Saturday, 1 November 2014

Regal Vice Pro-team

The grayling season is upon us, although it feels more like September. October 31st recorded 20 deg C and it feels strange!

. I have been lucky to find grayling on every visit so far, and whilst the largr fish are proving elusive, the fish I have caught have been on dries as well as nymphs. I am looking forward to plenty more!

So it's time to keep the fly boxes filling up and I am delighted to announce I have been asked to be part of the Regal Vice pro-team. A great piece of kit and I'll be using it for my tying at home and at the shows.

The next show is IFISH at the end of October where I'll be doing a demo on grayling bugs. I'll also be tying again at the BFFI next year.

Check out this month's Fly Fishing and Fly Tying as I offeer a juicy jig nymph to get you amongst the grayling:


Sunday, 28 September 2014


We are nearing the end of the trout season and I am looking forward to searching out some big grayling this year. Whilst I may be adding to the bugging box, my attention is currently on those fish feeding hard and preparing for the colder months. On the river, there has been some action with gnats, but stillwater fishing is at its best in September and October. The fish are starting to find their aggresive, hunting charateristics and are paying attention to the shoals of fry - their own harvest.

A couple of good fish on weed bed patrol

This can be electrifying sport - fish crashing though the shoals only to turn a mop of the injured fish left in the upper layers makes for  stunning fishing. It can often sort out the better fish too. The fish are usually patrolling the edges of weedbeds and happy to swim in shallow water.

A fry-feeding beauty

In October's Fly Fishing and Fly Tying, I offered a muddler pattern that bridges the gap between corixa feeders and fry bashers. Worth a try when pulled, twitched or left to hang just below the surface.

A pattern for Corixa or fry imitation

Monday, 1 September 2014

Reprise from the heat

July and August have been tough with some high temperatures. A little rain at the back of end of August has helped freshen some of the rivers a little, but we are still flowing at Summer levels. Hatches have been pretty good, but it has been caddis that have done most of the damage in the evenings. Indeed, other than a few nights, the Blue Winged Olives have remained a little elusive in comparison to usual warm, muggy evenings.

There are plenty of sea trout in the rivers too. A drop in evening temoeratures have made fishing into the night a little tricky with a mist forming over the river - a sure fire way of ruining a good evening on the sewin! Still, there is one more night planned and fingers crossed it'll produce the goods. September and October offer some superb fishing and I am looking forward to the Autumn - a great time to be on the river.

One on the BWO at last!

My caddis pattern featured in July's FF&FT

A cast on the Wylye

Alex with a fantastic upper Wylye brown

Alovely wild fish for me from the Upper Wylye
 I am looking forward to reporting some great back end fishing. Watch this space!


Sunday, 13 July 2014

Summer nights...

Whilst our beloved chalkstreams are looking peachy, other local rivers are finding themselves at summer levels. That makes fishing pretty tricky. In the day, it has been the long leader that has produced the goods. The stealth and presentation it offers really does help you to get amongst the fish. However, it's the evenings where the action really is. There are plenty of sedge around and fish will happily feed right into the darkness. There are the first signs of the Blue-Winged -Olive spinners littering the water too - afeeding opportunity the fish will make the most of. I have been lucky to get into some decent fish in the evenings... but the best is very much yet to come!

A 3.5lb brownie from the River Test

A client from last weekend into a great fish

Stunning dry fly sport with fish of this size
A late evening stalked fish chomping BWOs and sedge.


Sunday, 15 June 2014

And they delivered...

The lack of blogging is proportional to the lack of time! Not that I can complain - I have managed a lot of fishing and we have been blessed with some cracking insect activity to get the fish feeeding. The Mayfly has been excellent and I have been fortunate to latch into some huge hatches. But the gnats have been on the water in force this year and they have offered the chance of some excellent dry fly fishing in place of the fabled hatches on upwinged species. Long may this continue - and I would fully expect it to in one form or another as we move into the warmer months.

There have plenty of HUGE sedge showing themselves too and this gives some great late night fishing - and it is worth staying after darkness has fallen and colour in the leaves has disappeared.

A small river trout, taking black gnats

Feeding in a foam line, knocking off clusters of black gnats

One of the mayfly

A beauty from the Wylye

Rain doesn't dampen the mayfly's attempts to hatch

A large sedge feeder at last knockings

More soon - and with greater frequency - I promise!


Saturday, 19 April 2014

Pick your days

Spring is a great time of year to be out, not least because it gives the chance to get stuck into some fit and feisty fish that are hungry after the winter, especially given the floods we have encountered. However, 2014 is proving somewhat inconsistent. Time it right and there is the chance of some great sport, especially on the dry fly. There have also been days where the fish have proven really hard to come by. Tough.

I had the pleasure to take Ian out to teach him a range of stillwater techniques. It was a day of great sport and the fish are feeding hard on buzzer. Slow drifts, just keeping in touch with a team of three produced some arm-wrenching takes and fine rainbows and blue trout were the reward. In brighter conditions, small lures pay dividends. Blagdon and Chew have also been producing fish to lures but when the conditions are right, there's already a chance of fish coming to the dry.

A handsome buzzer-feeding rainbow
Ian with the first fish of the day on a black buzzer

Early season hatches are usually a civilised affair, with the bounty occuring at around lunchtime. We have had some good flurries of Grannom that have brought the fish to the surface. Make the most of these though as they are gone as quickly as they started.

A plkump Garnnom-feeding brownie taken on the dry

Most recently I fished the Usk with a good friend. Conditions were tougher than tough and, whilst going after big fish is always a potentially frustrating affair, the fish we did find feeding were amongst the spookiest I think I have ever encountered. I will be back there soon!

Fly hatches were sparse and highly inconsistent. It was interesting to see a few Turkey Brown Duns (Paraleptophlebia submarginata) on the surface - a species that usually hatches a little later in the season.
Turkey Brown Dun

It won't be long before we start to think about Mayfly - infact I have already heard reports of a few hatching in April! In this month's Fly Fishing and Fly Tying, I offer my favourite spinner pattern that has been serving me well. I hope you enjoy it.

The spent spinner
This is tied on the Partridge Extreme Klinkhamer (15BN) hook.


Thursday, 3 April 2014

First pickings

The 2014 trout season has started and it wasn't long before I netted my first brownie of the year. Plenty of fish about although they're lying deep. It won't be long before the Large Dark Olive persuade them to feed on the surface.

The first of the season

The Wild Trout Trust work has started

Another good sized, male fish

Look at that tail!

Great condition after the winter

Another on the jig hook

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Ever nearing...

Probably the longest period of time between blog posts; for which I apologise! I cannot use the excuse either that I have been out fishing since the rivers have been so heavily affected by the extreme rainfall we have had this winter. It has really hampered this year's grayling fishing. That said, I have still managed a few visits to the Test and the Wylye and, despite exceptional flows and river heights, there have been a few fish to be caught.

I have spent a good deal of time preparing for the new season which is just around the corner. I have been working hard to tie up some trusted patterns and also some experimental versions which will get an airing this year.

Tied on a Partridge Klinkhamer Extreme 15BN

Tied on a Partridge CZF

Tied on a Partridge CZF

Tied on Partridhe SUD #8

Tied on a size 24 Partridge Klinhamer Extreme

Tied on a Partridge Klinkhamer hook (gold)

Tied on a size 14 Partridge SLD

I am also really pleased to be writing more this year for Fly Fishing and Fly Tying magazine and, over the coming months, there will be some articles on some of my favourite patterns and techniques.

I am really looking forward to making my first casts of the season. I can already see that big snout breaking the surface and engulfing my fly on a warm, early season day. Exciting stuff... see you out there!


Thursday, 2 January 2014

Wet, wet, wet and a Happy New Year!

Firstly, a very happy new year for 2014! Let's hope it's a good one with plenty of fish gracing the net. It is certainly starting as a wet one, and there is more rain forecast. This has hampered the chances of grayling fishing, with even the usually relaible chalkstreams out of action thanks to high and coloured water.

I have had to cancel quite a lot of guiding and fishing sessions, so it has been time to to get behind the vice a get those boxes filled. So, let's hope for more settled weather in the coming on months and some quality fishing.