IT DIDNT take too long since my last article, to track down the elusive fly-tyer credited with creating one of Scotland’s most famous salmon patterns, the Garry Dog.

Also known as the Minister’s Dog, Yellow Dog or simply Garry, a chance meeting with the grandson of a Borders’ minister, brought me the background to the creation of this celebrated fly. And even a picture of Garry, the dog, whose hair was snipped off for the very first version.

Garry Dog - also called the Minister's Dog

Garry Dog - as tied in the 1950s

But the identity of the creator still remained a mystery. Until today, when we can reveal that the Garry Dog was first tied in the Tweedside town of Kelso by local tackle dealer, John Wright, during the 1920s.

Colin Martin, grandson of the Rev Denholm Fraser, the Sprouston minister from 1903 to the late 1930s, who still has a picture of Garry, the dog, couldn’t remember the name of the fly dresser, but canvassed members of his family to gather the information.

According to Colin, Wright’s father James, another fly-tyer of note, was credited with creating the Durham Ranger, although some sources claim this was the work of Walton Scruton, a Durham man, but member of the Sprouston angling club in 1845. It is also attributed to another club member, William Henderson.

Now we know.

Addendum: John Gray of Gray’s of Kilsyth points out that James Wright was the creator of one of the most popular flies of all time – Greenwell’s Glory, first dressed in 1854 for Canon William Greenwell, of Durham.  Thanks, John.

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