Lothians angling: Winter is the best time to practise your fly-tying skills

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Fly-tying clubs are now in full swing in the Lothians and well-known local fishing consultant Graeme Keir believes joining a club and seeking advice from experienced hands is the best way ahead for beginners.

He also advises that novices should steer away from buying a fly-tying kit.

He has been fishing since he was six and puts as much dedication into tying as he does to actually fishing for wild brown trout and rainbow trout.

He said: “If you are starting out it is best to find somebody who already ties flies and who can advise you on basic tactics and skills and materials.

“I would not buy a kit. Go along to local fly tying class and pick up some hints and tips and find your way.

Tying flies is as complicated as you want it to be. You can spend a fortune, but my advice is to concentrate on the flies you need for the waters you fish.

“You could go down the Water of Leith, for example, or the Tyne in East Lothian and one box (of flies) would do you the whole season.”

It is, he conceded, more complex when you fish still waters for rainbow trout, but the basic requirements are a good quality thread. “It is like anything, if you buy cheap you will get cheap results. Buy good quality and you will eventually get good results. You will, however, have to be dedicated to it and I am as dedicated to tying as I am to my fishing.”

Graeme, who is a consultant with Orvis in Edinburgh, said that beginners are unlikely to make the best flies initially.

He added: “A lot of dedication and hours at the vice are key but once you catch a fish on your home-made fly then that is you.

“The simple message is that if you fish the Water of Leith or The Almond or any water, check what the most popular flies are and target in on them during your fly tying.”

The Edinburgh Fly Dressers club meets every Wednesday in Slateford Bowling Club, Lanark Road, at 7.30pm and anybody interested is invited to pop along.

Demonstrations and advice sessions are part of the varied programme for the group. 
Regulars are happy to advise on the best equipment and flies to tie. Fishers host a weekly fly tying session in their Penicuik shop at 7.30pm on a Thursday. Bring your own equipment and regulars are more than happy to pass on advice.

You can, of course, buy materials in the shop on the night and Orvis host regular sessions in their shop at 19 Hope Street, Edinburgh. Call 0131 226 6227.

Finally, a note about annual meetings. West Lothian Angling Association host their annual meeting on Monday at 8pm in Mid Calder Community Centre. Musselburgh and District Angling Association hold their annual meeting on 
Tuesday at 7.45pm in the Congregational Church at 6 Links Street, Musselburgh.

Chris Halliday, the chairman, said this is an ideal chance for anybody interested in joining the committee. “You can put your name forward by email to riveresk-mdaa@hotmail.com.”