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Be prepared for the grannom

The perfect time to get tying in preparation for the spring grannom hatch


Allan's Dry Grannom .
Allan's Dry Grannom .
Materials required.
Materials required.
Step 1. Secure small Mirage tinsel onto hook.
Step 1. Secure small Mirage tinsel onto hook.
Step 2. Form pearl butt by winding tinsel slightly round bend, then back up and gently whip-finish.
Step 2. Form pearl butt by winding tinsel slightly round bend, then back up and gently whip-finish.
Step 3. Seal tinsel with fine UV-cure resin to secure.
Step 3. Seal tinsel with fine UV-cure resin to secure.
Step 4. Catch in waxed thread at head and run down to body end (2mm - 3mm above pearl tag) then return thread to hook-eye.
Step 4. Catch in waxed thread at head and run down to body end (2mm - 3mm above pearl tag) then return thread to hook-eye.
Step 5. Take a small amount of squirrel dubbing and form body dubbing 'rope'.
Step 5. Take a small amount of squirrel dubbing and form body dubbing 'rope'.
Step 6. Dub body down hook to cover thread, then wind thread back up in open turns to rib fly.
Step 6. Dub body down hook to cover thread, then wind thread back up in open turns to rib fly.
Step 7. Cut a small bunch deer hair, stack to even up tips then hold tightly to top of hook.
Step 7. Cut a small bunch deer hair, stack to even up tips then hold tightly to top of hook.
Step 8. Secure deer hair wing on top of hook with tips in line with pearl tag.
Step 8. Secure deer hair wing on top of hook with tips in line with pearl tag.
Step 9. Trim deer hair tag-ends tight to the hook, tidy, and secure with thread.
Step 9. Trim deer hair tag-ends tight to the hook, tidy, and secure with thread.
Step 10. Take another pinch of squirrel hair and form dubbing 'rope'.
Step 10. Take another pinch of squirrel hair and form dubbing 'rope'.
Step 11. Wind on dubbing to form head and whip-finish thread. Then use Velcro pad to brush out dubbing back into wing.
Step 11. Wind on dubbing to form head and whip-finish thread. Then use Velcro pad to brush out dubbing back into wing.
Step 12. Varnish head and fly is complete.
Step 12. Varnish head and fly is complete.

If there's one advantage of this Covid-19 lockdown: we can get all our flies tied ready, in good time, without panic, ready for next season. This is poignant, because this particular fly was thrown together, in a panic, just hours before it was used. However, its success has meant that I can now tie more for my boxes, ready for this May and into early June. You see, up in these parts of Scotland, there can be some excellent grannom hatches which, in turn, can get the fish moving... sometimes. Strangely, grannom sedge hatches vary quite a bit on the north-east Scottish rivers; the Deveron, for example, tends not to have them in significant numbers and hatches tend to be very localised. The Don does have a good hatch, but often fish don’t respond, however the Spey trout certainly do, and out the three it’s the location I’d never like be without an imitation or two during May or June.

Perhaps it's due to the Spey having a much different character, or perhaps it's because the fish in the other waters ‘lock-onto’ other fly species more selectively, but I’ve always found ldos, olive uprights and bwos are far more effective in bringing fish up on Deveron and Don than grannom. However you can still find localised areas on these other rivers where you will need a small Grey Sedge as there will be situations where you will come across grannom feeders; it’s all about watching for and identifying the correct fly that these fish are taking.

It all adds to the mix and the excitement of searching out the right pattern to attract the attentions of surface-feeding fish. Yes, it’s great to be confident with a favourite pattern, but folly if you don’t cover the other bases in the fly box to call upon when required.

My Dry Grannom is a simple pattern that works both on rivers as well as lochs (as a general Dark Sedge) and I created it in a bit of a rush one morning when I’d been caught out the previous day – meaning it’s quick to tie and easy to fish.

I have a small pearl ‘Mirage’ tag for added attraction. This is optional, but it is the one that works for me, so almost all of mine have this included. Yes I do have some without the tag, but to be honest I have never felt fish have ever ignored my fly as a result of the added flash at the rear end; in fact, I feel it gives a definite advantage and helps my fly stand out.

Here's a tying tip for that tag: It’s easier to load the tinsel onto a bobbin holder when winding it on as a tag, body or head material. Be careful, as it is not strong, but can be secured by a delicate whip-finish, although it also needs some form of varnish or UV-resin to ensure it is strong enough to last.

Tied on a curved hook but without going too far round the bend also gives the impression of an ‘egg layer’ (also enhanced by the pearl tag) as well as a fly that sits that tiny bit deeper in the surface making it appear more vulnerable and attractive to the fish.

‘Gink’ the whole fly, de-grease the leader, and pick your target: it’s as simple as that. On lochs, I'll have this fly tied in size 14 and 12 and I do work it ‘figure of eight’ style, but prefer it to be fished static, and pitched in the path of cruising fish. On rivers it is a size 14 and 16 and my best results come fishing it upstream on a dead-drift back down to targeted fish or fish-holding features.

Certainly it's a fly that’s got a home in both my river and loch dry fly boxes.

Grannom dry (Liddle)
Hook: Partridge K4A Grub / Shrimp, size 12–16 or Partridge K14A Caddis Emerger in same sizes.
Thread: Semperfli 8/0 black waxed thread.
Tag: Veniard fine Mirage tinsel.
Rib: Tying thread.
Body: Grey squirrel dubbing.
Wind: Dark natural deer hair.
Thorax / head: Grey squirrel.

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