POLL: Tie of the Month - October 2020: What does your willie look like?

Who tied your favourite fly

  • Ryan Houston

    Votes: 5 6.2%
  • Stephenb91

    Votes: 1 1.2%
  • SpectrumShrimp

    Votes: 13 16.0%
  • Tailfire

    Votes: 4 4.9%
  • onelastcast

    Votes: 3 3.7%
  • SalmoSam84

    Votes: 1 1.2%
  • johnboysflys

    Votes: 5 6.2%
  • rotenone

    Votes: 3 3.7%
  • Clydebuilt

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • mcandy

    Votes: 5 6.2%
  • nigel passmore

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • SnapT14

    Votes: 6 7.4%
  • iainmortimer

    Votes: 3 3.7%
  • nwsalar

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • doublehooked

    Votes: 1 1.2%
  • DrPatrickT

    Votes: 5 6.2%
  • nickolas

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Greys007

    Votes: 3 3.7%
  • PerryPoker

    Votes: 1 1.2%
  • TayRaider

    Votes: 1 1.2%
  • Boogie

    Votes: 1 1.2%
  • willmorris

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Woodsy

    Votes: 1 1.2%
  • tonymccann99

    Votes: 1 1.2%
  • Grassy_Knollington

    Votes: 1 1.2%
  • Andrzej

    Votes: 4 4.9%
  • JockieScott

    Votes: 8 9.9%
  • billy fish

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • logan houston

    Votes: 3 3.7%
  • Wormo

    Votes: 2 2.5%

  • Total voters
    81
  • Poll closed .

iainmortimer

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Welcome to the October 2020 Tie of the Month competition.

TOTM Introduction


The format of the 2020 Tie of the Month competition will remain the same as it was last year as it worked so well i.e. open to everyone, a separate section for any newcomers to salmon fly tying and all you need to do for entry is to submit a photo of a fly that meets the rules of that months theme and the eleven commandments below.

You can enter every month or just the odd few but note that points are awarded just for entering! The only exception will be December when we’ll retain voting for the 'Fly of the Year' as chosen from the winners of each monthly competition.

As a tip, the fly you think is the best dressed, best photographed and most true to the original does not always win and so don’t be put off giving it a go or trying a bit of experimentation.


October TOTM theme: "What does your willie look like?"
Willie Gunn was born in the township of Skerray on the wild north coast of Sutherland where his father was a crofter and fisherman. Gunn started work with the Forestry Commission in the Borgie Forest; the first forest to be planted in the north, in 1929. After trying his hand at farming, which he did not like, Gunn found employment as a keeper, gillie and stalker on the Sutherland Estates where he spent the remainder of his working life. It was whilst Gunn was based at Loch Choire, in Caithness, on the south side of Ben Klibreck, that he caught his first salmon and fell in love with fishing. The salmon was taken from the River Mallart, a tiny tributary of the River Naver, and it weighed 16lb. Ever after, Gunn was a confirmed salmon angler. The largest fish he landed was a magnificent specimen of 281b which he caught in the Bengie Pool of the River Brora.

He gave his name to one of the most successful patterns of Scottish salmon fly ever devised, the fame of which has spread throughout the world and still today, salmon anglers would consider themselves to be improperly dressed were they to appear on the river bank without at least one Willie Gunn in their fly box.

The pattern was designed to imitate a hair-wing version of a fully dressed Thunder & Lightning and the originator of the design was an RAF officer, Flt-Lt "Dusty" Miller, who was based at Kinloss in Morayshire. Miller dressed salmon flies for another famous Scottish salmon angler, Rob Wilson, of Brora, and the two men were anxious to rationalise the large number of hair-wing patterns which were then (in the late 1940s) beginning to appear in an ever-increasing range of shapes and sizes. Miller produced 25 patterns which he sent to Wilson for his comment and approval and while Wilson was examining the newly-arrived flies in his shop one morning, Willie Gunn called in to equip himself with a few patterns for a day's sport on the River Brora: "By gum," Gunn said to Wilson, pointing to one of the flies, "that looks bonny. If I had a choice, that's the one I would use." "Well," said Wilson, "you must have it and we will name the fly the Willie Gunn."

The above text is largely copied from WIllie Gunn's obituary as published in the Independent Newspaper, 14 March, 1996

I have tried to stay away from the extremely common patterns like the Willie Gunn simply because they are so well known and people's fly boxes are full of them (or should be if not!). However, it struck me that we do still all tie them and as it is such a popular fly, there are a myriad of variations. The question I would like this months competition to answer is, which variation is considered to be the best or perhaps the original can still hold its own! Over to all you wonderful tiers...


Specific Guidance:
  • The fly must be obviously recognisable as a Willie Gunn or variant and so a major part of the wing and any hackle should be a mix of orange, yellow and black.
  • The fly can be tied on any hook, tube or shank of your choosing
  • The fly can be in any format you like and use any mix of materials but note point one on colour.

Eleven commandments
1. The first rule of TOTM is that everyone is welcome to enter as many or as few months as you choose. As it currently stands there are no prizes this year and so enjoy the challenge and improvement in skill that will result. If a sponsor comes forward at any time that will be posted in the TOTM folder.

2. Anybody who has started tying salmon flies in the last 12 months can highlight this on their first entry to be considered for the title of 'Best Newcomer'

3. You can only enter one photo. Entries with more than one photo will immediately be disqualified.

4. Unless stated otherwise, the photo should contain only one pattern/version of a fly. There can be multiple copies of the pattern chosen, but they must be as far as possible identical in size and form so that it’s clear what is being voted for.

5. Each fly must have been tied for TOTM i.e. it should not have already appeared elsewhere on the forum or t'interweb. You can tie another version of one you have already posted but please don't just lift the photo from another thread to TOTM.

6. To encourage a bit of exploration and challenge, the tying competition will have a different theme each month. Every day is a School day so try something new or unfamiliar, as well as the things you know you are good at.

7. At the end of the month there will be a poll to vote the winner. The poll will run the entirety of the following month and be open to everyone on the forum.

8. The December competition will be to decide the 'Tie of The Year', where members will vote for the best of the winning flies from the 10 monthly competitions. The points for this will be awarded in the same way as every other month.

9. Whichever participant has the most points at the end of the year wins the accolade of TOTM Winner and/or Best Newcomer

10. The competition will run from February 2020 to December 2020

11. Points will be awarded each month as follows. In the event of a tie for 1st, 2nd or 3rd, all tied participants will get the full points available for the placing.
• First place: 10 points
• Second place: 8 points
• Third place: 7 points.
• Each monthly competition entered: 4 points.

This means that you can place well in the whole event, without ever winning a single month's competition

Ryan Houston
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Stephenb91
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Spectrum Shrimp
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Tailfire
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Onelastcast
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SalmoSam84
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Johnboysflys
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rotenone
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Clydebuilt
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mcandy
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nigel passmore
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SnapT14
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iainmortimer
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nwsalar
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Doublehooked
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DrPatrickT
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nickolas
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Greys007
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PerryPoker
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TayRaider
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Boogie
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willmorris
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Woodsy
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tonymccann99
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Grassy_Knollington
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Andrzej
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Jockiescott
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billy fish
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Logan Houston
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Wormo
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Last edited:

charlieH

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Point of order Mr Mortimer ?

The original WG is a blend of black, yellow and orange - not red - so may I respectfully suggest that this should be the starting point?
 

iainmortimer

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Point of order Mr Mortimer ?

The original WG is a blend of black, yellow and orange - not red - so may I respectfully suggest that this should be the starting point?


...but that's what it says and I didn't edit it at all...honest :oops:
 

ryan houston

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i thought willie gunns were orange and yellow with black over but when i looked into it i remember finding somewhere that the original was red and yellow with black perhaps it changed over time to the orange being found to be more effective and therefore the origins became clouded might i suggest we use our own preference here either orange or red? we are going to end up with chartreuse and all sorts of bodies here anyway?
 

Jockiescott

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Well, it was either going to be a longtail or a Flamethrower from me. In the end, the longtail won favour with me.

IMG_20201004_132023.jpg


Pattern is as follows:

Tag: small oval gold
Tail: Willie Gunn mix of orange, yellow and black bucktail with a couple of strands of gold krystal flash
Body: half holo gold, half black, ribbed with small oval gold
Wing: Black Tanuki with gold krystal flash over
Hackles: yellow, orange and black soft cock, doubled and wound together
Eyes: Jungle cock
Head: Black
 

Clydebuilt

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Well, it was either going to be a longtail or a Flamethrower from me. In the end, the longtail won favour with me.

View attachment 50777

Pattern is as follows:

Tag: small oval gold
Tail: Willie Gunn mix of orange, yellow and black bucktail with a couple of strands of gold krystal flash
Body: half holo gold, half black, ribbed with small oval gold
Wing: Black Tanuki with gold krystal flash over
Hackles: yellow, orange and black soft cock, doubled and wound together
Eyes: Jungle cock
Head: Black

Those wound hackles always look great on your flies Jockie, very nice?
 

Jockiescott

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Those wound hackles always look great on your flies Jockie, very nice?

Cheers CB!!! ?

There were a few hackles wasted in the past trying to get a nice blended front hackle but I'm glad I stuck at it.

I know it might not be to everyone's preferences but I like it myself. ☺️
 

Andrzej

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Well, it was either going to be a longtail or a Flamethrower from me. In the end, the longtail won favour with me.

View attachment 50777

Pattern is as follows:

Tag: small oval gold
Tail: Willie Gunn mix of orange, yellow and black bucktail with a couple of strands of gold krystal flash
Body: half holo gold, half black, ribbed with small oval gold
Wing: Black Tanuki with gold krystal flash over
Hackles: yellow, orange and black soft cock, doubled and wound together
Eyes: Jungle cock
Head: Black
Cracking WG variation Jockiescott (y)
 

mows

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Well, it was either going to be a longtail or a Flamethrower from me. In the end, the longtail won favour with me.

View attachment 50777

Pattern is as follows:

Tag: small oval gold
Tail: Willie Gunn mix of orange, yellow and black bucktail with a couple of strands of gold krystal flash
Body: half holo gold, half black, ribbed with small oval gold
Wing: Black Tanuki with gold krystal flash over
Hackles: yellow, orange and black soft cock, doubled and wound together
Eyes: Jungle cock
Head: Black
Nice willie!!!
 
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