For the last few years I have been lucky enough to get an invite to a fly dressing master class that Paul Little runs in the lead up to the British Fly Fair International. There are normally a dozen or so tiers present from the UK and the USA. The USA sent Marvin Nolte and Stack Scoville, Peter Kealy from N Ireland and Brian Burnett from Scotland. These were just a few names there was circa a dozen or so of us present.
Paul Little was extremely patient and managed to get us to tie three flies over the two days. We did not just tie three flies we talked a lot and discussed and demonstrated various techniques along side the tying. I have always had issues with bronze Mallard wings on Spey flies, not being able to put them on without splitting, so we covered this in some detail, hopefully my Spey flies will be fantastic to look at and fish with in the future.
Another interesting technique was to substitute the rachis of a feather with a touch of glue off a glue stick. When tying in feathers such as brown mallard as a wing it is normal to leave the rachis attached so as to support the fibres whilst tying in. The rachis sometimes is on the stiff side and tends to pull on the fibres. Exchanging the rachis for glue off a glue stick left a more flexible support, its possible also to apply some to the butts of a built wing fly.
Above are a couple of other flies that we completed. The Ackroyd is a Dee style fly with deltas wings and the grub by its name is meant to represent a shrimp style salmon fly. All the flies in the photos were tied with gut eyes.
Following the workshop I then spent a couple of days with my GAIA (Game Angling Instructor Association) pals at the British Fly Fair promoting the Association and tying flies. I am always a bit like a child in a sweetie shop, as a fly dresser there is always so much to see and so many must have items. This year I was particularly impressed by a Whiting Spey Hackle cape. It is the perfect heron hackle substitute absolutely stunning feathers that could well have been Heron apart from the fact it was salmon pink. Sadly I could not buy it as it belonged to one of the tiers but I did return on a number of occasions just to look at it, how sad is that. I will never criticise women coveting handbags and shoes again.
The GAIA aspect of the show was good with lots of people showing an interest in what we did and how we do it. It made me think about what our priorities where as an organisation, we definitely need to spend more time introducing people into game angling.