Pickering Beck

Coiled indicators, preparing for Scourie and one tiny fish


I thought I’d try and construct a more sophisticated coiled leader for short-range nymphing. I’d previously made one up from some old brown Maxima nylon and it had worked ok but was a bit difficult to see against the dark water. Essentially you make these things by tightly winding a length of nylon in touching turns around a rod of suitable diameter – a nail or pencil, something like that. Then you boil it for a few minutes, take it out of the water and chuck it into the freezer for a few hours, the aim being to set the coils in the line’s memory. You then stick it between the end of the leader and the tippet. Bites are detected when the coil stretches suddenly.

Anyhow, I scouted around for some brightly coloured nylon. Hanak sell some ‘bi-coloured’ mono for just this sort of thing, with alternating lengths of red and yellow. But this costs about £12 for a spool when you add postage and that was too much. I eventually found some cheapo stuff on ebay, £7.00 for two spools (will never get through two spools, but that’s how it came) from China. So I took the gamble. It arrived surprisingly quickly:

It was a lot finer that I had thought and also really elastic, which was a bit of a concern. I duly wound some around a nail, boiled it etc etc. But I think I made it too long. Unstretched it looked like this (admittedly after a bit of use – it did look a lot neater when it initially came off the nail):

But with a little bit of tension – from the weight of the tippet it was more like this:

Whatever, I gave it a go on the Pickering Beck using only a small rod – 7ft. It was rubbish. I could barely lob the fly in, probably because the coil was too long and had too much give in it. I gave up on it after a few casts and the gaudy line will probably now sit in the box with all the other discarded stuff accumulated over the decades.

As I was on the Beck and some meaty mayfly were coming off I switched to a sort of emerger pattern with a buoyant foam head. I can’t remember tying this, but I suppose the tail is supposed to look like the shuck being shed:

The water was lowish and weedy but looked in good enough nick:

The fish were rising sporadically but were finicky. I have to say my heart wasn’t in it completely so I didn’t bother to chop and change the fly, just plugged on with the fat emerger. Eventually one greedy little critter fell for it:

Called it a day.

Well, Scourie looms. I shall be off a week on Sunday for four days on the hill lochs. I’ve tied up some deer hair sedges, having invested in a hair stacker for the first time.

I know what’s going to happen. After five or six casts the flies will get waterlogged so it’ll be out with the amadou and gink. I’m too lazy to keep that up for long, so I’ve tied a handful of foam-headed emergers like this in size 10.

These fish aren’t fussy and will go for anything. Even one of those.

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    1. Haha, I did as it happens. Think it would work better than the useless thing I just made…

  1. If it’s any consolation I tried to make one a few months ago with an equally disappointing outcome.


  2. That’s reassuring Dave! Think I’ll stick to the bit of hi viz braid.

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