Diawl Bach – How to?

The Diawl Bach is a hugely successful fly producing some amazing fish all over the world on a variety of methods and fisheries. As opposed to the Pheasant tail, the ‘Diawl Bach’ (pronounced Jawl Back, with a throaty ‘CH’ sound at the end, and also meaning ‘Little Devil’) is probably the second most used nymph on the fly fishing scene.

This fly can be fished on a variety of methods from forming part of a team on a buzzer cast or on a washing line technique close to the surface. The Diawl can also be a devastating fly fished between two lures on deep sinking fly lines, what usually happens is that a fish is attracted by the lure on the top dropper when pulled, but as it slows down the fish gets less interested and turns away to find something more subtle and foodlike below. A great middle dropper pattern when fishing the ‘Hang’.

The Diawl Bach imitates an emerging, hatching buzzer but can also be taken for a host of other nymphs, tied in many various guises and colours the Diawl is ideal for replicating the hatch of many other waterborn insects such as olives and mayflies.

The variations  on each fly within the team can be endless as each fly serves a purpose in its chosen position: anhcor, sinker or fisher. It’s often that one fly is positioned to fish bedded in weed, or on the shore so that the flies above may be in the taking zone.

This fly is also one of the most varied flies in our boxes, tail and body colours can be changed to give a different shade, while attractors such as coloured ribs and heads can be easily added. Traditionally, cheeks or breathers are added to give that little extra something and bring more life into the fly, Jungle cock is a great feather to add for colour as is goose biot or tinsel. The fly tying drawer is your oyster!

Tying the Diawl Bach 

This fly can be tied in just six simple steps.

1 – Run a length of thread down the hook to create a bed for your materials to be tied onto, and add around 6 strands of red game cock feather as a tail.

2 – Add your body and rib. The easiest way to do this is to work out what your going to be winding up the body first. The peacock herl is the body, and the wire – rib. Tie the rib in first and then lay the peacock on top. What this does is allows the body material to lay flat from the tie in point and is then secured neatly and as tight as possible by the rib.

3 – Wind the herl to the eye in touching turns. This keeps the profile of the nymph slim and uniform.

4 – Rib the body in the opposite direction to the herl. This secures the body in-case of any rips caused by fish teeth. For brighter ribs winding the opposite way also makes the colour more pronounced.

5 –  Tie in the throat hackle. To get the ideal length I usually marry up the tips of the throat hackle with the tail, on top of the hook and then tie in underneath. This roughly gives the same length on both areas giving the fly a great, balanced look.

6 – Finally, whip finish or half hitch and your complete! I tie all my Diawls with a subtle thread such as black or brown, keeping the underneath drab can sometimes give your fly a somewhat longer life as when the body rips after a few fish the fly is still dark and food like, as opposed to when tying with bright coloured thread.

Written by Kieron Jenkins

Fly Fishing In Wales

These are some of my favourite home tied ‘killer’ patterns. These flies should cover many of the sporting opportunities you will encounter whilst exploring fly fishing in Wales. They should also bring you plenty of fish to the net too! I hope that you will have as much enjoyment tying and using these patterns as I have.

The Jambo

A night time surface lure for Sewin (Sea Trout), this pattern has resulted in many fine fish from our premier rivers including the Towy, Teifi, and Dovey.
It is fished on a floating line with a short strong leader to aid turnover, and cast under the trees on the far bank or across the pool tail. Retrieve with a slow figure of eight or just let it swing round, as long as it makes a wake! The Sewin will show his interest in spectacular fashion.
Surface lures are notoriously poor hookers; this one overcomes the problem by only having the rear treble hooks, the main hook being clipped off at the bend so the fly lies flat on the surface. This gives a much higher hooking ratio. They will work best from July to September when water temperatures are warm and river levels are low.

Photo - Steffan Jones

Hook –Size 2 to 6 long shank
Thread – Black
Body – Black silk
Tail Hook – Treble size 12 –14, attached with twisted 80 lb mono.
Head – Black deer hair
Wing – Sparse pinch of blue buck tail
Rib – Flat silver tinsel; add to treble for extra sparkle.

Tying tips – Use a strong Kevlar thread for the head, compact the deer hair tightly into a big bulbous ball so it will float well. When tying in the mono link superglue it to the hook shank.

Goldie

A reservoir Trout pattern developed by the members of the Osprey Fly Fishing Association of Pontypridd for fishing Llyn Clywedog, where it has claimed many impressive bags of fish including several double figure Browns and Rainbows.
It can be used on any line from a floater down to a DI7, and creates an almost strobe like effect which pulls fish up from the deeps on dark peaty waters. Use with a fast strip retrieve with plenty of pauses. It is very effective on all of our large Trout reservoirs, particularly early and late in the season. The Goldie has certainly proven itself as a classic ‘when all else fails’ pattern to use when nothing else is producing the fish. Casting it could be described, as a ‘chuck and duck’ affair so be careful!

Hook – Size 4 or 6 Kamasan B940 Aberdeen short shank
Thread- Black
Head – Large Brass Cone head
Tail – Generous hank of gold & black ‘freckle flash’ tinsel

Tying tips – Rub the tinsel between your fingers to crinkle it to make it even more attractive and give it more volume. The sea hook is used because of its very wide gape.

Coch Bugger

This fly excels at catching Wild Brownies, especially the better quality fish. It’s a good imitation of the large leeches that are found in many of our mountain lakes as well as a general attractor.
Its best fished using a floating or intermediate line with a long leader, perhaps teamed with a traditional wet fly on the dropper. It is most effective on rough overcast days, or at dusk when the big Trout come into the shallows. Retrieve with a jerky figure of eight and expect savage strikes. On a river fish upstream on a dead drift or down and across, letting it swing around. It will take fish throughout the season.

Hook –Kamasan B175 size 8 or 10
Thread – Red
Body – Black lite brite
Underbody – Lead wire
Tail – Black marabou
Rib – Silver wire
Hackle – Coch y Bonddu cock
Head – Tiny pinch of peacock lite brite

Tying Tips – Make sure there is plenty of lead wire under the dubbing to get the fly down quickly. Wind the palmer hackle from the head to hook bend and tie in a new slightly larger feather for the head hackle.

Taff Special bug

A Grayling pattern that has its origins on the Taff, it has since proven its worth on all of the major Welsh Grayling Rivers.
It is very heavily weighted and is designed to reach the bottom very quickly. It works best in the top dropper position as part of a team of three, fished on a short line with a long soft rod – the infamous ‘bugging.’ method. Cast upstream at a 45-degree angle and let the flies drift down beside you a rods length out. Once you feel the flies touch the bottom, lift the and lower the rod tip gently to bounce the flies in a jigging fashion as they trundle down and across. Takes can be a gentle stop of the leader or an arm wrenching pull. This fly does best in very cold and clear water in the winter months.

Hook – Knapek barbless or Kamasan B110 size 8 to12
Thread – Black
Head – One or two gold 5 mm Tungsten beads
Underbody – Large diameter lead wire
Body – Peacock lite brite
Rib – Copper wire
Tail – Fluorescent red antron
Collar – Red SLF dubbing

Tying Tips – Squash the body of the finished fly with a blunt object such as your varnish bottle to give it a flat oval profile. Your fly will then cut through the flow even quicker to reach the bottom.

Yellow Devil

A lure for our biggest native fish, the Pike. The yellow colouration seems to work exceptionally well on our waters, such as Llangorse Lake near Brecon.
The fly is a good six inches in length, big enough to attract double figure specimens. A nine weight is the minimum requirement to cast one. Use with an intermediate line and a slow retrieve, casting tight to any weed beds or structure in the water. Use of a wire trace is mandatory! This lure works especially well from spring to mid summer when the Pike are in shallow water.

Hook- Sakuma Manta 540 5/0 or any similar sea hook
Body – Pearl Mylar tubing.
Thread- White ‘big fly’ thread.
Throat – Yellow buck tail
Wing – White slinky fiber and Fluorescent yellow ‘Vampire wing’ from Celtic fly craft, topped with a few strands of peacock crystal flash.
Head – Fluorescent red eyes, coated with epoxy resin.

Tying tips – When tying in each material add a drop of super glue. The fly will survive the Pikes teeth for a much greater length of time.

Ceri’s Bullhead

An imitation of the Bullhead or Millers Thumb, which is a common prey fish found in all of our large river systems. It works well for specimen Chub and Perch and of course big browns on rivers like the Usk. Cast tight to overhanging branches and snags, using a floating line and a sinking poly leader. Twitch occasionally as it swings around, it will be taken with gusto if a fish is there. It will work at any time of the year with the best times of day being dawn and dusk during the summer.

Hook – Kamasan B830 Long shank lure size 4 – 8
Underbody – Lead wire
Body – Pale ‘Haretron’ dubbing
Thread – Black Kevlar
Underwing – A few strands of krystal flash
Wing – Natural Rabbit zonker
Throat – Red SLF dubbing
Head – Natuaral Deer hair clipped to shape

Tying tips – Don’t make the muddler head too tight, the pattern needs to sink, not skate on the top! Keep the Zonker wing fairly short so it cannot twist around the hook bend and pick out the throat to create a hotspot.

Top Pop

This is a fantastic Bass lure for working back across the surface. Use with a floating shooting head and line basket. The retrieve should be on the quick side to induce an attack. A roly-poly retrieve is very successful with this pattern.
It is most effective when fishing a rising tide up from low water as the sea floods into gullies and channels. The Bass will come close in and can often be seen breaking the surface. Pick an overcast day if you can or choose a tide at dawn or dusk for the best sport.
Prime Bass months are from July to September on our coasts. Good marks for popper fishing include Worms Head at Rhossili, the Gwendraeth estuary at Kidwelly Caravan Park and Ynys Las on the Dyfi estuary.

Hook – Tiemco saltwater size 2/0
Body – Wapsi preformed popper body, colored with orange marker pen.
Tail – Mylar tube pearl, picked out
Eyes – Large flat gold holographic

Tying tips – Super glue the mylar to the back of popper body securely and varnish the fly heavily for extra durability. The popper body is secured on the hook with 5-minute epoxy.

Mullet Morsel

A fly for the most difficult of feeders – the Mullet. It resembles tiny crustaceans such as Sand hoppers or Copepods. Use with a floating line and a long fluorocarbon leader of about 5 lb for delicate presentation. A strike indicator is useful to spot subtle takes.
It is best used in tidal creeks and harbors, where the Mullet can be sight fished. Accurate casting is a must! It does help to ‘chum’ the water with bread to get them on the feed. Barry and Port Talbot docks, Aberthaw estuary and Three Cliffs Bay in the Gower are ideal venues for summertime Mullet stalking.

Hook – Kamasan B175 size 14 – 16
Tail – A tiny pinch of peach marabou
Body – Black thread coated in 5 min epoxy

Tying tips – Do not use too much epoxy. Let the fly dry hook point up on your table to give its back a flat profile.

Estuary Eel

A realistic Sand eel pattern, which has caught Bass, Mackerel, Pollack, Garfish and even Wrasse. Its dull natural colours seem to be very effective for our saltwater species over more gaudily tied commercial flies.
If fishing from the rocks adjacent to deep water use with a fast sinking line such as an Airflo depth finder to get it down through the tidal rip and strip back over the weeds. For flat sandy beaches an intermediate line is best. It also works on enclosed docks and breakwaters. Best used during the summer months early and late in the day.

Hook – Tiemco Saltwater size 2 or 4
Tail – 3 stacked layers of supreme hair, bottom layer white, mid layer smoke gray, top layer olive. Add a few stands of pearl Mylar to give a little sparkle.
Thread – Green
Head – 5 minute epoxy, colour with brown marker pen
Eye – Yellow/black model paint

Tying tip – Be careful when stacking the tail, do not let the different colors mix. This gives a great effect in the water.

Maggot Fly

A realistic maggot imitation suitable for catching Perch, Roach, Rudd, Dace, Chub, Tench and even Carp on both river and pond.
It is fished with a floating fly line and a strike indicator. Look for those telltale mounds of sawdust on the bank where the real thing has been used and cast your offering out. Takes will usually come on the drop. Fish around the margins in the summer months – you will have some great action!

Hook – Kamasan B110 size 10 to14
Thread- White big fly
Body – Translucent nymph skin
Head – 2mm gold bead

Tying tips – Build up a nice tapering underbody with the thick tying thread to produce a nice profile.

Farmoor-II fly fishing

When the rivers are flooded and there’s nothing to do but tie flies, what is an eager fisherman to do? The option of a small water doesn’t really appeal to myself, so another river or a reservoir was on the cards. I’d had a call earlier in the week of a good friend who wanted to do some fishing the weekend so it was a quick phone call to Dean and before I even suggested where to go, he said ‘I’ll pick you up 6.30am!’ Nothing better than another keep and chips angler!

Terry, Dean and myself turned up at Farmoor II at around 9am after a quick pit stop in McDonalds to fill up. Almost flat calm and bright sun, it was set to be  a good day until the ranger described the fishing at the lake as a ‘Drain’. With very low averages over the previous week due to water being pumped in.

Emptying the car of fishing rods and tackle, we head off around the lake to find a likely looking spot to fish for the first few hours of the day. There were many anglers on the east bank, sitting, more or less ledgering their boobies waiting for a take.

Now, this was Terrys first day on a lake in just under 30 years… he had no fishing tackle, no flies and a bit of a clue. ‘They live in the water’ he said with a smile on his face.

After running through the basic principals of fishing sinking fly lines and boobies with T, he couldn’t wait to get out there.

Terrys first cast into FarmoorII

We fished as a pack, 3 of us in a line waiting to ambush anything that was to swim past, if it missed the first guy, the second or third would be sure to get it! Well, that’s what we thought anyway. After half an hour or so Terry got his first pull and I saw Deans rod buckle over, landing a cracking Farmoor Rainbow trout. A few long range pictures and back to the fishing.

Dean landing a trout

By now, the wind had picked up making casting easier and fishing more pleasant. I’d cast out trying my luck after Deans fish and Terrys pull… It wasn’t long before the line went skittering out of my hand and I’d landed my first fish. Next cast, another!

The first few hours were hard, not many fish coming out anywhere. Nothing more to the Welsh trio either, other than a single lost fish.

The far bank was calling, the locals were there and the wind was light… a pleasurable area to fish, not exactly the Ideal location for fish, but it was worth a go.

Now, not everything we do pays off… but this one did, big time. first 6 casts between us, we landed5 fish and dropped 2. My first cast saw me take a double header, a fish of around 2.4lb on the dropper and a 5lb+ fish on the tail. Albeit a stocky, it gave a great account for itself and left me thinking it was much bigger until it was in the net.

I spent a few minutes sitting with Terry after this, mainly untangling his line! But also giving some hits and tips, taking a few pictures and talking to locals.

The stance of expectation

Returning back to fishing, I decided to move to some structure and look for a bigger, older fish with a minkie booby. Fishing the edges, the weedbeds and the structure from the boat moarings. It wasn’t long after I’d left Terry I could see him with a bent rod, playing his first trout. A few pictures revealed he’d hooked a double header! Not something he’s overly used to fishing the river!

Returning to my rod I worked my way around the jetty, casting long and short being sure to work the most likely areas. The fly was around 4 inches long! Anything that was going to eat it would have been of great mass! We’ll you’d expect. I hooked a fish on the hang after jigging the fly putting as much movement into it as humanly possible. A cracking well fed Rainbow which had obviously been in there a long time.

Towards the end of the day, the fishing calmed off – with around 14-16 fish on the bank we’d had a good day between us. Terry hooked and lost the last fish of the day after covering it whilst it was rising. The sunset hadn’t let us down either!

Written by Kieron Jenkins

Fly fishing at Blagdon

After hearing first hand reports of how well Blagdon had been fishing over the last couple of weeks myself and Mark had to book a boat. This would be our second consecutive week at the venue and if this trip was as good as last week then we would be in for a good’un.

But fishing wouldn’t be fishing if two days would ever be the same, never mind two weeks. We were faced with a north westerly wind and  temperatures of 5/6 degrees, a far cry from last weeks westerly and 16 degrees C!.  Adding to that the water level was down a good few feet which made parts of the lake unfishable.  The fishery is renown for its nymph fishing and my partner for the day as usual is experienced international angler Mark Thomas a member of this years gold winning Welsh team in the Orkneys. A hearty cooked breakfast in the Seymour Arms set us up for the day, also open for a lunchtime pint, or dinner once you’ve come off the boat.

Having been at the fishery the previous week and chatting to locals before hand the information was that the better fish were still coming off Rugmoor and in the middle of the lake at Rainbow point. These were intended to be our starting point for the day as we were trying to target some of the better fish which we had caught on the previous trip. These fish had put on such a good account of themselves that we were hoping for more of the same .

Methods for the start of the day would be nymphing, Mark, searching through his impressive fishing tackle collection for an Airflo midge tip fly line, with 20ft of 8lb sightfree with three diawl bachs and a booby on the point. With the cold chill in the wind, he chose to position his top dropper 8ft below the fly line, trying to position his flies at a varied depth. Using the booby just to slow the decent and give a washing line effect. I set up with an Airflo floating fly line and a straight team of 3 diawls on 18ft of  8lb sightfree. Hopefully with two different methods we would would find the fish and their preferred feeding depth, speed and cuisine.

As we motored out from the jetty and turned right towards Rugmoor we could see that the water was slightly colored as the water was low and the windy conditions from previous night had stirred up the loose sediment causing the top few lays of water to become cloudy. But, we had all day to cover the lake and find some clearer water.

Our first stop was at Rainbow point half way down the lake where the water was still cloudy but not enough to put us off. Drifting through here for around one hundred yards we didn’t raise any interest so off we motored into the middle of the lake for another drift, 45 minutes later still no offers between us. We decided to head over to Rugmoor for a look, as the further we drifted down the lake the cloudier the water became. Same again at rugmoor no offers between us on the setups we were using.

After another brainstorm we decided that the water would be clearer at the top end of the lake by the dam and a change of methods was required by one of us to try and get some interest.  I decided to change my setup to an Airflo Di3 sweep with 15 foot of 8lb sightfree with a cat variant booby on point and a tequila blob on a dropper 8ft from the top.

Cat Variant Boobies – Tequila Blobs

As we started our drift from the dam we could see boats anchored up all along from Cheddar water to polish water so we thought there must be fish in the area although we hadn’t noticed any of the boats taking fish we were confident in that the water clarity was much better at this end of the lake and we could see the bottom in some areas that were shallow.

The time was now 12.30pm and we hadn’t had an offer between us so we were starting to get a bit edgy. As we drifted from the dam into pipe bay I had my first fish, counting the line down 15 seconds and steadily drawing back when the fish took. As I struck into it and started to play it, it leapt from the water and I could see this was a good fish of around 3.5lb plus, another fishermans’ exaggerations? It was giving a good account of itself talking line and taking to the air, the one thing about the trout at Blagdon is that you can’t bully them into submission, they go like steam trains! After playing the fish for a couple of minutes the hook came loose and I lost the fish, disappointing but at least there seemed to be fish in the area.

We carried on the drift could see a boat opposite the lodge about 60 yards out into a fish, as we came along side the boat I had another fish take which was not as big as the previous one but welcomed all the same, taken the cat variant booby on the point. Mark had seen enough to change his method and changed to a Fast Glass with two cat boobys one with yellow eyes & one with white and was rewarded almost instantly with a fish. We carried on drifting past the lodge for 100 yards with no offers so it was back around to start the drift again.

As we started the drift we could see the boat anchored adjacent to the lodge into a fish so expectations were high. True to form as we came into the area I  was into a fish again seeming to take the fly as soon as it hit the water indicating the fish were higher than we thought. After landing it and recasting a couple of times my line tightened again also taking the point fly. We carried on through this area but the fish seemed to be concentrated in that magical 60 yard mark. At least we had found them.  Back around we went again and this was where Mark made contact for the first time getting a good solid lock up. Playing the fish, it boiled near the surface and we could see from the water displacement that this was a much better trout. AS the fish started to tier, Mark gained a few feet of line but only to be taken again as it got a glimpse of the boat. Eventually we netted the fish which weighed in at just under 5lb.

At around 3pm the decision was made to drift through the lake, onto Green Lawn. Mark took a Brown in perfect condition which was released instantly, and I took another in the same area. Again we both recast and found ourselves into fish again so they seemed to be here too. A great find towards the end of the day. We went back around for a few more drifts through this area where Mark took another brown trout which was in pristine condition, although taking  he booby with white eyes.

We continued to fish the area until 5pm when the temperature dropped to below what was comfortable for us so we decided to head off as it ws starting to get dark. 16 fish to the boat all of which were caught after 1230pm, cant really complain at that! Mark with nine and myself with seven with one of Marks fish being around 5lb.

All in all after reading the fish returns we had had a very succesful day compared to the other boats which were recording catches of three and fours. Even though we had a plan to fish imitative techniques for the day the sudden drop in temperature had certainly put the fish off taking such offerings and it was pleasing that between us we had found the method and depth which in the end made what was looking to be a difficult day a good day. This just shows you cant be focused on one technique! Especially this time of year were the weather is prone to change like on the press of a button.

World Youth Fly Fishing Championships

The Welsh Youth World fly fishing team headed off to Sansepolcro, Italy on Friday 26th August to compete in the Fly Fishing World Championships along with another 11 countries. The Youth World fly fishing championships was just a small part of the Sport Fishing World Championship being held in Italy, along with 24 other disciplines and 51 countries competing. The categories ranged from Disabled Carp fishing through to long distance casting with beach casters, and every thing in between.

The Competition

On the Sunday, All the teams competing in the Youth Championships, headed off to Florence for the opening ceremony. This is where everyone, or some members of all the Countries and discipline’s who were competing met up and marched. This was to give the Country a presence and play each anthem, welcoming everyone to the start of the world games.

The Welsh Team

Walking with our Mascot to the parade

After all the teams had walked, and the anthems played, we headed to a buffet to talk and meet others competitors, from our own and other countries. Talking to some of the other competitors from Wales it was great to meet others who were as enthusiastic about fishing, as all of the Youth.
We were left with a great sunset over the Italian hills which seemed to relaxed everyone before the hard and physical days ahead.

Five sessions on 5 miles of the Tail Water Tevere were to be fished by each competitor. What made the competition more interesting, was the river was Catch and Release only, One fly, and one session dry fly only. This was going to be a test for everyone!

Throughout the competition, none of the team captains or managers were allowed to use cameras to take pictures or videos, other than Official press. As a result, there are not many pictures freely available until they are published. Below are some of the images I took whilst fishing/practising, before and after the competition.

The Fishing

After a four hour drive from Rome, we arrived at Sansepolcro late Friday evening, and decide to get some shut eye before we headed to the Tevere for our first practice day.

All in anticipation, we turned up at a beautiful river, an aqua blue sort of colour, but perfectly clear. The weather was hot and sunny, somewhere in the high 30’s! We tackled up at the van, and headed down towards the river. The first pool we arrived at, set us off, there were fish rising, swimming and jumping out of the water. Down along one of the creases of the run, we could see fish in access of 40cm, flashing, lifting and picking off nymphs as they drifted past. Great to see feeding fish in a new river!

The fishing was good, with all the boys taking fish, but quite bizzarly, all on the same method, the French Leader. The fish seemed to have held up in the shallow waters of the pool, just like the water above. Ankle deep.

With the water so clear, the fish could be spotted under the far bank, in my eyes, making them easy prey! If the fish was stationary, it would be pretty well camouflaged so a decent pair of polarised glasses would gain you an extra fish or two. Fishing the French leader with flies as small as 22’s unweighted, and 1.5mm tungsten beads was the way forward. Casting to spotted fish, not necessarily watching the fly, but the fishes actions; if it moved off station or lifted in the water he was yours, if it darted, it was spoked. Surprisingly many fish were spoked by the fly or nylon.

The takes were very slight, if you were watching the indicator in the leader and it moved, you were too slow! It was moving ever so slightly, maybe not even a CM! By the time the slack in your tippet (it was only 2 ft long!) was taken up with the flow+fish to move the indicator the fish would spit the fly out and spook. This is why watching the fish was so crucial, striking at any movement of the fish itself, as long as the fly was in that sort of area.

Nymping the deeper holes we caught a few trout, but nothing compared to the shallows. Judging by the takes we were getting in the slow water, more than likely we were missing the takes in the fast, with the leader not even registering with the slight takes.

The last session of the competition I was drawn on the Dry fly only section of the river, a cracking weir pool – perfect for nymphing!! Looking at the pool, I only had around 15 yards of fishable water, the back end of the run, were the water flattened out off the run slackened off.

This was the pool, the day after the comp - the water dropped 6 inches!

I took 11 fish off that section on a variety of dries, but a spinner being one of the best patterns. It was a perfect copy of a crippled olive. Olives live and hatch in fast water, a weir pool being perfect. But the faster the water, the harder it is for the olive nymph to emerge, dry its wings and fly off. The turbulent water would trap the olive and ‘cripple’ it causing its wings break in a sense.

Before and after - the after one looks even more tasty!

We fished this pool the day after, just for a few hours before the closing ceremony and prize giving. The boys all tackled up with nymphs and headed off up and down river to try and tempt some of the fish that hadn’t been caught on dries previously. Disappointingly,  it didn’t seem to pay off! I tackled up with the dries and fished the same pool and approached it the same as the previous day in the comp.

Within a few minutes of waiting, 2 fish moved onto the gravel bar at the back end of the pool, not rising, but they were there.

These fish are super spooky, a cast from below covering the fish with the nylon and fly would spook the fish and cause them to stray off  into a less accessible bit of water. The club which run the Tevere river, sell over 6000 tickets a year to guests, that’s 500 a month! So these fish knew flies and nylon!

I moved to above the fish, spooking the larger one in the picture. Sitting on the gravel, I changed my nylon to 0.80 kg.

Lets stop and talk about my kit.

Tackle was key! Light fly rods and fly lines were essential, the new Airflo Streamtec Nano 9ft 3/4 weight was my choice, the softness of the rod allowed me to use tipper as light as 1.5lb and not get broken off by big lunges off the fish. Accompanied by an Airflo Ridge supple technical fly line, it would allow me to cast 20yards plus, covering rising fish at distance with great presentation. The fly would seem to turn over however far I dare to cast, catching me bonus fish.

Another important aspect of my fishing gear were my waders. Purchasing a pair of Simms G3’s before heading out was one the best ideas I’ve had for a long time. The use of breathable material and Goretex, would allow the waders to breath, not causing me to sweat, which is a hard task in 30+ degrees! Sweat building up in the usual areas, around the ankles etc, would cause rubbing and itching and being out fishing all day, walking miles in blistering heat does become very uncomfortable! Thank’s to breathable waders I was very comfortable and could focus on the fishing. Imagine fishing in neoprenes in that heat?

Back to it.. I waited 5 minutes, and the larger fish appeared in the same lie. Giving it a few more minutes to settle, I threw my first cast over the fish, landing it around 5 feet above the first fish. The fly came down gently and drag free, up he rose in the water, getting a better look at the fly, it’s mouth opened sucked the fly in and gently lowered back down into the lie. I lifted and he was on. A pretty hefty fish of around 2lb, 45cm.

Each time I caught a fish, I changed the leader, the fishes teeth would rip shreds into the nylon and curl the end near the fly, not good on spooky fish, any fish in fact!

I sat in that same position for nearly an hour, taking the best part of 6-7 fish of that gravel bar, working the near and far side. Some cracking Italian trout.

This was my favourite fish of the whole trip. The day before, when I was on this stretch of the river in the competition, being modest I walked across the weir into the corner on the far left. Behind the small bush in the water in the slack, I spooked 2 fish, which I was pretty gutted about, but I thought I wouldn’t have caught them on a dry anyway, there were just milling around.

So now, I crossed the weir gently, and crept up behind the bush, to revel another fish lying in that same area! I swapped the dry for a 1.5mm tungsten nymph, dropped it in and up he came, taking the nymph at about mid level. Within seconds he was in the net, if he ran he would have come off!

Behind the bush!

The Results

Personally, I had a great competition, the years I’ve spent on the water in all different fishing situations seemed to have paid off getting me a 4th place Individually. Winning two of my sessions a 2nd a 5th and a 6th getting me just 15 place points in total, Just another two higher, and I would have been in with a medal! Maybe next time.

Below are the results of the whole competition.

Individual

Team

USA 1st - Italy 2nd - Poland 3rd

Hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I did fishing it! Tightlines!

Written by Kieron Jenkins

Fly Fishing at The Other Henry’s

Mention to any flyfisher that your heading for Island Park, Idaho and they’ll immediately think you’ll be packing a selection of CDC and biot creations intended to deceive the wonderfully selective leviathons of the Henry’s Fork.

However, my latest visit to Rene’ Harrop and the boys at Trouthunter was all about the incredible Stillwater’s of the region, and more specifically Henry’s lake.The plan was to see how fishing UK flies and techniques would work on the great Cutthroat and Hybrids that inhabit the lake.

This was not the first time I’d fished the lake, having visited 10 years earlier and remembered enjoying some wonderful sport from a float tube, fishing damsels through the gaps in the late summer weed. Needless to say, I was fairly confident that some of my own flies and techniques would produce on this trip.

Being mid October, it is always risky with weather, but the fishing gods were in a kind mood and when I arrived at the county boat dock on the eastern side of the lake, I was greeted by a gentle breeze and mild temperatures, which certainly put fish in the mood to hit the fly.

Starting from the shore, as I waded carefully into the water I actually saw a fish swim right by me, a nice Cutthroat of about 18” and prime target for settling me into the swing of things. A short cast, a pause for the fly to sink and a fish took my ‘Minkie’ streamer on the drop – one cast, one fish – you really couldn’t ask for better.

With Henry’s being such a shallow lake, a good cast was only putting my fly into about 6’ of water, add to this the extensive remains of summer weed growth – my set up needed to fish just over the these to put it into the path of any trout cruising between them.

A Airflo 10’ 7# fly rod matched with a 7# slow intermediate fly line, gave me the ability to cast a long line and help keep my flies high and out of trouble on the back cast. With a sink rate of only 0.5” per second, the line eliminated any wake on the otherwise calm surface and helped put me in direct contact with my flies.

At the business end, my leader held a team of 3 flies, each spaced 5’ apart, with a further 8’ of level 3X fluorocarbon looped directly to the flyline. When fishing with this multi fly rig the point or tail fly is generally the largest with smaller flies placed on the droppers to help with turnover.

The olive and brown Minkie on the tail seems to be just the ticket, with Cutthroats, hybrids and even brookies regularly hitting it like a ton of bricks. Tied with a very fine layer of lead, this fly sinks slowly and more importantly it sinks level. Mink seems to have a great ‘Snake like’ movement in the water and unlike flies tied with rabbit strips, it maintains its shape even when the fly is paused between strips.

It is fairly common that once you’ve caught a few fish from a short section of shoreline that fish in the immediate area seem to go off the feed, but with regular changes in retrieve and showing the flies at slightly different angles of cast, you can still catch fish.

As the day wore on, the fish started to get a little more tricky to catch and it was then that some of the subtleties of UK Stillwater techniques started to have an impact.

The first thing that I noticed was the takes were becoming more gentle – by holding the rod tip 12” above the water and watching the movement of the Airflo line as it swung up and down on my retrieve, I was able to visualise the take before I actually felt it at the hand. With a firm strip strike at that point I was able to hook and land several more lively Cutthroats to over 20”.

The other factor that became important was to constantly change retrieve speed and style to help induce a strike. The best way to explain this is to imagine a cat chasing a piece of string – the cat quickly becomes bored if you move the string at the same pace on each pass. However, a change of speed or direction will have the cat bouncing on the string once again.

The same proved true with the fish, by constantly varying the flies path and speed through each cast, many additional takes were induced.

Another small, but subtle technique that I found effective was to hold the flies briefly in the water before each recast. At the end of each retrieve, instead of the usual roll cast into a back cast, with about 20’ of line still in the water, I would slowly sweep the rod upwards and then stop at about 50 degrees – then with the flyline hanging down in an arc I would watch this for up to 10 seconds for any signs off a following fish taking the fly.

Known as fishing the ‘Hang’, this short pause has be responsible for so many additional fish over the course of my fishing seasons. Just think how many times a good fish has boiled at the surface when you go to make a recast – try this technique and you’ll convert quite a few of those into hooked fish.

To be a successful lake fishermen, you really need to develop a feel or a sixth sense for what is happening below the surface – to help me, I constantly imagine that a fish is following my fly and I truly expect a hit on each and every cast- that way when I get a hit, I am not surprised and tend not to miss them.

Our last day on the lake, cold weather hit us and whilst we knew wherefish were holding, their interest in chasing streamers had diminished like the weather. However, these fish were still catchable and local anglers started to hook a few with #12 bead head midges suspended about 4’ below the surface using an indicator.

Not wanting to miss a spot of midge fishing I set up with system that’s known in the UK as the ‘Washing line’, because of the way it hangs you flies in the water column.

Using the same 3 fly cast on a floating line, the tail fly is now replaced with a buoyant eyed booby fly which acts as a float and helps suspend the midges at the correct level.

By mending slack line into the cast, the midgesfree fall on the slack line, then by applying tension, you can hold the flies at a depth. Then with a long slow pull on the line or raising the rod tip, you can lift the two dropper midges almost vertically.

Red and Claret Superglue Midges worked a treat and caught several fish on a tough day and proved the technique to be a great alternative for those who prefer not to use indicators.

The flies

Minkie

This simple pattern has worked for me from lake Otamangaku in New Zealand to Lake Akan in Hokkaido and remains my ‘go to’ Stillwater streamer pattern. You can tie in many colour combinations and unlike beadhead flies, it sinks level – a feature that I feel significantly helps improve hook ups.

Cruncher

A popular nymph/wet fly in the UK, this style of fly can be tied in various colour combinations and a great general pattern when you are unsure of what the fish may be feeding on – it just looks like fish food.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Super Glue Midge

The patterns are easy to tie, look extremely realistic and are incredibly tough. Just match the size and colour to the midges found hatching. If you cannot see any, try black or red – these two colours will catch, even when fish are feeding on other colours of midges.

Boobies

Originally designed to be fished on a short leader and fast sinking line, UK anglers have found out in recent years how versatile this style of fly can be – from a surface disturbance pattern, to a float to help keep your other flies at the correct depth.

 Post Written by Gareth Jones of BVG-Airflo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Split Wing CDC Olive

This method of tying the wings can be applied to any upwing fly. When the Olive (or other upwing fly) just hatches it’s at its most venerable stage of its living life. As the olive hatches out of its shuck, its wings are wet, forcing the olive to stay on the surface until its wings have dried out and are light enough to fly. If you ever catch an olive that has just hatched, its wings are spread out in a ‘V’ Shape, making them easier to dry off and enabling them to become airborne. The profile of the V shaped wings show perfectly from beneath and the fish seem to recognise this as being an easy target.

Fly Tying Materials needed –

Thread:- Trico 17/0

Hook:- Partridge SLD 16

Tail:- Coq de Leon

Body:- Olive Turkey Biots

Thorax cover:- Black Aero dry

Wings:- CDC plumes

Thorax:- Olive opossum

Set a hook in the vice, something suitable, such as a light dry fly hook. Here I have used a Partridge SLD, size 16, and run the thread down to the back end of the hook. For the tail, tie in four strands of CDL, something durable. I like to use the CDL as a tail as its very realistic, comes in many different shades, although it is classed as light medium and dark on the packet.

For this fly, I will split the tail so it gives a very realistic resemblance of an olive, and a good footprint to hold the fly up on the surface. Take a piece of thread and loop around bend of the hook and hold the two ends together. Separate the tails by pushing your finger nail, scissors or what ever comes to hand up against the underneath of the tail, this will push them up hopefully separating each one making it easier to pull the thread through.

To split the tail into two – bring the thread up between the four strands, two on each side, and lie on top of hook shank. Make a loose wrap of thread to secure the piece just pulled through. Pull the thread used to split the tail to tighten it and splay the tails at different angles, tighter it is the bigger the angle.

This method of splitting the tails is my favourite; there are many ways of doing it. This is quite simple and easy as it doesn’t tend to trap any of the tails and keeps them on top of the hook.

Tie in one strand of the Turkey biot by its tip and wind half way up the hook shank and tie off. To make sure you get the correct side of the biot showing, tie the biot in with the piece thats curled (the part that is left by stalk that it’s been pulled from) facing downwards.

Tie in a piece of black aero dry to be used as a thorax cover and to also split the CDC to create wings. This could be substituted with anything really.. more cdc, black floss you name it…

Take 3 CDC feathers – pull off each side of the feather and place on a flat surface so it doesn’t get damaged or blown away.

Take one of the ‘bundles’ of cdc, cut any unwanted stalk off the ends and tie in with just a few wraps of silk, Repeat this process three times, each time leaving a small gap between each wing.


Try and keep the CDC on the top of the hook, as you want the wings to sit up, not flat on the water.

To cover up the unsightly thread which is trapping the wings in, dub a small amount of Olive opossum onto the thread (could use anything with the same colour as the body)

By “figure of eightin” the dubbing around the underneath of the fly, going behind and in front of the wings, the thorax should now be created and it should also look much more pleasing.

Now to the wings, once you have created a neat thorax,  pull the aero dry forward evenly between the bundles of CDC. This should split the CDC pretty evenly and the thorax should lie perfect in the correct position. Then tie off.

To shape the wings, take the two between your fingers and squeeze flat. Judge the size accordingly to what insect you’re representing, and cut around the shape of your fingers. This should then leave a rounded set of wings pretty close to the size and shape of the fly your tying.

Whilst dry fly fishing, one of the main reasons a fish is missed or bulges beneath the fly is normally thought because the fly is too big, but in past experience most of the time it comes down to the leader. Your leader choice is just as crucial as you’re presentation. A light tippet will always present a fly much better than heavier tippet. This is because heavier tipper is usually stiffer than the lighter stuff and causes the fly to drag across the surface, making the fly less realistic. Fluorocarbon is heavy. It sinks beneath the surface resulting in two things. It causes the fly to be submerged and water logged, although sometimes this can be good, accidently fishing in the surface film can result in more confident takes, it’s not what you’re trying to aim for unless fishing an emerger type fly. Alternatively the nylon used is the competitively priced Airflo co-polymer because of its properties. It is very subtle, and allows the fly to float freely downstream. Co-polymer also floats, which allows the fly to sit high in the water, as if it was a real dun you’re trying to imitate.

Written by Kieron Jenkins