheads and Miller's Thumb are very abundant in our rivers and form part of a trout's diet. This Zonker is a good imitation of these small fish. The conehead adds to the convincing profile of the pattern and adds weight to get the fly down in fast water. Size 6.

Bespoke Tied River Nymphs & Streamers

A small selection of my favourite and most successful nymphs and streamers, tied personally by me to order. These are some of my go-to patterns and have been for many years in some cases. I only use the best materials and tungsten beads, and always tie on quality hooks. They are only available by emailing meClick to email me in the first instance as I don't always have the time to tie flies to order.

Craig’s Killer Jig Nymph

Craig’s Killer Jig Nymph £5

The Craig’s Killer Jig Nymph is a fly invented by the Scottish angler Craig McDonald for grayling fishing in the depths of winter. As the name suggests it uses a tungsten 'jig back' rather than a tungsten bead. If you aren't familiar with these tungsten jig backs they are similar to tungsten beads but extend down the back of the fly, making flies tied with them around twice as heavy, size for size, as tungsten bead flies. Also, because they sit on the back of the fly it ensures that it fishes point up. Brilliant point fly with one or two lighter flies on droppers above. An essential fly when fishing big powerful rivers with a gravel bed (only way to get your flies down), however, I wouldn't advise using them in rocky, snaggy, rivers or you will lose them. Various sizes available from small to XL.

Minkie Minnow

Minkie Minnow £4-£5

A streamer that I came up with myself after much thought and consideration... Many of the rivers I fish have big trout - that's why I fish them. It's no coincidence that these very same rivers also have large populations of minnows. Trout eat far more bait fish than most anglers realise and I wanted a good imitation of a minnow. I didn't want it to be heavy because I wanted it to move very freely in the water, just as naturals do. The outcome was this streamer and on it's first outing in a swollen and slightly coloured river it accounted for 10 trout, 8 of these over 2lb and 2 of these over 3lb! Since then it has done well in a variety of conditions and even been successful on lakes for wild brown trout. I have recently tied a stinger hook version to convert the nips and pulls I was experiencing - this has increased hook ups greatly.

The Wasp

The Wasp £4

The Wasp is a brilliant grayling bug invented by another Scot, Euan Miller. He credits it with having caught most of his big grayling on it. It can be tied in a range of sizes depending on the depth of water being fished. It can be tied with copper or black tungsten beads, though I generally prefer the copper version. It is a relatively new fly for me but I have had good results with it already and it is one of the first flies on my leader from autumn onwards.

The Endolphin

The Endolphin £4.50

The Endolphin is a fly that I discovered only recently, from a magazine article actually. It's a fly from the competition scene and it interested me as soon as I turned the page. I was taken by the small, bright, tail, which was shrouded by the CDC. I liked the subtle flash in the body dubbing and the 'discreet' metallic pink tungsten bead at the head. That's got to be worth a try I thought so I knocked up a few to try over the next few months. I have since put it to work for both trout and grayling, in rivers up and down the country. I have had success wherever I've used it and on one river, fishing as a guest, it took the biggest trout my host had ever seen! It is usually one of the first flies on my leader now.

Egg Sucking Leech

Egg Sucking Leech £4

The Egg Sucking Leech is a streamer devised by Welsh Angler Ceri Thomas. The fly has many triggers that attract trout to it, the most important of these I feel is the movement in the water as a result of having a tungsten bead at the head. When you retrieve this fly through the water the movement is quite startling and obviously attractive to trout, big and small. Some days trout will throw themselves at this pattern. It also stands out very clearly in coloured water due to the contrasting colours. I have used it successfully on rivers and lakes - Ceri rates it very highly and uses it productively on his local Welsh llyns.

Cased Caddis Jig Back

Cased Caddis Jig Back £5

The Cased Caddis Jig Back is another fly using the tungsten jig back for increased weight, whilst keeping the fly relatively small. The jig back also ensures the fly fishes point up, reducing snagging. The extended larva is bright green to match many species, but also acting as a bright trigger to trout and grayling. There is a hackle of partridge to imitate the legs of the natural. This is a top grayling fly throughout the winter months. I can also tie lighter versions with tungsten beads of various sizes and colours.

Czech Nymph Grey (Hydropsyche)

Czech Nymph Grey (Hydropsyche) £4

Czech Nymphs have to some extent gone out of fashion in recent years, to be replaced by tungsten beaded flies. In some ways this is understandable - there's no way I'd like to fish a river without a good selection of tungsten bead nymphs - but not to carry alternatives would be a big mistake. Many times fish simply shy away from tungsten beads. Czech Nymphs are the obvious alternative, offering trout and grayling the perfect profile of a caseless caddis larva, which are one of the most abundant food items found in rainfed rivers. Slim and heavy, they sink almost as quickly as bead heads, but without a shiny bead to spook the fish. Nymphs are usually fished in teams or two or three and particularly when fishing a team of three I prefer to split the beads up with a Czech Nymph between them. This version in grey, dark grey, brown and black thorax cover is the perfect imitation of one of the most abundant caseless caddis larva - the Hydropsyche.

Czech Nymph Olive (Rhyacophila)

Czech Nymph Olive (Rhyacophila) £4

Czech Nymphs have to some extent gone out of fashion in recent years, to be replaced by tungsten beaded flies. In some ways this is understandable - there's no way I'd like to fish a river without a good selection of tungsten bead nymphs - but not to carry alternatives would be a big mistake. Many times fish simply shy away from tungsten beads. Czech Nymphs are the obvious alternative, offering trout and grayling the perfect profile of a caseless caddis larva, which are one of the most abundant food items found in rainfed rivers. Slim and heavy, they sink almost as quickly as bead heads, but without a shiny bead to spook the fish. Nymphs are usually fished in teams or two or three and particularly when fishing a team of three I prefer to split the beads up with a Czech Nymph between them. This version in olive with a prominent yellow rib, dark dorsal surface and black thorax cover is the perfect imitation of one of the most abundant caseless caddis larva - the Rhyacophila.

Czech Nymph Hot Spot

Czech Nymph Hot Spot/Pink £4

Czech Nymphs have to some extent gone out of fashion in recent years, to be replaced by tungsten beaded flies. In some ways this is understandable - there's no way I'd like to fish a river without a good selection of tungsten bead nymphs - but not to carry alternatives would be a big mistake. Many times fish simply shy away from tungsten beads. Czech Nymphs are the obvious alternative, offering trout and grayling the perfect profile of a caseless caddis larva, which are one of the most abundant food items found in rainfed rivers. Slim and heavy, they sink almost as quickly as bead heads, but without a shiny bead to spook the fish. Nymphs are usually fished in teams or two or three and particularly when fishing a team of three I prefer to split the beads up with a Czech Nymph between them. These two versions, one with a pink hot spot (pictured) and the other in bright pink (not pictured), give an added trigger. I've had days when grayling have singled out the hot spot version despite moving it up and my leader position. The pink version has been successful for trout in coloured water and in exactly the opposte conditions for grayling, i.e. in gin clear water in the middle of a winter cold snap.

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