The covid-19 pandemic has been a real test of mettle for everyone, and although the disease is serious in nature there’s still plenty of room (and indeed necessity) for a little light relief from the situation. So a few weeks ago, as an antidote to the doom and gloom being broadcast just about everywhere imaginable, FishPal decided to come up with a fun, fly tying competition to help fishing fans through their lockdown blues, and you all took to it like fish to water, if you’ll excuse the pun.
The competition was wide open to all and sundry with a choice of either creating a salmon/seatrout or a trout fly.
The winning flies were announced a couple of weeks ago and it is with great pride that the Fishing Mugs team has been tasked to design a mug honouring the three winning entries. So it’s “well done” to Mike Reynolds, Ranald Hutton and Craig Duncan. We hope you like the finished mug.
We’re delighted to make available this brilliant Father’s Day offer in partnership with author Peter Owen. Peter’s pocket guide to fishing knots is an absolute must for every fisher. This compact reference guide includes clear, step-by-step drawings showing when and how to tie the knots every angler needs.
The book shows you exactly how to join lines with a whole selection of essential knots, joining leader or backing to fly lines, as well as hooks and tackle knots. The book also includes expert advice on the very latest knot-tying tools and line connectors. It is the clearest knot book available and no angler should be without it!
We have teamed up with Peter to create a limited edition Fishing Knots mug that includes a number of Peter’s handy knot illustrations. Great when you’re on the river and need a quick visual reminder of how a particular knot should look.
The book and mug combo are now available for a limited period (until 14th June 2020) at this price, so don’t hesitate, get your order in today and tick this Father’s Day pressie off your list!
You can order your Father’s Day Fishing Knots Book and Mug right now by clicking the button below… Thank You!
A huge thank you to everyone who took advantage of our Father’s Day offer. Sadly the offer is now over but you can still get your hands on the book and mug combo at the normal price of £22.95 by clicking on the button below.
Former art and design teacher Ranald Hutton has joined forces with the Fishing Mugs team to create a unique commemorative mug in honour of frontline health service workers.
When the current Covid-19 pandemic shut down riverbanks around the UK, Ranald, who has been tying trout and salmon flies since the age of 11, used the enforced spare time to create the ‘NHS Warrior’ salmon fly as an entry in the FishPal lockdown fly tying competition.
Ranald’s fly, which fuses the colours of the NHS logo as a mark of respect to frontline health staff, was announced the winner and he now intends to mount ‘NHS Warrior’, add his signature and auction the stunning fly to raise cash to benefit health service workers.
“It is a symbolic fly. With no fishing happening just now because of the pandemic, I decided to enter the competition. I considered the colours carefully, to assess how appropriate they were for the NHS. I am really quite pleased with how it has turned out.” said Ranald.
The special mugs depicting the fly, are available in our online store, with £5 from each sale going to the NHS through Captain Tom Moore’s heroic fundraising drive. Fishing Mugs’ co-founder David Miller added: “We are proud to be part of Ranald’s great initiative to help raise funds for our NHS heroes. They are doing a fantastic job helping to save lives and keep us all safe, and it’s an honour to play a small part in recognising their service.”
You can order your Warrior Mug right now by clicking the button below… Thank You!
Durham Ranger fishing fly mugs are available in our online store today.
The mid-1800s saw a rivalry on Scottish and English rivers spring up between the users of “drab” traditional English fishing fly patterns and the new colourful and “gaudy” Irish invaders. One of the main advocates of the new style of flies was the controversial figure, George Mortimer Kelson, a larger-than-life English fisher of considerable experience and apparently, self-adoration. He was keen to portray himself as the well-dressed sporting gentleman, sporting the expensive tailored tweed jacket, a bowler hat, a full beard and enormous waxed moustache.
Kelson was dubbed the “Grand Old Man of Salmon Fishing” and the “High Priest of the Salmon Fly”. Monikers he would have wholeheartedly agreed with since they aligned with his self-styled supreme authority on salmon fishing matters, and in particular the subject of fishing flies. He authored the now-famous classic work “The Salmon Fly” which is still popular today. Kelson’s penchant was for elaborately dressed flies using exotic feathers that were prized at the time.
Love him or hate him, there was no doubt that Kelson was an expert angler, chalking up a record total of 3,000 catches. He was also something of a joker and was known to think nothing of stripping down and diving into the water to retrieve a snagged fishing line… and a fish, if the occasion arose. He was, however, instrumental in the development of new fly patterns of the time, as well as fishing tackle, apparel and groundbreaking fishing methods.
So what does this have to do with the Durham Ranger? Well, never one to shy away from controversy, Kelson was known to make claims on the invention of fishing patterns that were, to say the least, suspect. This got him into many a public row with R.B. Marston the editor of the “Fishing Gazette” who hotly contested many of his claims on fly patterns that he attributed to himself and friends rather than the true originators. The Durham Ranger could be one such pattern.
A fishing hot-spot at that time was on the river Tweed near the Scottish Border towns of Kelso and Sprouston where a local and very well respected fly dresser James (Jemmy) Wright had a tiny tackle shop, frequented daily by many an angler hungry for fishing news and tittle-tattle.
Jemmy was recognised as an extremely innovative fly dresser and was known to meticulously deconstruct competitor’s work to discover their secrets and also improve on their errors. Jemmy also had connections with the Sprouston Angling Club (Est1845) and two fishing companions William Henderson (who authored “My Life as an Angler” in 1876) and Walter Scruton from Durham.
History books tell us that Henderson was always insistent that the famous Durham Ranger fly was the invention of his friend Scruton, whilst Kelson was adamant that Jemmy Wright was the originator. The truth will never be completely uncovered but one thing is clear, the Durham Ranger has since become one of the fishing world’s most popular patterns.
The original winging style with a golden pheasant tippet remains a main part of the design to this day. This is how the fly is constructed.
Tag: Silver tinsel and gold floss Tail: GP Crest Butt: Black ostrich hero Body: In four equal parts. Yellow floss, orange seal’s fur, brown seal’s fur, black seal’s fur Rib: Oval silver tinsel Body hackle: Yellow dyed badger over the front half of body Throat: Light blue hackle Wing: Pair of long jungle cock, back-to-back. Two pairs of tippet feathers outside. GP topping overall Cheeks: Kingfisher Horns: Blue macaw Head: Black
We are delighted to announce that we have released a range of three Durham Ranger mugs. Check them out in the online store below. Larger orders can be produced if you would prefer a customised option. Please get in touch here if you would like to discuss personalisation services.
Megan Boyd “Helmsdale Shrimp” mugs are now available in our online store today.
We’ve had a boatload of requests to design mugs that feature flies tied by the world-famous Megan Boyd, so that’s exactly what we’ve done and we’re starting with three unique designs. Megan Boyd is an absolute legend in the fly fishing world and it’s with great pride we can now offer three mugs based on one of her popular patterns, the Helmsdale Shrimp.
A little bit about Megan Boyd:
Rosina Megan Boyd was originally born in Surrey on 29 January 1915. When she was three-years-old her father took a job as river keeper on the River Brora in Scotland and so moved the family to the Highlands.
As Megan reached adulthood her preferred style of dress, a man’s shirt and tie, sport jacket and heavy army-style boots were considered to be a bit eccentric, but her fly tying prowess was never in question.
Megan began her fly tying education at the age of 12, with lessons from another river keeper Bob Trussler who instilled the need for precision and quality in Megan’s fly tying work, an ethic that remained with her throughout her fly tying career.
Megan’s fly tying work took off with an order from Sir Charles Clauson who asked that a collection of gut-eyed salmon flies be reproduced with more modern eyed hooks (irons). Megan completed the job and her flies soon gained the reputation for being exceptionally tough and resilient, lasting for many fishing seasons. Upon hearing about her work, local salmon fishers began to demand Megan Boyd flies and from that point her fly tying career flourished.
Megan’s flies soon began to attract industry awards and particular notice from many fly fishing experts such as angler author Joseph D. Bates Jr who, regarding the world’s best fly tiers, was quoted as saying “The best are in Scotland, and of course Megan Boyd is the best in Scotland.”
She was awarded the British Empire Medal for her work by Queen Elizabeth II in 1971 but couldn’t attend Buckingham Palace as she was busy playing bridge and had nobody to look after her dog Patch. Prince Charles, a huge fan of her fishing flies, later presented Megan with the medal at his lodge in the highlands.
Megan and Charles became firm friends and he visited her at her tiny cottage in Kintradwell near Brora on numerous occasions.
Megan Boyd tied flies for nearly six decades until her eyesight began to fail at the age of 70. She was forced to retire from fly tying and eventually moved from her cottage to a nursing home where she was visited by Prince Charles in 2000. She died on 15 November 2001 at the age of 86.
To celebrate Megan Boyd’s contribution to fly fishing, we’ve produced a range of three limited-edition Helmsdale Shrimp mugs. For larger orders a personalised service is available.