Tag: flies

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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Candy Cat Booby

Candy Cat Booby

My variation of the Candy Booby, the Candy Cat.

I feel that this fly can often excel over the original for the most part of the fishing year. The inclusion of the green just adds another dimension, this lime green is so good for stocked rainbows and indeed brown trout, try it, I’m sure that you won’t be disappointed!

 

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…

 

 

 

CDC Shuttlecock

This fly is designed for Rutland Water but will work its magic on most waters that have vast weedbeds.
The original fly – and how to dress it – was shown to me by Dave Docherty, AKA Curly, a man that lived on the water for years and was thought of as the main man on that amazing venue.