By John McHale
My first fly tying box , I
got from my father. A rag tag box of mysteries to a small boy wiith
a ripe smell of old wax,wings and good memories. There wasnt much to
tie with but enough to whet the appetite. A few years later my good
friend Terry, one of my villages perrenial game fishing migrants
from north of the border, gave me his fly tying equipment. He
decided his eyesite had failed too much in the near to work so close
anymore. An amazing collection of feathers and fleece and was and
indeed, still is. black blue and yellow hackles, deer hair ,stoats
tail ,seal fur,golden pheasant and many other wonderful fly tying
materials which I had never seen before.
I accepted it graetfully
,settled into the work bench and made my first feasible salmon fly.
of course feasible is a relative term. It was of my own creation, A
bumble type pattern, thick with hackle and tinsel and well suited to
decorating a christmas tree.
I took it out one early
august evening to my local spate river in the west of Ireland. I
cast it carefully accross the river.I cast across the water to
little bay on the far side. My father told me many times in my
childhood of this little bay. The fly dropped onto the water ,the
water boiled, I raised my rod and on my first salmon fly i caught a
beautiful silver grilse.
I played him quick and hard
as i knew I would put this one back. My friend Eamon was there to
land the fish and witness what can only be described as joy or maybe
As time has moved on and I
have got older I feel my flies have become more
acceptable,mainstream and beautiful, at least to the eye of the
A few years later I returned
to my fathers old fly tying box and ruffled through it. Out of the
side of my eye between two panels of wood I saw the corner of an old
empty wax paper packet
hidden in the groove. I fished it out with a dubbing needle. On the
back was the greatest treasure of all. Written in my fathers
beautiful old script was his list of favourite flies for salmon and
These are the flies that
fill my box now. Mmy fathers list.
Teal, blue and silver.
Thunder and lightening.
By John McHale 2007