It is hoped that the Newsletter will aid the release of information to the members.

The December 2020 NEWSLETTER was released in early December. It is planned that a second one will be released soon. If members have any items they wish to include in subsequent copies, please can they send contributions to the Secretary secretary@surreyflydresser.org.

We usually meet on the second Monday of every month for a fly-tying demonstration, fly-tying or fly-fishing related talk. These take place from September to the following May (inclusive).

It is anticipated that virtual meetings will take place in the next few months. Meetings will start at 8.00pm and invitations will be sent via email to all paid-up Surrey Branch members, approximately 15 minutes before start of the meeting.

There is usually a Raffle at each of our meetings, tickets are reasonably priced at £1 each and prizes are usually of a fishing related nature. This event has been suspended for awhile, whilst the Committee decide on the best method to re-introduce it for virtual meetings.
If any member has any spare (unused) flies or books or unwanted  presents (small items only, please) and wish to donate them to the Committee as raffle prizes, they would be most welcome. Prizes can be brought along to meetings.

Please see our 2021 Programme




2020 Programme

Meetings and Presentations planned for 2020

Some of the later meetings were cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic.  The Committee hopes to re-arrange these meetings at a future date in a different format.


April 20 –  CANCELLED

Andy Lush “Fly Fishing for Barbel in Spain”

Andy is an all-round angler and specialist in predator fishing. He specializes in catching Pike, Perch and Zander with lures on the large reservoirs.  He will give a presentation on ‘Fly fishing for Barbel in Spain’ as he guides trips to Spain for Stillwater Barbel.

This meeting is slightly later in the month to account for EASTER.


David Elliott (Vicuna Dubbing)

David Elliot of Vicuna dubbing will explain about the llamas and the unique fur that is used to tie flies.

Previous talks

The last meeting is shown first at the top:


March 9 Stuart Bladen – Flyfishing Alaska

Stuart ties flies for Scottish rivers, Pacific flies for Alaska and heavy tubes for Russia. Stuart arrived on the fly fishing scene from several years coarse fishing and learned to tie at his local Branch of the Fly Dresser’s Guild. He is now an advanced instructor in the Hertfordshire branch and has demonstrated at the CLA Game Fair and the London Fly Fair.

However, for the evening’s demonstration, he will be tying the colourful and elegant salmon hair wing patterns and practical and tough flies for real fishing conditions.

More of Stuart’s flies and a resume of himself can be seen on his website http://www.pretty/flies.com

February 10 – Jon Larabee (HMH vices)

Jon Larabee gave an excellent presentation about the construction of HMH vices and a short history of how he came to acquire the majority share of the company. HMH was founded in 1975 by Bill Hunter and after several years it was passed on to Angling Products Incorporated and several years later, to Albright and Crawford. It was the latter who sold it on to Jon in 2015. He was very proud of the fact that 90% of the parts and materials were ‘Made in MAINE.’

Jon had originally made trout fishing reels, then Salmon reels, so it was a logical progression for him to move onto vices.

Jon explained that the critical part of a vice is the jaws and the importance of gripping a range of hooks without damage. The jaws must be softer that the hooks, otherwise damage may occur. Apparently it takes approximately 30,000 hooks to”ruin” a jaw, which will be far in excess of most home tyers. There is much handwork in constructing a vice and the videos amply demonstrated this. The presentation encompassed the original vice produced by Bill Hunter and concluded with the new rotary TRV vice.

It was a very enjoyable and instructional presentation by Jon, with Jackson expertly controlling the visual side.

January 12 AGM

A select audience attended the first meeting of the year at the Annual General Meeting. This was the member’s opportunity to air their views on the years’ activities . It is usual to award the Ray Brackley Quaich at this meeting, but this was held over until a later date (see Fly tying pages).

The Chairman thanked the Committee for their work during the past year. As notified earlier, the present Chairman stepped down and a new one re-appointed. The current Treasurer announced that he plans to resign at the end of this year, so a succesion plan is required for the future.

A good meeting was held and a lively discussion ensued around the previous years’ activities and future plans.


9 December – Simon Cooper (of Fishing Breaks)

Simon Cooper gave an interesting account of his Otter family that had taken up residence in one of his Trout pools. Over the course of a season or so, a family of 5 otters chomped their way through several hundred pounds (weight and £) of trout, almost decimating the stock!

Otters are quite opportunistic feeders and their diet is varied, including Eels, signal crayfish, Carp, rabbits and trout.

Simon gave an amusing account of the Eeek signal between mother and rearguard otter whilst swimming along the river. (Nothing to do with ghostly noises in the dead of night).

Simon’s account of his Otter family is well documented in his recent book “The Otter’s tale”.

4 November – Barry Ord Clarke

This meeting was held at Byfleet Village Hall.

Barry started by explaining some of the reasons behind his new book (The Feather Bender’s FLYTYING TECHNIQUES) and demonstrated 5 of the patterns featured. He also demonstrated some of the techniques that he uses to create the stunning patterns. He is a great exponent of Dyneema as a tying thread and regularly spins the bobbin holder to either flatten or tighten the thread dependant upon the tying sequence required. He gave an interesting demonstration with a toothbrush to fluff up deer fur and a razor cutter for cutting deer hair bodies.

Sales of his new book were quite brisk and one copy was the first prize in the raffle.

The Branch has purchased a second copy which will feature in a raffle at a later date.

For the interest of his readers, Barry is half way through his second book, mainly techniques for beginners, featuring another 12 patterns.

11 November – There was no meeting on this date, due to the earlier (4 November) meeting at Byfleet.

14 October – Alan Middleton

Alan decided that he liked us so much on his previous visit (2012), that he returned again. He demonstrated the ” The flies we should never tie with the tools we should never have bought”.

He gave an interesting talk on some of the tools, that nevertheless make some tying procedures easier, but may be complicated to use and amply demonstrated their use. Tools such as the Gallows tool, wing burners and wing cutters were used to good effect on some patterns. The author noted that some of the patterns demonstrated were similar to those demonstrated at the first visit , namely Fan wing mayflies, which have a tendency to twist the leader. But then he suggested an antidote to twisting leaders. Basically, Alan suggested the use of thicker nylon (leader material), e.g. 5lb bs.

The patterns demonstrated were placed into the raffle, which one lucky member won.

9 September – Lee Hooper- River Flies

We welcomed Lee back to the Surrey Branch, who had some new river flies that he demonstrated to us. Lee is the Guild Competitions Secretary and when previously at Surrey Branch, he gave an interesting demonstration of stillwater patterns.

He had some new river patterns that he demonstrated to us. Patterns to be added later.

Lee  recently featured in an article in FlyFishing and FlyTying magazine by Charles Jardine (Guild Vice Chairman) on fishing stillwaters (July 2019).

13 May

Final meeting of the Spring season

Lindsay Simpson

Lindsay will be demonstrating stillwater fly patterns. He has represented England (despite having a strong Scottish accent) in the Loch Style Team on 3 occasions. He is also a member of the successful Soldier Palmers fishing team and is a Team Wychwood member. He is an avid fly tyer and was tying on Funky Fly Tying’s stand at this year’s BFFI, and has published articles in a number of online and hard copy magazines, most recently in the first edition of the new Today’s Fly Fisher magazine. He authors a fly fishing blog and has recently set up a YouTube channel targeting beginning fly tyers.

*I hope to have the tying details of the patterns that Lindsay demonstrated available in the near future. If any member present has some details, I would be very grateful if they could send them to me.


8 April

Darrel Howard – Bergman’s Trout Flies

Darrell started fly tying in the 1990s.  Having tied enough flies to fill up more boxes than he’ll ever need, he decided that he needed a challenge to give more focus to his tying.  Darrell decided to join a global group of tyers keeping alive the tradition of tying the winged wet flies featured in Ray Bergman’s classic book Trout.  FIrst published in 1938, the book has never been out of print.

Darrell provided a fascinating history of Ray Bergman and his early life, including running fishing shops, writing articles for fishing magazines and tying thousands of flies. In particular Darrel gave an interesting insight into Ray Bergman’s wet flies in comparison with some modern patterns. The presentation finished with a tying of the Green Midge.

11 March

Cameron Craigs – “Flies and tactics for River Competitions”.

Cameron, who works at Albury Estate Fishery, recently came 2nd in the England Rivers Team competition on the R Ure (Yorkshire). Cameron provided a presentation on the tactics and demonstrated some of the patterns that helped him to success.

Basically Cameron usually fishes with a longish rod (10-10.5′), light (AFTM 4 or 5) Lines and longish French leader with two flies, weighted nymph on point and dry fly on dropper.

All the flies demonstrated were small (#16 Jig hook, barbless) with a weighted bead (tungsten or other metal). Certainly the small flies did seem quite weighty when placed in the hand and they are tied to enter the water column and drop down quite quickly. One of the patterns, tied with a specific colour of a well-known material is being used by some Surrey Branch members to good effect!

11 February

Dave Taylor -The versatility of Peacock in Fly Dressing

The Chairman produced a special presentation for the evening’s entertainment. His talk was on one of the most well known and well used materials in fly dressing:

Peacock herl is used in many different flies, from nymphs (e.g. Diawl bach) to wet flies (McCloud Olive,B&P, Crunchers, Fog Black) and even to flashy imitators (Alexandra) and for Salmon (Kingfisher). From earlier uses as fans for Victorian ladies to more modern fashion earrings, it is a highly sought after material.

The herl can often be used as bodies on dry flies, especially when the fine fibres are removed. The ‘eye’ part of the feather is best for quills due to the variegation between light and dark areas. The removal of the herl fibres is a relatively simple affair. This involved heating solid wax in a saucepan until melted, then dipping the feather into the wax and removing the feather to allow to dry. When dry, it was simply a quick removal of waxed herl by drawing the stalk through the fingers. Voila! herl free stalk ready for tying in. The benefit of waxing keeps the stalk supple for awhile. But best to dye the feather prior to waxing.

14 January

Annual General Meeting

The First meeting of the year was the Annual General Meeting. This was the member’s opportunity to air their views on the years’ activities and put their names forward to join the Committee, to ensure the continuation of the Branches’ activities.  The  Ray Brackley Quaich was awarded at this meeting.

The Chairman thanked the Committee for their work during the past year and especially the outgoing Secretary and welcomed the incoming Secretary.

A good meeting was held and a lively discussion ensued around the previous years’ activities and future plans.

As mentioned at the AGM, the Committee are hoping to organise an Auction. This is likely to take place in the autumn. The Committee are seeking suitable venues.

Previous talks in 2018


8 January 2018 – Annual General Meeting

12 February 2018 – Martin Stout from The Netherlands (fly tying)

12 March 2018 – Charles Jardine (Presentation)

9 April 2018 – David Taylor – (Presentation)

14 May 2018 (meeting cancelled)

September 10th – David Taylor (Fly tying)

October 8th – David Taylor (Fly tying)

November 12th Chris Reeves – (Presentation)

December 10 – The Chairman’s Traditional Quiz


Previous talks in 2017

9 January 2017 – Annual General Meeting

13 February 2017 – Dave Taylor gave an update on the BFFI and new materials available

10 March 2017 – Steve Skuce (Chair of The Grayling Society)

10 April 2017 – Lee Hooper- Fly tying (Stillwater patterns)

8 May 2017 – Dave Taylor- Fly tying (Caddis fly patterns)

11 September 2017 – Chris Reeves Fly tying

9 October 2017 – Ben Bangham (Presentation)

13 November 2017 – Alex Jardine (Presentation)

11 December 2017- Chairman’s Quiz


12 September 2016 – Peter Cockwill on Jurassic Lake, Argentina

10 October 2016 – David Taylor ties his favourite chalk stream fly patterns

27 November 2016 – Chris Ward on the history of rods

12 December – Christmas Extravaganza!