19 Oct 2011
A prototype of this kind of Sunk Lure - I've no idea what to call it - was tried out in Kerry last month. A small shoal of finnock found the lure to their liking - so much so, that one fish wolfed the tandem in a way that obliged me to unclip the forceps. Fortunately I'd nipped down the barbs of the hooks and the fish swam away strongly. There were sandeels around in the estuary, and I've no doubt that the sea-trout mistook the lure for a sandeel. That said, the same shoal of fish looked at Claret Bumbles, Black and Yellow singles and Medicines with almost the same eagerness, so I don't deduce much from the encounters. Still, perhaps a lure like this is worth further experiment. Total length of lure around 1.5-2 inches; size 8 Kamasan B175 hooks; 20lb. Stren to join the hooks (Falkus/Rawling method); silver or pearly nail varnish for the body; red varnish for the head; red silk.
One tying note: it's important to keep the tinsel 'wing' to the correct length. Too long a wing and the fibres will want to wrap themselves round the rear hook, which is bloody irritating. To avoid cursing, ensure that the trailing (rear) edge of the tinsels is roughly level with the barb of the rear hook.
I enjoy tying with tinsel (experiments with various Flash Flies for pike over the past few years have taught me a fair bit, I hope), and a silver Flashabou wing is light, mobile, repels water and is therefore easy to cast. I tie in three or four strands of peacock (eye) feather to suggest a back to the lure and possibly make the lure easier for the fish to see in silhouette, but I doubt that's really necessary so long as the size and general profile are right.
16 Oct 2011
Below there's an entry on Sunk Lure mounts. Last night I went back to some research of my own - 'research' sounds rather grand, it's more of a gentle and sporadic investigation - into the work of the angler and poet Tom Rawling, who fished with Falkus during the 1960s and 70s and who spent many winter evenings, over several years, designing and tying various prototype Sunk Lures. Tom's tying notes, liberally scrawled over by Falkus, are detailed, meticulous and fascinating. The image shows a foolscap page of such notes (and there are many, many more like this). Tom and Falkus favoured a brace of size 4 Veniard hooks and 20lb. nylon to join them.
15 Oct 2011
Blue - blue hackles, blue tinsel - is an important component of many sea-trout flies. Think of the Teal, Blue and Silver. Yet there's blue and there's blue. I find that a bright, pale blue - an almost iridescent blue - is rather better than, say, midnight blue or even kingfisher blue. The shot illustrates the kind of blue I'm on about. The image was taken a year ago when I was fiddling about with Sunk Lures (and please see entry below) and blue hackles. Photographed under a desk-lamp, this blue was a revelation: it was practically luminous.
I've been all round the houses with this one over the years: standard Rawling/Falkus mounts; hollow braid mounts; twisted nylon and/or solid braid mounts.... The hollow braid mounts I was experimenting with last year, and which I used this season, are OK but after a session or two the waterproof superglue wears away from the braid and the rear hook has a tendency to sag. Sagging is distinctly not encouraged. It's fixable (simply run another application of glue across the braid, allow to dry, and fish again) but it's not ideal. Therefore I think there's merit in returning to the old but reliable Falkus mounts. I use red silk, then 20lb. Stren to join two size 8 or 6 hooks. Apply a coat of waterproof superglue and allow to dry. Instead of silver paint I use pearlescent nail varnish, and make three applications.
I'm inclined to use Sunk Lures in saltwater, particularly (of course) when there are sandeels in the estuaries and channels I'm covering. I've not used them extensively at night in freshwater, since if I do need to fish a touch deeper after midnight then in Ireland I prefer using intermediate lines and small doubles. I dare say if I were to fish more in the English Lake District or Wales that would change.