Category: BLOG

Five ‘Essential’ Flies For Winter Grayling

Five ‘Essential’ Flies For Winter Grayling

The 5 Must-Have Grayling Bugs!

If you’re looking to target the ‘Lady Of The Stream’ then you need these proven patterns in your fly box!

When it comes to fishing for grayling it really isn’t that difficult, however arming yourself with the correct flies makes catching them a whole lot easier!

I have been fishing for grayling for over three decades, I started as a teenager on the River Teviot in Scotland. But really it’s been since the year 2000 that these things have pretty much taken up all of my winter fishing time. I love them and I get a real thrill catching these stunning creatures. You will too, grayling fishing is addictive and fishing in the winter months is often the best time to catch them.

There’s been a lot of things written about how to ‘target’ these fish so I won’t go into that just now. I want to look more closely at some of the my own popular patterns which I use to catch them. These are the flies that I keep on coming back to time and again year after year, in other words ‘favourites’.

Now, in no particular order I’m going to go through them giving credit where credit is due and explaining why each one is particularly effective.

Pink Shrimp

If there is one fly that is synonymous with grayling fishing through the winter months then it has to be the Pink Shrimp.

The original fly, I am led to believe, came from Welshman Tim Hughes. Tim, he’s a friend of mine and an exceptional fishermen, not just fly fishing you understand but all kinds of angling, he loves it. It’s an old pattern now, well over 20 years old and yet we still keep coming back to this simple little fly. Looking in any Grayling angler’s fly box and Pink Shrimps will be there. Grayling LOVE pink!#

We will all have our own particular time but the one I favour is tied with pink and UV Straggle String.

Tied on a grub hook in sizes 8 down to 14 with lead wraps underneath Straggle String up the body and then a shellback of your choice I prefer clear, then a clear mono rib, it’s an easy tie.

You can see that it’s a simple fly but one it is one I wouldn’t be without.

SIMPLE BUT EVER SO EFFECTIVE

The Pixie

The Pixie is a fly that’s been made famous by the Dixons these three anglers, Martin, Mike & Phil seem to make this fly work for them time and again on the Welsh Dee. They are all very handy anglers which also helps!

It’s basically a Hare’s Ear but with a few twist which make it even more attractive to grayling.

I tie my version on a Tiemco 2499, as I fish it with the bung, this hooks lends itself to this style of fishing.

The body is hare’s ear fur, the back is a thin strip of gold or chartreuse holographic tinsel on the rib is Glo Brite no.8, at least that’s the one I use.

The original was tied with the gold bead but I also tie this one with the fire orange bead, it pays to have options.

A MODERN TWIST ON THE HARE’S EAR

The Disco Shrimp

And so to another shrimp pattern, The Disco Shrimp.

This fly was invented by my friend Ben Bangham and I remember when I was editing the magazine, Ben and I did a feature on the River Test and it was there he showed me how effective this fly could be.

After I had shot the feature we shared his rod and we worked our way up a run and we managed to land over a dozen ‘big’ Grayling. I was sold on that particular fly from that day onwards.

But and I have to emphasise, this this is not only a chalkstream fly, not at all. This fly seems to work everywhere when it comes to catching grayling! I urge you to tie some. It’s tied on a grub hook, I prefer gold, a lead underbody. The dubbing is Hareline Ice Dub UV Shrimp & Orange Calibaetis mixed 70/30. The back is the dull side of original Nymph Skin and the rib is a medium green wire.

I’m pretty much happy to fish this fly the whole year through!

DISCO, DEFO!

Tam’s Bug

This is actually my own fly, but it was based on a fly shown to me by my good friend Tom McLeish up on the River Tweed. Tom’s pattern was tied using squirrel fur, basically a Fox Squirrel tied on a grub hook.

I never had ‘fox squirrel’ but I did have olive seal’s fur and so I used that instead. This simple little bug has worked for me all over the world not just for grayling but also for trout. it pretty much looks like a pupa, it’s pretty generic although it does bear an uncanny resemblance to the Ryach.

Again, with this fly I like to use a gold grub hook, I also incorporate a gold bead at the head. The body as mentioned is a golden olive seal’s fur, on the thorax area use any black dubbing. The rib is a medium gold wire with plenty of turns to secure the fur and make sure you pull the dubbing out with a good brush so it looks extra buggy.

ONE THAT WORKS EVERYWHERE & FOR EVERYTHING THAT SWIMS

Death Mix Shrimp

The history behind this particular fly is mixed it but I believe it was first conceived by Alex Jardine, Although I may be wrong it depends on who you talk to.

My one, is a little different, I think?  

This fly when it is in the water is so bright it is bound to attract attention. Stick a UV torch onto the materials and you’ll see what I mean, this thing glows!

The tying is a simple affair, again, a grub hook and a clear shellback and vinyl rib. I use a pink floss, I find Glo Brite no.2 best to finish the head, and a dab black varnish for eyes.

The body mix is essential to get right, for me anyway!

I use 50 /50 of Dave Downie’s Pimp Pink and Semperfli SYN0950, Sky Blue. Put these two colours together and BOOM, Death mix!

MAKE SURE YOU’VE DARK GLASSES ON WHEN YOU OPEN THE BOX!

All of these flies work for me, and have done for some time, and like I said I keep coming back to them.

I hope that these flies work for you too!

If you would like a guided day on the river, targeting these awesome fish, or some of the flies highlighted above, then please get in touch..

https://flyfishguide.co.uk/contact/

Tie your own Pink Shrimp…

How To Succeed On Summer Rivers

How To Succeed On Summer Rivers

The still water fishing that we can expect here in the UK in the late summer can be nothing short of depressing, high temperatures puts paid to any sport during the day.

I’d go further, the whole day! There were times when the fishing would be worth a shot ‘early doors’ or again later on in the evening, sadly, I feel this has changed too, I feel that the lack of insects is the major factor…. Anyway, I digress.

Although the still waters are not producing there are other options, yes carp and other coarse fish can be targeted on the fly, but having done it, I can’t get overly excited. Salt? Yes, the fishing is epic in most coastal areas but then you have to live nearby to benefit!

Rivers are where it’s at!

The river ( I’m talking freestone rivers, chalkstreams are different due to the relatively consistent water temperature) will fish all the way through the summer months, but you need to fish it in a certain manner in order to succeed on running water.

I’m lucky enough to have access to a few good rivers and others  which I can drive to in a couple of hours (something you’d be loath to do in order to fish a stillwater) at this time of year. But you don’t need to know a river intimately to catch well in the summer, not at all. What follows is an outline of knowledge gathered over decades of river fishing from all over the world, not just my own knowledge but also the information gathered from some the best anglers I know, and I know a lot of them!

When the water temperature rises the trout seek out cooler, oxygen rich water and for us this is usually shallow, fast moving water. As the water temperature climbs, the trout and grayling become more active, their metabolic rate kicks in big style, so they need to eat and this is the type of water where they like to find food!

If you’ve not read it, then please try and get a copy of Tactical Fly fishing by Devin Olsen, page 17, ‘Water Temperature’ he covers water temperature in great depth and detail and what ‘it’ actually means to the trout and how they feed.

In brief, water temperature…

30 – 40F, I’m just not fussy.

40 – 50F, Kind of looking to eat now, but I’m not going to waste any energy.

50 – 60F. Literately mad for it, if it moves anywhere near me, it’s mine!

65 – 70F. Too hot, I can’t eat.

Luckily for us our rivers here in the UK rarely get to those giddy 70 Fahrenheit temperatures, but they do get to the optimum ‘I’m eating anything in sight’ temperature!

As most insect activity happens around the faster shallower water, we as anglers need to be looking at riffles and pocket water. Trust me, it doesn’t matter how fast it is or shallow, there will be fish there.

Look for water which is anything from 6-inches to 2ft deep!

6-inches, actually 3 inches is enough, if you pardon the pun!

How often have you put a foot in ankle deep water at the side of the river only to spook a fish, seeing it bow wave out into the main flow?!! We’ve all done it!

 

Fast water but a little deeper here, so the nymph approach rather than dries is a better bet.

 

Let me highlight two scenarios that will make you think twice about fast, shallow water..

Scenario 1.

A few years ago I fished in a competition over two days, the river was below summer low and there were 10 of us fishing five sections, short 150 to 200 yard sections, it was high summer and around 27 degrees in the sun!

Four of these sections produced fish, small trout, most around 20cm which was the measure for that comp.

From memory..

Section 1 – three fish

Section 2 & 3 – none!!!

Section 4 – four fish.

Section 5 – nine fish, most to one angler that was lucky enough to draw it first.

On the two ‘death’ sections, I moved a fish, a small one on section 2, stupidly shallow water, and a size 20 CDC and Elk caddis, nymphs were a no-go.

However, in section 3, I hooked an absolute brute of around a pound and half in similar water but interestingly, nothing had been seen in this section, never mind hooked!

I hooked it in shallow water with stones protruding all over the place, but the flow (which was off the main current) was, ‘just enough’ to create some movement. Most anglers had focused on the faster water, and most with nymphs, ignoring the softer water on the far side as too shallow to fish, a great example of how we in the UK tend to pick the ‘easy’ water.

Anyway, the monster fish was lost! Once hooked, it took off back to the current, bow-waving as it did so with my leader getting snagged on one of those protruding rocks. The air went blue after that, that one fish would have meant so much in such a tight competition, when so many had blanked… oh well.

But it highlighted to me that trout, more so than grayling, will sit in ridiculously shallow water, the kind of stuff we in the UK ignore.

 

Working up some skinny stuff with a dry fly, you’ll be surprised how many fish it can hold. From that stone to the little riffle at the top, we shared the rod and took 7 trout!

Scenario 2

A similar scenario happened when I was over in Tasmania. Our practise waters, rivers, were not great due to low flows, scary low flows, but we did find some water. On the first little river, the manager Howard Croston who later went on to win it, fair play, a good guy and the best all round angler we have, now WORLD CHAMPION showed me my first practise section. It was the worst looking water ever and on a tiny river in the middle of a campsite – think paddling dogs, kids and overall heatwave carnage- I looked at him, as if to say ‘are you serious?!’

I had one decent run at the top of my 50-meter section, maybe a foot to two foot deep ( a favoured spot for kids to zoom down on their inflatable toys ), the rest, 40 meters worth, you could walk through without getting the top of your ankle socks wet!

It was open too, wide open with no cover, you could see every stone on the bottom, it was also sunny, and hot, I literally despaired.

The plan in my head was to not spook anything, so I set up with light French Leader, straight mono, with a little stretch, and one very lightweight small nymph on 0.10mm tippet. I’d change this when I got to the good water at the top, dry dropper, I was thinking.

Anyway, on my hands and knees I covered this, in my eyes, barren water. And to my utter shock, five yards in, my leader kicked and I struck into a brown trout which was quickly netted. I’d caught one. I was dumbfounded, I cannot emphasise how crap this little bit of river looked and yet I caught one. I took a photo, first trout in Taz, so I had too.

Well, I only went and caught another two from it, three fish from the ‘no fish water’! I only had two from the run at the head, both on the dry, it appeared that the fish were favouring the faster, shallower water, the stuff most of us ignore!!

I was more than a little pleased with myself. I’m sure the boys t didn’t believe me when I told them how I’d gotten on, as they’d had it tough on their sections too, but I had photos!

 

First trout in Tasmania and in water you would NEVER bother to fish here in the UK!!

It’s also worth noting that this, along with knowledge garnered as a team, put me in great stead for my river sessions where I actively targeted fast shallow ( six inches pretty much ) water. I managed a 2nd place on the Meander, but more impressive was my three fish from the ‘section of doom’ on the Mersey, I was last on it, fifth session. It was by far the worst performing section of the both rivers…

Session 1. Two fish

Session 2. One fish

Session 3. Two fish

Session 4. BLANK

Session 5. Me, Three fish landed and I lost one! All by fishing very fast, shallow water.

All of the above highlight the fact that trout love fast shallow parts of the river (when the water temperature is right).

So don’t be scared of it, the fish, it seems, thrive here when the water temperature is up, so you should actively target it.

Tackling The Shallows..

For me the best way to target this type of water is with a dry fly. You don’t need to be overly specific, below is my favourite fly…

 

My favourite little dry for fast, shallow water, a little sedge affair with a bright sighter and a little Angelina Fibre in the butt.

However, saying that anything with buoyancy is going to work. Don’t be using a cutesy little olive, you’re casting all the time the fly needs to FLOAT!

Anything deer hair, elk hair, foam, and Polyprop is what you’re after.

Use a tapered leader, again, not fancy, 9ft tapering to 4lb, tippet ring then 3ft of tippet of your choosing, and cover the water like a madman, constant casting, grid the water and make sure you cover the lot.

 

Constant Movement Scenario…..

In a Rivers International on the Ebbw in Wales a few years ago, I saw Kieron Jenkins, a gifted laddie if ever there was one,  literally speed walking up shallow water casting a dry fly or Duo, although I only saw him briefly, I thought to myself, what on earth is he doing, he’ll scare everything!

Turns out he was catching and catching in areas where others had struggled, his results spoke for themselves. He knew the river and what he could get away with. Practically running through shallow, fast water and casting dries was doable. Where most anglers had walked past or indeed only fished a small section before moving on as it was taking too long, he had blitzed the water like a whirlwind, no caution, just all out speed fishing.

 

‘EURO Nymphing’ God, I hate that catchall

Of course the other way to target this water is with the Euro Nymphing approach, long leader, long, light rod and an indicator section of nylon and use one or two lightweight flies. Keep them well apart, a meter I’d say.

As the water is shallow I tend to favour scruffier flies, ones that wont sink fast, hairy flies. I have a few that I like. Most have very little or no hotspots or flash at all, they don’t need them. The reactions of the fish in these areas are quick, in this type of water they don’t need colour to draw them in from a few feet away.

Again, as with dry fly, grid the water and cover everything, but pay particular attention behind stones or little scoops in the river bed, any change in the surroundings basically. Simple fishing indeed but you need to committed to it, they will be there!

 

Simple drab affairs are what I like in skinny water, you don’t need bling when the fish have a split second to make up their mind..

Lightning Fast Reactions.

Be mindful when fishing such shallow water, the fish hit fast, really fast, so be ready, best have the net in your hand, you’re casting short, so it should be a case of cast, hook a fish and bounce it into the net. You lift the fish in mid-air into an outstretched net. The fish can’t do very much in the shallow water and getting a net UNDER them is tricky, so lift them in, your soft rod an leader can cope with this quite easily. Sounds daft, but it works and it’s vert efficient, you’ll lose less fish doing this than you will trying to play them.

However, I have to stress this can only be done with smaller trout, fish up to pound are manageable.

So, in high summer, look for the shallows, because that’s where the fish are!

Do you want to know more or would like day out to see the above in practice..

Get in touch…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fly Fishing, (Man Time)

Fly Fishing, (Man Time)

Me and my boy are pretty tight, I’m sure this is the same for lots of father and son relationships.

Sadly, I never had this growing up ( long story ) and so I’ve been determined that Ben, my son, and I would have this close bond and to get this bond boys need time with their dad, simple.

A friend of mine, let’s call him Tim, and I used to go salmon fishing each year. His dad would tag along with us, he’d include his dad in a lot of his leisure time, an amazing thing to me considering my upbringing, and together, the three of us, would have a great time, great food and drink, mediocre fishing, but amazing company, both guys a being a real pleasure to be around.

One day, his dad took me aside, I had a little girl at this time Poppy and my wife was pregnant, we were hopeful for a boy.

Tim’s dad, let’s call him John, explained to me that if we did have a little boy that boys are far more different and at times more complex than girls when it comes to their relationship with their dad.

“Once they hit seven years old, you must spend time with your son. There’s whole new world of testosterone and other hormones running through them and from seven years old onwards they need ‘man time’!

John had a few sons, and he was adamant that he’d go out with them for ‘man time’ at least once a week.

“By doing this now Steven, spending this time with them, you’ll build a solid relationship, one that’s so strong you can manoeuvre them as they get older, they don’t resent you, they look up to you!

You’ll be able to have them wanting to spend their time with you rather than doing daft stuff!” By daft stuff he highlighted teenage boy nonsense, like being an idiot and getting into trouble pretty much.

Looking at his sons, every one is a gent, it was hard to argue with his formula! Wise words…..

My boy is sport daft, in no particular order here are his hobbies and the clubs that he’s involved with..

Rugby

Football

Cricket

Swimming

BMX

All of these he loves but I cannot get involved. I go to Rugby each week and swimming and I also take him BMXing, but I can’t get involved.

Fishing though, his new thing, I certainly can, what’s more I can nurture and encourage it.

We started off a few years ago, a spot of crabbing on the beach, then it was coarse fishing, this was fun, I loved it as much as he did, there’s something about the electric jolt of the float bobbing under!

But he always wanted to ‘go fishing with dad’ which meant fly fishing.

So, we started fly casting in the garden, talk about frustration, jees, but he kind of got to grips with it. We moved on, trying to get the fluff on the end of his line into different hoops placed around the garden. He loved that, it’s a game then, boys love to compete, even if it’s just against themselves!

Finally, a few weeks ago, I booked an evening boat on Draycote Water, ‘same family fishing’ during these times. I’d timed it so that we could flick dry flies and perhaps catch a fish!

The team there are awesome, it’s a great example of well run fishery, clean, tidy, friendly and knowledgeable staff – and they took the time to make by boy feel very welcome!

For Ben, I’d made the fishing simple..

Roll the line, straighten it then cast, single fly, easy peasy really!

Well, what a blast we had.

He had the excitement of being in a boat, in a large body of water, being with his dad, and casting a fly rod, his own one! He was buzzing, and so was I!

It was a stunning evening, the occasional fish moving, he loved seeing them and got far too over excited trying to cast at them, which led to some impressive tangles even with the one fly!

It was perfect.

I’d catch one and pass the rod to him, and he’d be in his element, fighting the large, resident trout like Hemingway playing a 1000lb marlin. The rod going this way and that, pumping and winding, the fish pulling the rod around this way and that as he struggled to contain it’s powerful lunges. He often yelped in pain and surprise as the reel handle whacked him on the back of the knuckles as the fish powered off.

 

Trying his best to subdue a rainbow trout on the big rod..

 

However, the highlight of the evening for both of us, was when I saw a fish coming upwind, I knew if he could roll his fly anywhere near it, that this trout would take.

“Ben roll straight out in front, there’s a fish!”

“I can’t see one dad, where?”

“Just roll it baby, now, quickly!!”

He did his fly – a possum emerger, the only thing I had that wouldn’t sink after the maniac casting style, alighted on the water like thistledown I kid you not!

It disappeared in a swirl.

“LIFT THE ROD!” I shouted!

He did and the little 3-wt hooped over as the fish went crazy and went deep away from the boat!

I was stunned, Ben was stunned, we were stunned, both of us drinking in the moment of shared elation!

After the first run and he’d gained some control it went under the boat, not once but twice and nearly taking Ben with it as he held on, leaning over the boat trying to follow it!

After what seemed an age it came up near the boat and I launched at it with the net, I wanted this fish sooooo bad, I got lucky, it went in first time of asking!

Ben: “I did it, I did it dad, I caught one, I caught one on my own, it’s huge!”

 

Fish well and truly on…

 

His very own, caught and landed with no interference from his dad, first rainbow trout! A happy laddie and a happy dad!

 

Well, I can’t tell you how good it made me feel, I was as chuffed as he was, probably more so, my little boy’s first trout, from a drifting boat and on a dry fly too, get in!

 

There was no sinking this bad boy, a possum emerger, the exact one is now in my tying room, a keepsake!

 

The excitement never ended there though, what’s more exciting than catching a big trout on a dry fly from a drifting boat?

Well, for a seven-year-old it’s driving the boat back to the harbour, even if your feet don’t touch the floor!

 

“Dad, no photos, I’m concentrating face!”

If you have a little boy, try and get him involved, nothing heavy, just see of they like it. Girls too, I used to take my daughter but she is bored of it now, so there’s no point in pushing it.

I guess what I’m getting at is this, spend time with your kids, it’s a simple message. I’m lucky that my boy is into the same things as me.

He’s also, like me in many ways, for one he’s competitive. His last comment as we came onto the harbour was this..

“Dad, I think my fish was bigger than yours.”

That’s my boy!

 

Ben capturing my smile after his first fish landed!

 

 

PS: My daughter, Poppy, said that she wanted a mention as she saw me write this, so here it is..

Poppy, you’re beautiful, crazy clever, stylish,  full of empathy and compassion for others too, in a nutshell, just like your mum.

 

See what I did there….

 

If you’d like to get out on Draycote Water or indeed, Thornton or Eyebrook, all of which are run by Ifor Jones and his team, then tickets can be booked through the website:

Book your fishing here…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wind Lanes & Slicks

Wind Lanes & Slicks

 

More and more of us are trying to expand our horizons when it comes to fishing. Rather than sticking to the bank, on small waters, many of us are turning our attentions to larger waters and that means taking to the boats.

At this time of year there’s so much going on, in or near the surface, that we should really pay close attention to this shallow band of water.

On a day with a slight breeze you’ll often see ‘oily’ patches, areas of calm in an otherwise ‘ripply or riplled’ surface. These are often referred to as wind lanes or slicks. Basically, the tension in the water’s surface, in this type of water, is a lot stronger than the rippled water around it and this means that it traps and holds insects. As a result these slicks become a haven for feeding trout.

If you find this type of water when you’re out in a boat, you must give it a try!

It’s often the larger resident trout that capitalise on the easy pickings this type of water offers.

 

Into a good fish in oily water up in Rutland’s Cattle Trough bay area..

Dry fly has a really god habit of sorting out the better fish, like this Pitsford rainbow..

 

Buzzers

You don’t need to use sinking lines to target fish in this type of water; all you’ll need is a floater, as the trout tend to be no more than two feet below the surface.

They will be taking ascending midge pupa as they try to emerge at the surface.

At this stage the buzzers will have distinct orange wing buds so make sure that your patterns have them too. It’s a trigger point that the trout tend to home in on.

There will be trout taking the actual emerging fly too. As the buzzer is trying to emerge through the surface film it is at its most vulnerable. As it struggles to escape it becomes very easy picking for a hungry trout.

 

Buzzers, Midge they make up the majority of the trout’s diet, this is s ginger buzzer form Draycote Water, I chose to fish Ginger Hoppers that evening and they worked a treat!

 

Terrestrials

It’s not just buzzers that the trout will be looking to exploit, there’s the whole gamut of terrestrials insects that fall onto the water too.

These can be things like daddy longlegs, flying ants – if you get a fall of these things on the water then be prepared for some explosive action – beetles and dung flies. In fact anything that belongs on land but ends up on the water’s surface can attract the trout’s attention.

So make sure you have enough patterns in your fly box to cover all eventualities.

 

Most terrestrials are black so have a good selection of various types, heather fly, hawthorn etc, but tie in other colours too, the Dung fly can be a real killer!

 

 

DRY FLY is KING but you need accuracy

If you can see trout feeding on the surface, the tell tale head-and-tail rise will give them away. Then your casts need to be accurate. If the trout are just sipping at the surface then they are high in the water and this means that they’re window of vision is very small indeed.

A tapered leader will help you greatly when it comes to presentation, try fishing a single fly too as this will allow you to drop your fly on the trout’s nose.

 

A Big Red dropped right in it’s feeding path, with the help of a well constructed leader, helped to fool this Grafham Resident.

 

The Washing Line

If there were was one technique that offers more success when fishing in slicks than the dry fly it would have to be the ‘washing line’.

The use of a buoyant fly on the point position, such as a Booby or Muddler, to support two or even three initiative patterns on your droppers, is a deadly way in which to target fish that are near the surface layers.

 

The washing Line can be great for surface feeding fish!

 

When fished on a full floater it gives the leader that ‘parallel with the surface plane’ during the retrieve. The length of your droppers will determine how deep your flies fish, The Booby or more recently the FAB on the point creates an enticing wake that will often see trout single it out.

 

Get in touch…

 

Social Distancing Expert

Social Distancing Expert

I love to get away fishing on my own, it’s an age thing.

Long gone are the days of carrying on with a like-minded squad down the local Stillwater. I still partake occasionally, but instead, for me now, the solitude of ‘hunting’ fish as an individual appeals more.

Occasionally, I share a rod with friend who has the same (track a trout down and then try and catch it’ mentality as me. But, sadly, those guys are few and far between.

What with Covid and all it brings my hunt for larger reservoir fish has and sill is a no go. The days of spending £50 for a day’s fishing allude me anyway, so this year, as well as last year, I have been spending more and more time on running water.

The solitude, the quiet and the fact that you’re out there and ‘doing it’ when others are not makes me feel like I’m outside the day-today bubble of life, true escapism.

I like all manner of fishing and feel that with all my years of experience they’ve led me to a level of proficiency so that I’m now comfortable no matter what style of fishing it is that I’m doing.

BUT, and like Kim Kardashian’s, it’s a big BUTT, I seem to turn more and more to the dry fly.

 

Small fish, big mouthfull!

 

It’s no better and no worse than any other method for catching fish, to be fair there are far more efficient ways of catching both on still and running water but dries just do it for me.

This last week or so, I have done over 350 miles and 6 hours in the car, over two evenings in search of a large river trout on dry fly. You need to put the effort in if you want to succeed here, time on the water is crucial.

I have mates that have been doing the same, some have spent eight consecutive evenings on the water, just walking, up to 5 miles, and watching, looking for that BIG fish worthy of a cast.

Last year I saw a fish which I honesty believe would have been double figures, the same evening I saw three other trout which would have easily have been over 5lb, but all were in positions where a cast was impossible. The one fish I did manage to cast at that night, I caught, it was a little one, 3lb 12oz!

Never before have I seen anything like it in the UK and I have fished all the big trout rivers, to say I was shocked would be an understatement.

It’s no ordinary river, it’s terrible for fly fishing, unlike in Scotland and Wales, the rivers that hold the huge fish in England ( forget stockies on chalkstreams) are to be found in coarse fish rivers, deep and terribly slow, often coloured and full of silt, but the silt is the key. Where there is silt there are MAYFLY and where there’s mayfly you’ll get the spinner. It’s the spinner and ONLY the spinners that bring these huge fish up from their deep, dark homes.

 

An easy food source, and plenty of protein, the mayfly spinner.

 

Huge pools, with back eddies the size of a tennis court are what you’re after, dead water in the main, water where the spinners get trapped and provide a procession of ‘sip down’ mouthfulls. But with vast expanses of water there’s drag, no matter how slow the current, as long as there’s flow there’s drag. If you can get drag casting 5 yards of fly line imagine the drag on a 20 yard cast. You also need to factor in the flies, I’m using spinner patterns that are the size of my palm! With time on the water, my friends and I have found that the bigger the fly the better seems to be the case, especially with these huge trout.Bigger fly even more drag.

I’ve sat on a high bank, one where I’d cast at from the other side of the river the night before, and I was dumbfounded by what I saw. Water that from the opposite bank looked to be flowing left to right was traveling in completely the wrong direction, and not just a for a yard or so, it was circling for over 20 or 30 yards before pulling back into the main flow.

The width of the river in places means you just can’t tell what’s going on at the point where your target fish is rising.

Long, dead slow pools is where it’s at! This is a small section, manageable, just with limited casting.

 

This year I have been concentrating on smaller sections, not only so that I can see what the water’s doing but also to get off the paths well trodden. The same ethos applies here though, first find the fish.  I now use Google maps to plot out areas of interest, long slow bends are ideal, as is tree cover, so both in close proximity is a great starting point….

Having marked up my areas, dropping a pin here and there, I then walk the water, rod dismantled, and cover some land walking between areas, each section gets 20 minutes viewing time. I feel that 20 minutes is enough time for a monster to give away it’s location. These things don’t behave like normal trout, that are up and on it.

These big ones rise a handful of times, if you’re really lucky, but once they’ve rose, experience tells me that if I cover them, it’s a big IF, then they’ll come up to my fly. They may not take it, but I should get a response, if it’s positive then I’m laughing, if not then it’s logged on the map for another trip.

This year, the falls of spent fly have been poor and the monster trout very few and far between, actually, no one has had one, the big floods may well have had something to do with this?

I did hook one though, I played it hard on 12lb leader and a very strong size 8 hook, twice it tried to take me under a tree root on the far bank, and I managed to steer it out, then, after a minute or so, it came off, simple. I put that fish over 5lb easily over that weight actually, but not the size of the things I saw last year.

 

A big fish by most river’s standards, but at just over two and half pound, not what I was after!

 

I did manage a few nice fish though and for me that’s all it takes, I had two trips and caught two decent fish, both over 2lb, and some others but they don’t really get a mention, they were, (getting my eye in) fish. That’s been it tis year, two evenings where it was (nearly) right. Shame,  but there it is, fishing is like that at times.

 

Even bigger but still not the leviathan I’d managed to lose, in fact I dare say this one is half the size!

For me it was abut the getting out there and doing it, on my own, hunting, proper hunting and with a dry fly too.

Social distancing at it’s most enjoyable!

 

 

 

 

Facebook……

Facebook……

Facebook, AKA, ‘a place where everyone can bitch and moan at everyone else?’

It’s an easy to use sounding board brought to us by the wonders of modern technology, has a secure foothold today.

It offers others, who are – nine times out of ten – into the same hobby, past time, sport or religion as you are to come together to ‘discuss and enlighten’. Or in some cases to show what they have cooked for dinner…… that’s another story.

Yet, as with most drugs, and that’s what it is, it’s addictive, lots of us just can’t leave it alone, sadly, it seems that certain users can become a little corrupt and aggressive after prolonged usage. don’t get me wrong, I’ve no issue with people taking the mick, it’s parr for the course, you can handle that, well most of us can anyway. BUT nasty is nasty, simple…

It seems that those who have an opinion to voice will do so no matter what the consequences are.

Making things worse, FB has Messenger, a private messaging facility, surely to goodness these; ne’er-do-wells have the brain capacity to contact others this way rather than spouting off for all unsundry to read on FB proper?

The best of it is that you can guarantee that many ‘armchair anglers’!

 I love FB, who doesn’t, but I often get my cage rattled by someone or another and that rattling usually prompts me to reply. I shouldn’t. But sometimes the red mist comes down and before I know it, I’ve opened my mouth!! However, within minutes of posting, I normally edit my riposte.

 What I’m trying to say here, in my own little way, is that we should use these site properly, to gain knowledge and also to share knowledge (not a photo of beans on toast) or for giving someone a hard time because they’ve tied a fly and it’s not quite perfect or fished the wrong one ( in your opinion). Isn’t a shame that there is always someone ready to criticize and put others down? It’s these put down that sow the seed of doubt in new people to the sport. Think before you post, or you could end up putting people off and that’s the last thing we want in our sport.

 The information that’s to be found on FB can help you grow and flourish as an angler and often as a person.

To all those sensible posters, keep up the great work.

A fly is a fly..

A fish is fish..

To the rest, come on let’s not abuse one another, we can use it responsibly and try and behave like adults.

(that includes me)

8 Easy Steps To Tying The Hare’s Ear Nymph (THE BEST ALL ROUND NYMPH FOR CATCHING FISH THE WORLD OVER!)

8 Easy Steps To Tying The Hare’s Ear Nymph (THE BEST ALL ROUND NYMPH FOR CATCHING FISH THE WORLD OVER!)

How to tie your own ultimate stillwater, river, reservoir, stream, ‘you name it kind of water’, see where I’m going here, nymph!

A few simple steps to rolling your own Hare’s Ear!

 

You Will Need…

Hook: Standard wet, pick a size to suit.

Thread: Black

Bead: Gold bead, size to suit

Tail: Partridge, dark

Body: Hare’s ear, ( although I’m fast preferring squirrel)

Rib: Medium Gold wire

Thorax: Pinch n loop dubbing ball

 

Step 1.

Place the bead on the bead, hook in the vice and wind on thread.

 

Step 2.

Secure the partridge as the tail, length 2/3rd of the body, trim waste.

 

Step 3.

Attach the gold wire as the rib.

 

Step 4.

Now create a lovely even body with the fur, stopping a little bit behind the bead.

 

Step 5.

Wind the gold wire in even, open turns and secure and twist and break waste.

 

Step 6.

Take a pinch of fur and push over the bead, then with thread wraps secure and roll around the hook shank, creating a bulbous area.

 

Step 7.

Now take some Velcro and brush out the fur, it should cloak the body.

 

Step 8.

Whip finish and add a drop of varnish, and you’re now ready to take on the fishing world.

 

 

Now You’ve Got It, Make The Most Of It!

Now You’ve Got It, Make The Most Of It!

As you sit down to read this fisheries, rivers and streams are now open and fishing is well and truly underway.

Across the country ( not every country, granted, all the big and small waters will have opened their doors to the fly fishing public, the flora along the riverbanks are in bloom and there are flies coming off the water, it’s enough to make an angler burst into song!

We are very, very lucky in this country and yet we really don’t realise it. There are so many fly fishing opportunities out there we just need to be willing to go out there and find them, now more than ever you should realise that!

There’s a near limitless supply of hill lochs and tarns that hardly see an angler from one season to the next, all of which are literally teaming with little, and sometimes not so little, brown trout.

Rivers abound, and before anyone says anything, not all of them are private syndicate waters. If you want good river fishing it’s usually available, just do little bit of homework, all manner of fishing can be found on the web. 

 

Nothing more satisfying than seeing a fish safely netted!

It’s all too easy to become stuck in rut as an angler but now, after being cooped up for nearly two months, you may realise just what you have out there and feel the need to expand your horizons!

Fishing at the same still water every weekend will give you the chance to learn it’s moods and how it fishes throughout the year. This is all very well if you want to be the best angler on the water, and some do, but could you enjoy the same success on another water?

Realistically, if you want to grow and increase your knowledge, you need to spread your wings a bit.

I urge you to make the most of what we’ve got in this country and while you’re at it, why not take a youngster along with you. Hopefully, they’ll appreciate what it has to offer too, the sport ceratinly needs newcomers, any new comers will do!

 

Much love people!

How To Tie A Peeping Caddis (in 5 easy steps)

How To Tie A Peeping Caddis (in 5 easy steps)

The Peeping Caddis is a fly that works the world over, here I show you how to tie it in just a few easy steps.

You’ll need:

Hook: Longshank barbless

Bead: 3.5mm black tungsten

Thread: Chartreuse and black

Legs: Dark partridge feather

Body: Natural dubbing, ( this is a dark home-made mix)

 

Step 1.

Place a the bead, 3.5mm tungsten on this one, onto a long shank hook.

Run on tying thread, this is chartreuse, other good colours are white, red and peach, create a pronounced bump at the rear.

 

Step 2.

Attach a dark partridge (or natural) feather by the tips behind the bump, curve of the feather facing out over the bend of the hook, trim the tips away.

 

Step 3.

Wind the hackle around the hook shank several times creating the funnel of legs over the bump. Trim the waste and tidy the body with tread wraps and tie off.

Step 4.

Now tie  on the dark thread, black here, and cover up some of the chartreuse.

Create an even dubbing rope.

 

 

Step 5. 

 Wind down from the bead end to the end of the shank and then back up to finish behind the bead, so that you have two layers of dubbing, the fly is more durable.

You should have created a nice and even body, now tie off behind the bead and check out your cool creation!

 

If you want to know more..

Get in touch..

The Angler’s Curse (Pinfry, not Caenis)

The Angler’s Curse (Pinfry, not Caenis)

My pinfry, deadly..

Pin Fry!!

 

One of the most challenging times of the fishing year is when the trout start to turn their attention to pin fry. These tiny, see through little wisps of not very much at all, when shoaled together provide a hefty and easy meal for the fish! And yet, even though the trout are actively feeding, I often see people give up, beaten by creatures with brains the size of a pea! Why?

 

RECOGNISING THE SIGNS

I remember the first time I saw this feeding frenzy, as a ‘wet behind the ears’ youngster visiting an upland hill loch. An over cast day in July saw fish boiling the water to a foam in places. No matter what I threw at them, I thought they were feeding on sedges, I had no concept of pinfry then, and not surprisingly I couldn’t get a take.

Since then I’ve seen it often enough, each year pretty much, as I have been visiting the large reservoirs down in the Midlands for 25 years (Christ, that’s a sobering thought!). So I now know more about this time of year!

Down here the pinfry can appear as early as the end of May but it’s usually June into July when we get the majority.

I get proper hyped up for it too, gauging the weather, broken cloud is best, with sunny spells being interspersed with cloud cover. Cloud cover means fish battering the pinfry shoals. This gives away the trout’s location and this is where you can capitalise, but only if you fish in the correct manner!

Be sure that you’re in the right areas, don’t go looking in the weedbeds, deeper water is best, off the end of points into deep water can be good, and anywhere near dam walls seem to be great too, more so if the wind is blowing onto them. These tiny fry are at the mercy of the currents which the wind creates, so be mindful of this.

I often work the boat along a dam or drifting onto points or promontories. But go by the venue, Draycote for instance used to have some awesome pinfry feeding action around the deeper water around the shoals. Location may vary but local knowledge will help with this, so ask someone that knows.

But, like I said, when you get the right conditions the trout give themselves away.

 

DEFAULT SETTINGS

I see most anglers go to some default setting, as soon as pinfry feeders appear. Let me highlight them, at the same time telling you that yes they can work, but with moderate success, I’ll explain why.

Dry Fly…. They’ll see it? (Yes they will, but they are NOT feeding on dries) To be fair, fishing dries is possibly the best of a bad bunch.

Washing Line… It feels right, keeping it ‘in the zone’.

More often that not the flies are below the feeding fish and are:

  1. A) Still sinking
  2. B) Being retrieved too fast and looking nothing like the food source.

Pulling a Blob or Booby…. At least I’m getting follows!! Ahahahahaha, Cracks me up this one. I don’t want follows, I want fish in the net, simple.

 

CATCHING THE TROUT

Having fished for these pinfry feeding fish for a number of years, actively seeking them out, as I know I can usually catch better fish. I have a couple of methods that seem to really work, so let me share them.

First, find the fish, I outlined that above, then make sure your boat s well upwind of their feeding position so you can drift into the area without fuss.

My two favourite for under the Popperfry

 

THE method that I have found to work better than any other is to fish New Zealand style a nymph suspended under a buoyant fly. But don’t just go for any old set up, THINK!

I use flies that look like pinfry or at least suggest with a profile and outline. My buoyant fly is my Popper Fry, and the pattern under it, that LOOKS like the real thing, trust me this fly works is my little pinfry!

To fish effectively, keep your flies well away for your fly line, use a floater by the way. I use a 12ft tapered leader ending in 10lb, (copolymer) and then 8ft of 8.5 fluoro to the buoyant fly, then a short section – normally a foot if pleasure fishing but around 2ft if competition fishing and I use 5lb Fulling Mill. I use it as it’s stiff, so pings the nymph over well and it’s strong.

CHECK OUT THIS LITTLE PHONE VIDEO…

It’s then a case of short casts, same as dry fly, no more than 5 to ten yards of fly line (just enough to load the rod). Cast it out and do NOTHING! The Plop of the buoyant fly hitting the water will draw the fish in but it’s often the nymph that they home in on.

It is that simple, oh and be patient, the fish move around a lot but they are in shoals, herding the pinfry, stay in the area and you’ll catch them soon enough!

NOTE: Sometimes, if I need the nymph to stay higher for longer, I use a Cruncher under the fry. I tie it with gold and pearl flash behind the hackle and on a size 12, a little lighter in weight. I can treat this with a little Mucilin, it clogs the fibres but it stops it sinking too fast.

 

Popperfry, bouyant and they hit the water with a bang!

FLAT CALMS

Another method is the CDC pinfry, this one comes out on flat calm days, so as to minimise water disturbance. Same massively long leader (grease the first 12ft taper) but the end section, tippet, is 4.4lb Frog Hair, super light, thin and strong!

To fish this set up well, it’s a case of casting into the feeding area and leaving well alone. However, if a fish moves nearby, pull the line, the fly will pop under the water and ping right back up again. This is LETHAL, that tiny bit movement as the CDC pulls the fly back up is something the trout find hard to resist!

A CDC pinfry pattern, for super tough days.

A big brown from Rutland last year on the pinfry.

 

I hope you enjoyed this article and you found some useful information, please, subscribe to my Blogs and You Tube for more content..

 

Good luck and tight lines…

Get in touch…

How To Succeed On Small Stillwaters, Part 1

How To Succeed On Small Stillwaters, Part 1

Do you want to be the angler that succeeds on small Stillwater venues  then these top tip can help!

The Venue

When you’re fishing early on in the season proper, it’s always a good idea to get as much information on the water as possible. Getting to know a water is a major benefit. You’ll notice time and again that it’s usually just one or two anglers who catch most of the fish. These are the people that know the water. Where are the weedbeds, the drop offs the fish-holding areas basically, they have it sussed. By getting to know a venue and these areas can pay off big time.

 

A bridge!! This is a haven for fish, so it begs the question why is this angler not targeting it!?

 

In the real world most of us can’t fish a place all the time, or would even want to for that matter, it can get a bit ‘samey’. But watercraft and some knowledge of fish location can help you concentrate your efforts on specific areas wherever you fish. At the same time you will know that there’s some parts of the venue you should avoid, fishless zones where you’ll know there’s no point in even wetting a line.

It can be pretty easy to get an idea of what’s going on under the surface when you’re concentrating your efforts at clear water venues. Fishing on these venues allows you to actually see weedbeds, shelves and other holding areas. You’ll also see where trout patrol and how they patrol. They have patrolling routes you know and if you can establish these routes then you can pick off trout as they move, if you get your tactics correct of course. These clear water venues will give you a good idea of what’s going on at most venues, trout are trout, right!

 

Clear water venues allow you to see how the fish behave, how many can you see in this image?

 

Shelves

It doesn’t matter what you fish for or how you go about catching them, underwater shelves, areas where the bottom drops away into deeper water, are a bit of haven for all types of fish species.

They have the safety of deep water nearby and this seems to make them happy. On the shallow side of the shelf, where the sun penetrates first and heats things up, life is more prolific and so If there are things to eat then the trout won’t be too far away.

 

Weed

Weeded areas are a heaven for all manner of aquatic beasties which the trout feed on. All those damsels, shrimp, bloodworm, hoglouse and the like love weeded section of the lakebed. Stickleback and juvenile coarse fish tend to migrate to them too. It’s a rich feeding ground for all the parties involved.

 

Bankside Vegetation

From a tactical point of view this can help you get close to your quarry too, something some anglers often neglect to realise. It offers you cover close the water’s edge, quite often, early on in the year, trout can be found right in the margins. By keeping a low profile and being hidden  behind the bankside cover, you’ll often be able to lower your fly into the path of a cruising trout.

These weeds later on in the year, are also a great place for Damsels to leave their watery homes and trout are well aware of this. Pay special attention.

 

Using the bankside cover this fish was intercepted on it’s patrol route, clever thinking!

Points and Promontories

If you are lucky enough to be first on the water, then if you can get yourself positioned on a promontory then you’re onto a winner. These headlands allows you to have deeper water at either side of your fishing positions. They are also good places to target because trout have to pass these point to get into the bays and creeks where the food is often prolific.

 

Under Water Structure

Any kind of underwater structure, like a dam, inlet or even fallen trees will tend to harbour food. These places offer shelter and safety for tiny creatures and fish.

If your local water produces some big brown trout every now and again, the chances are that they tend to hang around this kind of structure. Sunken logs, tree roots under water boulders are perfect locations for big, old brown trout to hang around.

 

Big brownie, who doesn’t want one of these!

When targeting any kind of structure make that sure your leader’s up to it. A hooked fish will head straight for any kind of safety, and that means any nearby structure, strong tippet will allow you to put some pressure on without fear of snapping!

 

Stocking Areas

Sounds like cheating I know but it can help if you know. Fish, more so rainbows will often hang about in the vicinity they are stocked. Also stocking points are often the areas that offers easy access to the fishery owners and at times of low food levels, hard winters and warm summers, they will often sneakily keep the fish topped up with pellets, Like I mentioned at the very start, know the water! : )

Where the fish go in to the venue is often where they will stay, even more so if their diet is supplemented with pellets!

Keep popping back, I’ll have more on fish location and holding areas on various venues where I’ll go into even more analytical detail in order for you to ‘up your catch rate’.

Get in touch…

 

 

 

10 Top Tips For Loch Style Competition

10 Top Tips For Loch Style Competition

1. Never believe everything that you are told
Car park talk is often very misleading! You’ve a lot of people wanting to do better than you, so take most of the ‘hero chat’ with a pinch of salt.
“Yeah, I had 25 today, I reckon and I’ll be done by lunch time come match day!” Silly buggers!
I see this a lot and most of these HEROS are still scratching their heads come the late afternoon!

2. Check an area or a method but don’t get blinkered into thinking either is crucial
Saying the above, it’s always worth checking good solid info, there are some good guys out there, an area or a method may need looking at.
It can or can’t work but until you check it out, you’ll never know, so a little time spent scouting can help.

3. Move about and cover some water
You really can’t afford to stay put in an area for too long on practice days.
Use your time wisely and move about. This is anther common mistake I see anglers make. Sitting on top of fish catching one after another is never going to last.
A couple of trout or indeed takes in an area is enough for me, I don’t need to fill the boat!

4. It’s often important to find out where there’s NO fish than it is finding loads of them
Don’t be too worried if you’re not finding any action, you’re not over fish. This is good, you know that these areas are not worth targeting come match day! It’s not time wasted when you know where ‘NOT’ to fish!

5. Watch for takes
This can be done with any line from floaters to fast sinkers. I don’t want to give too much away with the sinking lines but with floaters, watch the loop that you create between the rod tip and the water, if it moves it’s a fish, hit it.

Don’t wait for the take at your hand, you can miss it or worse, strike to hard and snap.

 

This fish was taken by watching the top dropper on the hang, it moved, I struck!

6. Don’t be hasty in lifting your flies clear of the water to recast
The Hang is often talked about, it’s basically stalling your flies during the lift on sinking lines, it’s lethal at times.
But hanging means hanging, each fly left for a time before lifting clear of the water, 3 to 10 seconds, not 1, lift, 2, lift, three lift and cast!
I also like to move the rod tip as I do the hang, the fly quivers and it’s often enough to illicit a response.

 

Mark your lines at 10ft intervals back from the tip, 3 is enough, you can hang at various depths now!

7. Spoon your catch
Most of us don’t bother, the boys that know what they’re doing do. They know that often it’s imperative to know what the fish are eating. Not only to copy it, but at least to use flies that suggest it, to get an idea of size and colour of the food items being targeted.
And also to see how they should be fishing, presenting their flies to mimic the food source the trout are after!

 

It takes a few seconds, spoon your catch, it gives you a better idea of what’s going on underwater!

8. Target better trout
I do this ‘A LOT’ and it can be feast or famine, but if you know how to target these special fish then you’ll have a HUGE marginal gain on your boat partner!
It may mean less takes and often fishing in quieter areas, something most anglers appear scared of, but it’s worth it.
On the first 2 day National on Rutland, 2016?? I’d bagged stockies superfast on day 1, but on day 2, I’d only managed 1 stockie by 1pm, worrying to say the least!
I had to get the okay from my boat partner. Martin Griffiths (he’d had a bad day the 1st day, his boat partner took him to some strange places) to head away to quiet water and go hunting big fish, and after giving him the fly, my little Popper Fry, Steve Cullen’s Popperfry he agreed.
I landed another 2 fish (and lost more) but these fish were both over 5lb. my three fish on day 2 were beating other bags of 6 stockies!

 

Bigger fish bulk the bag weight up pronto!

9. Check your hooks
We neglect this far too often, I have done it and it has cost me dearly. You get a take, miss it, then another, but you just keep fishing, DON’T! Check the hook!
It’s only to easy for a fish to turn the hook point over on a hard take. You need to be on top of things! I carry a hook sharpener a good one that cost decent money, it’s a great investment!

10. Keep your own council
If you nail it in practise, why tell the world? By all means talk about the day, a method or an area, be sociable, after all that’s what’s all about for some, but if you want to be better than others, don’t give the game away, loose lips etc!

Get in touch…

 

10 Things To Try In April (fly fishing related of course)

10 Things To Try In April (fly fishing related of course)

Banish those winter blues and get off to a flying start this year!

 

  1. Buy A Rod License

You can’t go fishing in England and Wales without a Rod license, well, you can if you’re under twelve, so you make sure you have one.

These can be purchased online or from your local Post Office, some fisheries even sell them. There are a few ticket options available to suit most anglers needs!

 

  1. Bank Fish A Reservoir

The fishing at this time of the year can be out of this world.

All the recently introduced stock fish will be holed up in the bays and creeks where they were stocked, so make the most of it by fishing from the bank.

These trout can be easy to catch and they fight incredibly well, they really do provide the angler with a bit of a bonanza, you’d be mad to miss out.

 

Bank fishing is productive and far less hassle than the boat in April.

 

  1. Early Bird

Reservoirs can become hectic in April, everyone is competing to get to the known early season hotspots, so you need to get yourself there early doors.

 

  1. The Dam Wall

The great thing about the dam wall is that it often offers anglers access to deep water without them having to cast to the horizon. The fish are often close in and they will move up and down the dam wall throughout the day, so if you stay in one spot they are likely to head your way sooner or later.

It’s a popular area though, so see suggestion number 3!

 

Dam walls are hotspots, but get there early!

 

  1. Try A Bung

When it comes to early season deadly fishing methods, then the Bung is right up there. Not only will some nice shiny Superglue Buzzers suspended mid water tempt those – I’m not stupid enough to take a lure – stockies, they have the added advantaged of picking up the better, over wintered fish.

A bung enables you to fish your impressionistic flies at various specific depths in the water column so that you can search out where the fish are more effectively.

 

  1. Black and Green

If there’s one colour combination that you must try at this time of the year it has to be the lethal black and green. There’s something very special about these two colours for cold water. Look to try flies like, Concrete Bowl, Viva and Black Cats.

 

A killer colour combo, black & green, this takes some beating in cold water.

 

  1. Bank On Boobies

There’s something about Boobies that trout just can’t seem to resist.

On large waters, use a fast sinking line and a leader of around 12ft with one or two Boobies spaced an equal distant apart, one on dropper around 6ft from the end of your sinking line with another on the point. This will allow you to cover the depths and find where the fish are in the water column.

ALWAYS keep in touch with your flies.

 

Don’t be a jerk and leave your rod static, fish the flies at all times!

 

  1. Try Fishing A River

To many of us are quite happy to sit it out on small waters or reservoirs and we don’t make the effort to cast a fly in running water. This is a real shame as some of the best fishing you’ll ever experience will be on a river. There’s nothing quite like it.

It takes a lot more time and patience to get results but once you get into the why wherefores of river fishing, you’ll become hooked.

 

  1. Spot A Riser

This is the best when it comes to river fishing, searching the water for signs of feeding fish, or a riser! Nothing gets the heart pumping faster than a big early season trout coming up for Olives!

 

This fish was spotted taking duns mid river, it took my dry first cast over it!

 

  1. Try That Dry Fly

On rivers a dry fly is often the best line of attack when the trout are up. Keep it simple with pattern choice as they won’t be too fussy just now. Focus on size and colour and you shouldn’t go far wrong. The key is making sure it behaves naturally, so no drag.

 

Keep flies simple early doors, thread and some CDC, can work wonders!

Get In Touch…

 

 

 

 

 

5 Essential Fly Lines For Boat Fishing

5 Essential Fly Lines For Boat Fishing

Okay, let’s start at the beginning, this is for guys and girls that fish ‘loch style’ in other words cast out of the front of a drifting boat in order to target trout!

This style of fishing is a pretty big deal here in the UK BUT it’s growing in popularity and as a result more and more anglers from all over the world want to know more about this extremely effective technique.
It’s a complex form of fishing, however the whys and the wherefores of doing it right are for another day!

With this little article I want EVERYONE to know the 5 Essential Fly Lines for Boat Fishing which you must-have here in the UK, and dare I say it the world if you want to stand a decent chance of catching fish the whole year through!

I’m not going to get overly technical, no point, once you get into it you’ll figure it all out yourself!

And also, I can do another article highlighting the other lines you need at some point, right!

Currently, I carry 36ish fly lines when I boat fish, so there’s some food for thought!

 

When you get a touch more serious then the line count goes up, dramatically!

So, let us work from the top of the water down shall we? After all the trout’s eyes are on the top of their head, not on the bottom!

Now remember, BASICS! Oh, before I forget, don’t muck about with presentation tapers go weight forward every time, loads the rod quicker and you’ll cast further, should you need to!

1. Floating Line
This is the best-selling fly line in the world and no wonder as it lets you do an awful lot! This is our go-to choice when it comes to dry flies, wet flies, and slowly fished nymphs and buzzers/midge.
It allows you to keep the flies fishing high in the water, they can be fished slowly too, which is great for a natural presentation.
It is the ideal line for presentation fishing, unless it’s windy and then your line control goes out the window!

2. The Midge-Tip
Okay this may well have other names but the premise is the same, a floating line with the sinking front section – 1 to 2 inches per second and normally 3-feet. This front section sinks like an intermediate line and this allows the angler to bed their flies in under the waters’ surface.
It’s a line which offers a little more depth, it’s surprising just how much depth, as well as control when nymph / buzzer fishing. For this reason it’s one that seen threaded though an awful of UK rods from April through to June when we have the cream of our nymph fishing.
It’s also a great choice for wet fly fishing for wild brown trout!

3. Slime Line
Rather than just highlight an ‘intermediate’ line, I thought I’d pick out this one. ‘Slime line’ is generic now, and a few companies make them, it’s basically a clear intermediate line. It has gained a massive foot-hold in our fly line armoury duo in part to it’s clarity, it has no colour.
It sinks around 1.25 to 2 inches a second and it’s good choice for fishing a foot to three-foot down, it’s great for lures, wet flies again – of course in a big wind, the Irish anglers love it!

It’s not as in your face and as visible as a lot of other intermediate lines which can come in various colours and sinking densities and this makes the slime line an essential fly line for boat fishing!

4. The Di5 Sweep Line
Yes, I’m being very specific, like I said I’m looking at essentials here!
For pulling lures, this line takes some beating
Obviously, this will sink faster than it’s Di3 counterpart and for me therefore I choose the five over the three!
Sweep lines, allow you to cover more water as the belly is heavier than the tip, so this means that your flies are fished in a very enticing, fishing finding arc!
I use this line often for finding the trout’s feeding depth, and either stick with it or move up or down in the water column with other lines  to capitalise.

5. 40+ Di7 Extreme Line
This particular line has a short head and so loads the rod quicker and it also features a skinny running line, so that when you cast, if you’re any good, the line goes miles!
It’s this distance that will see me pick this line over other fast sinkers.
If I’m in a boat and paired up with someone, as is usually the case in competitions, I want to cover water before they do, in order to do that I have to cast further!
This is crucial early season when drifting onto banks, get your flies in the area first and you get the fish first, simple!

 

By utilising the fly lines at your disposal not only will you be able to catch more trout, you’ll also get the better ones!

 

I hope that you found this article interesting, it’s basic but it really does highlight the MUST-HAVES if you want to do any good while fishing from a drifting boat.
If you want to learn more about fly lines or indeed how to use the ones highlighted here more effectively then please…

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5 ‘MUST – HAVE’ Blobs!

5 ‘MUST – HAVE’ Blobs!

Competition Fly Fishing has seen many fly patterns come and go but one style of fly which has really made an impact (and they seem to only be getting even more of a Worldwide following) are Blobs.

My favourite, not the usual sunburst but an old yellowy one.

Love them or hate them, Blobs are damned effective at harvesting fish from our stillwaters!

This simple fly, no more than Fritz wrapped on a hook has taken the fly fishing world by storm. Rightly so, it’s effectiveness for ‘speed fishing’ is unparalleled, nothing comes close to its fish catching abilities, nothing!

Okay, it can be argued that it’s more effective on the more curious rainbow trout, but Blobs, less in your face ones, will catch brown trout also.

Blobs can be fished fast with a pacey retrieve or indeed slowly, just let the flies fish ‘on the drop’! Either way is going to catch you trout, but you need to ring the changes to see what is most productive on the day!

The pick of the bunch, the MUST-HAVE Blobs!

Here are the top 5 Blobs ( in no particular order ) that you are going to need if you’re looking to compete in most Loch Style Competitions.
1. The Orange Blob, the original and still one of the best
2. The Black Blob, one for when the bright colours seem to scare fish
3. The Tequila Blob, two tone and deadly all the way through the summer
4. The Biscuit Blob, a more washed out affair that will work its magic on pressured fish
5. The Olive Blob, again one that does well when the trout have switched off from gaudier colours, a good choice in Autumn.

Another victim of the lethal Blob comes to the boat, is this the best still water lure of all time? I guided this chap in the photo, he was form Canada, and when I showed him what we’d be using in order to catch, a Sunburst Blob on the top dropper with two buzzers below fished static, I swear he looked at me funny! He had a field day, most fish coming to the Blob!

Best Blob double team combo -in my opinion – Orange on the dropper Black on the point!!!

If you would like any of these Blobs or more information on how to get the most from them, then please..

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I will elaborate more on how to fish with these flies at a later date so stay tuned, it’s not all to coin a phrase,  “YOBS WITH BLOBS, but it’s close…

In the meantime, here’s how to tie one..