Monday, 12 May 2014

Late April

Managed to have three days in a week on the river at the end of April, and they were all very different. Condition were similar throughout the week, low river level, although it rose towards the end of the week, over cast and around 10-15 degrees.

The first day I fished the Swale above Richmond. I've only fished it once before and had little success. There is a popular walkway along the river for most of it, and one spot is very popular for throwing sticks in rivers for dogs to retrieve. Obviously puts a dampener on the fishing so I avoid that place. There were a few fish rising so I tried my luck with a jingler, klinkhÄmer and quill dry fly with no luck. Once the risers stopped I switched to a quill bead head which brought a single trout to the net. Nothing special, small 10'-er. Moved to a favourite pool below Richmond and managed two more brownies, one around the 1lb mark which jumped 3ft clean out of the water, was not expecting that response!

The next day was spent on two streams in Huddersfield. I'd fished one before after work down there and managed a decent grayling and nice trout. Fished a mixture of czech nymphing, upstream nymphing and dry fly and managed around 40 fish, which is easily the most I've ever caught in a day! Best fish of the day was a grayling around 1lb on a ryac czech nymph. Picture below is a different grayling, thought still a nice size.

 Brownie on a brown czech nymph
 Ryac larva
One of the better Graylings

Then the third day came. Back on the Swale it was obviously the river had risen a little, with a bit of colour and lot of extra power. Wading was very difficult so I had to keep to the tail of a long pool where the flow subsided. Fish were rising semi regularly but there was no obviously fly life coming of the surface. I tried a number of dry flies and emergers covering general upwind/caddis/gnat patterns but only had a few unsuccessful nips. Finally managed one grayling on a Klink, at this point my legs were numb from standing still in the water for a few hours without moving, so I called it a day.

I've now join a club with some beck fishing very close to home, so I'll be trying that out this week, if the levels are good!

Monday, 21 April 2014


I have ordered a collection of mono spools in various strengths to start making my own leaders. I came across this leader calculator from Global Flyfisher ( about a year ago via the excellent NCA blog ( and have been toying with the idea ever since. This season I'll be testing some out.

As it is the first time I have gone for some relatively cheap on sale copolymer from Greys, from 02X down to 6X (a bargain ten spools for a tenner, 30m each), so if it turns out terribly I haven't lost much. I'll also need to add some stronger stuff, but its a decent starting point.

Most of the time while nymph fishing I'll use furled leaders from Rodney Dibble (now Luke Bannister produces them ) - the Stuarts Croft range. For dry fly fishing I've been using 9ft Orvis superstrong for years, but they are quite pricey and I seem to get through the pretty quick. So the main aim of tapering my own is for dry fly use.

So far I've made two for a trial run. One 9 feet and one 11 feet, with 3 feet tippet to be added making 12 and 14 feet in total. For these trials I have used old Orvis superstring tapered leader butts which are too short to be used any more, as currently I have no thick stuff. Not sure if it'll make any difference, but I'll be giving it a go.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Trout season 2014

19th of April before my first day of the trout season. I would normally be disappointed but an early holiday to Thailand and Cambodia means I can't really be.

I joined a club on the Swale this year for a new stretch of river. I've fished it on day tickets a few times and its excellent value for money. Arriving at around 10.45 I was very happy to see rising fish and a hatch of LDO's, and I immediately tied on a jingler I had prepared the day before for this exact reason. Cast to a rising fish with the jingler, however it just wasn't sitting right, I couldn't get the correct presentation and ended switching to a smaller imitation that sits lower in the water while resting the fish. Its my own design but nothing groundbreaking at all.

Its a simple stripped herl body with a light dun hackle clipped below the horizontal (coachman hackle in the picture above). Once the fish had risen again, I cast to it and it rose first time. I have heard many a time at this time of year people comment on striking too early, and I have been guilty of it, so I tried to stay calm. However, I was too patience (if possible) and I missed the fish. Third cast it rose again and I struck faster, a small 9-10 inch grayling, so I let myself off for missing it first time.

I saw another fish rising about 20m downstream so I waded out of the river, walked downstream of it and managed to land another, slightly bigger grayling. A couple of fellow anglers a lot further downstream were having similar luck, so I decided to start from the bottom limit of the stretch and work back up.

Switched tactics to czech nymphing and manage to land a much nicer grayling on a ryac, and lose another. The pools upstream didn't lend themselves to czech nymphing, and the hatch had died off, so I switched to a size 12 LT klink with a size 16 mary copperhead beneath. This landed quite a few fish throughout the pools on the way back up the river, the best being a grayling around 15-16 inches and I'd guess around 1 - 1.5 lbs ish. The only disappointment of the day was the lack of trout, and chatting to the other anglers only one person had landed a solitary trout. Ah well, fingers crossed for next time.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Quiet Winter

It's been a quiet winter as far as fishing goes. Had a couple of days out but nothing memorable, Christmas and skiing holidays seem to have taken over. But I've tried to keep busy at the fly tying desk, and with most of my Christmas/birthday gifts focused around fly tying there has been plenty of motivation to idle away at my new muskoka vice (fantastic).

Booked up to go back to Slovenia in June this time, can't wait. Hopefully it'll be as successful as Septembers trip, just a lot hotter I imagine!

Thoughts are moving to the new trout season and where to get a membership this year, tried a few places and I think I'll get a few memberships with the more economical clubs. Polite way of saying I'm a bit cheap...spent all my money on fly tying kit and holidays apparently - results included below.

Here are my first attempts of patterns from Oliver Edwards fantastic fly tyers master class.

Baetis nymph


Ryac pupae

Cases caddis

Some simpler, less realistic flys for general restocking for the start of the season.

Hares ear jig

Tungsten jig back

Hot head hares ear

Black and silver jig

On another note I am currently researching cameras and lenses that would be good both macro insect/fly tying pictures and also take a decent scenic picture. I'm leaning towards a Nikon D80 with a 50mm f1.8 lense, but I'd love to hear any suggestions!

Tight lines for the coming season

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Slovenia 2013

Way back in Feb I managed to get myself involved in a six day trip to Slovenia which I returned from last week. This was my first ever organised fly fishing trip abroad, and it turned out to be a stunner.

The rivers where we fished varied from big powerful waters, to tiny streams tree lined streams, with some urban streams thrown in too. The bulk of the catch consisted of rainbow trout but there were some browns and marble trout also. The marble trout is indigenous to Slovenia, and rainbow are stocked by fisheries as they don't breed at the same time as the marbles, and so the marble strain remains pure (this is also why browns aren't stocked as they breed at the same time as marbles resulting in hybrids). There also adriatic grayling with beautiful golden bellies, and I managed to catch all varieties except the grayling - this is one of the many reasons I will be returning!

 Mountain stream

 Brown/marble hybrid

 Fishing a deep flow using v. heavy nymphs

 Into a decent rainbow

 Rainbow on a streamer

The pictures below give an idea of the scenery in Slovenia. We fished a variety of waters but all were in absolutely stunning environments.

The majority of my fishing was upstream nymphing, switching to dry fly if the fish were rising. All fishing is single barbless fly only, which can be challenging, but it is done to protect the fish numbers. From what I gather historical almost everything was taken, but now there is definitely a healthy population.

 Rainbow from a stream that didn't look big enough to hold fish this size!

My fish of the trip, marble trout around 2.25 pounds

Friday, 12 April 2013

Fly tying progression

I have been thinking about the progression through fly tying for myself recently. For fly fishing I've read a couple of different ones, like:

1. Catch a fish
2. Catch more fish
3. Catch a fish on a home tied fly
4. Catch bigger fish
5. Catch fish all over the world etc etc

I've also read about why people get into fly tying, to save money etc so here is my thoughts on the progression through fly tying:

1. I want to start fly tying to save money, tied nicer flies than some store bought creations and its a challenge to catch fish on home tied flies.

2. Hmmm.....some stuff is expensive. I'll try cheaper options. Ah, some stuff can be bought cheaper, others (e.g. good quality hackle) I need to shell out for. I may not save money doing this...

3. I definitely won't save money doing this...

4. So far, my flies do not look as good as quality store bought flies....

5. To solve this I need to buy more stuff.

6. I need more stuff.


8. Where can I find fly tying stuff in everyday life (I call this the "magpie effect").


10. Ok, I've reached a standard where I can catch fish on my I want to tie realistic flies!

11. Oh man, I need a ridiculous amount of new stuff now....How naive I was 10 bullet points ago saying I could save money....

12. Ok, I've got a fly box full of (semi) realistic flies. I'm at the river. Which one to choose? Ok, I'll use the same 4-8 fly pattern I use all the time. Why did I start this?!?

13. I can't stop. I now have no issue spending 45mins to an hour tying one heptagenid or baetis nymph (copying Oliver Edwards et al) whereas before hand I didn't have the patience to sit still for more than 10 minutes...

This is about the stage I have reached right now. I think it is becoming a full blown addiction, fulfilling my fix of fly fishing during the weekdays, ready for actuall fishing over the weekends. Luckily I have a supportive girlfriend and family who like like to feed the addiction at any birthday or xmas!

First day, new stretch

So last Sunday was my first day on the NAC stretch of the River Nidd. I was pretty keen to get out on the river, as most of us were after the terrible condition over the past year. To be honest, the day could've gone better....

1. I got 20 minutes down the road before I realised I'd left my membership card, parking ticket, fly vest and all my fly boxes, tippets and leaders at home.

2. I accidently chose the wrong road name on the sat nav and drove to the middle of nowhere meaning a 40 minute drive now took 1hr 30 (not including the turn around to get my gear).

3. I realised when I finally got the the river I'd left my full coffee pot at home and I was gagging for a cup.

4. I blanked. I'm not that bothered about this, as I rose three fish under poor conditions, but I was a little annoyed at how rusty I'd got as I rose three and missed them all!

Conditions weren't great, around 8 degrees air temperature, maybe 4 in the water (legs went numb at one point while targeting a sporadic riser). Had tied a few CdC olive patterns in anticipation for a hatch, which obliged at around 1.30pm. Nothing major, just a trickle of small olives. Speaking of identifying upwings, read Oliver Edwards article in FFFT this month, very interesting.

Rose the fish using a klinkhamer, no interest using the upwings. In total I think I saw around 10 dimples in the space of 2 hours, which isn't bad considering. Absolutely no interest in any of the nymphs I tried, had some baetis imitations on, a tungsten PTN flashback, striped quill nymph (from barbless flies - very good!).

Saying this, it was still a great day getting back out. It's a cliche heard a lot but I still love being on the river in beautiful surrounding, catching fish is the bonus. It's also a great stretch of river, tricky casting with alot of over hanging branches and trees common to the Nidd which meant I was casting over the wrong shoulder or left handed most of the day. Good practise though!

All in all, things could've gone smoother, but I am heading back this Sunday (15-18 degrees apparently!) so I'm hoping I'll be casting better...and I'll remember everything this time, fingers crossed.

Picture above is where some smaller fish were rising. Standing at 45 degrees to them I had to cast over the wrong shoulder to avoid getting hooked up into the tree behind, and side cast to keep in under the branches seen above. A bit tricky to say the least!

Tight lines to all out this weekend.