Winter can be one of the best seasons for both the river and stillwater fly angler. Kieron Jenkins brings you a winter warmer to try on the rivers, smallwaters and reservoirs…
Since my first trip to the Czech Republic in 2003, the Red Tag Jig has been one of my all-time favourite trout and grayling patterns. Over the years I have had some exceptional days where it has out fished every other fly in the box. This style of pattern is extremely effective on Freestone Rivers as it’s a great caddis imitation with a bright ‘head/tag’ and slender body.
The Tutti Frutti came about after experimenting with bright flies on light-coloured river beds, for instance, a chalk bed. After many hours trying I found that the lighter coloured fly would outfish the darker patterns over a lightly-coloured river bed. I guess it’s somewhat like the grayling themselves, you tend to find the fish caught over sand or gravel will be very lightly coloured, where those caught from deeper, darker water are much blacker on the back, helping them blend in with their surroundings.
Back in October when we got the first real cold snap a couple of us from Fulling Mill headed to the River Itchen for a company day out – for all of the team this pattern was particularly effective when sight fishing to large grayling. The white tungsten bead and brightly coloured tail gave us plenty of visibility when the fly was falling through the water column. You could clearly see if the fly was tracking correctly or getting caught up in the unseen currents and then alter the drift or your next cast accordingly. Once it had hit the depth the fish would lazily come across and intercept the fly, or if the light was bad and you’re unable to see the fish, the ‘lights would go out’ where the fly had been inhaled and out of view. The Tutti Frutti is definitely a great variation of the ‘Tag’ to try next time you’re out.
- To create the multi-coloured tail, simply wrap four lengths of Glo-Brite around three fingers. Do this to get an even amount of both colours. Put the two colours together and cut one end flush. Take a piece of Velcro and run the floss through, this mixes the colours to create one single floss.
- The bottom of your old hen capes are great for hackles on river bugs. Use these small feathers (which are often too small for anything below a size 14) to create a hackle behind the bead – this gives a leggy look as well as giving a taper to the body.
- To create the thorax, make a dubbing loop by either splitting the thread or using a dubbing twister. Insert the dubbing between the loops, twist and wind on. Try mixing different colour dubbings to give different effects.
Born and raised on the rivers and lakes of south Wales, Kieron Jenkins has become one of the leading competition anglers of our time. With multiple ‘Brown Bowls’ under his belt, along with a creditable fourth position at World level, fly fishing and fly tying has become his life, passion and obsession for Fulling Mill’s Digital Marketing Manager.