Super fly Iona Allan cashes in on the rise of indicator fishing

Iona Allan has built a solid reputation in the angling world as the Scottish fly lady, producing thousands of flies for fishermen all over the country.

Saturday, 17th July 2021, 4:55 am
Iona Allan with her handmade braided indicators. Picture: Nigel Duncan

However, she has taken time out from her regular patterns to launch a new product, braided indicators which are becoming more popular.

The only man in Scotland producing this type of indicator retired recently and Iona admitted that it took her some time to master making them by hand. They are now on sale at her fishery, Allandale Tarn near West Calder.

She is also marketing them on social media and word spreads fast. One angler made the journey from Ayrshire to pocket a few packs and the colourful indicators are said to be more sensitive to bites than others.

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15-year-old angler Oliver Plenderleith used a variety of patterns to land 21 trout in his session at Allandale Tarn. Picture: Nigel Duncan

The only drawback is that you can't slide them up and down the tippet, but they have the benefit of an angler being able to tie a 10lb flurocarbon line between the fly line and the indicator and then a 6lb length of flurocarbon between the other link on the indicator and the point fly. That means that if an angler is broken he is likely to retain the indicator.

"Anglers I know used to have indicators like this tied by Jimmy McBride who had a shop in Edinburgh but he closed down and nobody was making them,” said Allan.

"People were asking and so I thought about it. I tie them using braided loops and rubber tubes but aimed to make them as short as possible and a bit more rigid than the originals to keep them straight for better presentation. I have now got them to a stage where we can sell them in the shop at the fishery."

They come in different shapes and various sizes and Allan said they are easy to cast, particularly the bullet shape which is more aero-dynamic.

This 9lb cod was landed on Aquamarine Charters off Eyemouth.

She added: "Indicator fishing is increasing in popularity and is particularly good for young anglers taking up the sport. They can be used on still waters and also on rivers, hence the small size.

"Buoyancy is good and the indicators can be used with a number of patterns including rabbit, nymphs and weighted egg and they can be worked in rough and calm conditions.

"Anglers seem to like them and I have taken time out from tying up popular patterns like yellow owls to make them."

Meanwhile, anglers at Allandale Tarn have had mixed fishing reports due to the fluctuating pressure, but dry flies, buzzers and brown or olive diawl bach on size 12 or 14 hooks has been producing along with shipmans, beetles or nymphs and black spiders.

One 15-year-old angler, Oliver Plenderleith, used a variety of patterns to land 21 trout fish in his session, including a 16lb fish, one of a number of double-figure trout to be netted on the water in recent weeks.

Also in West Lothian, Bowden Springs near Linlithgow has enjoyed a mixed bag of weather from hot sultry days to thunder and lightning with heavy downpours according to owner Jim Gargaro.

However, the angling has still been good with the best catch on the fly loch being Chad Rachanbach with four superb trout weighing 23lb. An 11lb rainbow was the best and it was safely returned.

Dylan Johnstone had a cracking brown trout of 8lbs caught on a dry sedge and Conner Robertson a 6lb rainbow on buzzer.

Alan Purvis netted five for 18lb with a best of 5lb on black beetle dry and buzzers.

The bait loch has been fishing well with great water clarity and some of the better catches recorded were from Jake Greive and his brother Bert who caught eight for 19lb, best 4lb, mostly on Powerbait and running ledger.

Tom Saunders had five for 14lb on worm and R Darling four for 16.25lb and a best of 7lb on yellow Powerbait.

Jim Hall had five rainbows for 18lb with a best of 5lb and prospects good with some settled weather.

In the Pentlands, Harlaw continues to fish well with the fish feeding on hatching flies such as mayfly, buzzers and small sedges. Many fish are also actively feeding on minnows and sticklebacks.

Robert Ross, company secretary of Malleny Angling, who administer the water, said during the Mayfly hatch he enjoyed success with a dry mayfly and mayfly emerger pattern fished in the surface film.

Rainbow and hot head dancers tied on a size 10 standard hook accounted for other fish that were chasing minnows.

He added: "The fish are up in the top two or three feet of water with water clarity good. Other anglers were reporting equal success with buzzers and mini lures proving the most effective. Many lovely blues are being caught."

Neighbouring Threipmuir is also fishing well with many reports of double-figure catches of brown trout being Rosslynlee report that Davie Bullen netted 18 on buzzers and dries and the water his fished well recently and the Summer Series continues at Tweeddale near Gifford. Fished over four heats with the third due tomorrow (Sunday) and the top six qualify from each heat.

Meanwhile, Cadence are launching a range to the world of fly fishing with a range of rods, reels, and lines. They will be sold direct and the company say this allows them bring high end, performance fly fishing rods, with the best components and materials to anglers at "a sensible price".

Two of the world’s best fly casters and anglers, Ian Gordon and Stevie Munn, head up the development of signature series fly rods and development began in the Spring of 2020.

The range features double-handed and single-handed fly rods. Gordon specialises in double-handed rods, particularly Spey casting, and has a comprehensive knowledge of double-handed rods from three generations of salmon anglers and a keen interest in physics and biomechanics.

Stevie is a lifelong fly angler and is one of the most qualified angling guides, casters and fly-tying demonstrators in the UK and Ireland. He has won fly casting competitions and has a world record single hand fly casting achievement to his name. He has fused together his knowledge to develop a comprehensive range of rods to cover most single-handed fly-fishing situations from tiny streams to loch style fishing to distance casting on large reservoirs.

Five reels are being marketed in sizes ranging from 3/4 up to an 11/12. Made from high quality bar stock aluminium, they are lightweight and perfectly weighted to balance on their corresponding Cadence fly rod. They come with powerful drags.

There are also a variety of line styles for both single and double handed rods and anglers will be able to choose the material their handles are made from, either high quality AAA cork or hard EVA.

A spokesman said: "Products have been tested by a team of brand ambassadors across the UK and Ireland."

In coarse fishing, Garry Mortimer won the sixth of 11 legs in the Summer Series organised by Edinburgh and Lothians Coarse Angling Club.

He netted 14lb 4oz at Alex's Pond in Orchill near Auchterarder with John Perella second on 6lb 8oz with John Hannah Third with 6lb 7oz and Heather Lauriston fourth with 5lb 12oz. Roz Cassidy, who won the fifth round, was fifth this time with 5lb 10oz.

In the Knockout Cup, Ian Sloss beat Andy Hamilton to move to the next round.