Willie Gunn

In the late 80,s I think it was when I first met Willie Gunn on the banks of the Brora I can even remember it was on the Ford pool.  I remember him as being a small weathered man getting on in years, Willie had been a ghillie on the Brora.  He talked about “backing up in the spring”. Some of these Brora pools are long and flat and the early spring fish would collect in the slower deeper water and the only way then to fish them was slow and deep was to “back up”. The pools in question were the likes of Rallan and Bengie and also probably the tail of the Madman.  Winters prior to the 80’s were much with sharp frosts which would keep the river low and slow the fish downand keep them in the lower river.

Rob Wilson  of  Brora  kept the tackle shop at the time he I believe first dressed the Willie Gunn and they sold them tied on Waddington shanks and even thick copper wire for the heavier ones formed as Waddingtons.  I bought some and then over the years made some, it was without a doubt a successful fly in fact I caught one of my better fish with one on the River Teith at 21lb, it worked a treat.  Over the years I had lost may way with Cascades and variants and have not used a Willie Gunn for some time, although even my cascades kept the basic colour concept of orange, black and yellow.

Now some of you may know that I help run the National Piping Centre in Glasgow, bagpipes if you are confused.  Well one of young stars happens to have a girl friend whose father just happens to run The Helmsdale Tackle Company.  How lucky is he attractive girl friend whose family run a tackle business in a fantastic part of the world.  Knowing that he had plans to visit them over Christmas I jokingly said (joking but always hoping he might want to oblige his boss) “bring me back a fly or two”.  Imagine my delight when he returned in the New Year with two beautifully tied Posh Willie Gunns Coneheads nicely boxed with treble included.

Posh Willie Gunn

Posh they certainly are with posh tosh opel mirage tinsel on the body.  The season opens again next week in my part of Scotland and I am planning to resurrect my interest in Willie Gunns especially the Posh version if you want to try one and do not tie then may advice is contact the Helmsdale Tackle Company with the link above.

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