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For the fisherman/tyer who likes to try something new, I will list here fly fishing flies which I have found worth trying for trout and salmon as a change from the traditional favourites.

To begin, I will describe the origins and development of the NEEDLE FLY, which I devised for late night sea trout fishing on the River Earn in Perthshire. Not only did it catch sea trout (sewin), it also accounted for a few salmon, trout and even grayling. It may be worth considering as a fly fishing lure for other predatory species.

For those who would like to make their own Needle Flies, but have difficulty in finding some of the components, such as suitable PVC tubing, a NEEDLE FLY KIT is now available in our online shop.

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The Needle Fly

The man who fishes for sea trout, day and night throughout the season, on rivers large and small, will carry a good range of sizes and styles of fly. In low water or in the early part of the night, he may do best with flies no larger than a size six. At other times, perhaps in high water or when fishing a deep pool late at night when the river has gone quiet, he will often resort to something larger, or more specifically, longer.

Small flies, say up to a size six, are probably best tied on single hooks. But what is the best design for the longer fly or lure, of between one and three inches in length?

The Tube fly in various materials, the Waddington, Falkus's sunk lure, the Welsh Marchog with flying treble along with  assorted terrors and demons all have their devotees and are undoubtedly effective. However, each, though ingenious in its own way, has its disadvantages.

All of the above, however, have their disadvantages, so I set about trying to devise a lure which might overcome their shortcomings

The result, after much experimentation, was the Needle Fly.

Sea Trout Needle Fly

The Needle Fly
Needle: No. 9 long darning needle
Wing: black over orange over yellow Fox squirrel tail with a few strands of Krystal Flash
see: Tying the Needle Fly

For more information about Needle Flies, see Fishing Articles

Needle Types and Sizes

BETWEEN 6 0.027 inches 0.69 mms 1¼ inches
SHARP 6 0.027 inches 0.69 mms 1½ inches
LONG DARNER 9 0.024 inches 0.61 mms 2 inches
LONG DARNER 7 0.027 inches 0.69 mms 2¼ inches

I have listed only a few of the most useful sizes. However, almost any needle can be used, provided it is matched to a treble hook and PVC sleeve of appropriate size. 

So, just as with hooks, we could describe the size of a needle by a number and a shank length. For example, a size 7 Between would be a "size 7 Short shank", a size 7 Sharp would be a "size 7 standard shank" and a size 7 Long Darner would be a "size 7 long shank" and, just as in hook sizes, within each range, the lower the number, the bigger the fly.

But all this seems too complicated. Much easier simply to describe our needle flies by length. For example, a 1 inch, 1½ inch or 2 inch needle. I tend to use Betweens for the shorter lengths, Sharps for the intermediate lengths and Long Darners for the longest lures.

NEW - For those who would like to make their own Needle Flies but have difficulty in obtaining suitable PVC tubing, a NEEDLE FLY KIT is now available in our online shop

Needle Flies are conveniently stored in a foam lined fly box, as shown below.

Salmon needle Flies



The Ginger Pearl

A good night time sea trout fly

Ginger Pearl - mallard wing



Hook: Singles in sizes 10 to 4

Thread: Yellow

Body: Pearl tinsel over yellow thread overwound with touching turns of fine light green monofilament nylon (e.g. Drennan sub surface green 4 lbs B.S.)

Hackle: Shiny ginger hen

Wing: Squirrel hair or mallard


Ginger Pearl - Sea trout fly


Ginger Pearl (Palmered)

Ginger Pearl - palmered


BOOK - Sea Trout Nights



Needle Flies

Needle Fly - All Black


Needle Fly - Black and Red


Needle Fly - Purple and Yellow


Needle Fly - Orange and Yellow


Needle Fly - Red and Orange


Needle Surface Lure

The Needle may also be dressed as a surface wake lure. This is simply done by pushing a needle through the centre of a cylinder of ethafoam. A hackle may be tied in first if desired.

Details of the needle fly were first published in the article, "Needles for Sewin", Trout & Salmon magazine, September 1999




The Magus

The Magus - Salmon fly

I first used this fly on the River Endrick in 1989 where it was effective for both salmon and sea trout. It has since taken fish on the Dee, Earn, Teith, Alness and Allan.


The Magus


Hook: Singles, doubles and trebles in sizes 12 to 6

Tail: Squirrel tail dyed magenta or light claret

Body: Rear half silver, front half black floss

Rib: Oval silver

Body hackle: Soft, shiny hackle dyed magenta or light claret

Front hackle: Soft, shiny black hackle with jungle cock under.

Fluorescent magenta floss is a good substitute for the jungle cock, as in the examples below.



Magus Variants

Magus variants


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