Sunday, 25 September 2011

Star Pupa

I've had some frustrating sessions this last few days on my river. Very little fly life about - the odd willow fly, but the occasional dense midge hatch, small midge that would last for a few minutes, then all is dead again.

No fish coming up, but, during the midge hatch, there was the odd 'bubble' at the surface - not a rise as such. I am interpreting this this season as the fish feeding on pupa sub surface, and occasionally this takes them into the film.

I tried just about everything, but without much result. Yesterday, two fish (and one a sprat! lol) in three hours fishing wasn't unusual for me this last few days.

This morning I had a play at the vice, trying to tie up something that might pass for a midge pupa - at least in a back alley on a dark, moonless night.

Small Midge Pupa Olive

Hook: Verivas Wave #22 Thread: Olive. Small gold bead. Overbody: Shredded carpet backing.

I would have gone for a #24 if I had had any.

The hole in the bead was too big, in the sense that it would slide over the hook eye, so I had to build up a thread stopper. I tied these in olive, yellow, black and cream - yellow / cream seem to match the colours of the midge I have seen hatching these last few days.

The necessity of the thread stopper got me thinking. The other evening I was talking to Karl Humphries (fly fisher and tyer of some renown!) about a story I'm working on at the moment. Rather cheekily, I asked him for any advice regarding these frustrating sessions, and we got talking fly tying in general. Karl was talking about tying in 'hotspots', and that in his opinion they should be at the head of the fly. Given the need for this thread stopper on this midge pattern, I thought that here was the ideal opportunity to try out the theory. So I put on my sunglasses and got out the Lureflash:

Small Midge Pupa Hot
Yellow underbody this time.

 Went out onto the river and fished a team of two, with the punk fly on the point. Now conditions weren't as they had been this last few days. They were similar inasmuch as there was very little fly life, and no rising fish, but the midge hatches were sporadic rather than in the density of the last few days.

But, the flies caught fish. The punk fly caught me three before I lost it - and the only one I had with me. But, the others caught for me too. Satisfyingly, on two ocassions, I saw fish 'bubbling' at the surface as they had been doing in the dense midge hatches, and by pulling this pattern quickly through their general location it caught fish.

So, wouldn't go so far as to say problem solved, but I feel happy that problem is identified - which is half the battle! The 'hotspot' pattern was interesting though - near instant results. Will be trying that again. I suspect today would have been another very frustrating day without these flies, so must be on the right lines.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Back to the flow

After my brief foray to the still water, it was with some relief that yesterday I donned my waders, stepped back in to the fray and went for a stroll up the river. I even remembered to take my fishing rod with me.

I had a surprisingly good couple of hours in the afternoon, given that the water levels were so high. Reasonably clear though. Not much sign of fly life, but there were a few willow fly about, cranking around and depositing their eggs.

I caught on goldhead hare's ear, the snowshoe Hare's emerger that was new pattern to me (as mentioned in last post) and an elk hair emerger pattern I've been playing around with. Here are the first three:

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On one stretch though, a good old Sawyer's PTN was picking up fish one after another.

Think I must have made double figures in the end, but hey - who's counting? ;-)

Lost one decent fish though, soon after hooking up, which no one likes to do. I'd guess a pound plus.

Good session though, and a nice bonus - unexpected.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Book extract: Bob Wyatt

Via Midcurrent: An interesting take on Catch and Release from Bob Wyatt's forthcoming book (2012) 'The educated trout and other fly-fishing myths'.

I like Bob Wyatt - he cuts us fly fishers and tyers down to size a bit. He knows the real reason some of us like to think of trout as being clever - it is because it makes us seem cleverer if we catch them, or gives us a good excuse if we don't.

He advocates 'suggestive' patterns, rather than attempting a precise imitation (which is clearly an impossible task anyway!)

And talking of his suggestive patterns, I nicked one of his ideas and fished it today - and caught trout with it too. The bit of his pattern I appropriated was to use Snowshoe Hare's Foot as winging material. You can see him tie a pattern using this wing here, (from Hatches Magazine).

Mine didn't float too well - fishing on the waterlogged side of damp! lol But, I was fishing it close enough in to see the fish taking the fly just beneath the surface so I stuck with it to take three fish with it. But not entirely satisfactory. Will be trying it again though.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

More 'trout' than 'salmon'....

I've recently heard that I am going to be writing for Trout & Salmon Magazine. To say that I am rather chuffed about that would be an under-statement.... ;-)

Oh well, there goes the neighbourhood! lol

Errwood Reservoir

Last week I had one of my infrequent urges to fish a still water - I am usually a strictly river kind of guy. When I have fished still water, and caught fish, I've always felt it to be more by luck than judgement, and I thought it was time to address that.

So I headed up into the hills above Buxton, Derbyshire, to Errwood Reservoir, where Ian Gould, Secretary of Errwood Fly Fishing club and who knows a thing or two about fishing, had kindly offered to show me the ropes.

I've interviewed Ian, and he gives some really good pointers to anglers either new or relatively new to reservoir fishing, or who quite fancies giving it a go but hasn't yet got around to it. If this last is you, then you no longer have any excuses. The article is scheduled to go in Countryman's Weekly on 5th October. Ian is a great bloke with great advice to offer - and he puts it over well too.

Ian though, shock horror, does not tie his own flies. He showed me a Shipman's Buzzer he'd bought and I think I actually shuddered. It was so like a cigar I wasn't sure whether he was going to cast it or light it up. I nodded along and smiled of course, humouring him, but confident in the knowledge that that fly couldn't catch a rain drop in a thunderstorm.

My illusions were somewhat shattered when a few minutes later, Ian was landing his seventh double digit fish of the season - a rainbow trout of quite awesome proportions. Needless to say, and no doubt purely to spite me, it had found the Shipman's Buzzer simply irresistable.

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This fish had clearly been reading the wrong fly tying books, and unperturbed, I tied up a selection of Shipman's Buzzers in the style of the river flies I usually tie.

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I've given these to Ian and asked him to fish them and let me know how he goes on with them. So, the challenge is on.

It was a good afternoon Ian, I learnt a lot, cheers, and hopefully we got a good story out of it too.

I've also agreed to reciprocate and take him grayling fishing this winter. If he out-fishes me on the river too, then I shall sulk.

Post Script: No fish were harmed during the making of this production - a little shaken up maybe, but the monster was returned fit and well to the murky depths, hopefully to read up on what a proper fishing fly should look like.