The mighty Red Tag

red Tag trout fly

The history of the Red Tag fly makes interesting reading.

As I understand it, the original fly pattern was first developed in England as a Grayling wet fly, before the idea of dry (floating) trout flies was introduced.

Then around the mid 1800s one of the English fly fishing squires and his gillie were discussing fly patterns and decided to try the Red Tag as a dry fly on the local trout.

It worked a treat and so the Red Tag as we know it was established. If anyone has anything to add or another story on the history of the Red Tag fly drop me a line in the comments below.

My first fish on the Red Tag fly was part of a frustrating process, as in the days when I was learning to fly fish it was very much on my own from a book.

Hence it was three steps forward and two back each time out. In those days, no CDs, videos, etc, and it was damned hard to hold a 150-page book in one hand and practice casting with the other.

After a year I finally got a small rainbow to take my Red Tag and hang on to it. This is it I thought, my first fish on the fly. But no. I had not had the practice at landing one had I, so here I am midstream leaping and chasing a very wild trout.

Decide to beach the fish, get to the bank, fish still very frisky, get hand under it, up on the bank, now I’ve got you, but no again, fish spits fly, bounces off wader boot and disappears upstream never to be seen again.

It might be a bit each way as to an ‘official’ first trout, but it was in hand, on the bank and I called it a beginner’s first effort at catch and release. What it did do was get me hooked on fly fishing for life.