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Welcome to the Dark Side

Allan Liddle invites fly fishers to feel The Force as he fishes a Mop Fly under a bung… before returning triumphantly to his Death Star


The Mop Fly does it evil best at Aberdeenshire’s Forgue Fishery.
The Mop Fly does it evil best at Aberdeenshire’s Forgue Fishery.

With the winter so far proving to be a tad unpredictable and temperatures jumping all over the place it’s made for some interesting fishing, some a bit more ‘seasonal’ whilst other times it feels more like spring.Enjoying what you can, when you can is all part of the fun however I have to admit to being more a ‘fair weather’ angler now over the dark, cold months, rod-rings and drips on your nose freezing is something I’d rather avoid.

But this year it’s not quite been like this with even the shortest day providing some fantastic, mild weather and cracking fishing on the stocked rainbow fisheries throughout Scotland’s beautiful north east. So when I was asked if I fancied a wee blast at the residents of Aberdeenshire’s Forgue Fishery I thought why not? Winter Equinox and you didn’t even need the heavy jacket.

This would be where I’d usually say how great it was to chase fish on small nymphs, spiders or even possibly dries, but sorry as mild as it was the ‘Dark Side’ still dominated and an indicator with something ‘new’ below it was the order of the day. Much to my companions' disgust (there was four of us) on went a fresh-off-the-vice yellow Mop Fly, and I feel no shame at all in admitting it.

It’s always funny how anglers react to things and the outbursts or outcries when something they don’t agree on comes along, it all adds to the spice and fun of our wee fishing world. And in recent times nothing has been more controversial than an indicator or ‘bung’ as it’s often called.  'Float' would be a more accurate description as essentially this is what it is, and given my love of the visual aspect of our sport (the main reason I fish dries so much) I find it quite relaxing to watch some brightly coloured bit of wool or foam bobbing about on the surface. It takes me back to my very early stick-float days chasing perch before the fur-and-feather bug fully took over.

And if a wee float isn’t bad enough then to use a Blob, OkayDokey, Squirmy, Apps or now a Mop Fly below it, is scandalous! The bottom line is: what does it really matter, as long as it’s artificial, doesn’t have a spinning metal blade attached and is cast using a fly rod and line then what’s really the problem?  There is a simple solution, if you don’t like it, then don’t fish it.

Back to the day in question and through initial calls of outcry and dismay from my accompanying friends it wasn’t long before the inevitable, “Got any more of them?” question overcame the fish’s fondness for a bit of a mop head lashed onto a hook behind a gold bead. Yup, they all ended up using it, all agreed it was quite fun, and wasn’t that bad after all, and all agreed that preconceptions can cause a reluctance to try something different.

Welcome to the Dark Side, guys.

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