Friday, 21 March 2014

Inside…Out Waterhen Bloa:

The recent Pearly Butt Bloa I posted on Facebook has prompted several questions concerning hackles? Traditionally, a Waterhen Bloa calls for an under covert feather taken close to the knuckle on the inside of a moorhen wing (right). Sticking to the letter, this was my choice too, until one day a number of years ago when I’d stripped my coveted moorhen wings of this precious bounty…  Some might call me a heathen, others would say I was being tight, but desperate for a handful of flies, I turned to the marginal coverts (outside shoulder) of a wing.  What fell from my vice that day was a bundle of spiders with a certain va va voom.  Whether you agree or not, since stumbling on this I’ve neglected the inside hackles of moorhen wings and instead always reached for those outer feathers.  Why, because they’re a desirable spoon shape with nice webby fibres that catch the light to give off a lovely olive sheen.  In my eyes the finished fly in nothing short of stunning… 

Feathers selected from outside (marginal covert) a moorhen wing make superb Bloas.  It’s best to single them out using closed scissor points

Compared side by side, you can clearly see the difference between hackles from the outside and inside of a moorhen wing.  Naturally, everyone has an opinion, but “you pays your money and you takes your choice” and my cash rests squarely on those dusky, webby hackles found on the upper parts… I understand that from a fly dressing perspective, some of you might stick to the recipe of our forefathers.  If that’s the case, I’ll swap your used moorhen wings which will have their marginal coverts intact for a heap of mine that are loaded with under covert hackles…?

The upper parts of a moorhen’s wing glow a curious olive hue in certain light

Prepare hackles by removing unwanted flue from the stem base then gently stroke required fibres forward to rest at right angles of the stalk.  Hackles are best secured by their tip end, just right of where the tweezer points are positioned below.  Two turns is about right for me, but everyone has their own views here.P1030640-001

Said article dressed using a marginal covert hackle…lovely jubbly!

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Take me Higher…


Having spent a couple of days poking around lowland rivers, we were keen to get up in the high country where you’re surrounded by vast tussock plains and towering mountains (right).  Such vistas offer little in the way of a backdrop, so clear skies are essential for spotting trout.  Our plans couldn’t have been timed better as a high pressure system had parked itself over NZ’s South Island for some 3 days.  With trout sitting out on soft shoulders or gravel bars and prepared to eat our dry fly imitations the fishing we experienced was best described as top drawer.  Fingers crossed this weather might just hold for an extra day or so!

When conditions come good, High Country rivers offer some of the most spectacular surroundings you could ever wish for…the fishing isn't bad either






High Country trout tend to grow large and are therefore highly prized

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

The Beautiful South:


After some much needed shut eye we headed down country to NZ’s Southland.  Thankfully, sunny skies and temperatures in the high 20s greeted us(right), which is always a good sign for terrestrial activity.  With tussock cicadas chirping and some of them even crash landing onto water the trout were definitely looking up for lunch. Careful presentation was the order of the day when Mat and I kicked off our adventure with a string of hefty trout in a stunning valley.



It’s always nice to get one under your belt early in the day and if it happens to be a slab of a fish then so much the better!




~All smiles for Mat Mchugh of Fly Odyssey as he’s about to turn loose another spanking NZ trout taken on a dry fly~


Sunday, 9 February 2014

A Great Start:


Eventually landing in Christchurch, our initial drive south lasted all of ten minutes before the rear wheel suffered a blow out.  Although hot and tired, our hunger to fish saw a pit stop in double quick time (right).  An hour later Mat McHugh and I were stalking the margins of a prime NZ stream.  Thankfully, our efforts were rewarded with a handful of stomping trout, getting us off to a flying start.




A sorry looking tyre after the blow out!





…First trout of our 2014 NZ adventure-a solid 5lb trout…

2014-01-24 17.17.25

Sunday, 19 January 2014

The Great Escape:


It’s been a while since the last blog, but in truth with river levels remaining high for weeks now there’s been little to report.  In fact, charts (right) read as an all too familiar story of peaks and troughs that refused to drop below 0.50m on my beloved Eden.  The last time I wielded a rod in anger was December 15th…  Thankfully, my mind has been occupied elsewhere, preparing for operation New Zealand next week, which I’ve christened “The Great Escape”, because let’s face it the odds of getting your string pulled here just now are zilch!  Thankfully, time usually spent wandering river banks got put to good use at my vice.  Fingers crossed the toils of my labour will be well rewarded down under when reports will be flying in thick and fast!!!





A mitt full of bluebottles and blowflies should hopefully appeal to trout in New Zealand’s low country rivers





A wedge of foam finished off with rubber legs makes for a great cicada pattern.  Granted it doesn’t look up to much clamped in my fingers, but from beneath the profile screams “cicada”