Another wet and windy morning in Foxford. Water levels are very very high and the river is unfishable. Its looking like there will be no fishing for a good while. On a positive note there’s an odd fish showing up around the country so when levels do fall we should be in action. On a day like this its difficult to imagine low water and fly fishing but it will come and i’m sure we will be looking for rain by July. For anyone thinking about patterns to tie or have prepared this little piece may be of some use.
Many books have been written on the subject of fly tying and fly patterns. Shops including our own are seriously overstocked with hundreds of different patterns all of which were “killers” at one stage. It’s not that these older patterns will not work; they are just out of fashion or in a lot of cases have evolved into something new and slightly different. If we take it over a period of time, that’s not surprising. People see flies and try to copy them, they often substitute a material or colour for another material or colour and the original has already changed. What has really made a big difference in the past 20 years is the availability of materials. Synthetics have replaced a lot of traditional fur and feather (Bring back seals fur 🙂 ) and there’s an amazing range of “sparkle” available. This creative process of designing or adapting patterns has led to the availability of hundreds of new looking flies. Often When I look through old boxes of flies I fined patterns that I have forgotten about or can hardly recognize. I bet that in your fly box or stuck in a hat somewhere you have a G.P or an Orange Allys shrimp. These patterns will still take fish but when did you last try them?
Every day we get asked what the best fly is for today. It’s a question that is not easily answered. Like in a lot of angling situations, a lot has to be taken into consideration. If we were to get into it here it would be far too much for a short blog. For now we have picked a selection of twelve “go to” patterns. I’m confident to say that any angler fishing the Moy who has these twelve patterns in his or her box will cover most situations throughout the season. https://themoy.com/product/salmon-flies/
Lemon shrimp: In a size 8 this is a Shrimp Fly patterns that will take a Springer in the early part of the season. It seems to work well in clear water and on a day with sunny periods. Fished on the bubble and fly when there’s a good upstream breeze it will take stubborn resident t fish. One for a big fish.
Orange and Gold Shrimp: One of the original Shrimp patterns that has not “Evolved”. The Orange and Gold is a very good pattern to try throughout the season. It will take an early Springer and is a Local favourite around Foxford
Stoats Tail: A very simple and effective pattern. The Stoats tail takes fish throughout the season but is particularly good from about mid May to September. A very effective pattern for fresh run grilse. Over the years we have added a hint of red to the wing which seems to work better especially for fresh run grilse.
Bann Special: The Bann special is hugely popular on the Moy. Fished in sizes 10 to 14 it is another summer favourite. This fly works throughout the system and is equally as effective on the tidal beats as it is on the upper parts of the river. A good pattern to try when the water clears following a flood.
Faughan Shrimp: One of the better Upper Moy patterns. I would not be without this in a size 14. Anytime from March onwards it will take fish. It works very well on dull windy days and will take both fresh and resident fish.
Coolraw Killer: Not unlike the Faughan shrimp. This pattern evolved in the 90s. It came from a copy of a Claret Shrimp pattern that was a firm favourite of a Moy guide who regularly fished on the Cloongee fishery. He would fish either size 12 or 14s and it accounted for many good catches. Best fished in dull windy conditions it also works very well on a falling flood. If fishing after a flood I would go up to a size 10.
White shrimp: One for a fresh run fish. Fish it in shallow streamy water, early in the morning. I have taken several fish on this pattern on bright days when all else has failed.
Cascade: An evolution of the Allys shrimp this pattern or should I say several variations of this pattern have really taken over as salmon flys in Ireland. It does work very well and accounts for large numbers of salmon annually. My favourite version is tied on a cone head tube and is very good for Springers. The half inch size working well on the Moy in medium to low water. The three quarter inch is well worth a try on a falling flood.
Wilkinsons shrimp: A real summer pattern. This fly works well throughout the system. On a size 10 it can fish very well on the Cathedral and Ridge pools while smaller size 12 and 14s seem to work further upstream. It will also take sea trout.
Foxford Shrimp: as the name implies this pattern has its origins around Foxford. A very effective pattern for bubble and fly and a favourite of many of the locals. It works well from about May onward and is especially effective in the later part of the season August/September. It will take both fresh and resident fish and is best fished in sizes 10 to 14
Ballina Grey Shrimp: Accredited to a Ballina angler the Ballina Grey is a deadly bubble and fly pattern in low water. At this time it is fished in small sizes, 14 and 16s. It works well at other times as well and is one to have in the box on a difficult day.
Curry’s Red Shrimp: One of the original shrimp patterns, the Curry’s red still works well. It fishes well on the upper Moy from June onwards and in a size 10 or 12 is very effective when there’s a slight hint of colour in the water.