Thursday, 27 December 2012

Grayling Day Cancelled 30/12/12

It's with regret that I have had to cancel the grayling day planned for the 30th of December.

I have been visiting the river and checking EA data and the river is (again) high and very coloured. Today’s visit found a very swollen and coloured river and the forecast suggests another significant fall of rain on  Friday and Saturday. Not only would the fishing be extremely difficult with these conditions, there is a safety aspect to consider too.

The pictures from this morning say it all really:


Sunday, 23 December 2012

A Very Merry...

...Christmas to everyone who reads and follows the River Fly Box.

Wishing you all a peaceful and festive time.


Friday, 21 December 2012

Chocolate-brown Christmas!?

Coloured water at the bottom of the beat
The amount of rain we have experienced in the last few weeks has been incredible and this has rendered the rivers unfishable; sometimes dangerous. Last weekend we ventured out hoping to find some hungry grayling, but despite trying to get above the coloured water feeding into the river, conditions were against us.

Mike reaches to maximise the drift of the nymphs

A colder morning than planned. A new 55-200 lens tried out too.

So much water coming through the system!
Frustration struck in as we tried to find Mike his first grayling. Despite a grand effort on his part covering the water methodically, it was not meant to be. A loan grayling graced my net just before lunch, but the colour was increasing - the polar opposite of the chances of more grayling.

Another belt of rain is set to hit this weekend and bring the river up again. Some pike fishing maybe on the cards or a festive trip after some winter rainbows - all will depend on these oppressive weather fronts.

I am running a grayling day on 30th of the month and my fingers are firmly crossed that the rain will ease long enough to bring the river back into fisheable colour and height.
New lens time again... a buzzard mobbed by a crow

If you are out and about this Christmas, wade safely and take care. Wishing you all the very Happiest of Christmasses!


Thursday, 6 December 2012

River Fly Box - Vouchers for Christmas

It's not long now until Christmas is upon us; the weather is turning colder, leaving us all wondering if it's going to snow over the festive break. If you're looking for that last minute, special present, then please do consider a River Fly Box voucher.

Whether it is for a day's fishing or an hour or two's casting, vouchers are available from £25 upwards. Whether it's a seasoned angler that wants to develop their casting even further or a complete beginner, sessions will be tailor made to suit the requirements of the lucky recipient.

Don't think it has to be redeemed in the Winter time either. We can arrange for anytime in the season to suit (when the fly are puring from the river and the evenings are long and balmy!).

If you're interested or would like to buy some vouchers, please get in touch via the website or by email.

... and don't forget, sometimes it's nice to treat yourself once in while ;-)


Sunday, 2 December 2012


Those rivers that are not visited much in the winter always offer a suprise in April, following the usual winter heavier water and floods. Often pools have changed in character and the currents have altered, changing the holding positions for the fish and areas for future weed growth. Usually this is due to months of higher water, scouring the bottom and shifting debris around the river. This 'flush' is essential for the river's health, not to mention the cleaning of gravel, so important for the redds and the future stocks of fish.

Another hard frost upon saturated ground

After last week's unprecidented rain fall, the flood waters have ripped through the rivers near me. Having cancelled trips further afield, I headed to my nearest river to dust off the 10' #2 rod in search of grayling. Havinf only been there a few weeks before, what greeted me was suprising. Visiting today gave me a strange, somewhat empty, feeling in my stomach. A week of floods have changed areas of the river hugely. Huge (scary) amounts of shifting gravel and sediment is evident, and clearly a lot more has been dragged into the river from the fields during the water's retreat. The usual flood debris was present, but this time some 15 feet in the trsse and deposited tree branches were replaced by deposited trees trunks. It's a firm reminder of the respect all waterways demand ~ this is not even a big river.

Tree trunks deposited on the banks
 It was a crisp morning and the river was still high. The further upstream I walked the clearer the river became. However there was a noted 'silence' about the river today: the feeling that it had really taken a pounding - as I am sure many of its inhabitants also did.

A huge, new bar of gravel deposited
Another changed pool. Note the scoured banks.

No grayling showed today. Instead, out-of-season brown trout were the only fish willing to snatch my deelpy fished nymphs.

More rain is falling tonight, but I am trusting the forecasters when they say we shouldn't get another deluge in the near future. Certainly the colder weather suggests we're on for a cold winter.

Fingers crossed for some more settled, cold weather. I am running some grayling days over the next couple of months and it would be great to think the river will be in tip-top condition.


Saturday, 24 November 2012

So it's raining... again

Is this the wettest year on record for the UK? If no,t it must be close. The recent heavy rain has really thrown plans into turmoil and I am cancelling trips to avoid the flood waters. As I write, the rain is hammering upon the window and the thought of rising flood water is always a concern.

The picture shows the usually clear, tiny stream that forms the Congresbury Yeo earlier this afternoon before the rain started to fall properly.

If you are out and about, take care and stay safe.


Friday, 16 November 2012

Grayling Days

Time seems to have more lmited than ever over the past few weeks, hence my lack of blogging. My apologies! I am in the process of finalising some 'Grayling Day' dates both for my local Chew Fly Fishers Club and hopefully some general public days as well. Please keep your eyes on the blog, Twitter and Facebook for more details. I will update them soon.

In the meantime, the rivers are fishing well and the grayling are starting to shoal up prompted by the cold weather. I have a busy diary with plenty of exciting fishing booked up and I will report back soon.

In the meantime, please remember, you can follow me and the River Fly Box on Twitter and on Facebook!

If you're out fishing, enjoy!


Sunday, 4 November 2012

Size 24 Partridge Klinkhamer Xtreme

Here are my first tyings on the new #24 Klinkhamer Xtreme Hooks:


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.