Beginners guide to fly fishing

learn fly fishing  Beginners guide to fly fishing

Image source: Flickr
Passing on the wisdom

New to fly fishing? Not sure what equipment you need to buy? Or how to get started? This guide is for you.

Here we cover the very basics of fly fishing. We don’t pretend this is all you need to know to capture a record fish – but it is just enough to get you fly fishing. The rest takes a lifetime of practise – enjoy!

Get a rod licence

new rod licence Beginners guide to fly fishing

Image source: Bath Angling
Don’t forget your rod license

Next time you nip out for a paper, pick up a rod licence too. You need one to fish any inland waterway in the UK – anywhere but the sea. You can get one from your local Post Office.

Here are the current rod licence prices:

Rod licence pricing UK 2014
Rod licence Type

Non-Migratory Trout & Coarse

Full annual £27
Senior/Disabled concession £18
Junior concession (U16) £5
Children under 12 FREE
8-day £10
1-day £3.75

Salmon & Sea Trout

Full annual £72
Senior/Disabled concession £48
Junior concession (U16) £5
Children under 12 FREE
8-day £23
1-day £8

Choosing a rod

shakespeare fly rods Beginners guide to fly fishing

Image source: Shakespeare
A fine selection of fly rods and flies

Next up you need a fly fishing rod. Here your choice depends to a large extent on where you’re hoping to fish, what species you’re most interested in catching, and whether or not you’re likely to be travelling with your fishing rod.

Fly rod selection is a tough subject, so check out our guide to choosing the right fly fishing rod for more tips and advice.

Prices for a new fly rod range from around the £50 mark to £300 and upwards, but to get you started, you won’t go too far wrong with one of these little beauties – an Airflo elite fly fishing kit – a four piece rod, reel and quality fly line in a cordura tube, starting from just £129.99.

Here’s what the guys here at Fishtec thought of it when it was launched:

Which fly reel?

Die cast or machine cut? Large arbor? Click drag or disc drag? When it comes to choosing the right fly reel for you, the most important question is, what type of fish are you trying to catch?

For smaller fish like trout, a good and inexpensive choice is this Airflo Sniper Fly Reel – incredible value for money and even better – it comes with a free fly line.

If it’s larger freshwater species or saltwater varieties you intend to target, you’ll be looking for something heavier duty and with a great drag system, like the Airflo Xceed, as recommended by Trout and Salmon Magazine as one of their top reels of 2014.

For more information on reel selection, read our fly reel buying guide.

Fly line and leader

fly line Beginners guide to fly fishing

Image source: Trek Earth
Flaming fly lines

Now for your first fly line. For beginners we recommend a floating line because you’ll be able to use it for fishing both dry flies on the surface, and wet flies just under the water. The weight of your line or AFTM rating should match the rod you fish with, so make sure you look for the information written just above the handle of your rod.

Taper is an important factor to consider as it affects the distance you can cast, and the presentation of the fly. Then there’s the backing – usually braided, it’s the line you tie your specialist fly line to.

With so many factors to consider, what you really need is a guide to fly lines and backing. Luckily we prepared one earlier…and just in case you need a quick recap, check out this brief guide from Fishtec’s Tim Rajeff:

The fly

Will it be a Greenwell’s Glory, a Woodcock and Yellow, or a Red Palmer? The choice of fly patterns is endless.

Some fly fishermen fish just one pattern in different sizes, others have an armoury of tufted hooks at their disposal. The best advice here is to ask around to find out what works in your local water – and be prepared to experiment.

A top tip is to take more than you think you’ll need. You can expect to lose a few – especially to begin with.

Fly fishing clothing

scottish fishing clothing Beginners guide to fly fishing

Image source: Unaccomplished Angler Traditional fly fishing clothing

A set of neoprene chest waders, a Harris tweed jacket and hat with a feather in it – that’s all you need to keep you warm and dry isn’t it? Well, sort of.

Fly fishing clothing needs to do three things: wick moisture away from your skin; hold warm, dry air close to your body; and keep the elements out. Layers are the answer, the more you have, the more clothes you can take off as it gets warmer, or put on as the temperature drops.

Here’s a guide to carp fishing clothing – don’t worry – it works just as well for fly fishermen. Layer up and get out there!

Putting it all together

We could try to show you how to cast – but diagrams, video tutorials and written instructions won’t get you very far. To learn to cast, you need lessons from an expert, and you’re in luck because here at Fishtec, we have our very own directory of fly fishing instructors.

The good news is, you can pick up the basics in a day. But then you’ll need to perfect your technique which will take you…a lifetime! What are you waiting for?

Dave Lane Lands the 55lb Burghfield Common!

Well here it is – The Amazing capture of the 55lb Common Carp by our TF Gear consultant Dave Lane!

Many of you would have already seen the capture on Facebook and our various social networks, but such a fish is worth seeing more than once, don’t you think?

Dave mentioned to us that this magnificent fish was caught using the new TF Gear N-Tec Carp rod. On this particular range of carp rods we’ve been working closely with Dave to produce a responsive and accurate – A true casting tool. The N-Tec rods are high-modulous carbon and feature high quality components all round. Paired with the N-tec, Dave use the TF Gear PitBull Big Pit Free spool reel - An outstanding ‘big carp’ tackle combination.

 Here’s a few pictures of the 55lb Burghfiled Common.

IMG 6586 Dave Lane Lands the 55lb Burghfield Common!

IMG 6598 Dave Lane Lands the 55lb Burghfield Common!

IMG 6599 Dave Lane Lands the 55lb Burghfield Common!

Create your own Fishing Reel!

dcr4 Create your own Fishing Reel! Ever wanted to create your own fishing reel? Well here’s your chance with the DCR from Daiwa!

Daiwa have taken the plunge and offered it’s customers the opportunity to take control and create their own, personalised fishing reel!

The concept is simple. Take the body of the classic Daiwa Basia reel (RRP £599) and choose your preferred components, colour or style along the way. Daiwa have set up a user friendly 12 step configuration process, allowing you to choose from a selection of genuine, Japanese made parts to customise your version of this classic carp fishing reel.

How do I get one?

Simply head over to the Daiwa Website, and select whether you want to build your own fishing reel, or carp rod! Once you’ve completed the 12 steps, you can choose your favourite Daiwa Stockist who are appointed DCR dealers, and place your order through them. No fuss, no hassle.

Here’s one we’ve quickly put together…

DCRreels Create your own Fishing Reel!

Rene Harrop – Drake Dry Fly Fishing

IMG 1828 525x350 Rene Harrop   Drake Dry Fly Fishing

Those practitioners who follow the traditional description of fly fishing understand that insects lie at the core of their sport.

While mayflies are not necessarily the most dominant attractors of trout in terms of numbers, they are easily the most recognizable. With their tall wings and almost magical tendency to appear suddenly on the water, these tall winged insects have come to symbolize what hatches are largely about both on the Henry’s Fork and worldwide.

Although mayflies occur in a variety of sizes, the average would probably not exceed size 16, and many are considerably smaller. There are times, however, when those on the upper end of the scale cause us to temporarily forget 6X leaders and tippets and squinting to follow a tiny imitation as it drifts on the surface at distances of 30 feet and beyond.

Drake is a term of European origin generally applied to a mayfly larger than size 14, and they are considered royalty by fly fishers wherever they exist.

On the Henry’s Fork, the early summer emergence of Green Drakes is an event targeted by many who will only visit the river at this time of year. Known primarily for something less than hospitable treatment of intruders, Henry’s Fork trout display uncharacteristic charity when Green Drakes begin to dominate their menu beginning in mid-June and usually lasting through early July.

At a solid size 10, Green Drakes can have the ability to sometimes erase the futility of an imperfect cast, minor drag, or an imitation that might otherwise be subject to ridicule.

The perfect habitat for Green Drakes is clean gravel, which often features rippled water that can help to mask a flawed presentation. It can be a different story on slow, shallow currents where insect numbers may be lower but trout resistance can be more typical of what anglers have come to expect on the Henry’s Fork. With this in mind, it is a good policy to carry an assortment of emerger, dun, and spinner patterns at Green Drake time. A dark nymph in the appropriate size is also effective for those who don’t mind fishing a subsurface imitation.

As the name implies, Green Drakes are a deep, almost jade green with bright yellow bands along the abdomen and legs. Wings on the spinner are transparent with distinct, dark veins while the dun and emerger wings are a dark smokey gray.

Be on the water early for a chance at a spinner fall, and expect emergence from late morning until mid-afternoon. Cool, overcast weather can delay the hatch into late afternoon or early evening.

Less known but even slightly larger than their green cousins, are Brown Drakes. With an emergence period that often begins slightly later but occasionally extending deeper into July, Brown Drakes exhibit distinct differences with respect to their appearance and behavior.

Unlike the compact, rather burly profile of Green Drakes, Brown Drakes show a more slender abdomen, and the mottled wings appear more upright. The best imitations emphasize the tannish yellow underbody of the natural, although the duns and spinners look darker when viewed from above.

Brown Drake Hackled Spinner 525x304 Rene Harrop   Drake Dry Fly Fishing

Normal time for Brown Drake emergence is at dusk and can extend into darkness on a warm evening. Cooler weather can push the hatch time to mid-morning and sometimes early afternoon.

A Brown Drake spinner fall will often overlap with emergence, which dictates close observation to determine which stage is being targeted by individual trout. Emergers and nymphs can also be the target, and the situation can be quite complex when all stages become simultaneously available.

Brown Drakes thrive in slower currents flowing over a silted or fine gravel bottom. Their distribution on the Henry’s Fork is limited mainly to the upper reaches with Harriman East generally considered the lower boundary. The strongest hatches seem to appear in areas of heavy aquatic vegetation, which makes the stretch from Bonefish Flat through Millionaire’s especially productive.

Gray Drakes are slightly smaller than the green or brown varieties but at size 12 are still capable of attracting the largest trout to the surface. Like Green Drakes, they are distributed through the first 50 miles of the Henry’s Fork, which includes the area near St. Anthony.

Gray Drakes find comfort in slower currents where they emerge at the edge of the river. Because emergence can be sporadic and spread over several hours, Gray Drake duns seldom appear in concentrated numbers, which differs from the other two drakes of the Henry’s Fork. A Gray Drake spinner fall can be a different story, however, with periodic mating flights that can put numbers of naturals on the water that are close to overwhelming.

CDC Green Drake Biot Emerger 525x304 Rene Harrop   Drake Dry Fly Fishing

On the lower Henry’s Fork where the population seems strongest, Gray Drake spinners can blanket the water in numbers that cause an imitation to be lost amid a horde of naturals. Fortunately, a Gray Drake spinner fall is typically a more restrained affair with the number of naturals at a level that can be managed with determination and sound fishing techniques.

Morning and late afternoon are good times to fish a gray body dun along the bank while either wading or floating.

A big Rusty Spinner is a reliable choice during a Gray Drake spinner fall that can arrive at dusk or earlier on a cool day.

Rusty CDC Biot Paraspinner 525x304 Rene Harrop   Drake Dry Fly Fishing

Gray Drakes are primarily a June and early July hatch at lower elevation but I have fished them into early September above 6,000 feet.

Although drakes provide a relatively small window of opportunity to fish big flies on a stout tippet, some of the largest trout of the year are landed during their respective visits. Large mayflies attract large trout wherever they exist worldwide and as kings of the order, drakes are special.

 

 

Film review: Kiss the water

A “strange little film”, a “gemlike documentary”, and “hypnotic” – just some of the words used by reviewers of “Kiss the water”, the extraordinary film from American director Eric Steel.

Released last year, the documentary charts the extraordinary life and times of the legendary fly tier, Megan Boyd who died in 2001 at the age of 86.

Reflective interviews from the people who knew her, footage of the stunning Sutherland scenery, and impressionistic animation mingle to create a lyrical masterpiece that flows as cool and mysterious as the river Brora itself.

Enigma

Megan Boyd Film review: Kiss the water

Image source: Heather MacLeod
Megan Boyd tying flies with her dog, Patch.

Loner, eccentric and master of the art of the fly, Megan Boyd was an enigmatic character who lived a life of almost monastic frugality and simplicity. Born in England in 1918, she was just a child when her father took a job as a gamekeeper on a private estate, and brought her to the wild hills and rivers of Sutherland in the Scottish highlands.

Another gamekeeper, Bob Trussler taught Megan to tie flies by getting her to disassemble and reassemble his own creations on smaller and smaller hooks, until she had mastered the patterns. She never looked back.

At the age of 20, Megan moved to a tiny cottage perched on a hillside above the village of Kintradwell. In a tiny tin roofed studio, she spent the next 50 years tying flies for fly fishermen on both sides of the Atlantic. In time her creations became recognised as some of the best flies ever tied, famed for their uncanny knack for catching salmon.

Royal connections

Prince Charles Fishing Film review: Kiss the water

Image source: Doar Pescuit
Prince Charles was a big fan of Megan’s craftsmanship.

Among her customers was Prince Charles who became a lifelong friend – though when aides turned up at her cottage asking her to whip a couple of masterpieces together for their master, Megan refused, saying she was just off to a local dance. When awarded the British Empire Medal, she informed the Queen that she couldn’t attend to receive the honour because she had nobody to look after her dog that day.

Just like the salmon caught by fly fishermen using her flies, Megan is hard to fathom. And just as the life of the king of the rivers is shrouded in mystery, Megan Boyd remains a complex and esoteric figure.

She could have been famous but she shunned the limelight, she tied flies that were legendary, but she herself never fished. In fact, Megan Boyd claimed she could never have brought herself to use her flies and fly fishing rod to actually catch a salmon. And though her life story is woven through the film, Megan herself appears only fleetingly, towards the end.

A woman of unusual dress and curious ways, reading between the lines you begin to glimpse a strange life that defies definition, instead pouring like water through the fingers of those who attempt to tell her story. Mysterious, enchanting and luminous, Kiss the water is like one of Megan Boyd’s flies: beautiful yet mysterious.

Get hooked

Watch this video to find out more about ‘Kiss the water’.

2014 Rivers International Report

Welsh Team with Trophy 525x341 2014 Rivers International ReportVenue: River Ure North Yorkshire – 27th June

With 2 gold medals from the last 2 Rivers Internationals, the Welsh Team was really hoping their winning run would continue there on the wild upland River Ure. In reality though this was never going to be an easy job! The English Team were on a real high after a Bronze World position, and a Silver in the Commonwealth. “Facebook” talk was all about England claiming the one colour missing! Making the task even more difficult was the fact that most of the English Team were local to the River Ure, with one Team member being a past Season ticket holder on the actual Competition beats! Did I have any doubts? Yes I did, I’ll be honest! This would be no walk in the park, this was going to be tough – Super tough.

We knew we would have to prepare like never before for this contest, and preparations began around Christmas Time, with Terry Bromwell (the Captain) calling the lads together for a number of training days on the Rivers Taff & later the Ebbw. The ultimate preparation we felt we needed was a visit to the actual Match venue. And so it was that over the late May Bank Holiday weekend all 6 of us travelled  North, to check out the River Ure. Dean Kibble, and I had both fished the River 12 years previously as our very first Rivers International, so we had some idea of what to expect. The commitment shown by all Team members, including the Reserve (Robert Bending) was magnificent to behold. This was the BIG one, the one we REALLY wanted to win, and even though I could see that the financial costs were soaring, no-one complained – we wanted it that bad!

Actual Match week started for us on Saturday June 21st, when we left Wales in the early hours, arriving around breakfast time ready for a full days practice. What we found when we arrived was that the River had shrunk ! it was now a fraction of the size it had been back in late May. Being low and clear, the fishing was now much more difficult, but throughout the next few days, we managed to find a few methods that would catch fish fairly consistently. We covered the entire Competition beats (more than once) and we often bumped into old friends from the other 3 Nations during our days on the River.

Eventually, Match day (Fri 27th) arrived. - We had fished, thought, fished some more, drunk a few beers, tied flies, and mulled things over among ourselves. But now this was the real thing, now was the time to finally put all our plans together. I could sense the optimism amongst the guys, they (and I) really believed we could pull this off!

And so it was that at 09:45 the first session started. The sweaty palms disappeared as soon as the first casts were made, and the guys settled into doing what they do best.

I knew I had had a fairly good morning, with a 1st and a 2nd  but how had the others done?

We met back at the 3 Horseshoes pub for lunch, and it became clear that we were right “up there”with the English. Scotland and Ireland had a few poor results and we felt must have been some way behind. We started the afternoon final 2 sessions with renewed energy, knowing that this was there for the taking! The Match ended at 17:45, and arriving back at the car, I was informed that after the morning sessions, Wales were 2 points ahead of England. This was great news indeed, but had we kept it going?

Normally, asking around, you would get a feel for how the Teams were doing before the results were calculated. This was different; this really appeared to be too close to call!

On arrival back at the teams Hotel, I was invited (with the other Managers) into the room where the final results were being computed. The Team (totally fished out) were at the bar biting their nails! The 3 rd session results were announced! Wales had slipped from being 2 points in front, to being 2 points behind! The doubts were back, had we blown it? We were so close! Then the last session results were announced ! After a good last session, we had come back and we had actually tied on points with England. This meant that now, to separate the 2 Teams, the total fish points would have to be added up. This took a little time, adding to the agony but finally we were announced the winners having beaten the “old enemy” by the smallest of margins (8 fish points) or 8 cms in other words!

In fairness the other 3 Nations warmly congratulated the Welsh Team on a fantastic performance, and we celebrated well into the early hours.

I would like to thank the Captain, Terry Bromwell, for the sterling work he did from late last year all the way through to the after dinner speech! Dean Kibble, Simon Barton, Kieron Jenkins and Robert Bending – Thanks Guys you were magnificent!

I would also like to thank the members and Committee of Islwyn & District A.C. for allowing the Welsh Team use of the River Ebbw for practice sessions – This has proved to be invaluable!

Written by Paul Jenkins – Welsh Team Manager.

Written by Kieron Jenkins

Cwm Hedd Fly Fishing Report 29/06/14

Untitled 1 Cwm Hedd Fly Fishing Report 29/06/14

Kieron Jenkins’ Cwm Hedd Article

Check out Kieron Jenkins’ article on Cwm Hedd in the July edition of Total Fly fisher http://www.totalflyfisher.com/current-issue

TAPP Open day at Cwm Hedd– free fly fishing coaching

Torfaen Angling Participation Project are running an open day at Cwm Hedd on Saturday August 2nd, where free fly fishing coaching for anglers of all abilities will be available on an informal basis – All fly fishing tackle will be supplied and available for all participants to use. All ages and abilities are welcome. To register your interest please contact Bob Mayers on bmayers@grouse.plus.com so that he can ensure that a sufficient number of coaches are available. Bob’s also entered the British Legion comp at Cwm Hedd in November, so that’s another place gone!

This week at Cwm Hedd
The hot days inevitably make for difficult fishing, and like many fly fisheries this has led to a recent reduction in numbers of anglers attending. Every cloud has a silver lining though: low attendance results in stock levels being very good indeed, as well as the rainbows getting plenty of rest.

For those anglers undeterred by the heat, around half are blanking, especially in the daytime, whilst the other half are striking windows of opportunity where the fish turn on, reporting that the fish are still fighting hard and not showing any signs of stress.

The fish are closely monitored and inspections of the fish taken show them to still be in excellent condition, so the usual summer shut down is on hold for the time being, although there may be an adjustment to opening times in the next few weeks.

There are many ups and downs to running a fishery, but one of the biggest pleasures at Cwm Hedd is the camaraderie that exists between anglers, who are always pleased to share tips and discuss tactics. It takes a number of visits to get to know a fishery and Cwm Hedd is no exception, with regular anglers more than happy to advise new customers.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings are generally recommended at the moment, although regular Keith Cox prefers to battle with the day time heat. It just shows that you never can tell for sure when is the best time to come as Keith is the top angler of the week, taking one on each of his two day time visits and returning five. Keith favours an intermediate line and took most on a black and green tadpole, but also had success with an orange blob. Another regular Paul Elsworthy took one and released four early on Saturday on a montana, a black and green daddy and a bloodworm, recommending a very slow retrieve.

Talented young anglers Jacob Mills and Ben Jackson are also regulars, each taking one on damsels and floating lines on Saturday evening, with Jacob returning another on a shipman’s buzzer. Clive Murray took one and released two on a black and green fritz; Ken Bowring took 2 on a small white lure and a sinking line, whilst Sally Ann Iles preferred the Airflo Di-3 sweep and a mini-cat. Just to emphasise that variety is the key, John Belcher opted for an orange shrimp and a floating line, while Michael Collins and Lee Davies each took one on buzzers, Michael on a black buzzer and Lee on a red buzzer with yellow cheeks. Roy Western enjoyed his Sunday evening at Cwm Hedd taking one and returning two on a bloodworm and a floating line from the platform at the tip of the main island.

Tagged fish

The tag fish has still not been caught, so the prize money of £200 is being equally split to fund prizes for the British Legion raffle and the Cwm Hedd Christmas raffle. The additional £251 collected from entries will be donated to Velindre Cancer Centre. Many thanks to all who have participated in the tag fish competition. When anyone catches the tag fish they will now win a refund on their day ticket.

Open Wed/Thurs 7am-5pm last admission 3pm; Fri/Sat/Sun 6 am -9.45 pm: last admission 6pm (ring before 5.45 if you definitely want to come but can’t make it by 6). Tel 07813 143 034 anytime, or lodge: 01633 896854 during fly fishing opening hours. Evening ticket £13.50 available from 5.45pm

Bassaleg Newport NP10 8RW; 5 minutes from J 28 M4

www.cwmhedd.co.uk  https://www.facebook.com/cwmheddlakes

Cwm Hedd Fly Fishing Report 22/06/14

10416991 250065331852666 813865144776162512 n Cwm Hedd Fly Fishing Report 22/06/14

Cwm Hedd fly fishing report week ending 22nd June – I caught my first rainbow!

As much as we are all generally enjoying the lazy hazy days of summer, day anglers have struggled to catch in the intense sun and heat. Most instead took advantage of the late evening opening on Friday Saturday and Sunday at Cwm Hedd, fishing til sunset and beyond.

Result!

I am delighted to report that on a glorious mid summer’s eve, as the sun dipped towards the horizon, a good dose of beginner’s luck saw me getting a passable cast out and hooking my first rainbow. The site of this surprising and unexpected feat (at 9.10pm) was a platform behind the main island, where a number of rainbows had been rising. I’d like to think I targeted the fish, as I had been attempting to do this with others (probably frightening several away in the process). The truth is that I was so excited by the whole event that my mind has gone completely blank, although I yelled loudly enough when I hooked it to bring John Belcher, Derek Mills and his grandson Jacob running to help with instructions as to how to bring it in without mucking it all up and losing it (many thanks). Derek was ready with the net and John filmed the event unfolding. Later it transpired that the lense cap was still on, so no photographic evidence of my fish-catching debut sorry! With the fish in the net and mission accomplished I asked John to release the fish for me as I was so grateful for its selfless act, the Airflo fly fishing tackle I recently purchased from Fishtec also performed brilliantly.

Thanks also to Sal, who a week or so ago had given me a red bloodworm with an assurance that it would catch me a fish, as indeed it has on its second outing, on a floating line Derek, Jacob, and John had already taken fish so we were a very happy band returning to the lodge. Mike James who had to leave just before the excitement had also taken a fish on an App’s bloodworm, a fly that had brought him 3 fish earlier in the week and others in previous weeks.

Ken Bowring was the top angler of the week, taking 2 and returning 3 on a fast intermediate fly line with a white lure. On his first visit to Cwm Hedd, Terry O’Connor took 2 and released 1 on a diawl bach and a floating line. John Belcher’s evening visits have each brought him fish, on a light brown buzzer, blue shrimp and a stonefly, floating line.

Tip top fish

The fish are still in excellent condition and fighting well; there is an abundance of blue and olive damsels emerging, with floating lines, damsels, buzzers and diawl bachs recommended in the evening; sinking lines and plenty of perseverance recommended in the day.

The Med comes to Cwm Hedd ( ice cream is now available in the lodge)

Weed is under control on the lake, following the introduction of the eco-friendly blue dye (‘Dyofix C Special’) which has turned the lake water a Mediterranean blue and is hard at work suppressing further growth. The platforms in front of the lodge running left around the bay and the main island around to the far bank have been cleared and are all fishable and we can now pull unwanted previous growth out in the shallower areas at a more leisurely place due to the dye. There is a crested grebe nesting off the small island so we’ve had to leave the weed there for the time being so as not to disturb the nest.

Tag fish
Taggy the tag fish is still there, so the £200 tag fish prize is still up for grabs. £1 entry. If no one catches the tag fish by the end of June half the prize money will be put towards raffle prizes for the British Legion comp in November and half towards the Christmas raffle prizes (sounds a bit weird to mention Christmas in June!)

Open Wed/Thurs 7am-5pm last admission 3pm; Fri/Sat/Sun 6 am -9.45 pm: last admission 6pm ( but ring if you definitely want to come but can’t make it by 6).

Evening ticket £13.50 Fri/Sat/Sun available from 5.45pm

Tel 07813 143 034 anytime, or lodge: 01633 896854 during fly fishing opening hours. I might be out on the lake, so ring my mobile if no reply in the lodge.

Sea pollution solution

The amount of plastic litter strewn across UK beaches has increased by 140% since 1994.

That’s the stark figure released by the Marine Conservation Society.

Polluted Environment

Pollution underwater Sea pollution solution

Image source: Project Aware
A polluted environment leads to poisoned fish.

The frightening reality is that much of that plastic will never disappear; instead those unsightly pieces of brightly coloured junk break down into smaller and smaller crumbs until they’re small enough to be ingested by fish and filter feeders.   

If plastic in the food chain isn’t enough cause for concern, even more worrying is the plastic that does break down. Scientists reporting in National Geographic have discovered that in warm tropical seas, plastic decomposes, leaching highly toxic chemicals into the water – poisoning fish and perhaps even causing cancer in humans who eat polluted seafood.

So where is the problem at its worst? And crucially, what can we as sea fishermen and women do about it?

Ocean Gyres

Great pacific garbage Sea pollution solution

Image source: Cookie Sound
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

They’re gigantic eddies found in the world’s oceans, slowly rotating currents that drive rubbish towards the centre where it stays forever. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch was the first predicted by American scientists in 1988, and in the years since, other similar rubbish dumps have been discovered in the South Pacific, North and South Atlantic and Indian Oceans.

In the most badly affected areas, there are six times as many minute pieces of plastic as there are plankton – and the area we’re talking about? It’s thought the Great Pacific Patch covers somewhere between 700,000 and 15,000,000 square kilometres – the wide disparity between the upper and lower limits being accounted for by differences in the definition of what constitutes an elevated concentration of plastic particles.

Hard To Spot

underwater Sea pollution solution

Image source: Wikimedia
Pollution can be hard to spot.

It’s thought around a million sea birds die each year from ingesting pieces of plastic mistaken for food, with a hundred thousand marine mammals succumbing to the same fate. But these huge oceanic garbage dumps are all but invisible to the naked eye. In fact you could sail right across one and not notice it’s there. That’s because they’re mostly made up of those billions of small pieces of plastic mentioned in the introduction to this piece.

Plastic dumped in the sea off the Pacific coast of the USA takes six years to reach the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a similar item dropped in the brine off Eastern Asia takes about a year. But once there, there it stays – the trash heaps of the sea are growing bigger by the day.

Do Your Bit

Beach clean up Sea pollution solution

Image source: S1 Prestwick
Get involved in a beach clean up.

As a sea angler, leaving no litter and disposing of sea fishing tackle carefully is the least you can do to protect the health of the marine environment. There are also local beach cleanups and national campaigns for the marine environment – groups like Surfers Against Sewage and the Marine Conservation Society have details of what you can do to help.

But if it all seems like too little too late, and if the thought of the poisoning of fish and marine life on a global scale makes you despair for the future, take heart. There might just be a solution.

Ocean Cleanup

Ever since the plastic pollution problem first became big news at the beginning of this century, efforts to come up with a cleanup solution have focused on boats hauling fine mesh nets. But carbon emissions, coupled with huge costs and destruction of bycatch made a resolution of the problem seem all but impossible, until, that is, a 17-year-old Dutch student Boyan Slat came up with a whole new approach – passive cleanup.

Huge inflatable booms would funnel debris into a processing unit powered by solar panels. The young inventor estimated half the Pacific Garbage Patch could be cleared within 10 years – and even better, the collected plastic could be sold for recycling.

Critics poured scorn on his idea, but with youthful determination, Slat managed to secure crowdfunding, and with the money assembled a 100 strong team of scientists and volunteers to undertake an in depth feasibility study – the results have just been announced.

The concept works.

If you’d like to find out more about how the oceans could clean themselves, check out the Boyan Slats talk on the feasibility study. The Ocean Cleanup – we can make it happen.

27 Pro fly fishing tips

Want to improve your fly fishing skills? Check out these 27 tips from the professionals.

From technique tidbits to fly fishing tackle recommendations, get the lowdown on fly fishing from the best in the business.

Equipment

Equipment 27 Pro fly fishing tips

Image source: Wikipedia
What do you really need?

1. “Use a fly rod that suits you and the methods you fish. There’s nothing worse than using fishing gear that’s not up to standard.”
Terry Bromwell

2. “One thing I learnt when dry fly fishing is to use polyleaders, you’ll get perfect presentation every cast.”
Alex Simmons

3. “Buy a good set of Polaroid glasses, it makes a big difference to your fishing as your able to see more fish.”
Lewis Rumble

4. “Keep a large magnet next to your tying area. It always amazes me how many hooks I find that I wasn’t aware I dropped.”
D. L. Goddard

5. “Color. It’s the key. Find the right combination and you can fill the boat.”
Mike Sepelak

6. “It is often the dull flies that attract the fish.”
Fiona Armstrong

7. “Use big, ugly flies to catch trout on a fly rod.”
John Gierach

Technique

Technique 27 Pro fly fishing tips

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Refine your technique

8. “Keep your fly rod ahead of your leader whilst fishing the french leader method, for better control.”
Craig Mcdonald

9. “Try and go as light as you can with your tippet, fish can become leader shy on heavily fished waters.”
Kieron Jenkins

10. “Make sure you fish as much water as possible, get those casts in underneath trees and keep down low not to spook the fish, this really helps.”
Lisa Isles

11. “When nymphing watch the fly line, don’t just wait for the pull, as you’ll see your takes before you feel them.”
Sean Jones

12. “Fish all the water in front of you on entry to the river, instead of just wearing your chest waders to wade to the hotspot.”
Craig Mcdonald

13. “When the fishing is hard never speed up and fish big flies, slow down and fine down your tippet material and scale down on the size of the fly.”
Lewis Rumble

14. “Caster shorter when fishing from a boat! More control and accuracy means more fish.”
Chris Jones

15. “Don’t forget to hang your flies, vary the length of time as sometimes the fish want it hung for longer.”
Sean Jones

16. “If you want to learn, take time and persevere. You get out what you put in.”
Lee Evans

17. “Whether bank or boat fishing try and stop the line either by hand or reel to aid turn over on the final cast, better presentation so you are fishing properly straight away.”
Chris Jones

18. “When lifting your cast from the water, always hang your flies and then raise your cast slowly from the water. This final hang will give any trout following your flies a final opportunity to take. This can produce those important extra fish on tough days.”
Tim Wellman

19. “Focus on presentation, it’s more important than fly pattern.”
Lee Evans

20. “Be stealthy in the approach on the bank and when wading. Employing correct wading techniques will catch you more fish.”
Lee Evans

21. “Presentation over pattern every time. Whilst we all carry lots of different patterns, even the closest imitation cannot be successful if it doesn’t fish correctly. Get it to move (or not) in the right way in the correct place and your chances of being successful will multiply enormously.”
Dave Wiltshire

22. “When fishing nymphs/buzzers from a drifting boat cast slightly across the ripple. This will keep the fly’s higher in the water but also as the boat drifts towards the line at the end of the cast an arc / curve will form gently raising your cast up in the water. This gentle lift can be sufficient to induce takes.”
Tim Wellman

23. “During winter, don’t expect to find many fish in fast water. Focus on slow pools, eddies, and off-current areas where trout pick midges and mayflies from the edges of the main current.”
Chad Mason

24. “Don’t try to trout fish for carp.”
Drew Price

25. “It’s important to remember that effective wind casting is seldom about raw power, and always about form and mechanics.”
Kirk Deeter

26. “A useful tip to identify what is hatching or has indeed been hatching is to look in the foam which is usually caught up by the bank at the edge of the river. Flies get trapped in the foam and are easily seen and identified.”
Steve Rhodes

27. “Lengthen that leader – one of the most common problems I meet is people fishing too short a leader. Even on small rivers, I will fish a 12 foot leader as a minimum with the dry fly. On larger rivers, that may be extended to up to 15 feet and above. The longer leader keeps the fly line away from the fish, even when including plenty of slack to ensure the fly fishes properly. Building the leader properly and then learning to cast it are essential. Try to overcome the thought that you are casting the fly line and then getting the leader to straighten. Visualise the leader as part of the fly line you are trying to cast. It will make a huge difference to your fishing.”
Dave Wiltshire