Friday, 20 February 2009

Mayflies the Big Boys!

Ephemera danica. E. vulgata. E. lineata. I'm lucky enough to have all three of the large Mayfly species, living in and around this region of France.
Whilst in England, E. danica is the most common species, in this area E. vulgata seems to be more common, or at least the one I see the most. E. lineata is not over common but found often enough if you are looking for it, and know what to look for?

I don't profess to know a great deal about Entomology, but enough to get by, and more importantly what to look for when trout are feeding.
For a long time during my early fishing years, I would tie on a dry fly at any sign of rising fish, now however I can read the rise forms better. Trout seem to spend a long time taking emerging insects on my local river, and it takes a very big hatch of Mayflies to make them lose all there caution, and take the fully emerged duns!
I expect this is down to were the most food is found, and how much effort they have to excert to eat it. It may also have something to do with sunlight too, in this region we get many bright, hot days during the summer, perfect weather for big fish stalking, but not good for hatches or for trout taking insects off the surface.
However when your in that cold chalk stream water, on a red hot day, with fish bulging on the surface, its all good, oh yes, all good!!

Friday, 13 February 2009

Casting, does practice make perfect?

Ever since I discovered Fly Fishing some 30 years ago, I have been in love with the art of Fly Casting. Practice for me is all about learning something new, or perfecting a difficult cast. At one time I mainly fished still waters, where the need for distance was paramount. However in the last 15 years, rivers have been more important to me, and I discovered all that distance practice was of little use to a river Fly Fisher!

During my river fishing season, its rare for me to have more than 2-3 rod lengths of fly line out of the rod tip at any one time. With a 12' leader that still 30' of line and nylon, and as most of my fishing is to sighted trout, I often have considerably less than this.
Drag is the river fly fishers greatest enemy, so many of the casts I practice are designed to put slack into the fly line and leader, or position the fly line in such a way that it does not scare the trout by landing near it.

The winter (on non windy days) is an ideal time to practice these special casts. For many of us the winter means, no trout fishing, and time on our hands. I find it takes several days of practice to learn a new cast, but a little and often is sometimes better than prolonged sessions.

Unlike fly tying, fly casting is difficult (but not impossible) to learn from a book, you really do need "hands on" experience, and a good coach can save hours of frustration. If your looking to river fly fish this season, then start that practice right now. It really will pay off on the river, I promise!

One book I can recommend is; Jason Borger's 'Nature Of Fly Casting'.

Maybe the best web site on the subject of casting is; Run by one of the best fly casters, and trout bums I know, Paul Arden.

Wednesday, 4 February 2009


Sunday, 1 February 2009

My Top Wet Flies.

If I only had a choice of 4 flies for the coming season, these would be my wet fly choice! But of cause like all fly fishers, I have a box full!!
Fished upstream or upstream and across, slim wet flies or spiders as they are called are deadly. During an early hatch when trout are taking the emerging nymph, or when fish are not confident in taking the fully emerged insect, spiders are lethal.
If you get those times when a fish just moves once, and your unsure of the taken insect, casting a spider over the rise, can result in a confident take.
So what do spiders represent? Well almost any mayfly, caddis or terrestrial can be represented, by the sparse dressing of spiders.
I can recommend the DVD by Oliver Edwards under his Essential Skills Titles called 'Wet Fly Fishing On Rivers'. Were he covers all the flies, methods, and tackle for this interesting and lost art of wet fly fishing.