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In step with the Riverdancer

By Tomas Kolesinskas

Tomas Kolesinskas has a fly which he tied on last spring and fished it right through the season with utmost confidence



  • The basic tube mount: the plastic extension tubing is threaded onto a tying needle; the tube liner is pushed on, over which the

    The basic tube mount: the plastic extension tubing is threaded onto a tying needle; the tube liner is pushed on, over which the

  • Extension tubing is pushed onto rear of bottle tube, then thread is attached and turns are made to secure extension tubing.

    Extension tubing is pushed onto rear of bottle tube, then thread is attached and turns are made to secure extension tubing.

  • The author prefers the mobilty of nutria (coypu) hair for much of his salmon fly work.

    The author prefers the mobilty of nutria (coypu) hair for much of his salmon fly work.

  • Yellow nutria hair is added as a tail, positioned on the extension tubing, at the very rear of the bottle tube.

    Yellow nutria hair is added as a tail, positioned on the extension tubing, at the very rear of the bottle tube.

  • Orange nutria is added on top, then 4 strands of Mirror Flash.

    Orange nutria is added on top, then 4 strands of Mirror Flash.

  • An orange hackle is bound in by the tip at the root of the tail.

    An orange hackle is bound in by the tip at the root of the tail.

  • Hackle is wound, tied down, and trimmed.

    Hackle is wound, tied down, and trimmed.

  • A butt of fluorescent red seal's fur is wound at the base of the hackle root.

    A butt of fluorescent red seal's fur is wound at the base of the hackle root.

  • The holographic braid is caught in as the thread is brought forward.

    The holographic braid is caught in as the thread is brought forward.

  • The holographic braid is caught in as the thread is brought forward.

    The holographic braid is caught in as the thread is brought forward.

  • A wing of Arctic runner is now tied in.

    A wing of Arctic runner is now tied in.

  • (Top view) On top of the wing, pearl Krinkle Flash is tied in.

    (Top view) On top of the wing, pearl Krinkle Flash is tied in.

  • The two hackles – fluorescent yellow and black – are prepared and tied in by their tips.

    The two hackles – fluorescent yellow and black – are prepared and tied in by their tips.

  • The two hackles are wound together, working forwards, tied down and trimmed.

    The two hackles are wound together, working forwards, tied down and trimmed.

  • A pair of jungle cock cheeks are added.

    A pair of jungle cock cheeks are added.

  • Whip-finish is secured with Superglue.

    Whip-finish is secured with Superglue.

  • The conehead is threaded onto the needle, over the tube-liner and bedded over the fly head. The liner is trimmed slightly long,

    The conehead is threaded onto the needle, over the tube-liner and bedded over the fly head. The liner is trimmed slightly long,

  • The completed Riverdancer.

    The completed Riverdancer.


I met Olli Ojamo from Eumer a long time ago at the BFFI. He was tying on his stand as we chatted, and after sharing a few fly tying and fishing secrets he gave me a fly, which he had tied in only about three minutes. I kept Olli’s original, ‘3-minute spring special’ fly in my fly box for many years, as a souvenir. Although it was always present in my box, I never fished with it until last spring, as I usually only fish with flies I tie myself.

I was standing in the water, picking my way through my fly box, as you do, when my eye fell on Olli’s fly. I held it up to the light and liked the sparkle and colour that it possessed, I weighed it in my hand and decided that this was the perfect fly for the river I was standing in, and the job in hand.

A few casts later and bang, a nice fish was landed. It may sound like a cliché, or chance, but a few casts later, bang again.... Within one hour I’d landed two nice fish and also had a good pull. I began to realise Olli’s souvenir was a secret weapon which had lain unused in my fly box for many years! After this special day, I spent many evenings at the vice, playing with Olli’s fly and trying various different materials in the dressing, and I eventually came up with my own version of Olli’s spring fly.

By slightly varying the materials and tying style I ended up with another cracking pattern in my box, one to suit all fishing conditions throughout the salmon season. It caught a good number of fish for me right from the first spring day  fished, through the summer, and into the autumn. I came to fish it with such confidence that it was my first choice fly when I arrived at a pool.

Fishing tips
This fly suits my style, because I’m always striving to use unweighted flies as much as possible. A lighter fly is easier to cast and control. When I am fishing I’m never in a rush to put on a heavier fly just to attain depth. Rather than changing to a heavier fly, I’d prefer to change my line, by using sinking tips of varying densities and lengths, or I’ll try a different angle of cast, I’ll mend more, or I’ll use the current more to get the fly to the depth I require. When I am fishing in spring time or in deep pools I’m aiming to get the fly close to the bottom, and moving slowly, even when it swings off the main current flow, when I’ll begin to strip slowly to keep the fly swimming on the same plane, and on the same track. As the fly is not too heavy and nicely balanced it will swim perfectly by itself. I believe a salmon fly should not look or behave like a stick – like some heavy tubes – it should dance (hence the name). Try to use the current to make your fly dance. Remember – don’t always blame the fly – it just might be your technique!

When fishing in the summer time I’ll use a long monofilament leader, a smaller fly, and position or mend the rod or fly line to suit the current, and use it to best effect. Yes, it can fish faster, and yes, it needn’t be so deep, but you still need to give the salmon a chance to see and then take the fly.

I am not sure how good Olli’s spring fly is in his local Finnish waters, but I know for sure that this is a cracking pattern for Scottish, Irish, Icelandic and Norwegian rivers.

Fly tying tips

The more I use nutria fur (coypu or river rat), as a dressing material, the more I grow to love it, especially for big flies like Olli’s spring fly. Thus, I prefer using nutria for the tail on salmon flies rather than bucktail. Its combination of stiffness and softness imparts the flexibility to lend the fly enticing movement in the water. Bucktail is ok, and I like it, but that’s a different story and a different effect. When I tie flies for spring or for fishing in the dark days of early spring I try to use feathers or furs dyed in fluorescent colours. The fly is then seen more easily by the low-lying fish. For bright, summer days and clear low water, I minimise the use of fluorescent colours and flash. I find that bright colours scare the fish in these conditions. However, in the bigger waters of spring, a fluorescent butt or fluorescent head on the fly works better for me; it catches the eye of both deep-lying fish and angler!

For the front hackle on this fly I use a mixture of cock and hen feathers. The two work better together: the cock feather gives more quivering movement, and the hen feather lends a nice shape to the fly. This fly works perfectly with or without a wing. It depends on your preferred fly style and what you want to do with it, but one thing’s for sure: a wing produces more movement and the fly looks more alive with a wing. For the body, especially in early season, I recommend using holographic flat braid which gives the fly a few more twinkles! For the summer fly I’ll tend to use flat gold or silver tinsel and as little flash as possible!

I love the tube system, which I invented when I was playing with tubing materials. It gives me more flexibility in fly dressing. By starting to tie on the plastic extension tube instead of the brass, the body is not overloaded and looks nice and slim. The weight of the fly body in tandem with the conehead means it is concentrated towards the front of the fly which makes for a better cast. Not only does a fly weighted like this cast like a bullet through the air, it also sinks perfectly through the water.


Tomas Kolesinskas hails from Lithuania, where he ran a tackle shop. Since moving to Scotland five years ago he has dedicated much of his time to fishing for Atlantic salmon.

Factfile


Riverdancer
Tube System: A piece of plastic tubing 20mm + brass super-slim bottle tube 15 mm and liner.
Thread: Veevus 12/0 black.
Varnish: Superglue.
Tail: Yellow nutria (1/2 length of orange) + orange nutria with four strands of pearl Krinkle Mirror Flash.
Tail hackle: 2 or 3 turns of fluorescent fire-orange cock feather.
Butt: Seal's fur substitute fluorescent red.
Body: Gold holographic flat braid.
Wing: Black Arctic runner hair with pearl Krinkle Krystal Flash.
Shoulder hackle: Mixed - 3 turns of fluorescent yellow cock and black hen neck-feathers.
Cheeks: Jungle cock.
Head: Cone-head.

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