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Everything posted by Crackaig

  1. Hi guys, over most of the last year I’ve not posted on the forums. I am still about, just very very busy. About 22 months ago I was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis, T2 diabetes and arterial fibrillation. It was also discovered that I’d broken my spine in two places and all 12 thoracic vertebrae are fused into two lumps. Well I did say my back was sore! We have been able to trace some of this back 43 years. I could become rather bitter about everyone who has ignored me when I said I was in pain. Or I could say “What’s done is done” and engage with the treatment now on offer. I’ve chosen the latter. I’ve done physio rehab, and beaten the diabetes into remission Things here are very different. Certainly not better but different. When someone is considered disabled or “vulnerable” everything becomes about what a service provider provides for that person. This is not a great healthcare model. I would much rather we talked about what people can be enabled to achieve either as individuals or collectively. i am not my diagnosis. There are still things I can offer. Maybe not the heavy mechanical engineering I was trained for but not useless. For three years I have been volunteering with HUG Action for Mental Health. HUG (for short) is one of three organisations that form SPIRIT Advocacy. A charitable company. SPIRIT holds a contract with the National Health Service in the Highlands of Scotland for group advocacy for mental health service users. Last September they granted me the honour and responsibility of being the Chair of Directors. ( I have supervised other workers but now I find I suddenly have ultimate responsibility for 7 employees). If you know me at all you will know I take this very seriously. Last December I stood for and was elected to the Village Council where I live. Again a serious commitment. ( It is also voluntary). I do get great satisfaction from sorting out the small problems that become huge obstacles in people’s lives. on top of that there is a new Highland wide pan disability charity called HighAbility. I am also on the board of this charity. Coronavirus has made me even busier. The mental health provision has been almost totally withdrawn. Being the local who is known to be involved in mental health charity means the come to me. I can offer no more than peer support but somehow we are muddling through. Having lost most of my mobility I do get a reasonable package of benefits from the state. I’m as well off as I have been for a long time. I get travel expenses for these roles, nothing more. I believe I’m offering more to my community than I take from it. That is why I’ve not been about here very much. I am trying to get back to the vice, do some more writing and generally escape from the daily grind. I hope you are all Safe and doing well. Alan (Crackaig)
  2. Some years ago I got hold of some gold plated 1mm 1/25th inch bead chain. Though that is far from the smallest. If you want dumbell eyes down to #24 then use the connector between the beads in bead chain. Cheers, C.
  3. I've played around with a couple of the Ekich bobbin. Note, it is not a suitable replacement for the Nor bobbin on the Nor Vise. The travel is not great enough for it to work as the Nor Bobbin does. As a piece of engineering, the Ekich is an amazing piece of work. Well designed and well-executed. That said I can't abide them! They "feel" really odd to me. I eventually realised that the reason is the "bullet" is at 90 degrees to what I am used to. This means the spool sits at 90 degrees to what I am used to in my hand. I could eventually get used to it but I see no reason to. The other thing is it costs a lot of money to solve a problem I don't have. It is no faster tying with an Ekich, than a standard bobbin for me. I rewind the excess thread from the whip finish in one swift movement rolling the spool down my thumb. This takes no more time than taking the spool off the pin to release the spring. Then, of course, there is the re-threading of the bobbin when you let go of the thread at the wrong time. Something you will do often even when used to the Ekich. I use both the Nor Vise and a standard vice (either LAW or HMH) depending on the job (kind of flies) at hand. I don't use the Nor Bobbin on my standard vices. I have tried and find no great advantage to it. I do have a technique of rewinding the thread by rolling it down my thumb and can manage 4 or 5 inches in one swift movement. That is enough for almost all my tying. Where it isn't, doing it twice is a very quick movement and not worth the £100 it costs above the price of my most expensive bobbins, to save the little effort required. Of course, you may feel differently. Your tying might benefit from what the Ekich offers. It is, as I have said a quality piece of engineering, and no doubt will serve you well. To me it is pointless. Cheers, C.
  4. Colin, try something proven to be up to the job. Statue to them at Speanbridge. https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Genuine-British-Military-Green-Cold-Weather-Headover-Cap-Comforter-NEW/401937817892?_trkparms=aid%3D555018%26algo%3DPL.SIM%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D61046%26meid%3D9a11dbdded424da8978d624be128a83a%26pid%3D100005%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D12%26sd%3D401394356755%26itm%3D401937817892%26pmt%3D1%26noa%3D0%26pg%3D2047675&_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851 Cheers, C.
  5. Yesterday I started the biggest challenge I think I have ever faced. Since I was 14 or 15 (I'm now 56) I have been complaining of back and joint pain. "Get on wi' it, there's nowt wrong wi' you." Has been the reaction. Well this year I discovered why I was in pain. I have ankylosing spondylitus, an inflammatory type of arthritis that starts in your teenage years. The result is that vertebrae T1 to T12 are all fused into two solid lumps. My spine has been broken above and below these fused vertebrae. Yesterday I went in to a physiotherapy rehabilitation for two weeks of intensive physio and hydro therapy. My goal is that I will be able to get out fishing after this. I haven't been able to go at all this year because of this. The damage is not limited to my spine. That is just a major area of concern. The damage now is done, and cannot be undone. Physio will be a part of my life for as long as I want to be mobile. My plea to you is, if your children are complaining of pain, don't dismiss it out of hand. Find out what the cause is. Early intervention will help. It can save a lot of suffering. Regards, C.
  6. Crackaig


    Can’t be that bad if the cars are still running. We get the famous midge hatches so thick they clog up car engines. Every last one of them, it seems, has been kitted out by Hilti. Cheers, C,
  7. Accidents happen, I have had braided loops come adrift in the past. I think it is important to be able to make adequate running repairs to your equipment as far as is reasonable. In short any competent angler IMO should be able to make a line to leader connection whilst on the water. If your connection involves heat shrink tubing and whippings then you are not going to be able to make a new connection while on the water. I use a knotless tapered leader inserted into the end of the line and superglued. I cannot do this "on the water" but I can still tie a nailless nail knot if needed. No one wants to have their day's fishing curtailed because of a leader / line connection failure. Make sure you can fix this when it happens... No matter what system you choose. Cheers, C.
  8. Look this is really really simple and was fully explained by Douglass Adams in the 1970's. We live in an infinite universe, We know though that not all planets are inhabited. Therefore, there are a finite number of people. Any finite number divided by infinity equals zero. If the average population of the universe is zero, then the actual population of the universe must also be zero. Therefore, anyone you meet is the product of a deranged imagination. I don't know about you but I find this a great reassurance with all the stupid people I meet from day to day. ;P Cheers, C.
  9. That's easy. I'm surprised no one has got it. It is a UTC bobbin. The bobbin holder it is in though, I haven't a clue. Cheers, C.
  10. This all seems rather strange from here. If you were to hit pause and count the how many flies each fly angler had on his cast at any point across the countries of the UK you would probably get an average of two point something each. Most common would be three. Almost all still water competition fishing is done with 3 flies. Most anglers on the lochs will have three flies on. A few may have four. Probably a higher number will have two than four. North country wet flies (the original soft hackles) were traditionally fished in casts of ten or more flies, though the norm these days is three. The various techniques that could be labeled together as "modern nymphing" use a minimum of two flies, frequently three. Again the average would be over two. Using a single fly is usually reserved for the few dry fly only streams, usually, but not always, chalk streams (spring fed). The real reason for the restriction is they wouldn't want some northern oik to arrive and literally hoover up all the fish. That is why it sounds so strange that this debate is even happening. It is accepted fact that a team of flies fished together amounts to more than the sum of its parts. At least here it is. Cheers, C.
  11. Hope you are back on your feet soon Mike. Most importantly, hope it doesn't cut into your fishing time.
  12. It is such a nice fly Sandan We'll have it. In fact you all have done great with it. I'm not surprised that someone has done something similar, for me to do an international swap is a bit ambitious, not to mention slow and expensive. I got the idea from a feature on BBC Radio, there it was a chain of connected songs. Thanks everyone. Cheers, C.
  13. Something I read elsewhere has got me thinking. It might be fun to try to make a "fly chain" starting with the simplest of flies then changing one material and / or adding one material each "link" to see where we end up. To take part... Only recognised / published fly patterns. Post a picture of the fly and a materials used list (The usual convention is to list the materials in the order they are tied in) Change one material and / or add or remove one material, from the latest fly, to make the next fly in the chain. (Total 2 changes max) I'll start this one with Marian Fratnik's F-Fly, perhaps the simplest of dry flies. Hook: Any dry fly, size as appropriate (picture shows a #14). Thread: Black. Body: Thread. Wing: CdC Feather tips. Feel free to start your own "fly chain" for streamers, or wet flies, or you could base it on one material, perhaps pheasant tail, or deer hair. Remember start simple so there is chance for the chain to grow. Cheers, C.
  14. Don't make the mistake of getting a fall front desk instead. It defeats the object as you have to clear everything away. Also get one you can reach all the storage from your seat. I was lumbered with completely the wrong kind of desk by a well meaning friend. Really is a pain, will be firewood soon. Cheers, C.
  15. In the nicest possible way I don't know nor care. People have shared what they know about fly tying with me. I have tried to share what I have learned, and am still learning, with others. Often something I put out to help one person, who has asked, will, I hope, help others. I've no idea who has taken this furthest. Those I have learned from have given their knowledge freely, I just try to pay what I owe them forward. Cheers, C.
  16. Over the years I've done whatever I could to get by. That included building trucks for IH, serving in the RAF, railway signalman and mercenary (not joking). Now unable to work by reason of both conditions, and injuries suffered at various times. This year I have discovered the full extent of my health problems. Ankylosing spondylitus has left me with all twelve of my thoracic vertebrae fused into two lumps. Also my spine has been broken, twice. There are further complications to AS which I'm enjoying in all their fullness. Anyway, to work I would need adaptions beyond what is considered reasonable for an employer to make. That doesn't mean I do nothing now. I'm a director of a charity that provides group advocacy for mental health service users. The "charitable company", Spirit Advocacy, has 3 distinct organisations under it. Speak - for young people (up to 24 years old) HUG (Highland User Group) - action for mental health, and People First Highland, for learning disabilities. Also I have helped out with individual advocacy on an ad hoc basis. Mostly this means pointing people at the right services for their problem. I've been somewhat more involved in a couple of significant cases. Cheers, C.
  17. Philly, I tie more flies for Mike than I do for myself. You are now removing a well crafted excuse to not tie him even more. The other week it was Butcher wet flies he wanted. I asked which variation? All of them, of course, was his reply. I ended up having to tie 5 dozen for him. Now you are showing him a vast array of mop flies and you are destroying my excuse. Have some compassion, please. Cheers, C. Edit: Looking back I have formulated a new excuse. No I'm not telling you what it is this time! C.
  18. I had a very close call with them. Mike, who I most often fish with, wanted to try them. I went to the local hardware store to get some various coloured mops to use on the flies. However, the ones they had said they were "dusters" not "mops". So it is sorry Mike, they didn't have any mops (and I've been told dusters do not make good flies). Cheers, C.
  19. Very nicely done. I do like the UV ribbing on them. You seem to be suggesting that the trout have seen so many bright coloured beads and red / orange hot spots that they are turned off by them. Now I'm, if being truthful by no small measure, something of a cynic. The first time I heard of a collar hot spot behind a bead it was being used as an excuse for lack of tying ability. The person who said it was not able to tie a bead headed fly without a large collar of thread behind the bead, Therefore, he changed the colour of thread and called it a hot spot. It set my cynicism clanging. (I know he couldn't tie a bead head without the collar because I asked him to. He, rather clumsily avoided the issue.) I hasten to add that your tying, Lucian, shows no such lack of ability, those flies are, to use a British expression "bloody brilliant", without any hint of cynicism. What I am getting at is that I suspect that the idea of a secondary "hot spot" (the one created by the bead being the first) came about, at least, partially by the inability of many to tie flies differently. Some time ago I, as you appear to have here, came up with an idea to make my bead headed flies significantly different. I partially cover the bead. The logic behind this is the same logic that means emergency vehicles have flashing, not constant, lights on them. Beads are almost spherical. We usually fish under a point source of light; the sun. If you shine a point source of light at a sphere the reflection remains constant no matter how you turn the sphere. By tying a band of, usually, pheasant tail fibres over the bead the reflection from the bead flashes on and off as it tumbles. To make the cover for your bead start the thread and tie in the pheasant tail forward of the eye. Whip finish and trim the thread. Seat the bead on the turns of thread holding the pheasant tail to the hook. Restart the thread behind the bead. Draw the pheasant tail over the bead and tie down. Then tie the rest of the fly however you like. This is just an idea I thought you might like to try. If you do I would like to hear if you find any difference in performance. I did but I can't quantify it. Cheers, C.
  20. The first detached body flies I came across were crane fly imitations. For some reason they were tied on long shank light wire hooks. Just the 1/4 of the shank immediately behind the eye was used, the rest just hung out the back of the thorax, serving no purpose I could see. As a result I reasoned like this. The steel of the hook is your biggest enemy when it comes to creating a fly that stays on the surface. I could use a shorter hook, with a shank length of only 1/4 the long shank hook. Having saved 3/4 of the hook shank in steel I could use a much heavier hook (better to play the fish with) yet still have less steel in the fly. For this reason I still tie those flies on a short shank hook. The first time I came across using a grub hook for extended body flies was watching Oliver Edwards. He used them for his Mahican May. The advantages are two fold. The hook turns away from the body so you do not get the cocked up look to the body, Also they make a keel for the fly (so long as you have the hook point below the fly ). These were really tied because someone told me I couldn't tie them. However they illustrate the advantage of a grub type hook for detached bodies. Cheers, C.
  21. Long time since I posted in here so... Winged wets... Blae and Black, Black Whicham's, Silver Invicta, All of these are (for me) primarily loch trout flies, with a secondary roll of sea trout flies. Cheers, C.
  22. When you find bulk thread, you will then discover that, when you buy a standard spool of tying thread, you pay more for the spool than for the thread. Anyway for bulk thread take a look at Guttermann Skala. Similar to UTC 8/0 but finer and stronger. Cheers, C.
  23. They are taken to either side and tied behind the wing on top of the hook shank. Donald Downs described the result as having the wings sitting in a basket. Hope that helps, Cheers, C.
  24. Thank you I'd forgotten I'd done that one. Still think I'll do the video. Cheers, C.
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