CHURCH FRY

sightbob

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Just been clearing out some old fly boxes
and came across a fly i used with great success
in the past. The Church Fry. Anyone still have success
with it. I believe Bob Church designed it in 1963.
John
 

mebu

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Used to be very popular on the big reservoirs, as it was very successful later in the season when the fish were on fry, bet it would work well today as well.

Peter
 

BobP

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I tied hundreds of the things when I was a part-time pro fly dresser. Never caught a damn thing on it myself. The number of squirrel tails I went through in those days beggared belief. I couldn't pass a dead squirrel on the road without checking his tail for suitability and I used to badger the local gamekeepers where I used to go beating for tails.
 

LukeNZ

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The polystickle was another great fly of that era on the reservoirs. Made with a strip of polythene bag, much like wrapping on tinsel, except wrapping it and stretching it to build up a nice translucent carrot shape over a tinsel wrapped hook, with a marabou or similar tail added first.
Remember trying one at Langholm; sometimes the trout were strangely foul hooked around the face and on the outside of the mouth - apparently trout will crash into sticklebacks to disorientate them, and then come back and take them head first more easily, as my friends dad explained at the time.
 
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flyfisher222

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I tied hundreds of the things when I was a part-time pro fly dresser. Never caught a damn thing on it myself. The number of squirrel tails I went through in those days beggared belief. I couldn't pass a dead squirrel on the road without checking his tail for suitability and I used to badger the local gamekeepers where I used to go beating for tails.
After 40 plus years of it I've found that the only thing that matters is white, grey, brown, or black and close to size 14. And I'm not at all sure any of that matters as you might equally well have caught it on something else.

Halford did far more damage to fly fishing than anyone else on the planet. before or since.

As for dragging imitations of nothing through still waters and 'rough' rivers it isn't fly fishing, it's spinning with a fly line. So what as long as it works? It's not as if fly fishing is any kind of big deal or any way 'superior'.
 

sightbob

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Just had a look at Bob Church original and this tying has changed.
It was sold to me as a Church Fry
Long shank hook
No tail
Back 2/3 burnt orange chenille
Front 1/3 fl. Green chenille
Full orange head hackle
Wing white tipped squirrel over hackle,length of hook.

Sorry don't know how to load picture
John


Ll
:confused:
 

LukeNZ

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After 40 plus years of it I've found that the only thing that matters is white, grey, brown, or black and close to size 14. And I'm not at all sure any of that matters as you might equally well have caught it on something else.

Halford did far more damage to fly fishing than anyone else on the planet. before or since.

As for dragging imitations of nothing through still waters and 'rough' rivers it isn't fly fishing, it's spinning with a fly line. So what as long as it works? It's not as if fly fishing is any kind of big deal or any way 'superior'.
There is an older fly fishing chap I sometimes bump into, who catches fish because he loves to smoke and eat them. He doesn’t fish very often, but when he does he just catches 3 or 4 as quickly as possible, and takes them home.
He uses a bare hook, and at the river he knots on with three or 4 plain knots a piece of white wool from a regular ball of wool/synthetic blend. He leaves both tags the same at about 1/2” to 3/4” long. He looks for a good flow and overhanging grass banks and drifts his ‘fly’ underneath them. I have only ever seen him fishing at the exact same spot. He says he would use a net if it was allowed, just to save time.
 

BobP

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The polystickle was another great fly of that era on the reservoirs. Made with a strip of polythene bag, much like wrapping on tinsel, except wrapping it and stretching it to build up a nice translucent carrot shape over a tinsel wrapped hook, with a marabou or similar tail added first.
Remember trying one at Langholm; sometimes the trout were strangely foul hooked around the face and on the outside of the mouth - apparently trout will crash into sticklebacks to disorientate them, and then come back and take them head first more easily, as my friends dad explained at the time.
Ay, yes. The polystickle and its predecessor the Sinfoil's Fry invented by Ken Sinfoil who was the ranger at Weir Wood Reservoir in the '60's and '70's until he took over at Bewl.

Both were tied with stretched polythene. When I was tying loads of flies for a few shops I read about a method of making them all but indestructible. We had some new carpet fitted and the metal strips that were used at doorways etc. came in a fairly thick poly tube about a metre long and about 4" wide. The poly was slightly milky. I read somewhere, I think in the old "Angling" magazine, that if you cut a strip about 1cm wide and stretched it it went clear, narrower and much stronger. The next step was to apply a coat of cellulose varnish to each layer of the poly as you wound it on. Tying in silver lurex as a base and then adding a few turns of red fluoro floss at the throat added to the attraction of the fly.

Very effective when cast among scattering fry when the trout went in to hammer them and just allowed to sink.
 

sightbob

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After 40 plus years of it I've found that the only thing that matters is white, grey, brown, or black and close to size 14. And I'm not at all sure any of that matters as you might equally well have caught it on something else.

Halford did far more damage to fly fishing than anyone else on the planet. before or since.

As for dragging imitations of nothing through still waters and 'rough' rivers it isn't fly fishing, it's spinning with a fly line. So what as long as it works? It's not as if fly fishing is any kind of big deal or any way 'superior'.
Tend to like you train of thought, may add a red and olive in there.
If i was to start again i would probably go down that road. After 30+ years
i have so many flies, in fact ive just dumped around 200 never been out box
but showing signs of rust. You spend so much time searching and not fishing
and usually catch on a handfull of patterns or colours.
John
 

Tailing Loop

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What was the other fry pattern that used squirrel - was it the 'Appetiser'? I forget now.

If anyone uses squirrel tail, I have dozens and will be getting dozens more when I am allowed back in the woods. They are gloved off and cured.
 

BobP

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Tend to like you train of thought, may add a red and olive in there.
If i was to start again i would probably go down that road. After 30+ years
i have so many flies, in fact ive just dumped around 200 never been out box
but showing signs of rust. You spend so much time searching and not fishing
and usually catch on a handfull of patterns or colours.
John
Yes, you do. We all have our "confidence flies" that work for us time after time. I've got three nymphs for rivers, maybe 6 for stillwaters, and about a dozen dries that I am happy with and my fly boxes major on those patterns. THEN, once in a while, and it may be several years, along comes that set of circumstances when only ONE fly in ONE size will do and if you haven't got it...............
 

BobP

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What was the other fry pattern that used squirrel - was it the 'Appetiser'? I forget now.
Yes, the Appetiser used grey squirrel au naturel. But lures such as the Black Chenille and the Viva used squirrel dyed black. Dylon dyes were good for that.
 

mebu

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Don't forget that the Church Fry was an attempt to do an accurate imitation, something that many fly fishers find important, not necessarily because imitation is more productive but because that's what they want.
I remember an article on a long time ago, maybe 1970s, - when Trout Fisherman was a good mag - by Henry Lowe, the then Grafham official tutor and regular writer/contributor. A photo of a wet Church Fry with a same-size perch fry. They were identical. At that time it was popular because it worked well when fish were taking fry.
 

flyfisher222

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Tend to like you train of thought, may add a red and olive in there.
If i was to start again i would probably go down that road. After 30+ years
i have so many flies, in fact ive just dumped around 200 never been out box
but showing signs of rust. You spend so much time searching and not fishing
and usually catch on a handfull of patterns or colours.
John
I Started as a 'disciple' of Oliver Kite in the 1960's prompted by his Southern TV Kite's Country nature programme which had a lot of fly fishing on the 'Hampshire' Avon above Salisbury in Wiltshire, where it has changed from a mostly coarse river to a trout river. I caught my first trout on the Wylye (a fair size Avon tributary that comes in just above Salisbury) ten minutes after arriving after buying a fly rod the day before and getting the general idea on the on the back lawn.

He recommended about 11 dry flies plus the Sawyer PTN and I've near enough stuck with it ever since.
 

arkle

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The very 1st version of the "Church Fry" a.k.a. "Squirrel & Orange" had an orange marabou floss body, with an orange d.r.f. floss throat, Some hot orange cock hackle fibres with a grey sq. wing, tied with black thread. The chennille bodied version came along a bit later as it was much faster to tie commercially. A short while after, the Sq,& Or. was launched, it was followed by the Sweeny Todd, same style just differnt colours.

The Polystickle, was tied by Dick Walker. & like the above I used to tie many 100's of them, though for the life of me, could never get a touch on it, Much the same, though I tied less of Ken Sinfoil's fry. To reinforce the bodies on both, I would coat them in "Vycoat" (remember that ?)

Another "Churchy" pattern that seemed to vanish along the way, was his Jack Frost, brought out not long after the Appetizer, I know several guys who still use both & with great success though mainly to the App.
 

Wee Jimmy

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, I would coat them in "Vycoat" (remember that ?)
I do yes,I haven’t seen any on the market for years though,unfortunately.It was excellent for sealing the nail knot on leader butt to fly line connections.I think Dick Walker used it along the back of his mayfly nymphs..?
 

steve collyer

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Never caught owt on a Church Fry but his Appetiser always went down well.
Appetiser is still a great fly.
You get some absolutely savage takes when using it. The trout often go a bit mental, so I always use 7lb b/s at a minimum.
I never really used the Church Fry, but yes - the original dressing was as arkle mentioned above.
 

iainmortimer

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The Baby Doll and MIssionary were my most successful from that era. I never had a thing on the polystickle though.
 
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