The Green Highlander Salmon and Steelhead plastic and copper tube Fly. The heavy copper tube used in this pattern gets this fly fast down to where the fish our feeding.
SALTWATER, SALMON & STEELHEAD TUBE FLY
$US each. Price does not include hooks.
The Green Highlander One and half Inch Plastic Tube fly is an ideal juvenile trout imitation. This pattern refuses to die because it still bring great results. The modern version of the famous fully dressed pattern uses hair-wing. It mixes colors of bucktail to form the wing rather than the feathers of the endangered exotic birds of the original. This method is used to update and improve many of the old traditional patterns. The original was designed during the latter part of the 19th century by Mr Grant of Wester, Elchies. The older fly called the highlander is considered the forerunner of the Green Highlander. It is notable as it is one of the few green classic salmon flies. For some reason, apart from the Green Highlander, green flies never became popular in Great Britain in times past unlike today.
Using the Green Highlander Tube fly in Scotland
The River Shin in Scotland, having percolated through the Sutherland peat bogs, forms a pitchy brew which hides your toes when you wade to your knees. Visibility is not good. It stains the rocks black and deeper holes are not seen so it is easy to fall. Always take a wading stick with you.
The fall of this short river is easy to see and the swift flow makes for some exciting fishing in tempting pools. The narrowness of the river makes fishing an intimate experience, with every rock a suitable lie. It is the sort of river for which the Spey cast was evolved.
Most of the pools have steep banks, heavy foliage or grasping gorse bushes. The fly fishing angler whose line travels behind him will spend much of their time retrieving their flied from obstinate trees and shrubs. This should not be a deterrent because only a short cast is needed to reach most pools and lies.
The most successful style of fishing on the river Shin is to fish the dribbled fly with a dropper. The theory is that the dancing wake fly furrows the surface, creating life like movement, flirting with the fish, tempting them to the surface to investigate if what is making the disturbance is edible. On the way up they might spot the dropper and snatch an easier nearer meal only to find they have made a mistake.
The leader length depends on the size of your rod. You use a six inch dropper two and a half feet from the point. Ideal flies for the dropper include Stoats tail, Ally’s Shrimp, General Practitioner, Dunkeld, Woolly Buggers on a double hook size 6 or 8.
I prefer to use double hooked flies as they keep the fly fishing in fast, well aerated water, upright with the wing fibers moving on the top of the fly. The weight of the two hooks keep them underneath the shank of the fly and not inverted. A light plastic tube fly is the ideal wake producing surface fly. It gives you a choice of hooks to use and sizes to match the prey in the river you fish. In the dark stained water of the River Shin light coloured top flies seem to work better.
I use a 14ft or longer fly rod. The cast is made square to the bank and then the rod tip is lifted high to pull the Green Highlander wake fly into the water surface, the current then skating it round and inducing drag. You work the fly with the rod tip and current, searching out likely spots. In front of and behind rocks, over the lips of pools and ledges and right under the bank where the current has sculpted invisible lies.
The first cast should not be a long one and should be from the bank and then lead it out again. Then Spey-cast a slightly longer line straight out and lift the rod tip to make tube fly nag at the surface as if trying to break free of the surface but never quite making it. Look for fish taking right in front of you before you think of entering the water or extending your cast. Do not spook easy targets.
In hot weather and low water I favour a single fly to search out fast aerated water. The Culag pool just below the Shin Falls is a good starting point. I cast out a short line and draw the rod up to bring the fly up to the surface, bouncing on the waves. Good patterns include Collie Dog, Ally’s Shrimp, with a General Practitioner being the deadliest fly of all when fresh fish are present.
Come September I like to have a touch of yellow in the flies I use. My favourite is again the Green Highlander. It helps the stand out against the leaves and other natural vegetation dropping onto the water surface. I find it seems to trigger an aggressive reaction in cock fish, keen to defend their territory as the spawning urge increases. I add a dropper underneath the Green Highlander tube fly.
Last September I used this rig to fish Field Pool, a small boulder hole within the sight of the Kyle of Sutherland on the River Shin. The pool has a step lip at the top and just behind that a mass of rock, mostly underwater, which splits the main flow of current like the bows of a well-sculled clinker.
Rain the previous night had pushed the river level up a few inches and it was still rising. I had observed that if the fish move through this section of the river they like to rest for a short while in the pool before carrying on with their upstream battle.
Having covered the pool from the bank, I worked across the rocky shallows and fished across the lip and then down the side of the current cleaving rock. It was possible from here to cast over the back of the rock and lead the flies across the swirling water below. The arc of the flies could easily be seen and careful working of the rod tip in combination with the current can guide the flies exactly where you want them.
I did not see my first take. It was a smash and grab raid on the surface wake fly as it negotiated the turbulence at the back of the rock. The loop of line peeled through my fingers and the rod tip bowed down. I lifted the rod and a solid juddering resistance was transformed into a powerful downstream run.
The line carved through the water and the reel crackled. The tight line indicated the fish had sprinted to the back of the pool. The water boiled as it turned. The line started to bow, then fell to the surface. I lifted the rod high, trying to keep in touch with the fish as it ran back towards me. After three minutes I was able to net a fine 2lb Salmon.
The Sutherland Arms has beats on the middle and upper rivers throughout the season. The water is fly only. If you fancy still water fishing the best time to fish nearby Loch Craggie are May to mid-July and September. Boats are available.
THE MODERN TEMPELDOG STYLE OF TYING TUBE FLIES
Most of our salmon tube flies are tied in the Tempeldog style. The fly has a wing that goes over the hook, throat hackle, some palmering of the body and a small tail. Swedish fishing guide and Sales rep for tackle company Guideline AB, Håkan Norling made the first tempeldog tube fly in 1985. He was making some flies for his annual autumn / fall salmon fishing trip to the River Em in Sweden. Håkan needed some goat hair but when he phoned his supplier was out of stock. They did have some Tibetan Jackal dog hair which they sent. When it arrived it was too short for the patterns he wanted to make and did not look of very good quality. He dyed it black and dark brown and tied it to a tube. Håkan was shocked at how well it worked, "I will never forget the sight of the fly in water. It looked like it was about to swim away with my leader. The wing had so much life - moving in a way I had seen with any other hair we were using at that time."
The Tempeldog style of flies that Håkan and his friend Mikael Frödin developed over the next ten years set the standard for salmon flies in Northern Europe. He called the dog hair Tempeldog. Yes the spelling is correct. Håkan was upset when he saw the shocking treatment and conditions the dog were subjected to in China. He stopped using this material and searched for a good alternative. Some old fur coats were made of dog hair so he used those for a while until he found that fox hair was an ideal replacement and a lot cheaper. With new materials becoming available a mixture of Angel hair and natural fox hair makes a light wing that will not absorb too much water. It makes it easy to cast but with enough bulk to create the correct fish silhouette.
For Håkan the silhouette and movement were the most important part of the Tempeldog design. The fish normally see the fly from below and if it looks the shape of a fish and moves like one you will catch more salmon. The silhouette is formed by the different layers of the hair wing being trimmed at different lengths. The outer section of the wing should be the longest where as the one nearest the hook shank should be the shortest. Looking from above and below the wing should form a long tear drop shape tapering to a point over the hook. Håkan likes to use jungle cock cheeks in a V formation either side of the wing to help with the suggestion of an eye but this is optional.
Steelhead Tube Flies
Tube flies have recently gained popularity for many kinds of fish. Recently this type of fly has become extremely popular for both winter and summer steelhead. Originally used so that a smaller hook could be used with a large fly to cut injury to wild steelhead, this configuration hooks fish quickly, yet decreases the injury that sometimes occurs using larger hooks. These flies are very streamlined and easy to cast. Our plastic tube models are very lightweight which gives them lots of action when the are submerged. These lightweight flies are comparatively snag free. The best way to fish these flies is with a sinking tip line. They are cast across current and allowed to swing deep under tension.