The depth you fish has a direct effect on the style and dressing of the flies you need. There are deep-water, intermediate and surface-film patterns for boat fishing.
The flies here should suit any water and a variety of weather conditions. The style of these flies is in direct contrast to their mid-and deep-water cousins.
Top-of-the-water patterns tend to be neutral in tone, with bulky, well picked out bodies and lots of loose hackle fibres, providing motion and imitating life. Bright or flashy surface patterns occasionally catch fish, but drab flies are usually more productive. 1. Dabbler This Irish pattern has taken the wild-trout scene by storm in the past few years. It is basically a palmered Mallard and Claret. This style of straggly wet fly is best fished on the top dropper in conditions with sizeable waves. Use short shank hooks in sizes 10 and 12. 2. Coachman Nymph This is a new slant on an old pattern. When there’s a hatch of dark midges, this fly can do a lot of damage. Cast it towards feeding fish; retrieve slowly, and prepare for action. Tie on size 12 emerger hooks. 3. The Hare’s Ear Muddler works well during midge and sedge hatches and if there are corixas on the trout’s menu. Fish it on the top dropper or the point, depending on the preferences of the fish and the amount of wave. Use sizes 12 and 14 short shank hooks. 4. Golden Olive Bumble Designed in
Ireland for brown and sea trout, this fly is fished on the top dropper. Trout can mis take it for a whole host of natural insects.
Fish it in sizes 10-14 bobbed over the waves to create maximum impact.
These patterns are used in the top 30-90cm of water. They are imitative in design and suggest nymphs and pupae struggling to the surface. 5. Pearly Buzzer When fishing at intermediate depths, have a buzzer pattern on the leader. Even when no hatches are taking place, many natural pupae make exploratory trips up from the bottom. Tie this fly on sizes 12-18 emerger hooks. 6. Stickfly Although originally designed to imitate caddis larvae in their cases, this pattern does well when fish are concentrating on damselfly nymphs and midge pupae. Always tie the Stickfly on long shank hooks in sizes 12 and 14. 7. Peach and Pearl Pheasant Tail has a pearly thorax and is nymph shaped -though it could easily be mistaken for a small fish. The fluorescent head gives the trout the classic ‘aiming point’, and the pattern can be tied with a variety of coloured heads to suit the taste for the day. Use short or long shank hooks in sizes 10-16. 8. Hare’s Ear Possibly the most successful boat pattern in recent years, the Hare’s Ear is a marvellous fly. Use it at any depth, fished fast, slow or static. Tie it on standard and long shank hooks, sizes 10-18.
Trout need to be able to see flies in deep water where light penetration may be poor. Light-reflecting and fluorescent materials can help. You can also improve your catch-rate by using materials which move easily in the water, making the flies appear alive. 9. Booby Nymph When fished on a sink ing line, this fly always fishes above the line. But pulling the line quickly makes it dive for the bottom, and it floats up again as soon as the tension is released. During a normal retrieve the fly swims with an up- and-down style, making it almost irre sistible to fish. Have a variety of colours tied on long shank hooks in sizes 10-14. 10. Pearly Green Palmer This pattern performs well both on southern waters and Scottish lochs. Fluorescent green is a powerfully attractive colour to fish. Use size 10 for rainbows and size 12 for brown trout. 11. Clifton Devised by Martin Cairncross to be a ‘halfway house’ between a nymph and a lure, this pattern is a must when using fast-sinking fines. Most effective in the early months of the season, it is best tied on long shank hooks in sizes 12 and 14.