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Phillippa’s Top 5

Published: 14th April 2020 | Author: Phillippa Hake

I’d like to start this blog by saying I hope everyone is keeping safe and well in these uncertain times we find ourselves in, also to anyone who is out there on the front line, a huge thank you for everything you are doing!

For many of us, life in lockdown is fast becoming the normal day to day life. With fishing off the cards for the foreseeable. Peoples attention has been redirected to the social media platforms, from the look of things many box sets are being binge watched, bread is being baked.. but for us fly tyers out there, it is the perfect time for us to replenish our fly boxes. Now I’ve never been one for taking multiple fly boxes with me when I go out for a days fishing, but I have found my self with more flies than I’ve ever had!

With so many different fly patterns out there I’ve selected a handful of my favourite patterns from my fly box to share with you and maybe give all you fly tyers out there a little inspiration if you’re stuck on what to tie next!

1 – Hot Spot Pheasant Tail Nymph

Hook – Fulling Mill Jig Force #16

Thread – Black 6/0

Tail – Coq De Leon Fibres

Hot Spot – Glo Brite Number 4

Rib – Fine Silver Wire

Body – Pheasant Tail

Thorax – Hares Ear Dubbing

Bead – Silver Slotted Tungsten 3.0

this pattern is definitely one that has cemented its self in not only my fly box but many boxes across the UK and Europe. I tie this fly form size 14 down to 20 and had success with this fly on many rivers, it’s a fly that will catch you fish anywhere. I fish the fly as either part of a team of flies on a French leader through fast ripples or I fish a size 18 or 20 using the duo method under a big bushy sedge or klinkhammer through pocket water.

2- Flash Back Nymph

Hook – Fulling Mill Jig Force #16

Thread – Black 6/0

Tail –  Coq De Leon

Body – Pheasant Tail

Body 2 – Silver tinsel or Mirage Tinsel

Rib – Silver Wire

Thorax – Hares Ear

Bead – Slotted Tungsten Bead 3.0

the flash back nymph is a fly that can be tied in many different variations weather that  be the colour of the flash back, colour of the bead or the type of hook its tied on. Like the hot spot pheasant tail I fish it the same way. I mainly tie this pattern on jig hooks but when fishing the smaller size 18 and 20 I tie them on the fulling mill ultimate dry fly hook, the reason for this is so I have a lighter variation of the pattern when fishing in low water and again, for fishing the duo.

3-  CDC & Elk Sedge

Hook – Fulling Mill Ultimate dry #14/16

Thread – Black/Brown 6/0

Body – Hares Ear Dubbing

Wing 1 – CDC Feather

Wing 2 – Elk Hair

The CDC & Elk is one of my favourite dry flies, its a fly that first introduced me to dry fly fishing on rivers. I like to fish it a couple of ways, as a single fly when the sun goes on them warm nights on the river and the sedges come out to play! Or as the buoyant dry fly used when fishing the duo. It can be teamed up with small bead head nymphs such as the flash back pheasant tail, a great method to search the water and find fish that are holding in pocket water. 

4- Plume Tip

Hook – Fulling Mill Ultimate Dry #20

Thread – Light brown / olive 18/0

Body – Stripped Peacock Quill

Wing – CDC

Thorax – Fox Squirrel 

This fly has to be one of the simplest patterns to tie! I was first shown this fly when preparing for a trip to the River San in Poland. It imitates a hatched/hatching midge and is rarely refused by any trout or grayling that are happily rising and on the feed.  I wouldn’t be without this fly in my dry box. I prefer to tie it using either Yellow or Natural stripped Quill. Try not to add too much of a busy thorax. Try and keep it nice and sparse!

5-Quill Red Tag Jig

Hook – Fulling Mill Jig Force #16

Thread – Black 8/0

Bead – Slotted Tungsten 3.0 Copper

Tag – Glo Brite

Body – Ginger Stripper Peacock Quill

Hackle – CDC

Thorax – Spectra Dub

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I think this is probably one of the most popular trout and grayling patterns out there. And there’s good reason as to why! It catches fish. I’ve recently tied some of them with a quill body and over the winter they proved to be winners with the grayling! They’re mostly fished as part of a team of nymphs with a French leader and is a killer fly to have in your box!

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