Best beach fishing holiday spots

Planning a summer holiday? The family are certain to want some quality beach time – but at the back of your mind is the need for some serious beach fishing time!

But how do you tick all the boxes?  How can you spend time with the husband or wife and kids, and get to fish some of the best coastal waters in the world?

It’s time to pack your shorts, suntan cream and beachcaster. Here’s our guide to just a few of the world’s top beach fishing destinations – fun in the sun that keeps everyone happy!

France

France fishing holiday Best beach fishing holiday spots

Image source: French Bass
Anyone for garlic sea bass?

It’s close, boasts fantastic beaches, great campsites and whether you’re eating out or self catering, the food is to die for. France offers some superb beach fishing opportunities. From the craggy cliffs and rocks of Brittany, to the ruler straight sands of La Cote d’Argent, and on to the Basque country and the Med, there’s ample opportunity to build sand castles and wet a line.

Family friendly and with plenty of picturesque vineyards and villages to visit, you’ll also have chance to hook bass, sole, and skate. And who knows, if you get time off for good behaviour – a boat fishing trip in the Med or Atlantic South West might even see you get into some tuna.

New Zealand

New Zealand fishing holiday Best beach fishing holiday spots

Image source: Surf Caster
Head down under and catch some beauts.

About as far away as it’s possible to get from the gloom of the British winter, New Zealand offers superb coastal fishing. In the North Island, you’re talking snapper, tarakihi, kingfish and kahawai. Head south for blue cod, trumpeter and grouper.

With so much to see and do in New Zealand, you won’t want to spend all your time at the beach, but the joy of Aotearoa, the ‘land of the long white cloud’, is that wherever you go you’re never too far from the sea. In fact, Cromwell at 119 km from the coast is almost the same distance from sea fishing as Church Flatts Farm in Derbyshire which lies 113 miles from the brine. Can you see our thinking?

If you’ve been on a beach holiday that doubled as a fishing adventure, do let us know. We’d love to share your story.

Spain and Portugal

Spain and Portgular fishing holiday Best beach fishing holiday spots

Image source: Luz Info
Easy to get to with plenty of top spots.

Get yourself organised and a beach holiday to Spain or Portugal could yield some fine sea fishing opportunities. But you will need to plan ahead. That’s because in either country, to cast a line into the blue, you need a fishing license. A quick internet search could hook you up with a fishing guide who can organise the necessary paperwork for you and guide you to the best spots.

Perch atop some of Portugal’s most dramatic cliffs to fish for bass in the boiling sea hundreds of feet below. As for Spain – much of the Mediterranean has been ravaged by overfishing, so unless you fancy scuba and snorkeling at a marine reserve, it’s perhaps best to keep to the Atlantic, where you can bang a line out from any of the dozens golden sand beaches.

Cuba

Cuba fishing holiday Best beach fishing holiday spots

Image source: Cfye
Follow the locals for the best spots.

For fishing, music and cigars, there’s nowhere better in the world than Cuba. With bonefish, cowfish, snook, tarpon, mangrove snapper & cuda, all on the target list, you might have to get up early to avoid the tourists but the rewards make it well worth the effort.

Unless you’re on a specialist guided fishing holiday, it’s probably a good idea to pack a telescopic rod and a cheap reel in your holiday luggage. Speak to staff at your hotel – or to the hotel chef – who could perhaps provide you with some bait and point you in the right direction. Fish where the locals fish – and when you’re done, make a discrete gift of your fishing equipment to someone who has helped you.

South Africa

South african fishing holiday Best beach fishing holiday spots

Image source: Gane and Marshall
Fish the surf in South Africa

Big waves, big rods, big baits – the coasts of South Africa boast serious beachcasting for serious fish. A winter sun holiday to the cool waters of the Atlantic off Cape Town, or to the surf beaches of the Indian Ocean will be a definite hit with the family – and a fishing paradise for you.

You’ll need a powerful 13 or 14 foot beachcaster to deliver your bait beyond the surfline – but the rewards are well worth the effort. Rock cod, grunter, and kingfish are just three of a host of saltwater species that swim in the seas off South Africa. And who knows, if the gods are smiling on you, perhaps you’ll hook a giant trevally. Now wouldn’t that make a good holiday snap!

Biggest Ever British Shore Caught Fish

Every now and again the British shore throws up something out of the ordinary. Just earlier this week we learned that Lego pieces are still being washed ashore some 17 years after being lost at sea. But now, something a little more fishing related has occurred – The capture of the biggest fish ever caught on Britain’s shores – A whopping 208lb Skate!

The 88 inch Skate which weighed 208lbs was brought to shore by 26 year old Daniel Bennett from Whitby whilst he was fishing off the Isle of Skye, beating the current record (another skate) by over 40lbs. These anglers must have been using some seriously powerful sea fishing tackle to haul such catches from the shore!

 

skateimage Biggest Ever British Shore Caught Fish

image: whitbyseaanglers/swns.com

Mr Bennett, who works in a fishing supplies shop said: ‘ My partner is not really that interested, but she’s proud of me nonetheless. I think people outside the angling world find it harder to see how much of a feat this is’.

‘West Scotland is known for skate fishing but not Skye. We were the first to catch one there for at least 30 or 40 years. There was another chap in our group who caught one and it was about 120lb. We thought we’d never find one any bigger – then we did an hour later.’

The magnificent fish which measured 88.25 inches long and 66.75 inches wide has now been confirmed by the British Record Fish Commitee as the largest fish caught on it’s current list. Although the fish was not weighed at the scene, as the anglers didn’t have any scales, the weighed was worked out bu The Shark Trust, a UK conservation charity, based on the measurements of the fish.

Some feat for a 26 year old angler!

 

Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary August 2014

Alan Yates plaice on bling Alan Yates Sea Fishing Diary August 2014

Plaice caught using a blinged up rig

This month can be slow for shore anglers in some regions with the sultry, balmy weather and clear water keeping the fish well away from the shore in daylight. But in darkness and in regions of coloured water, like the major estuaries, things can be a lot different and it really is a case of a change of venue or tactics to continue catching.

One species that show at this time of year are the sole and lots of venues around the country offer the chance of this unusual flatfish. For most the sole is considered nocturnal, but the facts are that on clear water venues they do mostly feed at night, especially near dawn, whilst in muddy water they are more common in daylight.

Tactics are simply enough once you have found a venue and its worth pointing out that sole do not show everywhere and sole venues are precise in many regions – Just a matter of miles from a shoreline that produces sole will be a venue that does not. So first look for a venue that produces sole regularly, the species seems to like shell grit and muddy sea beds and catching them once on the right venue is not that difficult. Fishing light with small size 2 or 4 hooks is essential, whilst baits include lugworm and ragworm. One top tactic is to fish short because the species are not shy of the shallows or the low tide gutter on many venues. Lots of anglers use two rods for this reason with one cast short and one cast further our which covers the options.

Talking about fishing light, there is a growing trend in sea angling to fish “Continental style” with lighter rods, thinner lines and small hooks. Much of it is to do with a reduction in the average size of fish and dwindling stocks as we fight to keep our sport interesting. However, it is also the case that anglers have realised that the fish do shy away from heavy gear and that lightening down can bring more bites and action. Check out YouTube where anglers have lowered Go Pro cameras alongside the pier wall and you can see clearly fish do shy away from heavy sea fishing gear etc. The biggest plus thought of going light is that small fish are allowed to fight, especially using micro braid lines and sea fishing is no longer hit and haul or playing cranes.

UK sea anglers have used over heavy tackle for years and that is much to do with manufacturers offering a limited range based around ancient designs and techniques. Swivels and hooks for instance, a few years back most would not look out of place on a crane, or for use with the largest fish species, but modern improvements in materials like carbon steel, design and construction have increased their strength and allowed a reduction of size down from the giant weed collecting swivels or hooks that could tow a bus! It’s similar with rods, reels and line, the distance casting revolution of recent years did much to improve rod and reel design, quality, strength and performance promoting lighter tackle which is more responsive to fishing enjoyment and sport. Check out the TF Gear range for the new TF Gear Force 8 Continental model or the Delta Slik Tip and the quiver tip favourite the Delta All rounder. All great for another option – fishing light!

The toughness and knot strength of monofilaments, copolymers and fluorocarbons is also particularly improved, so much so, that you can now go to a lighter breaking strain line with less risk of failure, whilst using the modern lower diameter micro braid lines is proving a practical advantage when fishing fine.

In general sea angling around the UK has had no need to go to the lengths of finesse that coarse anglers do. Sea fish are not always returned and so do not learn about line and hooks like their freshwater relatives, mullet and a few other clear water species being the only exceptions. Meanwhile the sea is often a hostile whirlpool of deep and chocolate brown water that hides tackle anyway.

The first problem fishing light tackle in the sea is dealing with the wind, tide and the rugged seabed, that’s the reason why tackle has always been tough and strong in the first place. You need to get a bait out to a decent distance, punch it through a headwind, so that its stays put in very strong tide. After that you sometimes need to retrieve it through a maze of kelp and rocks. Then there is the safety factor of casting that involves swinging the lead in power casting styles like the pendulum, the big distances they produce comes at a price with tackle beefed up for safety’s sake. But, the need to use an 80lb shock leaders may be more to do with an angler’s casting ego than practical thought about presentation. In terms of casting safety any move to fishing light can only involve the use of the fixed spool reel and an overhead casting style. This combination is far safer than the multiplier and pendulum cast.

A big plus for sea anglers that change to the fixed spool is that the modern reels are designed for long range casting, some with a carp fishing pedigree, are far superior to the models of the past. Long profiled /coned spools, stronger gears, ball bearings all make modern reels more efficient for sea angling and casting.

Crucial to the use of lighter tackle is the line diameter and lines as low as 6lb and up to 15lb are used with the lighter rods and fixed spool reels making this possible. The major problem when lightening down tackle is that terminal rigs must also be balanced to the rod action and line strength. It is pointless using a lighter rod with heavy line as it is using ultra thin lines with standard 8oz beach casting rod. However, a move to far lighter rigs involves thinner lines and a major problem with. multi hook rigs in very light line are prone to tangle easily. On the Continent really long snoods are commonly used and there the anglers say that the longer the snoods the less they tangle, although they must NOT be able to overlap.

The big advantages of increasing rod lengths to 15ft and above is that a longer rod allows the use of a longer rig length and this allows hook snoods to be placed farther apart so that they can be fished over a wide area as well as up in the water and do not overlap or tangle.

Longer lighter snoods also allow the hook bait to react naturally in tide and this is an important consideration when fishing either up or in clear water. The addition of floating or pop up beads also enhances bait presentation and allows baits to be raised to the levels the fish are.

Lots of shore anglers fishing light in summer use small hooks, which are essential to the more delicate bait presentation for some of the smaller species. However, there is every chance that you may hook a large smoothhound or a bass and so it’s a good idea to opt for the strongest patterns.

For many this and next month are last chance saloon for catching mackerel as the large shoals move south and it’s a case of making the most of the conditions whilst the fish are around, especially if you want to keep a few for the freezer for the winter whiting. On that note don’t forget the garfish – they are a very underrated tipping bait for lots of the autumn and winter species – bag them in the freezer as well.

Tight lines,

Alan Yates

 

 

Cwm Hedd Fly Fishing Report 13/07/14

Untitled 11 Cwm Hedd Fly Fishing Report 13/07/14

What a difficult week! Anglers have found it nigh on impossible to even tempt the rainbows in the increased water temperature, with Sally-Ann Iles being one of the few to find modest success. Sal took one on a midge tip line and a size 14 mini cat off the main island, with a very slow retrieve and lost another that snapped her line. Dean Griffiths took one on a black buzzer and a floating line, Ken Bowring took two and Mike James took one on a daddy long legs.

I am mildly cheered by reports that conditions are equally difficult in most other fisheries. Those who go fishing just to get away from it all will have a good time. Tea, bonhomie and ice cream available at the lodge. If your day will be ruined if you don’t even get a knock, then stay home and do the garden or all the other DIY jobs you’ve been promising to do on your days off!

TAPP Open day free fly fishing coaching

There has been considerable interest in the open day being organised by Torfaen Angling Participation Project at Cwm Hedd on August 2nd. Free fly fishing coaching for anglers of all ages and abilities will be available on an informal basis. 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.

Poppy fish: British Legion Competition 16th November 2014. We can all look forward to good fishing weather for the November competition: £30 entry fee plus sponsorship.   Over a third of the places have already been taken, so early entry is advised. Cash prizes totalling £215.00. Entry forms available at Cwm Hedd lodge or download at   http://counties.britishlegion.org.uk/counties/wales/events

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

Open Wed/Thurs 7am-5pm last admission 3pm; Fri/Sat/Sun 7 am -9.45 pm: last admission 6pm (ring 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.

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