What salmon flies does Fulling Mill offer?
Fulling Mill are undoubtedly the UK's best-known fly supplier and they've been producing fly patterns since the 1930s. It is one of the world's leading producers of high-quality fly patterns and have an excellent reputation in the fly fishing community.
It offers a wide range of salmon and sea trout flies, from classic patterns that have been used by salmon anglers for a century or so, to modern patterns developed in more recent years. Whatever you're after, from a classic General Practitioner salmon double to a Snaelda or Zelda tube fly, Fulling Mill will have it in their collection.
Why buy salmon flies from Fulling Mill?
Fulling Mill salmon flies aren't the cheapest. You can buy cheaper salmon flies online, but they're not a patch on the quality of the ones Fulling Mill's tyers produce. A lot of cheap salmon flies are made from poor quality materials, are often inconsistently or badly tied and generally use low-quality hooks.
Fulling Mill's flies are the polar opposite. They're tied by dedicated fly tying experts who specialise in tying salmon fly patterns, they use very high-quality materials and they use top of the line hooks and tubes. Given that you probably don't want to lose any salmon or sea trout you may hook, paying a little extra for better quality flies tied upon higher quality hooks is certainly worthwhile.
What sort of hooks and tubes do they use?
Depending on the pattern, Fulling Mill's salmon and sea trout fly patterns are tied on either Fulling Mill Magni Double hooks or Fulling Mill Trebles. The Magni Double hooks are great - they've got a strong, short shank and they're "sticky sharp" so they hook fish really well. The tube fly patterns are tied upon top quality Eumer Crayfish Tubes with brass coneheads to help get them down to depth quickly and the end of the tube is heated to keep the cone in place.
How much do they cost?
If you've ever watched Davie McPhail tying a salmon fly, you'll know how complex and time consuming they can be to tie, so they're more expensive to produce than trout flies. Fulling Mill's salmon fly patterns vary in price, but most of them cost between £3-5 each which is good value given the time, skill and high-quality materials which have gone into producing each one.
They're tied at Fulling Mill's facility in Kenya and it's said the expertly trained tyers there are very well paid. If you're paying a pound for a salmon fly from another supplier and the retailer has their own markup in there, you've got to wonder how much the person tying the fly gets paid...
What patterns did you get?
Seeing as my plan for this year is to try and catch another salmon from this Welsh Dee - this time intentionally - I asked Fulling Mill to recommend me a selection of flies they thought would be right for this river. Fulling Mill's Kieron Jenkins sent me a lovely mixture of classic and modern salmon doubles, salmon trebles and some more modern tube fly patterns. They're all stunning flies that are exquisitely tied and are all carbon copies of each other.
Black FrancisType: Salmon treble
Size: Size 12
Notes: The Black Francis is an old classic salmon fly pattern with a firm reputation. This one's tied on a size 12 treble, but it's available in other colours and on different hooks and tubes.
Red FrancisType: Salmon treble
Size: Size 10
Notes: The Red Francis makes a good shrimp imitation and the colour is known to be very attractive to salmon, especially during low water periods.
Ally's shrimpType: Salmon double
Size: Size 10
Notes: This pattern was developed by Alastair Gowans in the late 1980s and was used on the large Scottish rivers between spring and autumn.
Cascade shrimpType: Salmon double
Size: Size 8
Notes: The Cascade shrimp is one of Fulling Mill's most popular salmon fly patterns worldwide and catch fish anywhere. These ones are stunning.
Super Snaelda CascadeType: Salmon tube fly on 13mm Eumer Crayfish Tube
Notes: This Ron Sutherland pattern takes the best bits of the Snaelda and Francis tube flies and blends them. It works in the UK and abroad.
Super Snaelda Willie GunnType: Salmon tube fly on 13mm Eumer Crayfish Tube
Notes: Another Ron Sutherland creation, this tube fly pattern is based on the classic old Willie Gunn salmon fly pattern with a modern twist.
Where can I get Fulling Mill flies?
You can buy Fulling Mill flies from most fly fishing shops in the UK, as well as directly from Fulling Mill themselves. They've got dozens of stockists across the country so you're bound to have one nearby if you want to check them out before buying - you can find your nearest one with their dealer locator. Or, you can buy them online at www.fullingmill.co.uk