How to best dress wet flies – George Barron

George Barron Fly Tying Blog

The trout season has gone, blown to a spectacular closure by hurricane Ophelia – it’s early December and most major still waters are now closed. November sees plenty of quality rainbow trout hitting fry; fry bashing on reservoirs offer an exciting end to the season for the fisherman chasing a specimen. But for the traditional fly fisherman, it’s time to reflect and think about spending a few hours at the vice preparing for next season. A good starting point is to check the fishing diary for the wet flies that were most successful during the season and make sure you have a few tied up ready for 2018 – good flies are never just one season wonders.

It’s really no great surprise that the most successful flies for me this year were basically the two or three that caught during the last few seasons – I’m a creature of habit so why change a winning combination. Wild trout are my preferred quarry when fishing in Wales, Scotland or Ireland and my most consistent flies this year have been the Bo Diddly, the Roosky Bumble and this season’s real surprise package has been the Pin Fry Invicta which, fished on that tricky middle dropper position has almost out fished anything else on the cast.

George Barron Fly Tying Blog

I’m often asked what are so different about my flies and the true answer is – not a great deal. I would say that I see no point in tying a good fly on an inferior hook so, for me the best hook will always be the dependable FM15 30 or the FM15 31 in black – good irons and a great shape for traditional wet flies. Hooks apart, the only other concession I really think is important is decent quality hackles – hen hackles would be first choice or as a substitute, soft henny genetic cock as produced by Keough.

George Barron Fly Tying Blog

At the vice, keep it simple – an under-dressed fly is always better than an over-dressed one –
certainly where fussy brown trout are concerned. Tying thread in black, brown or claret cover all the tying needs and ceramic bobbin holders are much kinder to delicate 80 un-waxed thread than metal ones. To finish off, free running varnish is much more preferable than its shinny, lumpy and high-density brother. Go for uniformity, by that I mean, don’t just tie one or two flies of a particular pattern, tie half a dozen and aim to make them all the same shape and profile.

Finally, loch-style fishing requires a leader with enough strength and stiffness to hold and present wet flies in the strongest of winds and play quality wild trout in the rockiest of venues with total confidence – look no further than Fulling Mill World Class Fluorocarbon – I use it for 100% of my loch-style fishing – 5lb or 6lb cover all my needs – it has a very thin diameter, brilliant knot strength and is half the price of most other fluoros. I think you could play a horse on it and not get broken. Any questions re-tying flies – please send to me through the Fulling Mill Website. Tight lines and good tying.

George Barron Fly Tying Blog

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