Wednesday, 27 November 2013


It's grayling time and the Gammarus imitations are on the menu. I'll be tying some of these at this weekend's IFISH show:


Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Some River Fly Box goodies available:

As we approach the winter, I have a few offers / last minute sessions available -partly due to cancellations (and partly because we are not a million miles from the festive season!)

If you're interested in booking any of the following, please email me here

Or call me: 07711432055

Sunday 24th November - 4 hour casting lesson (morning) - now only £75 (usually £90)

Sunday 8th December - 4 hours casting lesson (morning) - now only £75 (usually £90)

Sunday 15th December - 4 hours casting lesson (morning) - now only £75 (usually £90)

I also have some fly selections available - some cancelled orders (hence a very low price!) and also some boxes I have from preparation for the IFISH show at the end of the month:

60 River Dry Flies in threader box -  - NOW SOLD

12 Mayfly dries - in plastic partitioned box - usually £30 - now just £25 posted
(2 sets available)

Grayling Bug selection (12 flies) - in plastic partitioned box - usually £30 - now just £25 posted
 (2 sets available)

 CDC Dries (12 flies) - in plastic partitioned box - usually £30 - now just £20 posted
(2 sets available)


Sunday, 3 November 2013

Peak condition and another record.

Another record set then for temperatures? I have heard that October should hit the books for being one of the warmest on record - and that has had a significant impact on the fishing. By the start of November I have usually started my grayling fishing with real enthusiasm. But my nearest rivers remain low and, whilst the chalkstreams are but a stone's throw away, it just doesn't feel right - when the temperatures remain upwards of 15 degrees.

Cased-caddis aplenty

In the last week or so, the winds have been strengthening and the rain has been falling - and colouring up the river. Prospects are good and there are plenty of cased caddis providing a food reserve throughout the winter months. Despite tricky weather and river conditions, I have still been able to deliver some casting lessons and even a little bit of guided fishing - but on stillwaters, chasing rainbows. And it is here that the fish have remained active in the upper layer - clearly hungry and on the look out for late season food.

A solid rainbow ~ the dry fly continues to tempt

It has been more like summer- stalking big rainbows in the shallows - because that is where they are hanging out. So it has been crunchers and mini-lures in the top 12" of water... and even some dry fly action.

3lb 12oz of out of season brownie...

... heading back

3lb 8oz of fighting fit rainbow

So, whilst I am in the midst of completing plenty of tying, I am secretly looking forward to the temperatures bottoming out - and the lady of the stream finding some buddies to shoal up with. I will hopefully be reporting back with news of a few 'big-girls' in the net. As I write, the rain is falling - and hopefully giving the rivers a much needed boost.


Friday, 25 October 2013

Food for thought

The bi-annual AAPGAI open day is always a good event. Not only does it encourage wannabe instructors to meet and experience what AAPGAI is all about, it allows its commited members to get together, chat, cast and catch up. I always exit these weekends inspired and more motivated than ever. The open day also follows an intense week of assessing those people who have chosen to put themselves through these gruelling examinations.

I had the pleasure of being part of the demonstration team this year. I am already looking forward to March's event in Cockermouth.

If you want to know more about AAPGAI, check out the AAPGAI website here.

The weather is set to turn this weekend and there is a hefty storm forecast for the beginning of the week. Fingers crossed I can get on the river and do some teaching this weekend before turns too unsettled.


Monday, 14 October 2013

Partridge Midge Supreme #20, 22 & 24

The new Partridge Midge Supreme is now available and, when samples arrived, it was time to put the grayling bugs on hold and get on with replenishing the fly boxes for next season. My midge and terresterial fly box gets an airing from pretty much April through the October; but especially after Mayfly have shown themselves and the warmer months start and the fish need to be more opportunistic in their meal choices. They have taken a battering this year, so getting some tried and tested patterns onto these new irons was top of the agenda.

This is a sharp, well formed little customer, stronger in the wire than many of the other sub-20 hooks available. The standard wire and forged round bend with the large gape make it ideal for tying small CDC Beetle and ant patterns.

These are available in size 20, 22 and 24. I'll be using them at the IFISH show later in November if you'd like to check them out.


Sunday, 13 October 2013

Onwards and upwards

It's the last weekend of the 2013 trout season and it was obligatory to fish the same river I started my season. Where as we began on April the 1st with a cold, biting wind and snow, we finished it with a drop in temperatures and a deluge of rain. With the river rising around us and colour creeping in thanks to the farmland run off, there was a feeling of limited time. French leaders and a methodical approach soon saw the first fish come bouncing in. Whilst there was nothing large, it's always nice to connect with healthy, wild fish before they begin their spawning campaign.

So onto the grayling now and plenty of casting and tying shows coming up.

I hope the 2013 trout season has served you well.


Monday, 23 September 2013

Partridge Midge Supreme

The Summer months and then on into the back end of the trout season, often call for small, terrestrial fly imitations. In a recent article in  Fly Fishing & Fly Tying, I discussed the merits of the smaller fly and some of the techniques to get the most out of fishing these tiny offerings. They are my first choice throughout a huge part of the fishing season.

Partridge have introduced a hook pattern specifically to help us imitate these small flies - their 'Midge Supreme.

First impressions are very good and I'll be posting some examples in due course.

I'll also be giving these hooks an airing at the IFISH show at the end of November. I hope to see some of you there.


Saturday, 21 September 2013

I was joined by Juan and Ale, from Argentina, who wanted to sample some UK fishing - and what better place to be than a crystal-clear chalkstream. It was pretty tough going, but both managed to connect with fish - and on the dry fly too!

Juan with his first ever grayling

Ale covers a rise
Well done to both - a pleasure to be out with you. Now, I just need to get myself over to Argentina!


Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Remembering Mark.

It was a sad moment when I heard that Mark Libertone, known as 'Soft Hackle' on many forums, passed away this week. Although I felt I knew him as a friend, I strangely never met Mark in person. We had many conversations and exchanges from across the pond over the internet, on many forums and different networking sites. I valued his input and thoughts. His approach was always kind and considered.

Mark will stick on my mind as a master in the world of fly tying - and whilst he tied other styles of flies, it's spiders and soft hackles I will remember him for. He was truly passionate about the subject and his knowledge vast.

I thought I'd share some of Mark's flies; such simple and beautiful creations:

More of Mark's flies can be seen here: Mark Libertone

My thoughts are with his family.


Sunday, 15 September 2013

Still Looking Up

As I write, there is at last some rain falling and the wind is blowing hard. In anticipation of the change in conditions, it seems the fish have been feeding hard in preparation for less settled weather. On the rivers it has been terrestrial patterns that have scored more than anything else. The fish are quite willing to rise and a well presented beetle pattern has been the undoing of some beautiful brownies.

To avoid the wind and rain, I rearranged a few things and too first time fly fisher Richard a day earlier to get him casting and chasing some fish. Tackling rainbow trout usually means the chances of success are somewhat improved and it didn't take long before Richard felt the draw on the line and a super-charged 'bow pulling against him. But it was great to get him into some rising fish - certainly a sure fire way of enthusing someone new to the sport.

A solid fish to kick off the session

Richard with his first fly caught fish

Back guiding on the chalkstreams soon - and hoping this break in the weather will have stirred things up.


Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Autumn's knocking

It always surprises me when you reach mid-August how the light seems to start disappearing that little bit earlier. Always looking forward to the the next season, Autumn is always full of reward. Having been wetting a line in search of bass, it has been nice this week to get back on the chalk, chasing grayling and trout. Both are in fine condition and the last week has given some superb sight fishing opportunities.

Having just got back from guiding, I thought it time to share a few pictures from this week:

A cracking grayling falling for the French leader presentation

Guiding Colin on Wednesday, we were working through a series of techniques. Having never fished a chalkstream before he lacked the confidence the fish nymphs. By the end of the day he had managed to catch using the French leader, the dry fry and classic upstream nymphing - all sight fishing. Well done Colin!

A good grayling on the upstream nymph

This spotty fell for a sedge imitation


Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Wait for it...

With the arrival of some rain, it is fair to say things have freshened up. The rivers have risen and there's a bit of colour making its way through the system. The chalkstreams remain clear and their fish willing to make the most of the Blue Winged Olive spinners fall in the evening.

No need to arrive to early though and those leaving the river early are missing out. The fish never really looked up until around 8.45pm and sport lasted for just thirty minutes or so. There were some good fish feeding hard too. There's nothing like seeing that large snout break through the surface to get the heart racing!

Sipping BWO Spinners

Handsome reward for a pin-point accurate cast


Friday, 26 July 2013

As the light falls

The best of the fishing is, without a doubt, as the light begins to fall. It is almost like a switch, with the fish starting to feed confidently. Blue winged Olive Spinners and sedge are all for the taking and the fish are quick to seize the opportunity with added security and raised confidence that low light levels bring. The moral is to never leave the river too early!

Taken on a size 16 para-spinner as the light disappears


Thursday, 25 July 2013


Although big trout may be the focus at the moment, large grayling are not to be ignored. Whilst I prefer to target them in the winter, these summer fish are looking in prime condition:


Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Cool waters

One of the many advantages of having access to chalkstreams is that, even when the temperatures sore, this filtered, clear water remains relatively cool. Whilst the brightness may remain, the fish are still willing to feed. Whilst the very best of the fishing can be found as dusk sets in, nymphing can result in some superb results, even during the hottest and brightest hours of the day:

Presenting a nymph to an actively feeding brownie

A handsome reward, taking a deeply fished nymph

Another super condition trout falling for the nymph

A solid fish, scoffing down nymphs

The crystal clear, cooler waters

2lb 8oz of brown trout


Monday, 22 July 2013

Low Flows

These sustained high temperatures and lack of rain are leaving many of the rivers on their bones. This, coninciding with the brightness means the middle of the day can be tough. However, waiting until last light can pay dividends. Caddis and Blue Winged Olive spinners (Serratella Ignita, imago) will persuade the fish to rise.

This handsome fish had been rising earlier in the day, but despite it coing to the fly, the anticipation must have got the better of me and the fly came whizzing back towards me as I lifted. Several hours later and the fish was back on station, feeding happily:

A fine brownie that was sipping down spinners

Carefully drawing the fish out of the pool and netting it a little downstream allowed another fish in the same lie to continue feeding - only to be winkled out by Nick Steedman shortly afterwards: 

The cooler waters of the chalkstreams offer the chance of some good sport  even in the day time. More on that soon.


Friday, 12 July 2013

Some Like it Hot!

I wonder how long this BBQ weather will hold on for - we have had some super warm days over the last few weeks and it has pushed the very best of the fishing into the early and late hours of the day. The river has been best approached with the nymph; the longer French style leader coming into its own.

The stillwaters are also showing some good form. However, whilst these warm conditions may prove enticing for some good sedge hatches and rising fish chasing them, making contact can be tricky. The fishing is a little tricky at times, but target the cooler parts of the day and ensure your approach is super-stealthy and a decent fish can be your reward, be it from river or lake.

A lovely brown trout taken as the light fades

Chew Valley Lake, as the light fades

Just over 3lb of prime rainbow on a 1 weight

There are plenty of sedge showing

The next month or so is very busy with guiding, teaching and some fishing for myself. I'll report back soon on the search for some sea trout too.


Tuesday, 2 July 2013

S&DAC Open Day 2013

A video of the Salisbury & District Open Day back at the start of May:

S&DAC Open Day 2013

Filming and editing by Ian May


Tuesday, 25 June 2013

BFFI 2013

Just back from the British Fly Fair 2013. What a great show it was again. Great to see so many friends and to meet the many people that came over to chat and watch me tie some flies. My special thanks to those that made the effort to watch my demonstration each day.

A busy weekend meant that it was tricky to find the time to take pictures, but here are a few:

Gareth Lewis, tying superb flies

Alex Jardine on the Partridge stand

Always good to catch up with Georgr Barron

AAPGAI casting demos and tuition were available

Stunning flies by Peter Smith

Jim Lees - my neighbour for the weekend

Paul and Karl mid-demo