Essential Patterns Volume 1 - Quick Ties and Favourite Flies

Tying patterns which have a good reputation as fish catchers and ones which can be adapted to your local river or stillwater will unquestionably put you in contact with more fish. Moreover, there is simply no comparison between catching a fish on flies that you have tied and catching on ones you buy. This is where this DVD will score.

Tying well established and field proven patterns from written recipes is common practice, and goes back at least a couple of centuries, but now with DVD, we have the ultimate in fly tying instruction. With a click of a button you can home in to a particular fly and then click to the part you wish to see. You can repeat a sequence, slow it down or freeze a frame. Even the absolute beginner will, with a little practice, soon master techniques which until quite recently, were considered to be right at the cutting edge. These DVDs really come into their own if you can set up your DVD player, or use a PC with a DVD player next to your tying bench, then you can follow the tying step by step.

As with all Essential Skills programmes, these Essential Patterns DVDs show the techniques clearly and in great detail, pretty soon you'll be amazed at your new found tying skills.

Choosing just ten patterns from the plethora of patterns available worldwide was not easy. The original rationale was that each fly should be quick to tie, which by definition implies few materials and techniques. I eventually decided against this, as I know that many fly tyers enjoy a challenge, nevertheless, a few are quick ties. Some of the patterns are from my own vice, others from internationally renowned fly fishers. However, all are great fish catchers and all have a permanent home in my fly boxes.

For my final choice, I decided that there should be at least one pattern to represent each of the five insect Orders which are of the greatest importance to fly fishers. Most of the patterns have both river and stillwater applications and many are patterns which are prototypical, so you can adapt them to suit your local rivers or stillwaters - wherever that may be in the world.

My selection process resulted in seven patterns, leaving me to choose three from the general category - those which cover many insect Orders, yet nothing specific. Marjan Fratnik's 'F' Fly was always an obvious choice for the quick tie category. However, this tremendous fish catcher is quite simply a 'must have' pattern and so qualifies on two counts. Dark coloured Olives, small dark Caddis, small adult Stoneflies, midges, terrestrials, it copies them all and many more besides.

The Foam Ant also neatly falls into this general category and is a firm favourite of mine, but don't leave it in your fly box waiting for the day you witness a fall of flying ants you'll probably die first! Its bulbous abdomen and head shouts "I'm soft and juicy come and eat me". So try this pattern anytime during the heat of summer; as it copies a whole host of small black drop-ins.

The last general pattern, while strictly of stillwater origin, essentially from the large UK reservoirs, can also be a very successful river pattern when tied in small sizes. In fact on a recent trip to Iceland, river fishing for large brown trout (up to 24 inches, some even longer!), this fly proved to be a devastatingly effective pattern. This is my version of the well known, well used and rightly famous Hopper (for American viewers, nothing at all to do with your Hoppers i.e. Grasshoppers.)

The Hopper pattern I demonstrate on this DVD is a version of that other great stillwater fly, the Bibio. The addition of fine rubber legs in front of the hackle, instead of the usual much more fragile knotted pheasant tail fibres behind the hackle, gives this pattern new life and action. The six or seven rubber legs waggle and jiggle in a very tantalising way as the fly breaks into the meniscus of a good wave as it dibbles towards the boat. With the addition of the rubber legs it is now a very robust fly.

I'm sure you'll have great fun tying these patterns and I'm equally sure that you'll master these techniques in no time at all. Remember though these patterns are not 'Tablets of Stone', experiment with the techniques and particularly with the materials. I'm sure that pretty soon you'll be creating your own patterns. Who knows, you may even discover a new technique?

The final choice is as follows:

  1. Ephemeroptera (Mayfly Group)
    CDC Dun
    Semi Circle Spinner

  2. Trichoptera (Caddisfly Group)
    Bubble Wing Caddis

  3. Plecoptera (Stonefly Group)
    Veli's Fluttering Willow Fly

  4. Diptera (True Fly Group)
    Griffith's Gnat
    See Thro' Buzzer

  5. Odonata (Dragonfly / Damselfly Group)
    Plaited Abdomen Damsel

  6. General Patterns
    'F' Fly
    Foam Ant
    Bibio Hopper
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