Last season was an unusual one for the sea trout angler here in Wales.
With the rivers incredibly low from May through till August companioned with high temperatures. This left the sea trout that were present reflecting the conditions in a stubborn and lethargic attitude. This called for a very simplistic and pleasurable approach to sea trout angling. An approach similar to the early writings on sea trout angling – floating line and small flies!
In Wales it’s common practice and almost somewhat tradition to use two flies at night. Yes to newcomers this can lead to more time unknitting tangles than getting your flies in front of the fish, however once the angler gets comfortable with this there are clearly advantages to being able to present two flies to the fish and in many cases the flies can work together and actually aid in tempting the fish to take.
This team of flies does just that!
The two flies that I would like to share with you are devised by two Welsh legends and innovators in Sea Trout fishing.
Firstly by the older John Graham, who between him and his elder brothers conjoured up “The Black Ghost” while fishing in Wales’ prime sea trout days, this was once a closely guarded secret weapon on Welsh Sewin. John has been a great inspriation and source of knowledge since meeting him in my early attempts of Salmon fishing on my home river the Tawe.
The fly was used by the brothers to slay countless sea trout under the cover of darkness, fishing where permission was not always “strictly granted”…. In the days before the Towy saw Llyn Brianne Reservoir in place the river ran far warmer, small flies on floating lines were commonplace throughout the Towy Valley. With the Sea Trout demanding flies in the surface! This leads me on to the next fly for warm nights and low water.
The second fly is a more recent invention, by Steffan Jones. The Daioni, a creation of Steffan’s that has accounted for many fish for himself and his guided clients over the years! It is a fly that screams sea trout, with a far larger profile than typical sea trout flies.
The palmered body means that the fly rides higher in the water, sinking far slower. This is great as a dropper fly on a floating line as it keeps the flies higher in the water while also pushing more water from its bushy body! It was this fly that was responsible for my first sea trout in the dark, and it goes without saying, this is a fly you can fish with up-most confidence!
I fish the flies as a team of two – Daioni on the dropper with a Black Ghost on the point. My leader is 10ft, with 5ft to my first dropper of 8 inches in length, to a further 5ft to which I tie the point fly.
Tying the Patterns:
- Hook: Long shank streamer (sizes 12-6)
- Body: Holographic silver tinsel
- Rib: Fine silver wire
- Body Hackle: White cock hackle
- Wing: Black Squirrel
- Front Hackle: Blue guinea fowl or Blue grizzly soft hackle
I tie the Daioni on a medium weight streamer hook only, keeping it light but strong and able to fish higher in the water, in sizes 10-6.
- Hook: Low water salmon single or double (sizes 12-4)
- Tag: Silver wire
- Tail: Golden pheasant crest feather
- Body: Seals fur & UV ice dub mix (brushed out well)
- Rib: Medium silver tinsel
- First Wing: Black Squirrel (uv angel hair in larger sizes)
- Hackle: Black Hen
- Second Wing: Red arctic fox or dyed red squirrel
- Overwing: Peacock sword (tied with left and right feather wing)
- Eyes: Jungle cock
It is important to me that attention is paid to the tapering and lengths of each wing. I want the red wing to be longer than the black below so that from the fishes perspective below the red is still seen. This pattern has been given other names such as “Towy allrounder” over the years, however, the true original is “Black Ghost”. The pattern can be made into a “Silver ghost” with the addition of a silver tinsel body.
With hope, the season ahead will bring favourable conditions and runs of sea trout to pursue on the fly at night. With these flies confidence will be fulfilled. I look forward to sharing an increasing amount of fly fishing content with you as the season progresses.