Wednesday, 16 August 2017 12:05

Premier patterns

As summer sails in so to does a range of terrestrials and aquatic invertebrates to the liking of stillwater trout. Kieron Jenkins has two dry imitative patterns to cover those special one-off occasions and a nymph for everyday use…

flexi flying ant

Flexi Flying Ant

Hook: Tiemco 200R, size 18

Thread: Brown Uni thread 8/0

Body: Brown Spanflex

Hackle: Dun cock hackle

Wing: One white CDC feather

Head: Sparsely dubbed squirrel

Whether you’re fishing a running water or a reservoir, when you get a fall of flying ants you’re definitely going to know about it – the fish simply can’t resist them. Often the hatches are short-lived and may only last a couple of days when the weather gets warm, but if you’re anywhere near the water when they do fall, you’re in for a phenomenal day’s fishing!

Flying ants tend to hatch on grassy banking or concrete structures such as dam walls. The heat generated by the sun will warm the grass or rock, giving them a chance to hatch out, and if it’s near water they will most definitely fall to the surface.

Last year at Llyn Brenig we were practicsing for an Anglian Water heat when there was a fall of the largest flying ants I’ve ever seen, and you would swear that every fish in the area was feeding – an incredible sight that lasted all of just 30 minutes with fish crashing all over.

The weight of the Flexi Floss in the body of this ant pattern allows the abdomen to sit in the surface rather than on top, while the hackle and head sit above, creating the illusion of a much easier meal for the fish. However, takes can often be explosive – the tantalising movement of a flying ant struggling in the surface will turn the head of any fish. 

Points to note when tying this fly:

To get the fly to sit correctly, cut the underneath of the hackle. This will allow the fly to sit in the surface much like an emerger, but creating the illusion of a drowning/struggling ant.

Use a light-coloured wing; here I’ve used a single CDC feather. The wings on flying ants are very delicate – the single feather makes for a great sighter as well as creating a perfect silhouette.

Add multiple layers of Flexi Floss by pulling it tight for the body, then on the last wrap leave off the pressure. This will give a banding effect and a fatter body, giving the perfect ant-like shape.


Black Cruncher

Black Cruncher

Hook: Fulling Mill Competition Heavyweight, sizes 10 or 12

Thread: Black Uni thread

Tail: Coq de Leon

Rib 1: SM Mirage

Rib 2: Bright red wire

Body: Black pheasant tail

Thorax: Peacock herl

Hackle: Small black hen

Head: Glo-Brite No5

Crunchers are many a reservoir angler’s favourite nymph pattern. They come in all shapes and sizes; often they are tied with hopper legs and others with big hairy hackles or Fritz thoraxes.

The cruncher is a brilliant all-round fly pattern that represents multiple food items from buzzers, olive nymphs to small damsels and even fry, when tied in the right consistency of course.

Personally I like to tie my Crunchers short on the hook shank and a long tail to impart as much movement into the fly as possible. The weight of a strong hook such as the Fulling Mill Competition Heavyweight will allow the fly to fall quickly when left static and also make your cast ‘dig in’ when fishing the washing line.

This black, red and pearl colour combination is absolutely deadly; it’s almost that of the Traffic Light Cruncher, but in a different aspect. Tie this pattern with a silver rib and Glo-Brite No11 head for daphnia feeders too!

I tend to fish this particular black Cruncher when the water may be coloured – the dark nature of the fly stands out well in coloured water, and the added ‘bling’ just adds a bit more attraction to the fly when visibility may be slightly less than normal. Perfect for fishing in close to the shore when fished as a top dropper and retrieved slowly.

Points to note when tying this fly:

Wind the wire in an opposite direction to the pearl rib; this will give added strength not only to the pheasant tail body, but to the pearl rib as well.

Use a short hen hackle to allow the fly to sink quickly, but still give plenty of movement. Ideal for the washing line.

Varnish the thread beneath the body before winding the pheasant tail, as much as the ribs will protect the pheasant for some time, the varnish will bind everything together and you may get an extra couple of fish from one fly.



Spent Caenis

Hook: Tiemco 2499SP-BL, size 16

Thread: Spiderweb

Tail: Coq de Leon split

Body: Wound white CDC

Thorax: Spiderweb

Wings: Split CDC fibres

Thorax Cover: Natural CDC

When fishing spent fly patterns, the biggest obstacle in getting them to fish correctly is creating the ideal profile. If your fly pattern is riding too high on the surface, it may cause you to miss fish on the take or increase the number of refusals.

Fish feeding on spent flies tend to sit very high in the water column, often just centimetres below the surface. Their line of sight is small and the natural offerings are seemingly ironed to the surface, a gentle ‘sip’ is all that is needed for the fish to intercept the fly, so a pattern that sits properly is definitely worth spending time on.

Ever since watching Marc Petitjean at the first British Fly Fair tying the MP81 – a red spinner pattern – I’ve been hooked on tying split-wing patterns. The one thing that really stood out to me when he was tying was the positions of the wings. They were tied directly on top of the hook shank, above the thorax material and then split with the thorax cover, rather than along the hook shank and the thorax material being wound around the wings. What this does is allow the abdomen and thorax of the fly to sit IN the water, while the wings lay flat on the surface making an extremely easy meal for the trout.

Points to note when tying this fly:

Split the tails with a strand of thread; this helps give a more realistic profile and will help the fly sit perfectly on the surface – It’s all about profile with spinners.

Use a small hook with a wide gape; this can lead to more hook-ups along with some added strength if you happen to hook a specimen! I use the Tiemco 2499BL for such patterns, the extra weight also helps bed the fly in the surface.

Peel the fibres from the stalk of the CDC and tie in backwards directly on top of the hook. Use the CDC thorax cover to split and part the wing. This is a quick and easy way of splitting wings. It works well for any upright spinner patterns too.


Angler Profile:

Kieron Jenkins has been fly fishing on rivers and lakes for more than 15 years, focusing on competition angling throughout the height of the fishing season. His angling record is the envy of most, competing at every level for Wales, with his most prestigious achievement being a fourth place at World youth level.


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