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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
Place the bead on the bead, hook in the vice and wind on thread.
Secure the partridge as the tail, length 2/3rd of the body, trim waste.
Attach the gold wire as the rib.
Now create a lovely even body with the fur, stopping a little bit behind the bead.
Wind the gold wire in even, open turns and secure and twist and break waste.
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.
Now take some Velcro and brush out the fur, it should cloak the body.
Whip finish and add a drop of varnish, and you’re now ready to take on the fishing world.
An exceptional dry fly for river anglers, one that will mimic all manner of upwinged flies.
This is my take on the Heather Fly, a meaty terrestrial that can be found on most upland waters.
Fish it as you would with other dries, but focus your attention around the water’s edges!
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.
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!
One of my favourites to fish on it’s own with a SWEEP fly line, best conditions seem to be in flat calms where you have total line control, strange I know, but true..
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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
Now tie on the dark thread, black here, and cover up some of the chartreuse.
Create an even dubbing rope.
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..
A very simple way of creating highly visible Hang Markers for your fly lines so that you can gauge where your flies are fishing in the water so that you can catch more trout!
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.
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:
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.
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.
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!
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…
An easy fly to tie and it catches loads of fish!!
How to fish for pinfry feeding trout…https://flyfishguidecouk.wordpress.com/?p=555&preview=true
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!
This Candy Blob, brought about and popularised by well known reservoir angler Iain Barr, has seen a real uptake in users over the last couple of year.
It’s a good pattern to try when the brighter Blobs switch off!
A Cat’s Whisker variant from my mate Nigel Burns.
This fly will work when most Blobs etc are failing, it changes colour when it’s in the water, you’ll need to take my word for it though.
Do you want to be the angler that succeeds on small Stillwater venues then these top tip can help!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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! : )
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’.
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.
My favourite nymph for tackling those better trout that frequent the weedbeds of large lakes and reservoirs.
A simple How – To video on how to get those perfectly smooth eyes for your Boobies!