The February fly of the month from PRO-Team member Paul Procter is the Cat's Eye. To see the fly of the month for January, click here.

Cat’s Eye

Hook: Partridge heavy wet supreme 8-12

Thread: White

Tail: White marabou

Thorax: Pearl Glister dubbing

Weight (opt’l): Lead wire

Head: Fl Green Firefly hot head bead

Granted this fly isn’t going to challenge your fly dressing skills, yet the simplest of patterns are often the most deadly!  Relying on that lethal colour combination of chartreuse and white, in essence you have a dumbed-down Cat’s Whisker here. As successful as it can be, strangely a Cat’s Eye is rarely my first choice when winter fishing for rainbows.That said, this dressing really does come into it’s own on pressured waters, or wary trout for that matter. Consequently, following a long winter of bombardment with all the usual lures ripped past their noses, fish often respond positively to a single cat’s eye during February.  

If you prefer a weighted version then lead wire no more than 0.6mm in diameter snugs up nicely behind a firefly bead to fix it in place. As ever, lead wraps should be sealed with varnish to prevent oxidization and discolouration at a later date. Those downy marabou fibres found close to the base of a stem might have unequalled movement, yet they’re often fragile. More wispy in appearance, fibres towards a feather’s tip offer better durability, which are my first choice. Whatever you’re preference, refrain from overdoing the marabou tail as this only serves to clog up when wet, rendering you’re fly lifeless.

What is about mobile marabou tails on flies that makes us want to rip them back in a blur of hands? An un-weighted cat’s eye however comes to life inched back on an intermediate line. In fact, where trout are suspicious, a fly eye presented on the drop using an intermediate line certainly has worth. In such circumstances, aim to straighten your cast out, so direct contact is instantly achieved, which is vital for detecting subtle takes. As for a weighted version, consider using this in conjunction with a floating line and long leader. This is best fished by pitching out and merely focussing on the bowing fly line for takes, as per normal nymphing tactics. Occasionally, a long pull on the line doesn’t hurt too. Not only does this draw the fly upwards where it can be left to descend unfettered, any nearby trout may be attracted by the sudden movement. 

 

Paul Procter

A resident of the Lake District, AAPGAI Master and Wild Trout Trust Vice-President Paul Procter is a dedicated fly fisher. With 30 years experience on rivers, lakes and tropical saltwater fly fishing, Paul is a leading contributor to the UK’s premier publications-Trout and Salmon and its sister magazine-Trout Fisherman.

A talented and innovative fly tyer, Paul’s flies have become recognised as a signature for his many articles. Having spent the last decade travelling extensively throughout Europe, the Americas and Southern Hemisphere, he has gained a wealth of knowledge on many of the celebrated rivers and streams with an intimate understanding of fly hatches and their imitations required to tempt fish. In turn this has allowed him to develop specialist patterns with the opportunity to field test hook models on a range of fish species and ultimately provide valuable feedback. However, having fished the far corners of the globe, his abiding love remains the light line approach on intimate Northern streams, fishing North Country spiders (soft hackled flies) and dry flies. Here the rivers offer such diversity that Paul has honed all fishing disciplines on systems like the Eden, Wharf and Ure.

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