Phillippa Hake

Hi guys, my name is Phillippa Hake and I have created this blog to share my fly fishing adventures with you.

I caught my first rainbow trout at Raygill Lakes near Skipton. I’ll never forget it, it was a red-hot day in the middle of a heat wave. the fish were jumping everywhere but not seeming to take on the flies that were on offer. so as I stood on the bank in the scorching temperatures thinking to my self, “it’s not going to happen” it did, at first I didn’t know what to do so I lifted my rod and hooked the fish. I looked over to my dad both of us had massive smiles across our faces. it wasn’t a monster but it was my first fish on the fly and ill never forget it. and to make it even more special I was the only person to catch a fish that day and when you’re a girl and you beat men at their own sport it feels pretty good!!

a week or so after I bought a fly tying kit, a tiny box full of feather and fur which over the months has grown and grown and grown. it has taken over my bedroom! I tie flies regularly, the cruncher being my favorite.

over the past year i have been doing alot of river fishing on my local river. the river calder. some days coming home from work and heading straight to the rive and catching plenty of beautifully marked brow trout and grayling.

i hope to do weekly updates on my fishing. so be sure to keep up to date with my blog and see what ive been up to!

tight lines



caught at raygill lakes near Skipton

caught at raygill lakes near skipton

Tying a Olive CDC Up-wing Dry Fly

As the rivers across the country open up for the trout season we still have a little bit longer to wait in Yorkshire,  as they don’t kick off until the 25th march. Not too much longer though! 

In anticipation of the season to get rolling, I’ve been filling the last few remaining gaps in my fly boxes. The latest batches have been some CDC upwing dry flies. 

See below how I tie this fly! 

Materials used ; 

Hook – Partridge  Standard Dry #14 

Thread – Gordon Griffith Sheer thread 14/0 Olive 

Tail – two coq de Leon fibres 

Body – Polish Quills Stripped Quill, Olive 

Wing – two CDC plumes 

Thorax – hares ear dubbing

UV resin – Deer Creek Diamond Hard (optional) 


Step 1 – secure the hook in the vice and proceed to start your thread. 

Step 2 – 

Don’t cut off the waste piece of tying thread as you’ll need that to split the tail of the fly in the next step! 

Run the thread down the hook to the bend, making sure the tag end of the thread stays as straight as you can keep it on top of the hook shank! 

Step 3 – 

Tie in the two strands of Coq De Leon, to split them what I do is get them in the position I want them to stay in, then bring the end of the tying thread through the middle of them to create a V shape. 

Catch the thread in and take it back towards the eye of the hook. 

Step 4 – 

Marry up 2 CDC feathers, place on top of the hook and secure with your thread. 

I like my wings to be about as long as the hook shank when you bend them back. 

Step 5 – 

Secure the CDC in place and trim away the waste end of the feathers.

Tidy up and run the thread back down towards the tail. 

Step 6 – 

Tie in the stripped quill, take the thread back toward the wing creating a nice flat surface for the quill to wind on to, note, to achieve the flattest surface for the quill I spin my thread to ensure when I’m winding the thread around the shank it’s lying flat. Once you have a nice tapered body your happy with take your hackle pliers and bring the quill up toward the wing. 

Step 7 – 

At this stage of the fly to protect the quill you can add a dab of UV resin over it or, what I sometimes do is just add some super glue over the top. 

In this instance I have added a coat of Deer Creek Diamond Hard UV Resin. 

Step 8 –

If you’ve chosen to use uv resin cure it with your light. Once that is done grab some hares ear. Not too much as you don’t want to bulk up the fly. Dub it onto the fly and whip finish. 

And that’s it! Ready to rock and roll and tempt some wild brownies come the 25th!! 

As many of you will know Wojtek and his friend Arek from Polish Quils were involved in a terrible, terrible car accident in New Zealand. I would just like to add I wish them both a very quick recovery and I send all my best wishes to both of them and their families at this tough time 

How To Tie a Quill Nymph

Now, if you follow me on social media you’ll know that I love a fly that is tied with stripped quill. There’s just something I love about the stuff, the way it has that segmented look when the fly is finished and it’s an easy material to work with and I use them on both nymphs and dries. They come in all different colours so what’s not to love?

On this particular occasion I’m going to show you how I use the quills to tie a simple yet very, very effective river nymph pattern. So here’s how I tie it.

You’ll need the following;
Hook – Partridge Standard Dry size 12/14/16/18/20
Thread – preferred tying thread – brown/tan
Bead – silver/copper to fit hook
Tail – coq de Leon fibres
Body – polish quills preferred colour
Thorax – hares ear
U.V resin – Deer Creek Diamond Hard

Step 1 –  

Put the hook in the vice with the bead at the eye of the hook ready to start your tying thread. Secure the bead with the thread. 

Step 2 – 

Run the thread down the hook to the bend and tie in some Coq De Leon fibres. 

Step 3 – 

At this point I like to spin the tying thread so it lays flat when tying materials in. Especially quills as you need a nice flat tapered under body of thread for the quill to lie on.

Take your stripped quill and as your looking at it the black strip on the quill should be on the bottom of the quill and the colour of the quill on the top, in order to achieve the segmented look to the fly. Tie in the quill and proceed to build up a tapered body. 

Step 4 – 

Take your hackle pliers and grab the quill and wind up the hook shank towards the bead making sure you don’t overlap the turns. 

Step 5 – lock in the quill with a couple of turns and make a half hitch so you can varnish and cure the fly with UV resin. 

Step 6 – 

Once you have cured the fly take your hares ear and dub on your thorax, I don’t like to over do it with the dubbing as I like my nymphs quite sparse. 

Step 7 –

Whip finish your fly and pick out the dubbing to make it look scruffy. 

And that’s it! A simple fly but very effective. The beauty of it is you can vary the look of it by changing the colour of the quills and bead. I always make sure I have plenty of these flies when I’m on the river. 

I like to fish it with two methods, it’s a good fly to use when fishing the duo method for searching out fish in pocket water. I also use it when fishing the French leader as a lighter fly above the point fly. 
I hope you enjoyed this blog! And I hope to be out fishing soon so I can share my adventures! 

Tight lines 🙂 

How To Tie The Olive Jig 

The olive jig is one of my favourite nymph patterns. I’ve found it effective on my local river in the early stages of the trout season and it is responsible for my personal best wild river brownie. 

When I first started fly tying only about 3 years ago,  I use to spend my evenings searching the internet in search of patterns I could attempt. Whilst watching YouTube videos I stumbled across well known angler and brilliant fly tyer Steffan Jones, and his Olive Jig Nymph after seing his creation i wanted to attempt the pattern. 

I took to my vice and set about to tie the nymph, The first few weren’t brilliant but  put them in my box and took them to try on the river. As all fly tyers know, the joy of catching a fish on a fly you’ve tied never gets old. 

It wasn’t until I was tying at my first fly tying event at Fly Only in Huddersfield where i was talking to highly experienced angler and fly tyer Alex Jardine. He suggested to add an orange tag to the fly which made it look even more appealing ( if your a trout!) 

So here’s a step by step on how I tie my version of the Olive Jig. 

Materials used;

Hook – Partridge of Redditch jig hook #18 

Thread – UNI -thread 8/0 camel (or brown) 

Bead – slotted tungsten 3.0

Tail 1 – glo Brite – orange

Tail 2 – Coq De Leon fibres 

Body – trans brite (olive) 

Thorax – hares ear (the really spikey bits!!) 
Step 1 – 

Pop the bead onto the hook and secure it in your vice. 

Step 2 – 

Set your thread off and secure the bead in place so it doesn’t move about. 

Step 3 – 

Run the thread down the hook, stopping just befor the bend. At this point catch in the glo brite. 

Step 4 – 

I like to cut off the glo brite at this point leaving a tag end, not too big though! 

Step 5 – 

Step 5 is adding tail 2, the Coq De Leon fibres, I like to use 5/6 of them, you don’t need too many as Coq De Leon is lovely and robust! 

Step 6 – 

Take your tying thread back up towards the bead of the eye where you can catch in the trans brite. 

Step 7 – 

At this point I take the 1 strand of trans brite and wind it down with touching turns until I reach the bottom, where I work my way back up creating a nice tapered body to the fly. As Steffan notes in his video,  the more times you go over with trans brite the darker it gets as it’s a transparent material so you can taper the fly to get darker as your working your way back towards the bead. 

Step 8 – 

The fly is almost done. All that is left to do is add the thorax, for this I use the spikiest hears ear dubbing I can find, gathering some (not too much) and dubbing it onto the tying thread. Then winding it around to create a spiky thorax. 

Step 9 – whip finish and add a dab of varnish to secure the thread. At this point you could tease out some of the dubbing. And it’s done! Ready to fish! 

Thanks to Steffan Jones and Alex Jardine with your helpful advice on this patten that is a proven fish catcher! 
Tight lines. I’m 

Back With A Bang!

It’s been some time since I’m my last post, too long infact! I haven’t been able to do as much river fishing as I would of liked too due to work/weather and what not. I had a day at Raygill with my dad not so long ago but failed to to catch anything on a tough day. 

Today marked my come back on my local river, since I’d said I would be fishing today I’ve been praying to the fishing gods to keep the weather at bay so I could get out and wet a line. 

I woke up and immediately jumped up out of bed, gathered my fishing gear and jumped in my car to the river! That’s right, my car! Now I can drive I have a new lease of life which allows me to travel about at my own will, maybe to a river near you?!

Upon my arrival, there was definitely a spring feeling in the air, rather than the chilly wind we have been getting of recent weeks. Not being too foolish I still layerd up, it’s a good job I did as that water was freezing!! 

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect as I stood in the chilly water, a gentlemen from the local club had said it was carrying colour the day before and he and his friend had blanked, however when I was wading my way up through a pool i didn’t think it was anymore coloured than it usually is. I find that the Calder always has a tint of a copper colour running through it at the best of times. 

Anyway, onto the fishing! Today’s set up was my 10ft 4wt greys streamflex companied with a French leader fished with two of my favourite nymphs, two jigs, on the point a silver hares ear and on the dropper an olive jig with a copper bead and orange tag. 

It took me a couple of casts to get back into the swing of things, as I was wading up the pool I was fishing, my line tightened and I was into a good fish. At first I wasn’t even sure It was a fish as there wasn’t much of a fight, until it woke up! It wasn’t one for showing it’s face and was sticking hard on the bottom of the river. At this point, having not caught a fish since September, I should imagine I had a massive grin on my face, I soon had it in my net admiring the beautiful colours you get on these stunning fish.

One more fish followed from the same pool, another beautifully marked grayling. I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of catching these fish. 

One of the many joys I get out of fishing is that even if I only get an hours fishing in, I’m happy. Today was one of them days as I couldn’t feel my toes and had a dog to tend too at home and other jobs to do…  like cleaning my car.. I had to step out of the river. I left happy and content and that’s all that matters! 

Next week I’ll be at the British Fly Fair International. Held at Staffordshire county show ground, I’ll be there on the Sunday tying my river flies on the Deer Creek stand. I hope to see lots of you there to catch up and share fishing stories.  
Tight lines! 


Go Small or Go Home! 

Go Small or Go Home! 

On my most recent outings the river has been literally on its bones. Although, some recent rain will have sent through some much needed fresh water for our fishy friends. 

It’s funny what a little bit of rain can do to the river. A  couple of weeks ago I had fished a section of the river and had a great little season catching some stunning Grayling, notible was the water temperature, it was warm however it didn’t seem to put the fish off feeding as I worked my way through various pools. 
The following week I met up with a friend and we planned to fish the same stretch of river. it had rained near enouh all day, despite this we decided to go on with the session. The first thing I noticed was how cold the water was from the days rain fall. It was evident that this had knocked the fish off as we struggled to get them. Finally, they came but not as many as we were hoping for. 
Since then the weather has settled down again but the lack of rain has meant the river has been running low. It has resulted  in the fish having to move to different holding spots. 

Last week I met with my good friend Lisa Isles, for a very long over due fishing session. We had a cracking couple of hours on a very warm and sunny Saturday afternoon. 

We both set up with the duo in search of some trout and grayling. It wasn’t long untill the first fish came, and a lovely grayling it was to start the session with. 

A few more grayling followed along with some lovely brown trout! The trout I caught took my sedge pattern on the outside seam of a ripple of water, it even went airborne a couple of times! 

During this time of the year, when the water is low, fishing smaller flies can make a huge difference, unless of course you get a greedy trout come along and it can’t resist a pop at  the sedge! the majority of the grayling were caught on a size 20 simple copper bead flash back hares ear. Keeping your flies small and simple can make all the difference to your catch rate! 

I can hardly believe the season is almost finished! It doesn’t seem two minutes since it was March! However I’m looking forward to a couple of fly tying shows that are taking place in a month or so, I’ll be at Fly Fest in Cumbria (1st and 2nd October) tying with Partridge and then at the Uttoxiter show on the 16th of October again with the Partridge  gang! So lots to look forward too! 
I hope to see some of you at the up and coming shows. 

Tight lines and wet nets! 
And remeber, small flies catch big fish! 

It’s Good To Be Back! 

It’s been a while since I’ve posted on here, but I’m back again! 

I can’t say I’ve done a huge amount of fishing  this year so far due to one thing or another or the weather putting plans on hold.  And after just getting back from a lovely two week holiday I was very eager to get out on the river and catch some fish! 

The first day back at work is always a killer so come 4pm when I left I got home and got my gear together and took a stroll down to the river. I’m incredibly lucky to live so close to the river which gives great sport. 

Upon my arrival I was unaware what the weather had been like in England for the last couple of weeks and could see the river was carrying a slight colour. I observed the stretch and with nothing happening on the surface I opted for some nymphs. Two of my favourites for the Calder, a very natural quilled silver beaded #18 and a simple yet very effective  size #18 olive jig.

One noticeable change to the particular stretch I was fishing was that in a matter of weeks the usual path I would take to the river has now been entangled in weeds and over hanging trees! 

Finally I was in the river and ready to fish. I’d almost forgotten what it felt like to play a fish but before long my rod was arched over and I had the first of the session in my net.  

Shortly after this trout I was watching my indicator tottle along waiting in anticipation for any sudden stop. When it did the fish on the end was not happy, it was hard on the bottom and made a run downstream, getting the fish under control I got it’s head up and I saw the ever so recocnisable dorsal fin of a fine looking grayling and slid it over the rim of my net.  

A quick snap and returned safely. 


Followed by some more grayling and 1 trout to takes dried up as the fish were now focused on feeding on the hatching flies coming off the river. Time to change,  now. Before I go into this I can’t be the only person who has done it? Surly. 

So I go to my bag, look for my dry fly box, it’s not in the pocket that it’s usually in. I then had the heart stopping feeling it had fallen out and was on its way to the ocean. Only to remeber, moments before setting off to the river I had quickly tied a fly, placed it in my box and left the fly box on my fly tying desk. No evening rise for me 😦  lesson learned, I’ll always check I have both my fly boxes before I leave the house! 
Above is the fly that was most succesfull, a natural quill silver beaded nymph. 

Hook – Partridge Of Redditch standard dry #14/16&18 

I also use the Partridge Of Redditch Fine Dry hook for this pattern in a size 18. 

Thread – 14/0 tan/brown 

Tail – Coq De Leon 

Body – Polish quills, natural 

Thorax – spiky rabbit fur

Bead – silver to suit the hook size. 

Finished off with a dab of  Deer Creek UV resin
I hope you enjoyed guys! 
Tight lines 🙂 

New Friends, Fishing, Tea and Cake! What More Could You Ask For! 

Last weekend I spend the day on the River Ure surrounded by picturesque views, in North Yorkshire on a ladies day organised by Brian and Sue Towers and Anne Woodcock. With ladies of all abilities in attendance it was lovely to meet more ladies interested in Fly Fishing! 

Meeting at the farm shop for tea, coffee and a spot of breakfast we all got to know one another and talked fishing!  Off to a great start already! 

Arriving at the river, which was running rather low. We all got geared up for Brian to give his introduction which was brilliant, Showing how to do  casts for both trout fishing and salmon fishing. The trout were actively rising all morning as we were preparing to get on the water and have some casts at these fish. 

It’s true, time flys when you’re having fun! Before we knew it, it was dinner time already and time to tuck into the buffet kindly  prepared and brought down to the river by Sue, accompanied by some gorgeous soup! 

Soon after dinner Brian took me up-stream past some more good looking trout to have a cast at on my way back down.  I jumped in the river further up and slowly got into position to work my spiders through a fast run of water. A few casts later I had a bonnie trout in my net. Followed shortly by another. I tried my look at the uber spooky fish on the slower water however failed to tempt them with the dry fly, next time! 

As we all gathered at the end of the day to talk about the day’s events, everyone seemed to have a great day and the sun even made an appearance! Who says we don’t get sun up north? 

A big thank you to Brian, Sue and Anne for your hard work on the day and also to The brilliant Cliffie boy! 

I hope to see you all on the bank again soon, tight lines.