Sedge Flies by Andrew Ayres

For those of you, through age and health related problems like me and are stuck in lockdown, I have allowed myself to be rationed to 2 hours a day at the fly bench.

I have always been fascinated by the Sedge flies, such as their different sizes and the variation of their antennae always being so fragile and at the same time so flexible.  I have always fished  one on the top fly of a 2/3 fly cast set up, or as a single dry fly cast.

As being mainly a river fisherman, I only fish the following sedges – Red, Cinnamon, Black, Brown or Yellow Sedge and my own creation.

For many of us now showing age related problems, like the eyes not quite so sharp, and perhaps unsteady fingers or even the shakes, it can be very frustrating when you have just got the perfect wing and then a slight twitch and it’s all gone. So for some time now I have been looking for an alternative to homemade wings to use.  I have always struggled with upright wings even when I did the guild certs with all those red spinners we had to do, I much prefer any other fly to tie.

So I did the unheard of, and purchased some imitation wings from The Silver Tip Fly Company in Montana a few years ago.  This was a bit of a learning curve.  It’s difficult to keep the wings upright, and even when coloured they never seemed anything like the originals, but spent Mayflies and Stone flies looked natural.  I tried different paints, marker pens, and varnish but still they were not very good.

But now 18months down the road, I think I can say I have now cracked it.  I am using a UK producer Joseph Ludkins, (nowhere such a selection as the Montana Co but much more original) and using my marker pens and ideas learnt from before they are looking very life like and staying in a set position.

I like my Sedge fly to sit low on the water surface, so the body is CDC with a very fine wire rib which is hidden in the CDC, 6 turns of dayglow green on the butt, for the antennae I use paint brush bristles cut to size and a marker pen to change the colours, the hackle just 3 turns and sometimes I trim the bottom of the hackle off flush with the body.

Now for Outside the box!  My own creation.

To do a small  Sedge 6/7mm, use olive dubbing, size hook size 12 pale thread, yellow butt, gold rib, Tie in the wing Moth style folded down, colour it light green let it dry and then add black blotches leave the under wing natural.  Note, I always paint the wing before I tie them allow 24h for the colours to harden before tying on the hook.  The wing should hang over the bend 2mm, now tie a small amount of squirrel fur mix natural and magenta on top of the wing and overhang max 1 mm, do a small head and tie off.

 Just tie the squirrel fur on the wing tied like a hairs wing, Antennae are an option. So is the hackle.

It looks very enticing I have done 26 in all different formations and colours.

Still I now have to wait and see if they work on the river.

Wings are from Phil Harding, at Fly-Tying Boutique , 01535 657479

Data details on river Sedge, flies, Antennae length/Wing, and colour,

Red Sedge, 20-27mm, Body, green/grey, Wing Brown, Location slow streams, and rivers.

Cinnamon Sedge, 18-19mm, Body, Orange/Brown, Wing, Brownish, Location, Rivers.

Brown Sedge, 12-16mm, Body, Dark Brown, Wing, Dark brown/black, Location Rivers.

Black Sedge, 8-10mm Body, Black. Wing, Black/Grey, Location Stoney running shallows.

Yellow Sedge, 5-6mm, Body Pale Tan, Wing, Yellow/Tan. Location. Stoney shallow streams/rivers.

Andrew Ayres

CFD, WFD, Grayling Society member

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