Faster currents and deeper lying fish caused Colin MacLeod to experiment this season with a heavier fly based on a Flexi-worm. It has since produced incredible results
Place bead on hook. Wrap a single layer of wire around the hook, stopping at the bend.
Tie in the strands of Flexi-floss at the bend, keeping them long.
Tie in the gold tinsel rib behind the wire on the bend, followed by the peacock herl.
Wrap thread up to bead, catching down the Flexi-floss. Then wind peacock body.
Wind gold rib along body and tie in behind bead.
Whip finish to complete. Leave the Flexi-floss long.
Hook: Kamasan B110, size 10.
Body: Wire, 2 x 4in strands of red Flexi-floss, single strand peacock herl.
Rib: Gold oval tinsel.
Gold bead: 3mm.
It was August 2013 and finding fish was a problem as the shoals were showing no consistency at all. The feeding fish which I managed to locate were active in extremely fast water, making my normal tactics redundant. Then, later in the month, a spell of really poor weather curtailed the saltwater season (or so I thought). New skills and techniques were necessary to put a bend in the rod in these circumstances, and a fly was specially created to cope with fluid, heavy flows, and also for fishing deeper.
For several years I’ve been more concerned with getting results to ensure that I had catch reports and photos to submit each month to Fly Tying & Fly Tying, and thus I’ve stuck to my tried-and-trusted approach. However, I’m glad I had the confidence to explore other avenues, as this led me to develop a fly which has, in short order, produced several large mullet, bass and culminated in a morning of fantastic action late in the season, in which I landed a thornback ray (possibly a British first on a fly). In addition, it was responsible for me hooking (and losing) a large bass and numerous sea trout, the largest of which was around 6lb.
All this on a day when it appeared that this season’s saltwater action may have come to a premature end.
Since then, the fly also put me in connection with another large fish. Again, it took in in fast water. I knew that this was no mullet by the run, and can only conclude that it was a large bass.
I have caught bass to 5lb on fly, but this fish was in a different league. It made repeated runs of only a few metres but with incredible speed and force, quite unlike anything I have experienced before. It then dropped down into a gulley and appeared to lie dormant. I applied consider-able pressure to raise the fish which eventually relented and then gave one last kick before we parted company.
I retrieved the slack line to find both flies clumped in weed. No doubt the fish had piled head long into a bank of weed to rid the fly. I guess that big fish only become big through a well-developed survival instinct. Next time …!