Tag: flies

A Fearsome Threesome

A Fearsome Threesome

When the trout are up in the water, keep those flies just under the surface. In this Blog I share my favourite patterns and why I favour them for this style of fishing.

In the past, November and December would be the ideal time to get out the fast-sinking lines and some weighted lures. The lovely warm weather which we had experienced during the summer months would have given way to cold easterly winds, along with, sleet and even snow. As a result of the change in temperature the water would have cooled somewhat dramatically and the fish, as a result of this temperature change, would be down in the depths.

The cold fronts we experienced would result in a long line of anglers, huddled in their coziest clobber, punching out long casts, using fast-sink lines, rather gaudy lures, and then slowly them bringing back, with a jerky retrieve, in the vain hope that something would pull back.

Not so much these days though..

Things have changed. Even as we come to the end of November the top of the water is where the majority of the feeding is, so, I guess that’s where the trout want to be! When they are up in the water and feeding properly in this manner it allows us to refine our approach and target fish that are actively feeding.

This is what fly-fishing is all about isn’t it, fooling a feeding fish! 

BANKERS

I have a team of three flies which I rely on quite heavily when the fish are up at the water’s surface. This team has taken over the usual and much-talked-about ‘Washing line’ which featured that go-to point fly, the Booby!

Going back a while, a decade or so, the FAB, Foam Ass Blob, came to light. It was The Change Flyfishers that made this fly work so well in their favour all those years ago, but soon everyone knew of its fish-catching properties.

Now, the world of competitions fly fishing can be a bit of a cut-throat one, some anglers would sell their own grandmother to get one up on other anglers. As a consequence, there are an awful lot of secret flies, ones in which certain anglers and indeed teams have great faith in. However, like everything in fly fishing soon enough everything becomes public knowledge. Once the FAB was public knowledge then everyone was all over it!

I have been using this versatile (this is the key, it’s versatility) little fly for a very long time now, and I, like everyone else, have caught an awful lot of trout on it. But in my opinion, it’s when the trout are in the top few feet of water, that accurately utilizing this fly, really makes the magic happen. Not only will it hold up the other flies, placed on the droppers – I’ll get to these next – but it catches its fair share of trout too!

For me, the FAB has over taken the Booby as THE point fly when I’m fishing the ‘washing line’ but only when I’m up in the surface layers.

For sunk line work the Booby still rules the roost as it allows the flies to fish in a more aggressive arc, which I like. Maybe I can look into that a little more another time…..

The one FAB pattern which I tend to fish to the exclusion of all others is a Sunburst one, for me it’s better than everything else. I think that the reason that I favour Sunburst, by the way, it has to be a certain shade as I’m fussy, is because it just seems to stands out so well fished up at the surface where there’s more light. It’s a great colour for clear water too, which is usually what we are fishing in during the colder months?

A rarity for most, but even a tiger will fall for the charms of the Sunburst FAB!

When it comes to tying my FABs, I use a (static) hook, a hook that suits a fly fished slowly, for me, it’s a Tiemco 2499. I make a point of tying in lots of foam at the rear too, and there’s a reason for this. If I start with a lot then I can trim away as I see fit. This allows me to control the descent of the team of flies that I’m fishing. Far better to take away some foam than trying to add buoyancy right? More foam, more buoyancy, and vice versa. I can control where in the water column the flies are presented and I can do all this with a floating line, as long as it’s not too windy of course. I also have the option of varying leader length too, again to allow me to control the depth at which I fish my flies.

DROPPERS

On my droppers, I’m very specific, it’s a Diawl Bach on the top dropper and then a Hare’s Ear middle, nearest the FAB.

On the old DB, you can use whatever variant that you wish but I like one with UV. I’m fishing high up after all and this is where UV comes into its own. I will sometimes chop and change between orange, red, or black thread heads, but the rest of the fly doesn’t change. A plain Diawl Bach but with a UV rib. This style of fly certainly seems to work when it comes to stillwater rainbows!

There’s the little Diawl Bach in there somewhere!

The Hare’s Ear too is one that has been tied so that it performs well high up in the water. As a fly tyer you need to think about these things when you’re creating flies. Where you’re looking to fish the fly can help when it comes to form and function. As it’s going to be high in the water I like some bling, a little addition that will help it catch the light and hopefully the trout! I also like an orange head, this covers the bases and means that it can be taken as a Corixa as well as all the other goodies that can be found up high in the water.

It is a very simple pattern but at the same time complex, Somber, kind of, apart from the triggers which really seems to appeal to feeding trout, it certainly grabs their attention.

The Gilded Hare’s Ear has been a favourite so many years now, no surprise giving its fish catching ability!

Both my dropper flies share a common theme, they are tied in a manner and with materials that mean they are slow-sinking, keeping them up in the trout’s field of vision. I see it often, anglers targeting the surface layers with the washing line, but using hard-bodies buzzers, flies that will sink below the feeding trout! Don’t do it guys, slow sinking patterns are what you’re after, put some thought into it.

It’s also worth highlighting that I like to tie the dropper flies on size 12 and sometimes 14 and even 16 hooks, a little smaller than the standard size 10’s. Most food at this time of year is small, not big and bulky as is often the case in the summer months.

To keep things simple, fish a straight through leader, if you’re less experienced, go for  4ft to first dropper, 4 to the next and 4 to the point. For the anglers that are a little more into things, increase that to 6ft between flies. As with most things, simple is often more effective!

DRESSINGS

FAB

Hook: Tiemco 2499 size 12

Thread: Any light coloured thread

Butt: 7mm yellow Booby Eyes

Body: Sunburst Fritz, 10mm

Diawl Bach

Hook: Wet fly size 12

Thread: Black, red, orange

Tail and beard: Claret cock

Body: Single strand of peacock herl

Rib: Medium UV

Gilded Hare’s Ear

Hook: Wet fly size 12

Thread: Flu Orange

Butt and cheeks: Flat gold tinsel

Rib: Medium gold wire

Body: Stickle Dub Natural Grey

You can create your own Gilded Hare’s Ear here…

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…

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…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Tie the DOUBLE MAGGOT

Yes, it’s obscene, BUT it serves a purpose.

With most grayling rivers being bait fished and most with maggots, following a bait fisher hampers your catch rate, so copy what they are fishing with, simple!

 

How To Tie The Krystal Flash Shipman

As they fish seem to be moving onto pinfry, this little dry fly can work very well.

It can be fished the whole year through really once the trout are up, but just now it excels!

 

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!

 

 

 

 

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..

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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.

 

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Good luck and tight lines…

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