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Clyde Style Flies

Welcome to Real Clyde Style Flies.

This web site will introduce you to the glory of The River Clyde, it's Tributaries and most importantly the unique style of flies from this part of Central Scotland.

Flies that have been passed down through the generations, those that are well known and those not so well known.

Three books that are seen as the bibles of Clyde fly fishing, Let's fish The Clyde, Let's Fish again and Clyde Style Flies give a great insight into the Clyde Fly, whilst I will add in many others not mentioned in these great books, flies from lists passed down the years on hand written notes.

Most people think of The Clyde as the big river in Glasgow, once the pride of the shipbuilding world and British Empire. Many who helped forge the metals for these great ships worked in the Lanarkshire Foundries and Coal Mines (pits), escaping at the weekends not just to fish the Upper Clyde but to feed their families. The Clyde being part of their living life from it's source in the Leadhills to the Clyde Estuary. The leasons of fishing and fly tying passed down to us!

No one is sure when the first slim sparse Clyde fly was tied, but use one today on the Clyde or worldwide and you will catch fish on them.

Over the following pages lists of flies and their pictures will be shown for your pleasure, whilst mine is passing them onto you.


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Catch a living fly by the riverside and spend some time admiring it's delicacy. One thing you will notice is it's size! Compared to what you first glimpsed it's a thing of delicate beauty.

Now have a good look ay your Clyde Style Flies, the tying of these are as how the natural fly is, small, delicate and beautiful to look at and hold.

The Clyde fly maybe dressed short on the hook, the lighter dressing and hook taking the fly down to the fish that bit quicker, also a fly that gave firmer hooking of the fish, the hooks also not as delicate as todays. Hooks sizes below size 16 being considered too small, if a smaller fly was required it was dressed shorter on the hook.

Many of the flies are Blae Winged! A bluey grey from the feathers of some native Scottish birds many of which are now protected. The different shades being used through the year, dark in Spring and Autumn, light blae in Summer or of the insect being copied.

Our Blae's are:- Starling, Hen Blackie (Blackbird), Lark, Snipe, Fieldfare (Feltie), Teal, Moorhen (Stank hen). The feathers are darker outside and lighter on the inside, hence light side out - dark side out in the dressings.

A box of Clyde flies look only half tied compared to many, whilst a Clyde dry fly some think of it as a spider wet fly. The old masters of industry with their hard skinned grimy hands knew how to dress a slim life like fly.

With the winged wet and spider flies being in use earlier dry flies in time came into the Clyde fishers box. Dry fly fishing was first recorded being used on the river in the 1920's as the art was spreading from the hallowed Chalk Streams to our stoney rivers. The dry fly was soon adapted to the Clyde Style, sparse, delicate just like the adult fly. The main difference being a stiff cock hackle being used to keep the fly afloat. Some of the dries flies being unique to the Clyde, the Badger family and the Scot's Grey. The Badger hackle being cream with a black centre, the Scot's Grey cream with black/brown barrs. The bodies maybe of orange, red, yellow, green or black silk, great all round fly families.

One old famous dry fly not used much now is the Blue Hen Spider. The tail and hackle being from an Andalusian Blue, the body of brown silk ribbed with yellow silk. Try this lovely fly during the summer evenings, even for some day dreaming time.

Gone are the days of the Mine or steelworkers who didn't run wax along their yellow thread to turn it olive, fingers from days of toil which could not be cleaned to our standards did this. Wax was mainly used as silks were not as strong as todays.

The cast is mainly now of three flies, spools of nylon means we can adjust our cast to suit ourselves, not a fly every foot as was the norm with a horse hair cast.


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