How to tie the Small Fry Stillwater Fly

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DAVE Doherty is one of the most experienced guides on Rutland, what he doesn’t know about this water isn’t worth knowing.

So when tasked with catching Rutland’s fry-feeding trout with a fly that fits into competition rule sizes he rose to the challenge.

The problem arose during practice for the Anglian Water Airflo competition, which is fished to international loch-style rules (hooks may not be more than 5⁄8ths of an inch, including the eye; and fly length may not exceed 15⁄16ths of an inch).

Practice showed that trout were over the weedbeds in and around the sailing club, feeding on fry, corixa and snails. There were quality fish as well.

Dave’s intention was to target the fry feeders with a competition sized imitation, on a double hook for better hooking power – but floating fry patterns this small don’t exist commercially. A normal size 10 wet fly hook does fit within the legal size range, but the size 10 B270 double is too big, so it had to be a size 14. Working closely with fellow team-mate Cameron Neil, Dave devised a pattern for a size 14 Kamasan B270 double hook that could be used in the competition. And rather than tying a bulky ethafoam body directly onto a hook shank, the body is created separately – then the hook inserted into the finished pattern.

Having persuaded his boat partners (Mark Stephen of Neilston Flyfishers on day one, and Russell Owen of Welsh Hawks on day two) that the sailing club was the place to be, Dave set up a floating line, 12-15 feet of Orvis 1X (14.5lb) fluorocarbon and his new fry pattern fished singly. The result speaks for itself as Dave finished third individual with a total bag of 38lb 9 1/4oz. His best fish was 3lb 13oz on day one, and 3lb 4oz on day two.

Thread: White GSP Underbody: White plastazote or

ethafoam cut to a coffin shape Overbody: Extra large

pearl Mylar tubing coloured with permanent markers

Eyes: Yellow with black pupil, moulded or epoxy.

Once finished give the body a coat of Superglue or

varnish to set the marker pen colouring

Hook: Size 14 Kamasan B270 double. The double

hook is inserted (eye first) into the Mylar tubing from

the tail end and pushed forward until it re-emerges.

Then the leader is attached to the eye.

The pattern is simplicity itself, just three materials, but the tying can be tricky because you are not tying it directly onto a hook.

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1 Cut a coffin shaped piece of foam 3⁄4 inch long and a 2 inch length of XL pearl Mylar.

2 Remove the core from inside the Mylar tube and slide the foam underbody inside the tube.

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3 Mount a needle (for support) in vice and lay ‘body’ on top. Catch in thread at one end. Wind around body and needle and whip finish.

4 Trim thread. Slide ‘body’ off needle, soak head end in Superglue and trim. Do same with other end, coating thread wraps in Superglue, but do not trim the ends of Mylar.

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5 Slide the body away from the needle, and shape the Mylar ends to resemble a little fish tail.

6 The fish-shaped body is ready for colouring with pens. Dave uses olive and dark brown to colour the back, leaving the belly as a pearl finish. Eyes can be added for realism.

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