Thursday, 28 October 2010

The Little Avon with BIG potential.

As a youngster, there was a river I used to peer into and watch the trout feeding below a bridge. A couple of decades on, and I finally fished it... but with a fly rod in search of grayling. My thanks to my host, Peter Anderson for his kind invitation to sample an absolute jewel of a stream in South Gloucestershire.

We started the day with a quick look at the water. Nicely coloured and at a good level, prospects were good. It was pretty mild, but there was a brisk breeze. Peter kindly let me fish the first beat, and with a couple of casts, trundling a cased caddis through the runs, I connected with a fish.

A couple more takes followed, although keeping on the hook was somewhat easier said than done. The fish were very forgiving of our presence and even with the shorter rod, short lne nymphing was perfectly possible. Despite some fantastic looking water though, the fish were not fully playing the game. We were having to scratch a little.

Perfect to look at, this run suprisingly didn't deliver:

We split for the latter half of the day, and I picked my way through some lovely looking water, this time with the 10' #4 rod. This gave me the perfect control. A few fish obliged; changing to two flies helped: a cased caddis and a shrimp pattern.

Look at the tail (paddle!) on this beauty:

After a few more takes (and a few more lost fish...) I found a few rising grayling. With initially little sign of fly activity, it was a #20 CDC Shuttlecock that brought the fish up - and some great rises too, watching the fish appear from the depths and assault the fly!

It soon becamce apparent that there were a few spinners about - checking the spiders' webs can be a superb way of identifying the hatches.

A crumpled Pale Watery spinner. Note the length of the tails:

Pale Watery (Baetis Fuscatis spinners were evident. However, these spinners crawl down into the water to lay there eggs, meaning a well presented spider pattern is often what is called for. However, perhaps for another day.

Peter had caught some superb fish and certainly knows his way around this little stream. And what potential it has.

Some handsome grayling for Peter:

A good sized, out-of-season Brown for Peter, carefully released in the water:


Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Faced with a sunny and suprisingly warm day, it seemed an ideal opportunity to check out some new water - with some potential for winter grayling and perhaps a venue to introduce people to fishing small streams. As said in battle, 'Time spent in reconnaissance is seldom wasted' and certainly it is true for visiting rivers too!

There were a few feeding fish, but with high banks and a following sunshine, getting close to see what they were was just not on the cards. Still, encouraging to see and gets the rod arm twitching for a imminent grayling venture on a new river... watch this space!


Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Cold Weather Dry Fly

So we've seen the first frosts of autumn / winter, but don't be in too much of a hurry to get the heavy-weight bugs out when targetting grayling. There's still a good chance of seeing Large Dark Olives (Baetis Rhodani) hatching and fish turning onto them, chasing the emerging nymphs and the dun.

For the emerger, you could do worse than trying the CDC Shuttlecock. Simple to tie and super-effective!

(Tied on a Partridge SLD #18)

When the duns are on the surface, floating down the current seams, the colder weather can sometimes mean they take a while before taking to the wing. Dun patterns worth a try include:

(Tied on a Partridge SLD #18)

(Tied on a Partridge SLD #16)


Sunday, 24 October 2010

Well this has to be the longest time lapse between posts since I started the blog! So my apologies!

The end of the trout season has come and gone and thoughts start to turn to the prospect of some grayling. Certainly there are a few dates on the callender already (one in just a few days...).

It's been a great season, although I have made it out far less than I had planned (will that ever change?). The most memorable trip for me this past year was a visit to the Derbyshire Wye.

A cracking wild rainbow, and my 'fish of the season':

Dave Smith lands a magnificent grayling:

I've also had some great fun targetting fish with the 10' #4 rod and small nymphs and dries this year:

The British Fly Fair International just seems to have crept up this year and I sit here typing with less than a week to go before it begins. I truly think it the best of all the shows and well worth a visit - as indicated by the good number of international tyers, and indeed visitors, that make the effort for the 2-day event.

I'm looking forward to catching up with many friends and being amazed by the wealth of skill and talent on show. If you are visiting, please come over and say 'Hi'. Not only is the show an exhibition of great tying, there is also the opportunity check out some fantastic tackle. This year, for the first time, Mark Leggett will be present at the the show with the Alternative Tackle Company. With quite a specialist range of rods and reels, it'll be sweet shop time.

Check out the site and make sure, if you're at the show, you check the stand out.


Saturday, 9 October 2010

The Partidge Klinkhamer hook, in gold, is the perfect addition to the caddis imitations in the fly box:

How much difference does hook colour make? A variable worth further investigation...


Friday, 1 October 2010

Parachute posts

Following a recent demo, I thought I'd highlight the technique I use for tying in a wing post for a parachute hackle.

With your post material, 'pick up' the hanging thread. Allow it to sit on the top of the fly:

Now turn the post through 90 degrees - as though you were tying the wings in the 'spent' position. Here you are looking down on the top of the hook:

Pull both sides of the wing downwards, either side of the hook:

Then, holding the wing together and under tension, swing the wing up to the top of the fly. It should now be in the perfect position as a post for the parachute hackle. Make thread wraps either side of the post and then just two or three wraps around the post - no more though!

Choose your thorax dubbing and make wraps either side of the post. Start to build a small, neat thorax. Take the dubbing to behind the eye and complete the thorax. The thread should finish next to and behind the post.
From now on you should only make thread wraps around the post:

Select the hackle you want. Strip the fibres from the last inch of stem. Offer the hackle feather up to the base of the post. Catch it in with two wraps of thread around the post:

So why choose this technique over more traditional methods? Well doing it in this way allows me to produce:

1) A durable hackle.

2) A neat thorax.

3) No unnecessary build up of the body (often a danger when tying the post in first and under the thorax / dubbing).

4) The wing is in the perfect position with no need to add extra thread wraps to get it in position.

You can see the full tying sequence here:
River Fly Box: Tying the parachute emerger

The same approach is also used here:
River Fly Box: Tying the paradun

If you've not tried it, give it a go and experiment.