JOIN Brian Burnett AT THE IRISH FLY FAIR
I have always had a healthy interest in any craft that delivers a handmade product. Many years ago, one of my favourite television programmes was “The Irish Angle”. The programme focused on all sorts of cottage industry crafts from book binding to the manufacture of hurling sticks. Unfortunately, many of the old traditional crafts and skills are probably now beginning to be forgotten and replaced by the modern computer-generated products.
For me, fly dressing has always been a very enjoyable and extremely important extension of fly fishing. A combination of the history and traditions of fishing and fly dressing retains with ease, both my interest and passion in the sport.
Although I have a healthy interest in new and modern materials, I have an even larger appetite for Traditional flies both Salmon and Trout. Today the old traditional wet flies are often forgotten, names such as the Woodcock and Yellow, Mallard and Claret being replaced by a modern pattern, but this is progress which must be respected, or we would still be using heavy greenheart rods.
Today we are spoiled by the wide variety and quality of fly dressing materials available to us fly makers/dressers, especially when you consider the magnificent range of dubbing materials available. That said, I am always drawn back to natural materials and enjoy the challenge of trying to re-produce the colours as detailed in the old reference books.
When I first started to dress flies, obtaining decent hen or cock capes was extremely difficult and almost impossible. This has dramatically changed and today we can find with ease a range of neck and saddle capes to satisfy even the most pernickety fly-maker.
You have to look no further than Chevron Hackles for evidence of this, the extensive range of available hen capes are ideal for wet flies. They are always beautifully prepared, and the list of available colours is superb. The cockerel neck and saddle capes are perfect for the body and throat hackles of larger flies such as Salmon and Pike flies.
Dressing Classic Salmon flies has taught me a lot of additional techniques that have added additional enjoyment to my fly dressing activities through the many friends I have made, and they have passed on wee tricks that they themselves have learned. Almost all the techniques used in dressing Classic Salmon flies can be used when dressing trout patterns regardless if they are old traditional patterns or the more modern patterns.