How to Clean your Fly Line

I decided to bite the bullet and clean my fly lines. Cleaning your fly lines is probably one of the most satisfying things you can do to improve your casting and the “floatability” of your line. I have read you are supposed to clean your line after every other trip using special products however I do it a few times a year using fairy liquid.

Why clean your fly line?

Over the course of the season it picks up grime, weed and if like me you are paranoid about the tip sinking then generous amounts of floatant which must be washed off with the other debris.

The Process

  1. Fill up your sink with warm water with some fairy liquid – just enough to make it bubble.
  2. Strip off half your fly line into the sink. (I only strip off half as I am lucky to cast that far)
  3. Move the water around over your fly line using your fingers – do not do this too much or you could end up with big wet knots in your fly line.
  4. Get a paper towel and wet it, then pull the line through the wet paper towel starting at the reel end using moderate pressure until you get to the tip of the fly line.
  5. Marvel at the line of grime left on the paper towel.
  6. Repeat steps 2-4 (there is never the same amount of satisfying grime the second time)
  7. Now get a dry paper towel and pull the line through it – this time you are drying the line, once done repeat.
  8. Wind line back on reel.

You now have a fly line which will float much better than it did before until around your 3rd trip when it starts picking up grime again.

First Day of Trout Season = Pike Fishing

So I decided that as the Pike seemed to be switched on to miss out on the usual first day of the trout season shenanigans and head out again after Pike. The reasoning was that:

  • We never do well on the first day of the season anyway (the first couple of weeks actually)
  • It was nice calm weather – it would not be blowing a gale on Loch Lomond
  • I couldn’t be arsed going into my loft space to get my trout gear out when my pike stuff was sitting there all handy like.

As it was traditions are there for a reason and of course we were well and truly skunked as we both caught no Pike.
However, as I sit here typing this on a work day Monday morning I notice the sun in the sky and a certain look of spring in the air. This weekend will be my start of the trout season I reckon.

Pike Fly Fishing – Rasmus Hansencom

This video has been doing the rounds for a while now- seeing as so many of you guys seem to like your Pike I thought I would post it for your enjoyment. Make sure you check out rasmus hansencom

Edit – the video is disabled – you will have to head over to You Tube to watch it.

A Pike From Loch Lomond

It was cold, at one point there were hailstones – it was windy and on occasion just plain old raining. This was not your usual wind, this was lazy wind – a wind that is too lazy to go around you instead it just goes through your waterproof jacket, your windproof top and into your chest. All in all not nice weather – pretty much the same as last week if the truth be told however lessons were not learned and this time we at least felt that Spring was on the way as for a brief few moments the sun came out and warmed our heads – hell I think I even smiled. A kind chap called Nicolas from the Glasgow Angling Centre had put us on to this spot; confidentiality only allows a photo of the area.

As it was, in those few moments of what felt like Spring a male jack Pike on the way to the spawning beds on Loch Lomond decided to have a gnash at my fly –

A brief tussle ensued – the Pike obviously had other things on its mind – wild Pike Sex for a start…


The Pike was firmly hooked, I cursed myself for not de-barbing my hook – I had tied these up the day before and it had gone out of my head….however, the pike was unhooked while blood poured once more from my hand…

My fishing buddy has a new camera so it was nice to get some pictures of my fish for a change…..

The fly I have cunningly named the Emerald Interceptor as it is tied with a green zonker strip as a tail and then tied hackle like around the hook shank. Some glossy tinsel stuff and a pair of eyes make it a nice juvenile pike or perch imitation – or something like that anyway.

Not only is that my first Pike from Loch Lomond it is also my first fish of the year. Most gratifying as I doubt the start of the trout season will be up too much – it starts on Saturday and what with a severe weather warning across the whole of the UK I am not sure where we will end up.

Early Season Flies – Part One

Ok, I promised a kelvinator I would post the flies that I regularly use on the Kelvin . I pretty much use these same flies on the other rivers I fish as well. I have decided to split the series into three so watch out for the next sections over the coming weeks.

Anyway, the list I will give you in this little series is on no way a complete guide to entomology for that you should read a book or even head over to Pale Watery who gives you a more detailed guide of the main hatches on all the Clyde system and when you can expect them. So….

First Out the River

The first fly you will encounter on the rivers in this fine part of Scotland is the Large Dark Olive (Baëtis rhodani if you want to really impress people on the river bank). It hatches from the beginning of March to roughly May time. Despite its name it is not really a big fly and you will see hatches of it from midday until the middle of the afternoon – you will probably see them between the frequent spring rain showers. They often end up getting blown over making them an easy target for any trout switched on to them.

There are a couple of flies I would use to imitate a LDO however the main one would be a Comparadun.

I was taught how to tie this fly by Alberto Laidlaw. I struggled with it for a few months and eventually perfected it last season. When I say perfected I mean it still looks pretty bad however if it sits ok on the water and catches trout I am happy. The key I was told was to make it bushy. It looks perfect as a large dark olive and it can be tied in a variety of sizes. As far as I am aware these can be bought in the shops.

If you are going to tie your own the ingredients are:

  • Tail – Micro Fibetts
  • Body – Superfine Olive Dubbing
  • Wing – Coastal Deer Hair
  • Thread – Olive (although I sometimes use yellow)

I tie comparaduns in various sizes and with various body colours, for example, golden olive and black.

Incidentally, Alberto is the inventor of the “Gryffe Olive” – another good general olive imitation. Its ingredients are:

  • Tail – Micro Fibetts
  • Body – Hairs EarWing Post – Deer Hair
  • Hackle – I spoke to Alberto on the telephone today and he states a nice Blue Dun is the best. The one in the picture is tied with a golden badger.
  • Thread – Yellow


Alberto states the tail should be “distressed”, in other words split apart using your nail. I generally do this streamside.

Underwater Action

The nymph of the LDO is worth imitating even when there is no hatch and no trout rising – this is because it is an “agile darter”.

You can use a Pheasant Tail Nymph (pictured) to search for the trout feeding amongst weeds or around stones on the river bed. If you have a freaky sixth sense you can use your Zen to detect takes – if you are anyone else you can use an indicator like a piece of yarn or an bushy fly like the comparadun.

The above pheasant tail nymph was tied the traditional way only using copper wire and pheasant tail fibers


The Kelvin has good hatches of Large Dark Olives – I think the earliest I have caught trout on a dry fly was around the start of April. Generally you will notice pockets of trout rising and if you are careful enough you can pick several off before they get spooked.

In Part two I will show some other dry flies for the LDO and another useful nymph.

A little something for the weekend sir?

I am not a fan of posting two YouTube videos in a row however I thought this might be worthwhile….

Orvis Helios on You Tube

Neil “Trout Machine” Sinclair – Thur 28th Feb at Milngavie Library

Neil “Trout Machine” Sinclair is giving a talk along at Milngavie Library tomorrow evening (Thursday 28th February at 7pm). The event is organised by Alberto Laidlaw through the Milngavie Fly Dressers Club.Neil fishes for the Scotland Team (although we don’t hold that against him) and he will be giving away his usual pearls of wisdom about fly fishing for trout as well as fly tying – I do believe he will be talking about vices as well……although probably not the “Miami Vice” type. Neil is the inventor of the “Double Decker”

All welcome – I think entry is under a fiver.

It’s not supposed to make sense – it was a dream !

I had a weird dream last night. I dreamt I turned up at a favourite spot on a river and there was a tackle shop on the edge of the stream, not a dingy one but one that was full of important looking people in Orvis and Sage shirts – people that looked like they knew what they were doing. There were rows and rows of expensive looking rods and a stags head on the wall (strangely there was an inflatable comedy sized guitar in the corner of the room but it was a dream so made perfect sense at the time).

They were charging around £100 for a days fishing with a guide – and there was lots of people who professed to be experts on this particular river. I only wanted to fish I told them – however I was told there would be no way I would catch a trout as I did not have the specific fly that all the guides were using that week.

I looked at the river where I once found solitude and watched rows upon rows of anglers all casting with the same fly.

I went home.




…another winter nearly over, another half dozen balloon caddis tied, another weekend earning brownie points by not going fishing, another 28 days until the brown trout season starts, another blank fly fishing for Pike last weekend (reckon its too cold), another dozen comparaduns tied, another trip into town to gaze at the new camera I desperately want, another UCAPA permit bought, another sportfish catalogue drops through my door, another fly line needed, another…



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