Friday, 9 September 2016

Highland Park Shrimp

With there being little or no rain in recent months the rivers have been very low and the prospects of catching salmon have been poor. As a result I've had no fishing trips of note in the past few weeks so I thought I would do something a bit different than normal. I am a very keen fly tier and I almost enjoy tying flies as much as I do fishing so this is a Blog post about a cracking salmon fly which was created by my good friend, Bill Cook.
A batch of the original Highland Park Shrimps tied by Bill Cook.
Born on the banks of the Don, the name Highland Park Shrimp came about primarily due it's colours as Bill took the inspiration for it's tying from the popular single malt whisky which bears the same name. It's amazing what can inspire new creations and with the fly having great success in the last few seasons I bet Bill was glad he was enjoying a wee dram or two whilst at the vice that evening!

Bill first tied the fly in May 2011 but due to the lack of water that summer it wasn't until July 22nd that the fly finally got off the mark. It was well worth the wait though as Bill manged to catch a fine brace of salmon from the Park beat of the River Dee. The Highland Park Shrimp was to go from strength to strength from there on in as it became Bill's "go to" fly whenever the water had a wee peaty stain to it. I should add that it works well in all conditions but it really does excel when a spate is running off. It has caught fish on numerous river such as the Dee, Don, Spey, South Esk, North Esk and the Stinchar to name but a few. I'm sure if the fly was more well known then it would be much more successful further afield too.

Bill has caught many fish with his fly since 2011 and it's best catch to date came on the 28th August last season when it accounted for 5 fish landed and 1 lost from the South Esk. That's a good day's fishing in anyone's book but made even better catching the fish on a fly you've created yourself. Bill informs me there is a copper bodied version of his fly which is as equally deadly. It certainly must be good to be on par with the original! Bill, like myself, just ties flies for his own boxes and occasionally for friends so unfortunately his pattern is not available to buy. I have included this Step By Step guide below which will allow any tiers who fancy giving it a swim the chance to follow the instructions and tie a few for their own boxes. The fly in the step by step is one I have tied myself so I hope it does Bill's original fly justice.

The Original as tied by Bill Cook

Thread :- Black
Tag :- Fine Oval Gold Tinsel.
Body Rear Half :- Flat Gold Tinsel ribbed with Oval Gold.
Centre Hackle :- Hot Orange Cock.
Centre Wing :- Mixed Orange & Yellow Bucktail and a couple of strands of Yellow Crystal Hair (Tied Flamethrower Style on top)
Body Front Half :- Black Floss ribbed with Oval Silver Tinsel.
Front Wing :- G.P. Tippet tied in flat on top (Strip away the outside fibres till you get the length you want)
Front Hackle :- Black Cock

Head :- Black

Materials required to tie a Highland Park Shrimp. *Jungle cock only used in copper bodied version*
Tie in the oval gold tinsel and form a tag.
Tie in the flat gold tinsel to about half way along the shank of the hook to form the body.
Tie in the rib over the top of the flat gold tinsel.
Tie in a hot orange cock hackle at the end of the gold body. Roughly half way along the shank of the hook.
Mix a small amount of orange and yellow bucktail and tie in over the top of the orange cock hackle Flamethrower style. Add in the 2 strands of yellow Krystal Flash on top.
Form a second body with black floss and tie in the silver rib over the top using oval silver tinsel.
Tie in the GP tippet. I tied it in to about the length of the hook.
Tie in the large black cock hackle. I used 3 turns here to reduce bulk.
Form a neat head and apply 2-3 coats of clear varnish to finish of the fly.
The Copper Version.

The only difference here is the use of red thread. The rear half of the body is copper tinsel, again ribbed with oval gold and a couple of J.C. nails are tied in before adding the black hackle at the front.
I varnish the head with clear varnish as it gives the red thread a nice colour.

A pair of copper Highland Park Shrimps.

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