This week's Fly Friday comes from Stevie Munn, it's 'The Hector'
It is perhaps unfair to call this fly the hector, but please let me explain why myself and now a few of my angling comrades do so. Every year for almost thirty years I have fished Lough Sheelin. Sheelin is a lough in Ireland that like many can be at times a challenge to say the least, but it is one that will always produce great fish and for that reason, and many others I have always loved it. The cream of the fishing normally is the May fly which is from May to late June depending on weather conditions. Many anglers from all over the world have come to this famous water, hoping she is on song, sometimes she is and often she is not, fly fishers being what they are at times swap patterns and this was how I came across or this pattern first, or maybe better put is how I started, dressing something very similar as I lost the original.
The fly was given to me by an English or perhaps Welsh man (please forgive me if you are reading this). Let me confess how it happened, one of my fishing clubs the M.A.S was on their annual club outing where most of the society spends 5 days on the Lough each year at Mayfly time. One of the days I had a couple of nice fish on wets, which I had caught on Green Dabblers, one was a nice fish around 4lb, so I was feeling pretty pleased with myself as I came in off the lough for dinner, I met a few anglers at the jetty, and from the accents they were a mix of English and Welsh, as we got chatting, I asked one of them any fish, he told me he had not and looked so miserable, saying it was his first time on a big Irish Lough and was finding it hard going, as he normally fished small very well stocked fisheries at home and did well on them. I felt sorry for him as I know a Lough like Sheelin can beat the best of anglers, so I decided to give him a few of the Green Dabblers that had worked for me, maybe they would bring him some luck. He then thanked me so I gave him a few more to give his mates, which at that time I also thought had no fish also.
He then said, I feel so bad as almost everyone had got fish accept for himself. That was a surprise you never hear that on Sheelin, and especially not with respect from a load of tourists, there was about 10 of them and 9 had fish, up to 8lb, they had done fantastic, all lot better than our club, who had fish here for years, in fact and many of them said it was their first day on the lough. One of them seeing me give flies away said, here try some of ours. He was a man about 5 years older than me and said he had been lough fishing in Ireland since he was a boy and had just come from Mask and Corrib to fish Sheelin, until the May fly was over. He said he recognized me and was please to meet me, then he opened his large wooden fly box and there were rows and rows of this fly. I thought it looked nice but a little strange and instantly thought it was a wet pattern because of the French Partridge hackle wound at the front, which is very typical of many Irish wet gosling style patterns. He then said, as he gave me just one, this is what we all got our fish on I have been using it for years. I fish it ginked up dry. I was really surprised it was fished dry. I thanked him and put it in my box. We were going home that next morning, but I knew I was coming down in a week or so and would try it then.
Looking at the pattern on the way home, I noticed the tail was dressed with fur though I was unsure what it was, I showed it to my mates all very knowable anglers and fly dressers but they were also unsure, it was a soft but not too soft a material and dyed I thought almost Iron Blue. I thought it was maybe fox, artic runner perhaps, but when I looked at some in my fly tying room it was not. I dressed a few with feather fibres and thought they will work. On my return to Sheelin to fish with my good friend Gerry Taggert, I decided to try the fly I was given and to my joy it worked and landed me two lovely trout, the best was around 5lb. Then I lost the fly I’m not even sure how I lost it now but the ones I had dressed with feather fibre tails did not catch me a fish. Now I’m not saying they won’t, just they never did on that occasion.
Now fast forward it’s a year later and its early May, my thoughts are once again turning to the big loughs and Sheelin with its large trout and its mayfly hatch. I start thinking about that pattern that was given to me and the two nice trout I landed on it. So I rush into my messy fly tying room and start to plunder around looking for the materials to make it and also franticly looking for something like the fur to make the tail of the fly. I find everything to make the pattern, or at least something like the first pattern apart from the tail, I get quite frustrated and decide, sod it lets have a coffee and chill out. Then as luck would have it, up onto my lap jumps one of our cats, my wife Jenette and I have three and we have always had cats. I stroke him, he purrs and looks at me, he is a lovely cat with a great personally, my wife loves him. adores him, he can do no wrong. I must admit he is a wonderful cat and I also am extremely found of him. However, as I was petting him I noticed the hair along his back and his colour, looked perfect for the tail of the fly, I decide to carefully give him a little trim, just enough to make about 4 flies and little enough, so the wife would not notice and freak out that her cherished Russian Blue Baby called Hector, had not been given sort back and sides. So I gently took a piece of the priceless hair and cut it away, he really did not seem to mind though he did stop purring and maybe I imagined it but he seemed to give me a disgruntled look. Anyway that is why we now call this wonderful pattern The Hector after our cat. My mates say next year wee Hector will have a jumper and I will have his fur all used, but there is no way that’s going to happen.
The flies really looked the part with Hector fur tails and this season they have proved it, landing myself and a few of my mates some great fishing in Sheelin. Here is the Pattern and a few fish that has fallen for its charms.
The Hector: (As we call it. A truly great spent mayfly pattern)
Hook: Partridge Ideal Nymph CZF size 10 or 12 (the ten is a perfect size for Sheelin mayflies)
Tail: Russian Blue Cat back hair (please do not harm your pets or other peoples they are loved) If this is not available. I would advise grey squirrel dyed Iron Blue or Black.
Rib: Very fine silver wire , this is the stop the trout teeth from ripping the fly apart.
Body: Pearly Mylar ¾ then Veniard Glister Dubbing, Peacock Black.
Hackles: A good badger dry fly cock hackle not too long and wound over the dubbing. Then a natural French Partridge.
I think this fly works so well as it sits in the surface film and looks just so spent like.
Bio: Fishing Matters PRO-Staff Marketer and Promoter Stevie Munn works full time in fishing as a guide, writer and trained game angling instructor in fly casting and fly tying, he has also appeared in many angling books, magazines and DVDs and gives casting demonstrations at angling events all over the globe and is a World champion caster. He has fished many places and grew up fishing on rivers and loughs of Ireland where he guides. He runs teaching courses in Ireland and host groups to fish in BC Canada, Norway, Argentina, Iceland and other parts of the world. You can contact him via email firstname.lastname@example.org and for more information visit www.anglingclassics.co.uk