Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Colour Confidence

Despite the rain at the start of the week and the water being somewhat coloured, it was very pleasing to find the grayling beginning to shoal up. They were willing to feed too with their confidence raised thanks to the extra colour. I entinced several plump, hand-sized fish during a short mid-morning session. Indeed, some of the takes were vicious with the 10' #2 rod absorbing some aggressive behaviour. These are hungry fish:


Saturday, 27 October 2012

Partridge Hooks

Partridge Hooks have always been reliable and of the highest quality since I can remember. However, in the last few years, they have been regenerated, thanks tothe involvement of Fishing Matters and a team of motivated and passionate individuals. The brand has been given a huge shake and up and great time and effort has been put into redeveloping this house-hold name in fly fishing. I have been introducing a few patterns tied on some of their new hooks over the past couple of years, such as the Partridge Spider hooks.

The new Product Guide

The new catalogue, including the best of the best and the newest hook patterns available, really is an impressive piece of work.

Waterhen Bloa, tied by Pro-team member Paul Procter

Each page gives details and actual sizes

Most exciting for me through is the introduction of some new patterns and extending some of the ranges. So you can imagine how pleased I am to see in the metal some of the key developments (for my fishing at least!). Certainly my focus in the the smaller sizes if the the ever-reliable Klinkhamer and the X-treme versions. The new Czech Nymph sizes are also a huge step forward.

The Klinkhamer X-treme in #22 and #24

The original Klinhamer hook, also in smaller sizes

CZF hooks in size 24

... and the incredibly vestile size 24

The new packaging details are fully explained in the product guide

I am really delighted to have been part of the Partridge Hooks Pro-Team for the past few years and look forward to getting involved with further new developments in the future. Well done to the Darryl Mooney, Mark Hamnett and the rest of the Partridge Team. The future of Partridge Hooks is bright.


Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Brilliant: Barbless Flies

Commercially tied flies are ofetn the way fly fishers begin their journey into fly fishing. As their passion grows, many turn to the vice as a way to extend their interest in all things piscatorial. Those that think they'll save money by tying their own are very much mistaken!

However,  whilst standards have risen in the quality of the flies available, some are still a little below the high standards that many demand. Hence the fact that people are also pushed towards their own vice to try and produce flies that meet their requirements. Sub-standard materials, issues with hook choice, over-sized heads and incorrect propertions are all criticisms I hear of many commercially tied patterns. In addition, those that of better quality are often really quite expensive and often in limited sizes. Add to this the fact that many want to fish with barbless patterns and it is easy to see why people turn away from these pre-tied creations.

Now as many of you will know, I spend quite a bit of time at the vice. As a result, pretty much all the flies I use are either tied by me or my fishing friends. However, I am always really keen to keep abreast of what is available. So I was intigued when I heard of a new venture called 'Barbless Flies'.

I stumbled across their 'Tungsten Nymph Selection' and was immediately impressed by what I saw. A range of bead headed nymphs that appeared well tied in sensible sizes: #16, #18 and #20. They are available in either a slotted, threader box or a fly protector. They are all tied on Varivas Wave Barbless 2120WB hooks (a real favourite of mine) and come in at a very resonable price: you get 30 flies and a box for £26!

So I had to order a set and check them out. I was NOT disappointed either.

The selection of 30 tungsten nymphs

The threader box is solid box with slotted foam

Four threaders are included with the box

The Olive Quill nymphs

The Copper Head Mary

The Orange Head Mary

The Red Neck PTN

The flies are well tied and proportions are good. The beads feel heavy (I am sure they're tungsten) and there is consistency within the sample. Sure, I may like a different sized beads on some hooks and perhaps I would tie some of my nymphs with fractionally shorter tails, but these flies are really good. A better selection for the money I am yet to find.

So if you're struggling to tie small nymphs in time for your grayling season, struggle with the smaller sizes of hooks, or simply want to add to your current selection, these come highly recommended.

Well done to the team at Barbless Flies. They are on to a good thing here!

They also produce a Klink & Dink Selection.


Sunday, 21 October 2012

AAPGAI Autumn Assessments & Open Day

The last time AAPGAI gathered for the examinations and Open Day, the March sun shone with unseasonable gusto. I was delighted that this year was no different and the drive up to Caer Beris Manor was stunning with the trees giving a great display of colour amongst the mist.

A  great day was had by all and there was some excellent demonstrations. Many, many congratulations to those that took exams and achieved a pass. The standard is high and it marks a considerable achievement. As ever it was great to meet up with so many friends and make some new ones too. I am already looking forward to the next gathering.

Gary Champion discussed curve casts and mends


Sunday, 14 October 2012

The 2012 Trout Season closes

As another trout season ends, it is time to start thinking seriously about grayling fishing. Truth be told though, my grayling campaign started several weeks ago. However, now those feisty beautful brown trout are off limits until April, it is a fitting time to review the 2012 season. If there was one word to sum it up, it would be...?

I know you think I will choose the word 'WET'. However, I think it is more than that. Sure, we had incredible unseasonal rain and there were days I really cursed it. However even when it meant another day on the river was ruined or another day with a client postponed, my default thought was that we needed this. The rivers have been so low and the silting, which was so evident at the start of the season, was in need of a proper flushing out.

So the one word would have to be 'replenishing'.

The unusual weather certainly made way for some interesting and exciting fishing and a sense of urgency when the rivers were 'on'. My local rivers had the best Mayfly hatches that I have seen for years. Fishing every evening during these flush hatches and fall of spinners left me thinking it couldn't get better. However each evening just seemed to keep delivering more.

When the rivers were flowing high, waiting a few days for the colour to fine down gave some memorable evening fishing too. One evening's nymphing on a small river, gave me 4 wild fish, the largest some 15" from water no deeper than  a foot, in just 30 minutes. Spectacular sport.

I have also been lucky enough to fish some very specal water this year. More importantly I have shared many of these experiences with some fantastic people.

So onto the Autumn and the promise of plenty more grayling.

It's a the AAPGAI Open weekend at Caer Beris next weekend. If you fancy a cracking day out and the opportunity to watch and learn from some of the best casters, I gather there are still some places left:

AAPGAI Open Weekend 


Sunday, 7 October 2012

The Lady of the Stream

Grayling are such beautiful fish. Here's a shot taken this weekend I thought I'd share with you:

The unmistakeable dorsal fin of the Grayling (Thymallus thymallus)


Saturday, 6 October 2012

October delivers

I had a fantastic day on searching for big grayling today on the River Anton with Nick Steedman today. Despite heavy rain the night before, the river was crystal clear and we were able sight fish for many. The weather played ball today and a gentle Autumn warmth gave a good hatch of Pale Wateries around the middle of the day meaning we were even able to switch the nymphs for the dry fly.

As ever, pictures tell a much better story:

An decent fish for me at the start of the day on a nymph

Falling to the dry fly, another plump grayling

Another fish inches over the net

Nick shows off a beautiful grayling

On display for the camera, one of Nick's cracking grayling

Another solid fish, taken on a nymph

Nick leans pressure on another good sized fish

Another fish falling to a shrimp pattern

Best fish of the day for Nick
A really great day. Well done to Nick. Certainly the season's back end is proving to be very good indeed.