Tuesday, 28 July 2009

New Zealand style / Duo /Trio...

Well I haven't made it to the river much. I drove South the other day and despite the rain, the trusty chalkstreams were holding their clarity. My local rivers unfortunately cannot boast the same. With another deluge forecast for tomorrow, it could be a few more days before I venture out. Although, at least, summer-low-flows will hopefully be replaced by decent water volumes.

Anyway, whilst awaiting a window of opportunity, it seems there is time to share some useful patterns. Whilst the summer allows dry fly to reign supreme, it would be short-sighted to forget the usefulness of nymph fishing. I used to reserve tungsten-furnished nymphs for the depths of winter; now they grace the fly box all year around. Here's a pattern that I picked up from Paul Procter (Thanks Paul!) - and it is similicity itself.

Hook: Your choice of grub hook #16 - #22
Thorax: Tungsten bead
Tail: Rooster hackle fibres
Tie with a build up of thread infront of and behind the bead.
I like to give the whole fly a thin coat of varnish too. Change the thread and bead colour to suit.

This is my first choice when fishing New Zealand style (with a length of mono tied from the bend of the hook). I tend to start with this tippet at about 24-36 inches and adjust as necessary to suit the water in front. A Klinkhamer or Elk hair caddis pattern is my choice of dry.

Another simple (but hugely effective!) pattern is a simple tungsten-headed nymph. I take great enjoyment from tying and sharing these quick-tie, useful nymphs. It's amazing how quickly two-dozen flies appear from the vice's jaws.

Hook: Grub Hook #16 - 22
Tail: Rooster fibres
Abdomen: Olive thread (Powersilk or Sheer are my favourites)
Thorax: Hare's mask
Head: Tungsten bead, black

When fishing water of very changeable depths, I will employ a sliding dropper upon which the dry is tied:

Also I have had some great success with fishing the dry on the point and hosting a spider or light nymph on the dropper. This 'washing-line' style can be highly effective on rivers as it is on still-water. Be prepared to experiment, and reap the rewards. When fishing allows, two nymphs and a dry (Trio) also work well and can really help seek out the fish when they are playing hard to get.


Friday, 17 July 2009

In praise of rain

With the heavy rain of late, and the forecast warning of more, many of the rivers are high and running a little coloured. However, give it time and they will return to form. I can't help but feel that this extra flush may be exactly what the local rivers & streams have needed to bring them back to life and line up some super fishing for the beginning of August.

Even if you can't fish, get out and walk the river and appreciate the surroundings. So, crossed fingers for some spectacular sport in the future weeks.


Sunday, 12 July 2009

Lightning takes & no second chances on the Honddu

Had we listened to the weather forecast , we would have given it a miss. Heavy rain moving in by early afternoon and strong winds blowing, it didn't sound very promising. I had a arranged to meet Dave Smith at the Honddu, and when we got there, after a little fine drizzle, we were left with a muggy, overcast morning. It looked great.

A tributary of the River Monnow, the Honddu is a jewel of a river near the Wales - England border. Flowing over a mixture of bedrock and broken ground, it is a river full of suprises. I had the opportunity here to fish a couple of private beats not far from the head of the river. With alot of fishing avaulable through the Wye and Usk Foundation, access to the water is excellent. The chance to fish some untouched water is, however, inviting.

The water was a little skinny in places, but short rods, light lines and prospecting casts with a sedge patterns, brought a few splashy rises. These fish, throughout the day, would prove hard to connect with. Eventually, first blood went to Dave and he connected with a stunning little brownie.

As we made progress up the river, we each connect with fish. To be fair, it took me a while to get my eye in. Missing takes accompanied by some 'early, quick releases' can upset your rhythm and leave you wondering if you should take up golf. This is jot a place to lose confidence whilst casting amongst the trees and between the boulders. Eventually a few fish came to hand - varying between a few ounces and lovely fish around 8 - 10".

Dave Smith bringing a better fish to hand

After a text book rise to a CDC Dun pattern, it was back onto the sedge, and the Dave found a better sized fish. For a river of this size, these slightly larger fish are a real bonus and success.

Interesting to see the colour differences between these fish. Some with lots of red markings but other being almost completly brown.

A much darker fish than many of the others we caught - note the lack of red spots

Dave has an uncanny ability to winkle fish from the skinniest of water. No pocket or riffle, however unlikely, goes unchecked and unfished. Excellent fishing.

Another promising run covered by DS

I guess we had taken about a dozen fish between us when we stopped for some lunch. The skies were darkening and under the tree canopy, it was akin to fishing at dusk.

We moved onto to find some different water and continued to bring a few fish up. However, perhaps it was just the forecaster's timing that was out - as we approached early evening, the rain started to fall and didn't look like shifting. We tackled a couple more tasty little runs where fish were showing, but they proved very cagey.

This a fabuolous stream and it's great to fish with someone that exhibits such enthusiasm for their fishing and sorroundings. The Monnow Fisheries Association, as I have mentioned here before, does a huge amount of work on these rivers and streams.

Himalayan Balsam - a wide spread invader on these rivers. Extensive work is being done to try and reduce its effects

There is a huge effort to reduce the impact of Himalayan Balsom, and whilst, it is still evident parts of the stream, their hard work will surely pay-off for the future.


Thursday, 9 July 2009

CDC & Elk

Earlier in the week I shared some information (and my variations) of the IOBO Humpy, and to follow it I thought I'd share another classic pattern. A 'Heavyweight' in the dry-fly world - the CDC & Elk.

This is Hans Weilenmann's pattern and he really does have huge trust in it. He describes it as "Much more than just a 'better' caddis pattern". Whilst it started life as exactly that (a caddis imitation) it really does hold its own in many, many situations.

Fished dry, wet (there's a tungsten-diving version too) or damp, it lifts fish and persuades takes when nothing else seems too. I know many other anglers who swear by its charms too, be it in the middle of a caddis, mayfly, indeed 'anything' hatch.

Again, simple to tie, it sits right every cast and is very durable. Simple, elegant and effective. My preferred tyings have been on #19, #17 and #15 TMC103BL and they have done me proud on numerous occassions. Infact, its saved my bacon on more times than I care to remember.

The CDC body with the trailing fibres gives the impression of movement. The Elk wing gives a great profile and its ability to float like a cork.

Hans has produced a video, showing the tying procedure. Follow the link from the page.

I'm sure you've all met this superb pattern. I felt it couldn't go unmentioned here any longer.


Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Bunsen's Muddler

A fiery stillwater pattern:

Hook: TMC 102Y #11
Thread: Sheer 14/0
Tail: Zelon, tan
Rib: Copper wire
Body: Hare's mask
Thorax: SLF, orange
Head: Spun deer hair, dyed orange


Sunday, 5 July 2009

IOBO Humpy Variants

Another pattern that has pulled a fish or two out of the bag for me this year is the IOBO Humpy. If you haven't met it the fly before (how?), it addresses the essence of fly tying to the max - incredibly simple, yet incredibly effective. A follow on from the original IOBO (It Oughta Be Outlawed), the IOBO Humpy was, as I understand it, originally tied by Jack Tucker. Click here for a little more info.

A superb pattern that floats like a cork, it matches everything and nothing, making it a really useful fly. Pictured above are a few variants of this fantastic fly, all tied in TMC 102Y #19. Below, a closer look at two of the options in my fly box:

If you haven't already done so, tie a few up and give them a swim. You won't be disappointed.


Saturday, 4 July 2009

Comparadun's Little Brother

Fish have been very picky with the bright conditions of late and I've found that alternating between sizes of dries can help keep the success rate up. A similar pattern to ones I've posted before, but here they are for comparison:

Hooks: TMC531 #12 and TMC 900BL #20 used here
Thread: 14/0 Sheer, brown
Body: Wapsi Superfine, olive
Tail: Coq de Leon
Wing: CDC in split thread loop, olive / brown


Trout & Salmon Magazine's August advert for Deer Creek has recently been prepared, and uses some of the photos I've taken for the company.

Nik Wright has really developed Deer Creek over the last few months with a wealth of new patterns, interesting materials and he has started to collaborate with some really interesting tyers. Certainly, having photographed most of the flies for Deer Creek, I can vouch for their quality of tying. Impressive indeed.