11- 5 killer fishing fly combos to try this season
Deadly Doubles: 5 killer fishing fly combos to try this season
From fish and chips to Morecambe and Wise, there are things in life that just work better as a pair. The same is true with some of your favourite fishing flies. Here are five of the very best duos in fly fishing.
What’s your favourite double act?
Discovering a successful “tag team” of flies can bring fantastic results, on running or still water.
Have you ever hit upon two flies that are brilliant fished together? Whether it’s a case of mixing wet and dry or little and large, some patterns were just made for each other. So, while many of us stick a single fly each season, there are definitely scenarios where a team of two is better still.
Sussing out whether flies go hand in hand or like chalk and cheese is an interesting exercise on its own right, of course. The combinations are endless and you’re sure to find your own favourites. If we had to narrow it down to just a few combinations, however, these five duos would all make my shortlist.
For tackling just about any small river for trout, the combination of a highly visible emerger pattern, along with a small gold bead nymph is hard to beat. It’s so easy to set up “New Zealand style” by simply attaching your dry fly first and then adding your nymph with 12” to 24” (30cm to 60cm) of extra tippet, tied directly to the hook bend of the first fly. It’s incredibly useful, effectively hedging your bets and winkling out fish even when nothing is rising. Of course, if the fish start to come up on the surface regularly, you can always nip off the nymph and stick to one fly. Many patterns work, but you can’t go far wrong with a brightly-topped Klinkhamer and small Hare’s Ear. This combo that has caught me dozens of fish for more seasons than a can remember on the small rivers of the Westcountry and beyond.
Deadly for: Small streams, days when hatches are scarce.
STIMULATOR & BLACK GNAT
Fishing two dry flies on the same cast is something that’s never been very popular in the UK. For our American friends, however, it is common practice to pair them up, especially on bigger rivers where trout might be eating tiny midges or big terrestrials in the same few hours.
The idea here is simple enough; a large dry fly should quickly draw some attention and can even be waked or skated to draw fish in. Wily trout won’t always go for a big, brash target, however, which is where the smaller fly comes in, as a more subtle target for fish that fancy a smaller mouthful. Why not give it a try? There’s nothing stopping you on your local river or indeed on a stillwater setting.
Deadly for: River trout in broken water
Indicator or bung flies will never be the purist’s choice, but can be a fantastic way to suspend a more realistic nymph in the upper layers of the water. And why indeed not? On small stillwaters you will often find trout cruising the upper layers for hatching insects; but they won’t always feed avidly off the surface itself. On these occasions, a buzzer presented two to three feet below the bung is a fantastic way to catch them. Of course, the odd fish will also sometimes attack the indicator itself, which is where the bung fly has the advantage over an indicator. Of course, if the bung offends your tastes, you could always go for a more traditional dry fly as a sighter.
Deadly for: Small stillwaters and days when the trout are cruising the upper layers.
GOLD BEAD FRITZ & DIAWL BACH
The choice of whether to go loud or subtle with your flies is a common conundrum on many fisheries. Lots of factors can influence your choice, not least of all water clarity, fly hatches and the level of angling pressure. What seems certain is that trout will often come for a closer look at a colourful, lively pattern; but the warier, larger fish won’t always bite.
However, by having a small, subtle nymph on the cast just a few feet behind your garish attractor pattern, you will often pick up those fish that demand more subtlely. In short, the showy fly of this duo grabs their attention, while the smaller fly trips them up. Of course, various lures and nymphs can work- but these two are especially good together.
Deadly for: Reservoir fishing and any scenario when fish follow lures but are reluctant to take.
STANDARD & FAB BLOB
Blobs are as divisive as Brexit when it comes to trout anglers, but their effectiveness cannot be denied. However, those just fishing them singly on a floating line will often boost their catches on these colourful flies by mixing things up and trying alternative presentations.
One fantastic approach with sinking lines is to fish a buoyant “fab” blob on the point, along with a standard blob on the dropper. This is a highly effective way to search more of the water column, as Gary Pearson once taught me on Hawkridge Reservoir, comfortably outfishing my floating line approach on that occasion! Try a fast sink line, counting down to different depths and mixing up retrieves and fly colours. Pink and Black are my favourites.
Deadly for: Stillwater fishing with sinking lines