The Blue Charm Feather Wing Salmon Single Hook Fly

This old classic salmon fly has retained its popularity because it still catches fish. This is a modern dressing for the fly that is to believed to have originally been developed for Salmon fishing on the river Dee in Scotland.

The Blue Charm Feather Wing Salmon Single Hook Fly


S2 Blue Charm Featherwing Single Hook Size 6   - Quantity: 
S2 Blue Charm Featherwing Single Hook Size 8   - Quantity: 

Sports anglers took the Blue Charm Featherwing Single Hook fly with them to North America where it was very successful on the North Eastern coast's Atlantic Salmon. The Blue Charm fly also catches Steelhead and Sea-trout. The barred markings on the wing feather imitate the markings on the back of a variety of young juvenile fish that are devoured by larger predatory adults. Theoretically, blue flies appear more attractive in the blue light of the early morning. We have it as a double and a tube fly as well as the single hook.

The salmon wet fly fishing technique designed to causes some surface disturbance to attract nearby fish is called the Riffling Hitch. Technically speaking it is the name of a fishing knot. It consists of a method of looping or hitching the leader around the head of a wet fly so that when it is pulled on the retrieve, it is at an angle to the shank which helps make a wake as it crosses the current.

Historically Portland Creek in Newfoundland, Canada is where this successful salmon catching system was developed by the local Atlantic fishermen. Many British Royal Navy officers are keen fly fishermen. This is true today as it was during Queen Victoria’s time. Portland Creek was a favourite location for some recreational salmon fishing for the crew of nearby docked battleships. The locals would supply boats and act as guides. After a good days fishing the guides would be presented with some British made fishing equipment. This included gut-eyed salmon flies which were the norm in the mid 1800’s. Early flies did not have metal eyes. A bend of gut was spliced to the hook shank. Over time these gut eyes deteriorated and became unreliable.

The solution was to tie the metal hook to the leader, also made of fine gut, with loops, known as hitches behind a varnished head. If you were ever in the scouts you would have tied the knot called the round turn and two half hitches. It was a bit like that. This stiff configuration caused the fly to make a wake or riffle across the surface instead of obediently tracking behind the leader. This is how this method got its name Riffling Hitch (wake causing knot). The disturbance caused by the fly fascinated the local Portland Creek Atlantic salmon who went to investigate the splashing to see if it was something good to eat making the noise. By accident the local guides had stumbled upon a new successful salmon taking deployment system which they then showed to the next group of visiting Royal Navy officers who liked to fly fish. Those officers then passed their new found salmon catching skill to friends back in Scotland, Norway, and northern England during their next fishing trip.

To get the best riffling effect the hitch knot should be as far behind the hook eye as possible. A single hook salmon fly should be used. The leader should pull from below the shank. The weight of the hook bend and point will resist the turning force and cause the fly to fight against the current. The leader should come out of the knot on the side of the hook shank nearest you. If you change banks then you will have to adjust the knot so the leader comes out of the knot on the other side.

Casting across the current and downstream is one of the best ways to get the maximum amount of riffle surface disturbance. Too little movement and the fly will remain sunken under the surface and not make enough noise. If you retrieve too fast then this will look unnatural. Remember what you are trying to imitate is a small fish trying to fight against the current to get up stream to find a better pool, food source or breading ground. This technique works well in Russia, Canada, Iceland and Norway when fishing for Atlantic Salmon.

When the salmon season has finished I like to prepare for next year before I start other activities. If I have had success on a particular location on a river I make sure to book that same "beat" for next year before it is given to someone else. If you wait to next spring you may be disappointed. I know it is hard, especially after a long unproductive cold and wet days fishing, but do not just dump your fishing tackle in the garage or loft. You will tell your self that you will sort it out in the morning but realistically you won't. It will get forgotten for five months by which time it may then need repair or replacing which can be extremely expensive. Take care of your kit before you finally put it away for the winter.

Check the condition of your rod for any defects through wear, Check the ferrules and their bindings. look at the top ring mountings and the agate ring. Repair any defects or if not within your skill set arrange for it to be repaired within seven days. Do not wait until next year. Get a clean dry cloth and wipe down your rods. Put them in dry rod storage bags and hang them on hooks in a cool dry place to save them from rot, being stepped upon and broken. Check your flies and hooks. Are your flies all dry? If you "put them to bed wet" you will get a nasty surprise in the spring. Note down a list of the replacement flies you will need for next season and simply send your order to the English Fly Fishing Shop. If you are crafty you could suggest to your nearest and dearest that new flies would make an ideal Christmas or Birthday present.

Using a cloth run the line off all your reels and check its condition. Look for cracks and damage in the dressing and order new lines if necessary. Make sure the backing underneath the line is in a dry good condition. Do not store spools of fishing line near any heat source. Get the oil out of the cupboard and treat all your fishing reel's moving parts. Wipe them down and store in a cool dry location. Now is the time to also check your personal fishing equipment. Examine your thigh and chest waders to make sure they are dry before you lock them away in a cupboard. Check if they need resoling and hang then upside down from the soles so as to avoid crease in the waders that can result in the weakening of the material and leaks. Dry all your fishing bags and nets before you store them away. Dry and oil any of your tools like knives, scissors and scales. You will be going out again in the early part of the season so check you have some pocket warmers to help you deal with the cold.

When fishing Loch Brora, Sutherland in Scotland during the sea trout season that starts on May 1st I like to use a three fly cast with a Blue Charm on point. - James Bishop

The Blue Charm Feather Wing Salmon Single Hook Fly

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