The river Helmsdale opened once again on a glorious day with much anticipation in the air. The Strath had an eerie quietness about it but it soon provided some good sport for the lucky few who had the honour of fishing the most rested (in season) water of all time. John Hardy was one of them and he quickly got off the mark on beat 3  above landing fish in the New Stream and Georgina. George Hardy also had a couple from Red Bray. All beats scored before the sun scorched the glen and over 20 fish were reported for the day including 2 from the Association water which is also open for business on the same restricted basis as all other fisheries in Scotland. The season should now be in full swing with some heavy June fish arriving and a sprinkling of Grilse and sea-trout. One would like to think that the Scottish Government will continue to ease outdoor restrictions over the coming weeks. We will have to wait and see but at the moment the “steady as she goes” course of action is a cautious, sensible and safe route going forward. 


Sharpen those hooks, the peak of the season is fast approaching.  If you want to make the best of it then our RS Pro Cascade set will serve you very well. The Cascade fly is as good as it gets for summer fishing and our set has doubles to cover a wide range of water levels. The set includes 2 x 8s, 10s, 12s & 14s tied on silver and gold doubles and all with Junglecock. Grab some of these beauties before we sell out as you won’t get them anywhere else. Tight lines and stay safe.


Looking up to the New Stream pool beat 3 above ( river photo's courtesy of John Hardy )


Johns first fish a sparkler from New Stream



A view down the beat to the Telegraph pool



RS Pro Cascade set which you can buy now right here -




Fishing is getting closer as a Lockdown exit strategy is being penned. More and more anglers are topping up their flyboxes and looking out their fishing gear. Summer is here, the rivers are rested, anticipation is at fever pitch and a charge on our rivers is imminent.

We have just the set of flies to hit the ground running, and a very special set it is with more of Rons unique thinking on full display. Ron has designed so many new concept and innovative flies over the years, the latest being his RS Solar Monkey range which had immediate lethal success on the Spey. This success soon spread everywhere atlantic salmon swim so it was from this new Solar range that Ron took his inspiration to create yet another deadly tweak on some of our favourite salmon flies.

The Firetail series was born and it is heading for best seller status already. A deadly vibrant sting in the tail which elevates salmon flies to another level. Grab some of these when you have the chance to do so because, as usual, Rons new designs don't hang around! The Firetail aspect of these flies also helps to stop the long tails of these flies wrapping around the hooks so they swim at their best.

You can grab a set of Rons unique Cascade & Willie Gunn Firetail Pro sets right here, each set includes 4 flies of each pattern in 8,10,12 & 14 -

Lockdown has been extended so only one thing for it, an upgrade of the deadly Alistair tube. The Alistair has firmly and fashionably taken over from the Megan tube which was the absolute "go to" tail fly of the past. Very few rods would be seen on the river Helmsdale in summer without a Megan tube on the tail end of a classic dibbling dropper set up. Nowadays its the Alistair tube and who would argue that is not more successful than the awesome power of the timy black & blue Megan?

Well, the rise of the Alistair is complete, it has powered its way on to most rods for much of the season in all forms, coneheads, copper and aluminium tubes, Pot bellied pigs, Tigertails and more but in summer it is the plastic tube version that now commands the top spot.

I had one of my best ever seasons around 15 years ago in the Highlands landing around 100 salmon mainly over the summer. The water was low all summer but the salmon were still running. At that time my top fly by a long way was a Baby Temple Dog I had designed. I had witnessed how lethal large Temple Dog tubes were on many rivers particularly in Russia, and I knew they were the most popular fly in Scandinavia. I had to design one small enough for UK rivers in the low clear waters of summer so the RS Baby TD was designed and it was a colossal success. The first one to roll off the vice was the obvious one in orange black & yellow which are our famous Willie Gunn colours. The body was gold and the hairwing constructed with mobile Arctic fox. The last part of the deal was, how was I going to jazz it up like its awesome bigger brothers. Jungle cock eyes were a definite but for me the defining aspect was 4 strands of orange Mirrorflash. It is thicker than Angel hair which was used in most bigger TDs but the mesmorising reflective "glint" of this amazing synthetic fiber certainly caught my eye and I was sure it was going to hypnotise salmon also. I was correct, the tiny tube just kept catching fish of all sizes and became a Helmsdale Co best seller which it still is to this very day.

The great news is that I have designed a new Baby TD series in 8 different designs which should be ready for a Lockdown exit later in the season. Keep a lookout of those, they are stunning and will only available from Helmsdale Co ofcourse!

So, back to the new Alistair tube which is the real subject of this read. There is something about it, totally different from decadence of a Baby Td for instance in that it is simplicity itself in construction. It is not a wispy lightly dressed silver stoats tail tied with sparse hair, by definition it is more chunky as it is tied using beefier bucktail which is a hollow fiber and helps the fly skate more when tied on plastic tubes. Is it this surface (almost hitching )presence which makes it more successful or is it the rich golden brown/yellow mix of colour? whatever it is, it works a treat.

The upgrade I have introduced is simply the addition of the same 4 strands of mirrorflash I use in the super deadly Baby TD construction and it lifts the visibility and aura of the fly to another level along with a brighter fire orange head. Tied on our 2mm Baxters tubing it also holds any tube hook without the need for extension tubing making a very solid arrangement.

The new Alistairs are tied and available in the most popular summer size of 1/2", so, when Lockdown eases and we are unleashed to hunt salmon once again you should grab a few to fish on any river that holds atlantic salmon, you won't be disappointed.

New RS Alistair tube, click here to buy them now -

Nordic Cascade size 14, one of our fabulous new low water flies which as you can see is tied on a super sharp and very strong Nordic salmon single. You can also see how small it is against the pen point. This is heading for "best seller" status already so you need some in your summer flybox! Once these take hold, they are pretty much in for good...