Urban fly-tying: Tim James, Tavistock

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Readers of last year’s best-selling urban fly-fishing blockbuster may recall how impressed we were by the locally-tied flies of Tavistock fishing guide Tim James…

… which we loved enough to pick up a generous handful from the counter of English Country Pursuits, the town’s huntin’, shootin’ and fishin’ shop.

Some of these featured in chapter 3 of Trout in Dirty Places, and Tim recently sent us another packet of his latest designs for nationwide testing.

Since then, we’ve got to admit, opportunities for in-depth trials have proved frustratingly elusive (for instance, the Urbantrout team struck out boldly with dry fly rigs and Tim’s flies into the teeth of cold, wind, rain and rising water on both the Taff and Irwell… and struck out completely in the other sense too, with never a sign of a properly rising fish on either river).

But on the upside, several cracking fish fell to his tiny bead-head Pheasant Tail Nymphs on the Frome, and we also managed to engineer chances to feed his beautifully robust-yet-delicate quill-bodied cul de canard Large Dark Olives and Griffith’s Gnats to good trout on the Calder and Tame.

We’re pretty sure that these olive and midge patterns will continue to pull fish up as long as the skies stay overcast and drizzly… and of course we really can’t wait to start trying his hot-head nymphs on certain picky grayling in Huddersfield, Salisbury and Winchester from 16 June onwards.

If you like the look of Tim’s flies as much as we do, we’re reliably informed he may soon be offering selection packs of 12 dries and 12 nymphs for sale through his new website, currently under development.

In the meantime, he can be contacted directly by email, or via the Westcountry Angling Passport Scheme. We say, get your orders in early…

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