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My flexible fiend

By Colin MacLeod

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

Tying the Flexible Fiend

  • 1


    Place bead on hook. Wrap a single layer of wire around the hook, stopping at the bend.

  • 2


    Tie in the strands of Flexi-floss at the bend, keeping them long.

  • 3


    Tie in the gold tinsel rib behind the wire on the bend, followed by the peacock herl.

  • 4


    Wrap thread up to bead, catching down the Flexi-floss. Then wind peacock body.

  • 5


    Wind gold rib along body and tie in behind bead.

  • 6


    Whip finish to complete. Leave the Flexi-floss long.

Flexible Fiend
: Kamasan B110, size 10.
Body: Wire, 2 x 4in strands of red Flexi-floss, single strand peacock herl.
Rib: Gold oval tinsel.
Thread: Brown.
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 …!

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