Posted on

Tying Flies for Grafham

There are some flies that are essential for making sure you have all bases covered when fishing a water.

Here are three that I use regularly at Grafham.

Tying a Simple Shrimp
Tying the Black Pennel
Tying the Diawl Bach

Check out our range of Grip Hooks

Posted on

Black n’ Olive Buzzer

Black ‘n Olive Buzzer



Using the Olive thread run down to a point halfway around the hook bend in touching turns and catch in your ribbing material, make sure that your ribbing material lies on top of the hook and extends the full length of the hook shank. . Return the thread in touching turns towards the eye of the hook stopping about 4mm or about a fifth of the shank length from the eye.

Tip: Make sure that you tie your silk body very neatly – any lumps or bumps will show on this skinny buzzer.

Bring your rib forwards to the eye in about six turns to create an impression of the segments, as you can see these get slightly wider towards the thorax. Whip finish your olive thread and tie on your black thread and select a pinch of the Sybai Hot Orange Dubbing to form the collar at the back of the thorax – this should make up less than a third of the thorax. Complete the thorax with Black Rabbit or similar dubbing.

Tip: When creating a collar and thorax with dubbing you need good control. By using a dubbing loop and spinner or splitting the thread you can actually create a finer dubbed thorax and it will brush out better to create the ‘buggy’ look and trap air.

Create a need head in front of the thorax and whip finish. If you do varnish the head take extreme care that excess varnish does not bleed back into your dubbing as it will spoil the effect.

Tip: Either use a needle to apply varnish after whip finish or apply to the thread before whip finishing.

Posted on

Buzzer fishing is great!!

Super Glue or Glass Buzzer

Over the past week the buzzer fishing has been great on the still waters, there is something about buzzer fishing that sometimes sets the heart racing and other times makes you focus on your line waiting for the slightest movement.

Each angler has their favourite “go to” pattern, but it is the conditions and fishing depth that determines which will do the business.

Super Glue or Glass Buzzers

What ever you call them these are ideal for fishing deep and slow shown on the left is a classic buzzer with stripped quill body and orange wing cases on a slim head.  However the key is often “less is more” – the stripped quill gives you a really slim body, but you can use thread and rib with wire – but try to make sure the final profile is the same.

Your final finish is all important you can use Super Glue or several coats of varnish, but increasingly UV varnishes are used to ensure that the profile is maintained and you can finish your flies in one go.

Scottie Buzzer Coat is available in original and lite  and we can also supply a basic UV torch.

Buy Scottie Buzzer Coat Now.

Top Tip: Buzzers have breathers these are often tied using a bit of bright white floss, but often they are left off Glass Buzzer.  Using Tipp-ex; white varnish or fabric paint put a small white dot on the head of your buzzer before varnishing.


Adding a rib to your buzzer is all important – I often use Primrose thread or Light Cahill thread over a black or olive thread for the body – this gives a really subtle rib and imitates the natural stripped quill.  On bigger buzzers our standard 0.2mm copper wire is great and it gives your a wide range of colours to choose from.  But for smaller buzzers and a more subtle effect you can use our 0.1 and 0.15 diameter wires.

See our selection of copper ribbing wires. 


Each water has a species of buzzers that have distinctive colours and sizes – so you should try to match these. In addition to the main body colour you need to think about the target colours used on wing buds, these can range from red, through to yellow or white. Whatever colour you use should make sure that the buds are proportionate and have some variants with less “bling” – these can often be the killers on the day.

Which hook do you use?

Selecting the hook to use for your buzzers is as important as the type of tying you choose, I guess it comes down to shape and weight. If you are fishing a team of buzzers you often need to use a heavy hook on the point.  This brings you leader down and with each dropper spaced at 1.2m – 1.5m (4-5ft) and a slow retrieve on floating line it allows you to fish at range of depths.

Straight shank or grubber? Again this is often a case of personal preference – I use both and each works well.  However I was fishing with a competition angler and he said he never mixes straight and grub hooks on a caste as they tend to tangle.  I am not sure of the truth of this – but so much of fishing is to do with confidence in what you are doing it was probably true for him.

See our range of Grip Hooks on-line

Posted on

Time to fill that fly box

My last day out on Eyebrook a couple of weeks ago gave me a great day on dries and made me realise that there were some glaring absences in my fly boxes.  It is amazing how over the season the variations of your old favourites seem to just disappear!.  I was ok in the morning as they were taking large orange daddies, once I remembered not to strike as they drowned the fly I had some good sport.  As the day wore on the fish lost interest in the daddy and there was a hatch of some small rusty brown buzzers, my fly box had nothing small enough in my favourite fiery brown seals fur, there was some interest in a ginger Shipman’s, but I knew I needed something smaller.  Finally a dug out an Adams from my river box and I was back into fish.

I know – “It’s not the fly, it’s what it does for you.”  I find when fishing dries the way they sit in the surface is the most important thing.  The daddy gives a large impression in the film – I like to use a hackle as well as legs give an impression in the surface and for some reason at Eyebrook orange is a killer colour.  But other dries can vary a lot in the way they sit in the water – choosing the right one can make all the difference.

The sketch above indicates how three patterns sit in the film – each being the best dry fly on the day.  One of the problems you can have when tying the Shipman’ and the Bob’s Bits is dressing them too heavily – both work well when very lightly dressed. You might be very adept and dubbing using tying wax to create a dubbing rope, but there is a lot to be said for using a spinner and a dubbing loop.  I find it easier to create a fine rope and also it means that you do not have to rib the patterns, some times less is more!

Of course at other times a fine rib of holographic material can be what is needed, so to make sure you are equipped you need each of these patterns in size 12, 14 and 16, in olive, claret, orange/ginger and fiery brown, both ribber and un-ribbed.  If you have three of each, one to use, one to loose and one to give away that is 72 flies – one box filled ready for next year.  Not to mention the CDC shuttlecock that hangs below the film – tied with picric died peacock stripped quill – another fly that can be lethal on still water.

[I find David McPhail’s videos of tying these patterns excellent:  Shipman’s BuzzerBob’s Bits ; The Shuttlecock Yellow Owl ]

Check out fly tying materials in the shop.


Posted on

Grip Hooks

I have just received some new stocks of Grip Hooks , these really are a fantastic range of hooks for the fly tyer.  Grip Hooks come in a wide range of sizes, patterns and wire weights.

Nymph Hooks

The nymph hook is the bread and butter pattern that we sell most of and there are plenty of competitors our there and we all have our favourites.  Like all these things we need confidence in out hooks -so we stick to what we know.

12702 Short Nymph

However if you are looking for variations on a theme Grip offer a range of nymph hooks in three gauges of wire and shank lengths.

There are also barbless patterns with unrivalled  hold.


Dry Fly Hooks

Again there are plenty of dry fly hooks out there – but the Grip range has just that extra choice, including the top selling 11801 in extra light wire.

In addition there are some variations in pattern that give improved presentation, hooking and profiles. Such as the 11413BL shown on the left.

This has variation on the Sproat bend to give better hooking and hold for this barbless variation.


Wet Hooks

12803 Deep Water Wet

Once again Grip offer something more than just variation in sizes for their we hooks. There is the choice of wire weight and shank length over the range of patterns offered that is designed to improve the performance in specific applications.

As usual Grip offer barbless patterns that are designed to give the angler good hold without the barb.


Caddis and Grub Patterns

These patterns give the profile for a wide range of patterns such as shrimp and and Czech nymphs. They can also be used for buzzers and the light wire patterns can be used for emergers.

Grip also offer up eye variations for these emerger patterns which improves presentation and hooking.

Of course there are also barbless patterns for the increasing numbers of catch and release fisheries.


Check out the Scottie Products Shop for Grip hooks here 

To see the complete range of Grip Hooks see the Scientific Fly web site

Posted on

Copper Wire

Standard 0.2mm Wire

Using copper wire to your patterns as a rib not only gives your flies segmented bodies but also adds strength to them and increases their longevity. I have sourced a super quality soft copper wire in a wide range of colours for your patterns. This standard wire comes in 0.2mm and is supplied in a ‘soft’ state this means that it is easy to used and is very strong. As wire is worked it becomes harder, as we know by twisting a wire round and round it becomes brittle and breaks off, breaking your wire off like this rather than cutting it does not leave an exposed end on your finished pattern.

The image below shows the range of colours available:

From left to right: Silver, Dark Copper, Dark Green, Claret, Red, Copper, Black, Gold and Green.

All if the wire are coated for corrosion resistance, copper will tarnish if it is not coated with a material that protects it from the elements.

Extra Fine Wires

I have now available finer wires for use with dries, this is the same high quality wire but drawn down to 0.15 and 0.1mm. It is still supplied in the soft condition for strength and ease of use. but only available in silver, gold and copper.


The Gold Ribbed Hairsear pattern is the classic pattern where the copper wire rib is an essential element of the fly, but ribs on Pheasant tail nymphs are as important.  Obviously the GRH uses gold, but the PTN can use a variety of rib colours – to add a target or make a change in the pattern.

Another classic still water pattern the Diawl Bach can be ribbed with coloured wire rather than holographic material to give a more subtle pattern that can be what is wanted on some days.

There are also those essential river flies where the body is made just using copper wire with a peacock or dubbed thorax, again colour can add impact to these.

Dubbing Brushes

Because the wire we supply is soft and string it can be used to create a dubbing brush.  Tie in a loop of copper wire to create a dubbing loop and using your favourite dubbing create the dubbing brush for your thorax.  When wet the wire can be seen through the dubbing and adds that extra dimension to your fly.

Posted on

New for the season

I have had a very busy couple of weeks since the BFFI – it was a hectic run up to the event and just as hectic getting back – but cannot complain about being busy!

I am just about sorted stocks of the Scottie vice which has been selling very well and still working on a new rotary vice – but these are  projects for the future. I have a couple of new products available now.

The Scottie Camera Mount

This handy device allows you to take a photo of your latest creations or even make a video.

Light yet robust allows you to attach any camera with a 1/4″ Whitworth thread to your vice and position at just the right distance.

Read more

Fly tying lights

I have sourced a couple of LED lights – one with a handy magnetic base that attaches to the Scottie vice and the other that can be screwed to you tying bench.

Magnetic lamp

Bench Lamp

Scottie Buzzer Coat Lite

We have been supplying the Buzzer Coat UV varnish for some time, but for light use it is rather too thick. I can now supply a much less viscous UV varnish that sets to a glass hard finish using a standard 365nm UV light.

See more


I have also had a spring clean of my hooks and these are also available along with some new fly tying materials.

Posted on

Fly Patches and Pouch

We all have our own solutions to that problem of where do you put that fly when you have used it?   We see them stuck in hats, on open patches and there are some clever boxes that are also driers.

Since I have been using barbless flies for catch and release this has become more of a problem as without a barb the fly will not stick in your hat or stay in your patch – unlike the barbed flies that once stuck you cannot remove without pulling another thread on your hat or straightening the hook.

So when I had the opportunity to buy some Tourbon products made for the US market I thought they were worth a try.  They are very traditional patterns that seem to have disappeared from the UK market – a leather folding fly patch and a canvas fly wallet.

3The leather fly patch fold over to secure your flies while drying and allows a free flow of air.  The clip can secure the patch on any part of your clothing without needing a D ring.


I have several old fly wallets – they were all the wallet 3rage a few years back – I have one that was given to all Benson and Hedges competitors one year.  But just because they are old does not mean they do not still do the job.

With all the plastic and foam fly boxes on the market this old faithful design has been all but forgotten – but it fits the pocket  well, the breathable materials allows flies to dry  and once a fly is in their it stays there.

Both of these are on offer for June.




Posted on

New Designs – The Hot Tip Fly Tying Tool

We have just received a shipment of a new tz_andtipHot Tip Fly Tying tool. Base on electronic scalpels used in surgery today this tool has a fine hot wire to trim any unwanted threads or hackle fibres from your fly.  It can also remover materials encroaching over the eye of the hook.

Each unit requires 2 AAA batteries (not supplied) and has a free spare  burning wire neatly stored in the battery cover.



This little tool can really help achieve that  high quality finish that you want for your flies.

£12.50Add to basket

Posted on

The MKll Scottie Fly tying Vice

MKll_scottieFor 2016 we have revised the pedestal base model of  the Scottie fly tying vice, this is now supplied with a robust single piece base to give a much more rigid table top vice.

The stem has drillings to accommodate accessories including a tool rack, white screen and bobbin holder.

The pedestal is also available separately and as backwards compatible with any Scottie vice.