Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Bring on the Big Guns!
For all my recent raving about the benefits of tungsten bodies, the more orthodox leaded caddis still has its place in my armoury. Derived from the original Czech style nymph, the above flies are typical of many you will in winter grayling fishers' boxes up and down the country. Czech nymphs they certainly are not though; these patterns are considerably larger and bulkier than their European counterparts and are perhaps better described simply as 'bugs'.
The tying of such beasts tends to involve multiple layers of lead wire/strip and some careful profiling to achieve the desired shape. However I'm far too lazy for this sort of carry on, so I shortcut this stage by using the pre-leaded Partridge CZL hooks below:
As you can see, they carry a moulded lead body already attached. They are consequently very heavy indeed - heavier than could ever be achieved using wire - but also quite expensive (about £3 for a box of seven). So it hurts a bit when they get lost on the river bed.
Still, credit crunch be damned, I like them enough to keep a couple of dozen in the nymph box, in sizes from #16 right up to a frankly monstrous #6. They come in handy in high or exceptionally heavy flows when large cased and free-swimming caddis can become dislodged from their stony abodes. Typically I'll tie one to the middle dropper as a semi-sacrificial 'depth fly', with much smaller patterns either side. But I have occasionally used one of the smaller sizes singly, much later in the year for searching out turbulent, bouldery pocket water. In such situations they can be simply deadly.
I tied the amber, olive, yellow and pink versions below this afternoon after finding my supplies had become depleted. I look forward to losing them on the bed of a stony grayling stream sometime soon!