Salmon Flies of Scotland, a look at traditional and modern fly patterns.
Scotland, is renowned for its picturesque landscapes and rich salmon fishing heritage. In fact it holds a special place in the hearts of anglers around the world. One of the most captivating aspects of Scottish fly fishing is the artistry behind salmon flies.
Firstly, salmon flies are intricate crafted creations designed to tempt the elusive Atlantic salmon. In this exploration, we’ll delve into the history of fly tying in Scotland, tracing its roots and evolution. Likewise we’ll reveal some of the effective modern patterns that are catching these elusive fish throughout Scotland.
The Salmon Flies of Scotland – Megan Boyd
Megan Boyd was a legendary Scottish fly tyer, renowned for her exceptional craftsmanship and mastery at tying salmon flies. Born in 1915 in Scotland, Megan spent much of her life in Highland village of Brora. Despite no formal training, she developed unparalleled skill for creating intricate and highly effective salmon fly patterns. In fact, strangely, despite the huge numbers of salmon that could not resist her flies, she never fished herself.
Boyd’s flies gained international acclaim, attracting the attention of anglers and collectors from around the world. What set her work apart was not only the technical precision in her tying but also the artistic creativity she infused into each creation. She often used unconventional materials, including items like tinsel from chocolate wrappers, to achieve unique and captivating designs.
Throughout her career, Megan Boyd tied flies for some of the most esteemed anglers, including Prince Charles and members of the British royal family. Despite her success and recognition, Boyd lived a modest and reclusive life, dedicating herself to the quiet pursuit of her craft.
Megan Boyd’s legacy endures in the world of fly fishing, with her flies cherished as both functional fishing tools and works of art. After her passing in 2001, her contribution to the tradition of Scottish fly tying remains an inspiration for modern day fly tyers. Lastly, I know from having spoken to legends like Davie McPhail and John Anderson, how highly they regard her artistry. In conclusion Megan created some of the finest Salmon flies of Scotland, her legacy all live on.
Salmon Flies of Scotland the Victorian Era
Firstly, salmon fly fishing gained unprecedented popularity during the Victorian Era. Anglers sought to develop elaborate and ornate patterns to entice the discerning Atlantic salmon. Moreover, Victorian salmon flies were characterized by their opulence, intricate designs, and the use of exotic materials. Simultaneously reflecting the prevailing tastes and aesthetics of the period.
Victorian salmon flies were often characterized by their extravagant and intricate designs. Craftsmen and fly tiers of this era embraced complexity, incorporating multiple materials and vibrant colors into their creations. These flies were not only tools for angling but also symbols of status and craftsmanship.
The Victorian era was a time of exploration and global trade, allowing fly tiers access to a wide array of exotic materials. Feathers from birds like the golden pheasant, toucan, and jungle cock, along with vibrant silks and tinsels, were commonly used. These materials added a luxurious and exotic flair to the flies, making them visually stunning
The Birth of Named Patterns
During this period, many flies began to receive specific names, often inspired by the rivers they were designed for or the individuals who created them. This practice laid the groundwork for the tradition of named salmon fly patterns that continues to this day.
The Influence of Victorian Authors
Victorian authors, such as George Kelson and Francis Francis, played a pivotal role in popularizing salmon fly fishing. They not only wrote extensively about angling techniques but also contributed significantly to the development of fly patterns. Kelson’s influential book, “The Salmon Fly,” published in 1895, showcased numerous patterns and became a reference for fly tiers of the time.
Salmon Flies of Scotland the rise of Jock Scott
One iconic Victorian salmon fly that emerged during this era is the Jock Scott. Created by Jock Scott, a Scottish fly dresser, this pattern is characterized by its intricate wing of golden pheasant tippets, married sections, and the use of exotic feathers. The Jock Scott remains a classic and is still fished with success today.
The Salmon flies of Scotland Modern Patterns
Tube Flies – ideal in Spring and Autumn
Meanwhile, when the water is high, often in spring and Autumn, modern tube variants of are deadly. The Plan D fly box is a great way to store tube flies.
Some of the most effective modern salmon flies in Scotland
Firstly, the Cascade is one of the most effective flies in Scotland, a firm favourite and go-to pattern. It can be fished in a variety of sizes.
In addition the Blue Charm is an effective West Coast pattern. This is a deadly pattern. It can be fished in doubles, singles and also highly effective in tubes. Subsequently look at this Blue Charm pattern, tied on a treble, superb when the water is low and clear.
Third choice is the Willie Gunn, arguably one of the most effective salmon flies of all time. Likewise you can fish every size of this pattern in any height of water. Weighted tubes and Snaelda variants are deadly too.
Lastly, it would be remiss not to mention the Sunray Shadow. On days when the fish are just now cooperating, this fly can stir them up and induce a take. In fact it’s deadly with all migratory fish and brown trout. Often fish slash and attack this fly as it’s skated across the surface, sometimes missing it completely. It can be exhilarating fishing this method.
However I would always advocate trying traditional flies first, as it can sometimes kill a pool dead after ripping through it with this tactic.
For more highly effective salmon flies, please visit the Helmsdale Company.