Dougie Loughridge: Completely in the Opposite Direction

Every now and again I like to try something new in my fly-tying. Recently a friend of mine set me a bit of a challenge in that he wanted me to tie him a box of flies for fishing on the River Clyde.

“Great, I thought, a few pheasant tail nymphs, some hares lug, a few dries and emergers” but no, he meant Clyde style flies: a completely different ball game.

These sparse little flies have a bit of a cult following from the edge of the Scottish border to the central belt, through which the River flows. Once extremely popular, they are seeing a bit of resurgence with more coverage in flyfishing magazines but in order to do some more detailed research, I got myself a copy of John Reid’s cracking wee book “Clyde Style Flies and their dressings”, first published in 1971. 

My friends wish list featured flies such as the Blae & Black, Teal & Black, Sandfly, March Brown nymphs, olive nymphs and the Hen Blackie. Many of the original flies called for feathers from birds now protected so again, a bit of research was required in obtaining correct substitutes. Although they look extremely simple, I initially found it tricky to obtain consistency in achieving the correct proportions but a bit of practice and I was on my way. The trick really is to discipline yourself to keep it sparse – very sparse.

Now I just need to tie a few up for myself and get out and try them in their place of origin!

- Dougie