We are delighted to introduce this new ‘Fly Tying Focus’ feature to the Fishing Mugs website. In this section we are hoping to highlight articles on fly tying and the artists who create the fantastic fishing fly patterns that are widely available. To get things rolling we’ve asked a good friend and honorary member of the Fishing Mugs Team, Barry Grewcock to tell us a bit about himself and how he was lured into the fly tying art.
Creating a classic cast of thousands
It was a family move to Scotland’s northern reaches that unlocked the lure of the fishing fly for Barry Grewcock. As a lad growing up in South Shields on Tyneside, the North Sea gave him his first fishing experiences. But whatever enjoyment the maritime environment provided, it paled against the wild landscapes of rivers and lochs around Thurso that offered superb fly fishing and opened the door to what would become a lifelong passion for fly tying.
Barry’s skills as a draughtsman saw him working in various parts of the UK and took him to South Africa for three years before locating to Thurso in the mid-70’s to work at the Dounreay nuclear power station.
“That’s when my interest in fly fishing began. The region provided the ideal setting in which to indulge my passion for the sport, something my sons Simon and Clive, together with daughter Paula shared.
“Clive was the first to start dressing flies and kept me supplied for years until he went off to college. I started to panic about where I could get decent flies and as a left-hander it made it more difficult to follow how he did it.
“Nevertheless, I persevered and eventually got the idea,” said Barry who now enjoys a fine reputation as a source of fishing flies.
His prowess improved when he came across a copy of Mikael Frodin’s book on classic salmon flies in a York bookshop.
“This really sparked my interest in beautiful creations and it helped me produce a few flies somewhere near to what they should be like. The Facebook website ‘Classic Salmon Flies’ was excellent for advice and constructive criticism and I owe a big thank you to friends on the website for help and guidance,” said Barry.
Over the course of 40 years he has collected patterns for over 5,000 classic salmon and sea trout flies and most have been included in three books he has produced since retiring and moving slightly southwards to Brora just south of Wick. They are The Classic Salmon and Sea Trout Compendium, The Fly Dresser’s Guide to Classic Salmon and Sea Trout Flies and Classic Feather Winged Flies for Salmon, Sea Trout, Grayling and Trout.
“It’s now many years since I fly fished but I still dress classic feather winged flies for friends and clients. Some of the flies are for fishing but a great majority now end up framed for display,” said Barry.
His creations have recently found a new canvas – bringing a splash of classic colour to mugs produced by fishingmugs.co.uk and generating a new wave of admiration from the fishing
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