The Taff Demise? I think not.

Fly fishing on rivers has become vastly popular over the last eight to ten years, I remember days when we were the only anglers on the river. You could go anywhere, on any river and not see ten other anglers throughout the whole winter! There would seem to be just the few hardy grayling fishers, standing in the river with the water below 3 degrees and the air temperature even lower. Then, we had two techniques. Czech Nymphing and the Indicator.

Overtime, our flies and techniques have evolved, the Czech nymphing has more or less turned into french nymphing, using tapered leaders with short indicator pieces. The indicator, superbly impressive on its day – using a foam indicator (fish pimp.etc) has become the ‘Duo’ and ‘Trio’ fished with a dry fly as the indicator. All, very, very effective.

The lower Taff is designed to relieve the valley of water quickly. The steep banks and pools gather the water and lets the water flow  uninterrupted downstream in theory reducing the risk of flooding. Over the years, pools have changed and water flow has increased and subsided in some areas, obviously pushing the fish around into more comfortable areas.

Fish caught czech nymphing Mid winter 2009

But. There’s always a but. Especially on the Taff, the numbers of large grayling getting caught have dropped dramatically. Fish in access of 1.4lbs, which were very common in previous years. There is much speculation on what has caused the decrease of large grayling, angling pressure, cormorants and their life cycle.

I fished a tributary of the River Wye, the Irfon on the weekend with two friends last weekend, Tim Hughes and my usual fishing buddy, Jon. Tim has been around for some time, representing Wales at Rivers and Lake internationals and World-championships.

Tim had observed anglers from European countries fishing the Czech nymphing style whilst fishing the World Championship in Wales 1991 –  The Euporeans swept away the glory through fishing deep with heavyweight nymphs, something he wanted to master, and went on to qualify for river teams and take top welsh rod at one international on the Dee too.

We got talking at the bank about techniques, flies, fish, the usual stuff when on the bank and holding a rod. Tim had opted for a Czech nymph set-up, the way we used to do it, two heavily weighted, pretty large czech nymphs – Pink on the top dropper, a hotspot pink & hares ear in the middle, and a tungsten headed red tag hares ear on the point. Me and Jon, the usual, french leader setup.

Looking for a pool which the three of us could fish, we walked from the mouth of the Irfon upstream and eventually broke off the path into a long run. The kind which is only up to your knees, easy to wade and has plenty of pea gravel… The perfect grayling tertiary, right?

I pitched my fly into confluence of the slow & fast water on inside seam, and within a few seconds, I struck into a feisty browny on a pink bug… skill eh? Into the same crease, Jonathan made the same cast, and the indicator shot forward… it was a lady of around a pound. Again, third cast, I had another brown. A small shoal was located and as we move upstream it was obvious why, a small depression in the bottom with a dip of around 10 inches. Only if all pools where like this? We met up with Tim after he ‘bugged’ his way downstream to no apparent avail.

From there up, the water started to deepen, pools started to get larger and our catch rate seemed to go down, many trout but less grayling. This is how we usually fish the Taff, two nymphs.. change the weight and leader length accordingly to the depths. Tim on the other hand was ‘whacking ’em’ – Fishing these pools with heavy czech nymphs and double tungsten caddis patterns. I had heavy bugs on, 4mm tungys, I seemed to be fishing the bottom, but I couldn’t get them.. I quick change from the french leader to a braided fly line and three heavy bugs went on. A few casts in I was into a lovely grayling. We continued fishing picking off grayling and the odd trout in the fast and powerful water.

Talking to Tim later in the day we were discussing the lack of larger grayling in the Taff, their there, because their caught sometimes.. Usually when the waters low.. When we can reach them. It suddenly hit me, with the same situation happening that day, Jon and I would have had a pretty dower day for grayling if we hadn’t switched to the Czech style of nymphing. When fishing the Duo, Trio and the French Leader – Our flies are naturally lighter – Its our mind set. Dryflies can only suspend so much weight before being submerged, and two flies are never going to be as heavy as three.

Maybe we’re not catching any large grayling because were not fishing like we used to? Our flies may be too light, and not getting down to them. Trout don’t usually feed on the bottom unless grubbing, maybe that’s why trout and small grayling catches have increase.

Are we REALLY getting down there?

Written by Kieron Jenkins

Welcome to Slovenia!

Throughout my short fly fishing career I have had the pleasure of fishing many beautiful and wild locations across the globe. But without a doubt the most breathtaking place was Slovenia.

With the stunning scenery and never-ending fishing possibilities you can find yourself in awe of the locals.

We travelled with one of Slovenia’s most prolific guides Rok Lustrik www.lustrik.com who was not only a very experienced guide but also a true gent. The fishing package consisted of 7 nights and 6 days guiding. The Flights were easy and Rok arranged all the transit between airport and destination.

To experience everything that Slovenia had to offer we split our time fishing both of the main river systems and its tributaries, the Soca and Sava. The Soca is probably the most famous alpine river in Slovenia, and rightly so, with its very different tributaries. Set in breathtaking scenery overlooking the Julian Alps, it is home to the most fascinating and elusive fish species in the world – the marble trout – as well as Adriatic grayling and rainbow trout.

The river Sava is the longest alpine river in Slovenia. It starts divided into two forks, the Sava Bohinjka and Sava Dolinjka rivers. The upper part is world-famous for its grayling as well as for large rainbows and good-sized browns. In the wintertime, it is ideal for fly-fishing for our land-locked Danube salmon.

During our time in Slovenia we managed to catch every species they had to offer. Gorgeous Golden brown trout, the slender Lady of the river the Arctic Grayling, the elusive monster of the river the Marble trout and the playground bully the Rainbow Trout.

Armed with excitement and enthusiasm we headed to the river. As soon as I was on the bank I knew we were in for a treat. Rok set me up with a simple cast of around 6ft of 3.1lb Airflo Ultra Strong Co-Polymer, with a single copper john size 16 and an indicator. Within 5 casts I was in to my first fish of the trip. As soon as I hooked up I knew what I had on, with the head down wiry fight I knew I was in to a Grayling. My 10ft #3/4 Streamtec Nantec fly rod was bent double and with a single lift of her dorsal fin more line came poring off my Vosseler RC L. And with a little determination I managed to land her.

Well worth the trip in its own don’t you think??

Through the days fishing it just got better and better with incredible river systems and stunning scenery. The quality of fish that we had was just incredible and the style of fishing for them is a whole different experience. Mainly Nymphing with an indicator seemed to be the most favoured plan of attack.

And boy was it affective!

 With this stunning PB River caught Rainbow of 5lb 3oz coming to a 16 Woven Nymph.

One of the days we experienced a heavy downfall of rain and with the rising river we started to admit defeat for the day……..But no, I could hear a splashing downstream and as I turned to look I could see Rok running back upstream and shouting  “MARBLES” witch I must admit at that point I thought that is precisely what he had lost !  But no as he came nearer he explained that when the river is starting to flood there is a strong possibility of getting the shy Marble Trout.

Rok then began taking out these flies of which I can only describe as being leaded bunnies! This fly was tied on a size 6 hook with a huge jig head and covered in white zonker strips; it resembled nothing I had ever seen before.  He then began to tie this fly onto my line, baring in mind I still have my river gear i.e 10ft #4. Rok then explained how you fish for these “Marbles” ‘just lob it out and strip as fast as you can!’ Now I did not hold high hopes for this method and must admit was slightly beaten before I started, thinking the pub is calling !. But I kid you not In the first three cast I had two fish hit the fly like a steam train. This is fishing like I have never seen. In that few hours of fishing I managed 6 Marble trout. It is the most savage and aggressive take I have ever experienced out of all the fish species I have caught. When you are stripping the “fly” back you just see the shadow of the Marble appear out of nowhere. Without a doubt one of the most heart stopping fishing I have ever done.  Now there is very little difference between a marble and a brown trout as you will see from the below picture.

The world of fishing in Slovenia had taken me by surprise and there was still one left hidden. I had not experienced this personally during the trip but my father Greg Cann managed to pull out another surprise. In the river systems when a Marble Trout and a Brown Trout breed it creates a Hybrid. Now this fish inherits both of its parents attributes, the turbo charges hunger of the Marble and the gorgeous colouration of the Brown. And this truly was a lovely fish.

Throughout my fishing in Slovenia I have been truly inspired by not only the fishing but also the landscape. How the rivers define the country and weave through it like veins. And I can honestly vouch for the superb quality and service you get with Rok Lustrik he truly makes the experience that more special. I have now been on two trips to Slovenia, once in 2009 and again in 2010. And am now planning another trip there!.

If you are looking for a fishing experience of a lifetime I strongly recommend you visit Slovenia.

Tight Lines !!

Last boat trip of the season

The last weekend of the trout season is a sad time for everyone…

Knowing that you more than likely won’t visit your favourite fly fishing water for over 5 months puts anyone on a downer!

With a fellow team mate winning a competition the previous week, a free boat and ticket was issued, so it was only courtosy we use it by the end of the season as their not able to be carried over. Allen and I shared our last boat of the season.

Setting up our fly fishing tackle at the car, we talked tactics and discussed fly choices. It was inevitable that we both chose more or less the same cast, with a few colours being changed here and there.

With a warmish breeze and a light wind passing over the surface of the water the lake has never looked so enticing. It was perfect. Although the lake had gone up 4-5 feet during the week as Welsh Water had been pumping water into the lake… Not something the fish like; Fresh, cooler water than the average of the lake being pumped in.

Setting off from the jetty we stopped the boat and let drift free into the lake past the sailing club, fishing our way through and onto the most productive areas of the lake the week before. With just one tightening of the fly line, the only pull of the first 2 hours we decided to change location and drift along the gabiens wall. Within a few cast, Allen locked into a fish on a Cats Whisker booby. One of the top flies of all time let alone on Llandeg! A Welcomed fish in the boat.

Both anglers being on identical lines in the boat and only 2 takes between them sometimes means your doing something wrong.

Changing my Sixth Sense slow glass to a Fast glass 40+ fly line, my luck changed instantly. First 3 casts I’d hooked and landed a fish, missing another one.Sometimes the fishes feeding zones or crusing depths are so critical that an inch difference can change the day completely. Finishing that drift with 2 fish in the boat I was happy enough to say I’d clicked onto something!

A few hours passed, nothing more in the boat… but a few fish interested in the boobies and blobs we had offered ’em.

The wind started to die off and the clouds broke letting the sun peer through and warm the air up a little. This sudden rise in temperature would normally switch the fish on, especially at the end of the day. Although with the fresh water being pumped in the fish didn’t co-operate and remained slow. It wasn’t until the end of the day that Allen took 2 fish and missed a few when we run across a pod in open water. This was the only action we had all day apart from a few tugs and the one good drift I had earlier in the day.

We ended the day with a cracking sunset whetting our appetite already for next year. Bring on the Spring! But for now… onto the Grayling!

Written by Kieron Jenkins

Clydach and the Crai

There’s been so much rain recently the main rivers have been out of order, which has been most annoying as the trout seasons end is nearly upon us. I was gagging to get out and I finally had a couple of hours to spare last Thursday once it finally stopped raining. The only viable option was to check out a small river Taff trib near Pontypridd called the Clydach.
 There was plenty of water coming down the stream at just the perfect height with a good push of water but clear, whilst the Taff itself was chocolate brown and bank high. I set up an 8 foot Airflo fly fishing rod with a 3 weight ridge supple tactical fly line, tied on a 3mm tungsten bead nymphs.  I worked my way in from a road bridge and flicked the nymph into the first pocket. The yellow indicator material I had tied into the leader twitched away, I struck and a tiny brown came flying up and out into mid air! The next pool up produced a nice fish about 11 inches and the small pool above produced 8 fish in as many casts from an area the size of my car.


As I continued upstream into a wooded gorge the sport was hectic with fish after fish from every little pot and pool. They were nice pretty little stream trout and went well on the feather light fly rod. There were also loads of salmon parr which was a great sign for the future. The stream itself was fantastic with plenty of features, If it wasnt for the prams, traffic cones, hoovers and ovens in the ravine I could have been hundreds of miles from civilisation it was so secluded. I only did about 200 yards and ended my little session at the foot of some impressive falls, having landed about 20 fish total which was more than enough for a quick fly fishing fix.

This little outing really got me in the mood for some more small stream adventuring so Saturday morning I picked out one of the Wye and Usk foundation voucher streams nearest to me, the river Crai in the Brecon Beacons. I got to the river in 45 minutes through some winding narrow back roads but the location could have been the wild west, it was in the middle of nowhere.


The river was very clean with a cobbly bed and the flow was strong but the water clear. I fished up through a mile of the beat battling a full on headwind and drizzle. I didn’t see any traffic cones or ovens which was great, but no sign of fish either! I had been expecting a bonanza like the Clydach, especially after de-barbing the hooks as advised by the WUF passport book, ”due to large numbers of juvenile salmon present”. These weren’t there either. I was on the verge of giving up and heading to another river when the wind died down and a few big march brown type duns started hatching out. On cue I saw a fish rise at the tail end of a long flat. I crept into position but as I did I spooked the fish which ghosted upstream were it was joined by two others. To my amazement these were not the usual small stream runts, one was at least 17 inches and the two others well over a foot long. This pool was a featureless big flat and knee deep so one hell of a challenge in the gin clear water. As I moved up all I got was a few refusals to my dry… these fish were picky. At the head of the pool I finally picked up my first one on the a nymph hanging off a klinkhammer.


As I continued up the beat the pools got bigger and held more fish, it was very hard fishing and presentation had to be spot on, most of the water was devoid of fish they were concentrated in just a few pools. I landed some nice browns to 12 inches and spooked some more big ones. At the head of a deep run at the top of the beat I saw a big swirl in the back eddy. The klink dipped under, I struck and the fish lurched round the pool like a mad thing, it was a right lump for a small stream maybe 2lb! It came clean out at my feet and shook its head in seemingly slow motion and the barbless size 16 went flying out… gutted. I rested the pools and worked back through a couple of times winkling out a few more nice browns but the lumps had wised up and had hidden away for the day. The rain and wind picked up again late afternoon so I headed back home with plans to return next season to have another crack at the the Crai giants!

Loch Leven Brown Trout Testing an Airflo Fly Line

Michael Mackenzie, captor of 9lb 6oz brown trout from Loch Leven. Heaviest fish in 100yrs!

I have fished Loch Leven for about 30yrs, gaining alot of great memories from good days afloat on the loch and the usual bad days, but still, it’s always nice to be out. I am a club member of The West Lothian Fly Dressers Angling Club and we have two outings club a year on Leven.

The loch has been improving over the last 3 or 4 years, dispite some of it’s bad publicity, the fly fishing on the lake is improving with some cracking fish being produced.

On 4th September 2011 I was fishing with two companions from the club, one of whom was running late, Tony and Myself  decided to head out, tackle up our fishing gear and get into action fishing the ‘Thrapple hole’, which is near to the Harbour where we would later meet Matthew.

When we were motoring out past the weed beds at the Point I saw two terns hovering over a large fish chasing fry
in between the weed beds, as we got closer it went down and I never saw it again. We carried on to the Thrapple Hole and started to fish, as we approached the Point I hit a fish about 2lb which threw the fly in mid air and was gone. Three or four casts later I hooked another fish which I landed, tipping the scales at 3lb 8oz. At this moment we both looked at each other and thought we were in for a good day.

I spooned the fish and it was full of snails, this prompted me to put on a black deer hair imitation snail.  We fished for another half hour then Matthew called to say he was at the Pier. We picked him up and headed back to the point where we fished for about three hours. Many large fish where leaping and leaving the water but we were having no such luck.

The sun came out and the wind dropped so we decided to try the East Buoy. I was still fishing with the flies I had on in the morning which were 3 wet snatchers and the black deer hair snail imitation on the point., I fished them about 4ft apart on Reverge Grand Max 9.5lb breaking strain.

My fishing tackle consisted of  an Airflo Sixth Sence Fly line and a 10ft two piece G Lommis GLX distance fly rod, my favourite and of which I have had for about 5years and my recently purchased Airflo Comfort Zone Delux Boat Seat.

I was fishing the flies very slowly with a figure of eight retrieve when a slight but heavy weight lingered on the fly line, more like weed than a take. I guess the fish had just been moseying around mopping up the slow moving snails, if this fish was moving at speed to take the fly, I guess it would have snapped me!

I raised the rod and set the hook. I thought it seemed like a good’un and played it for about 10 minutes, the three of us were waiting anxiously for the fish to come to the surface to see how big it was. It rolled on the surface and it was big, then it turned and went down again, it started a slow but determined run behind the boat, pulling the line from my fingers, I was concerned it was not going to stop, but as it got to just passed the main fly line onto the backing I managed to turn the fish and got back in control of the fight. About 10 minutes later I managed to pull it over the net.

What a beauty I said, my biggest brown trout to date, I had no idea it was the biggest caught on the Loch in 100yrs, I just thought of it as the biggest this year for the club.

When we got back to the harbour and weighed it the Ghillie said he thought it was the biggest in 100years. I was stunned, and then left the fish with Willie the Ghillie so that he can get it cast for the Lodge. I will be getting a cast for my own wall of fame.

Michael Mackenzie

Cumbria Fly Fishing

cumbria fly fishing

Cumbria fly fishing with Glyn Freeman

Glyn Freeman is a full time, fully qualified fly casting instructor/guide, and an active member of the Association of Advanced Professional Game Angling Instructors.

Name: Glyn Freeman
Website: http://www.cumbriaflyfishing.co.uk/
E-mail: glyn@cumbriaflyfishing.co.uk
Phone: 07808 563 788
Qualifications: AAGPAI, L2CCA, STANIC, FFF Masters
Instruction: Rivers
Levels: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
Guided Fishing: Yes
Instruction for Corporate Groups: Yes
Onsite Shop: No
Fishing tackle provided: Yes
Accommodation: No, but can be arranged on request

The sessions and experiences on the river Eden in Cumbria are designed to suit whatever your ability, aspirations and requirements may be, whether you are just beginning or have been fishing for a while.

Days out on the river are done in a relaxed, safe and friendly manner, the aim is for you is to go away competent, happy, with new skills and something special.

You will be put in real fishing situations in moving water, (not on the grass or a platform). Included in the cost is a fishing permit for one person, tuition, guiding and use of any quality tackle and equipment needed if you do not have any.

It is on private water on the river Eden in the Northern Lake District, which is easily accessed.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/glynf1
Twitter: https://twitter.com/cumbriafly
Other social media: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCblGB7Fr7rT9lcA8lu1T9QA

Terrestrial Patterns – part 2

The terrestrial-imitations fly box has holds just a few trusted patterns. Choosing which to use may be a little more complicated than when identifying what is hatching. But careful observation will often help you make the right choice. Are there aphids about? Are the fish rising under leaf filled trees? Are there explosions of ants? Are the fish rising persistently? Remember that fish are opportunistic and will rise to even the odd offering that passes over-head… be that a steady trickle of aphids or a one-off fallen caterpillar.

The odd off-target cast that catches the leaves (does that ever happen..?) may pay dividends as you induce a fall off aphids as you free your fly. It has happened!So here are a few more patterns that can produce the goods when the fish are feeding on terrestrials:Aphids
Tie them small; my preference is for a #28 and #30 and have been really favouring the dual fibre thread called Hends Synton. Neat compact bodies with good colour can be achieved even in the smaller sizes:
Ants
There are plenty of patterns suggested for ant imitations, but a CDC wing makes a good sighter for this imitation, whilst allowing the body to pierce the surface film. I like the Varivas 2200BL-B for these patterns:
The Super-Pupa
This pattern was originally produced from the vice of Lennart Bergqvist and was devised for use when sedge were taking to the wing. However it is a devastatingly effective pattern and works well even when the fish are taking terrestrials. I first came across the pattern when I was handed a version by Johan Klingberg whilst tying next to him at the British Fly Fair a couple of years ago. A simple palmered hackle with the upper and lower hackles trimmed, this pattern seems to suggest everything and nothing:


The ‘FP’: Fully Palmered
This is very similar to the superpupa, but simply leaves the palmered hackle in place. This is a superb pattern. It takes fish dry, wet, upstream and downstream. Simple to tie, it just requires a sparse dubbing and a Rooster hackle palmered through the dubbing. I also prefer to trap the hackle in place using my tying thread – rather than using a more traditional ribbing material:


Perhaps the fish see the ‘FP’ with its generic shape as a spider, beetle of small caterpillars:


Big Klinkhamer
I know I have already mentioned the Klinkhamer in part 1, but it warrants another picture – this time in larger sizes. A black / peacock Klinkhamer in larger sizes will often induce a fish to take even when your other offerings have been ignored. An essential addition, I prefer the pink wing post and in larger sizes value the Partridge Klinkhamer and the extreme versions too:


As ever, fly choice is always second to good presentation. As mentioned previously, your fly fishing tackle will have a big role to play in getting your flies where you want them. Fishing flies as small as 28’s and 30’s, like big flies, take some turning over! . If your fly/flies turn over, you know roughly where they are, giving you a better chance of hooking a fish which may take your ghostly size 28. If you get turn over, your more than likely going to get decent presentation. Make sure you aim for accurate casts and drag-free drifts.

Back to part 1 – Terrestrial Flies

Post written by Dave Wiltshire of DW Fly fishing & Tying

Terrestrial Patterns – Part 1

September can be a great time to pursue brown trout and it’s also the the time I really start to think about targeting grayling. However, the end of August and on into the new month can be lean pickings when it comes to fly hatches – which in turn, can make finding feeding fish a little more tricky. Sure, you can fish a nymph, but before you open the nymph box, try a terrestrial pattern. 

Take a look at the bankside flora and you’ll find that it is (and has been for the last few months!) literally crawling with insect life – some of which will find itself falling onto the surface, directed down the food lanes and ends up as a decent meal for a stationed trout. Here are a few of the patterns that sit in my terrestrial fly box and have found me some success:The Hawthorn Fly 
Whilst used as a Hawthorn fly imitation early in the year, this imitation continues to bring success right through the summer (and Autumn) months. It’s a simple tying with Pheasant tail fibres knotted for legs and a folded CDC wing. I prefer a curved hook – with my preference being for the Varivas 2200BL.
The Procter Beetle 
A brilliant, simple pattern that I picked up from Paul Procter. Whilst we usually aim for our artificials to land on the surface gently, this foam backed beetle lands under the leafy bows with a resounding ‘plop’ – and this can be part of the attraction. The fish respond well to its dark outline and silhouette. My preference is for a pink or orange tag so it is clearly visible on the water.
This has become a favourite pattern of mine when rains brings the water levels up and the river is carrying some colour.

As you can see from the above, tapered poly leaders or fly lines with a heavier rating or a steeper tapper allows casting some of these beasts much easier. Some of the Beatles which end upon the water are huge so a size 10 foam backed fly needs to be pushed harder on the cast, something like an Airflo Supple Technical fly line can haul these flies to your desired trouts!
The Klinkhamer 
OK, this works in most hatches, but a small, black version can take some beating if the fish are feeding on terrestrial patterns. I prefer it tied in a #22 with an orange wing post. Again, the Varivas 22ooBL takes some beating for this small offering.

Part 2 now available – Terrestrial flies
Post written by ~Dave Wiltshire  of DW Fly fishing & Tying

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 the Wye & Usk passport waters

It’s not all fun and games working at Fishtec you know. A lot of the time after a long days work, your forced to go fishing on some of the best waters the Wye & Usk foundation offers. The voucher beats of the Wye & Usk foundation require a number of vouchers to be used per person.

Ceri Thomas, Garret Cann and myself ventured to the Llynfi Dulais after work Monday evening, a small stream which runs through the heart of Talgarth.

We knew the fishing would be tough, the river was low, on it’s bones in fact but with plenty of fish to be spooked. Scrambling through the bush, we found the river, a beautiful and picturesque part of the Llynfi.

After studying the water for a few minutes, each pool seemed to be the same, a shallow back end, and a deep undercut along each meander in the river. Perfect. The temperature had gone, and the sun was descending and would see there was next to no fly hatching, probably a bit late in the day for a decent hatch.

We all opted for the nymph approach. Although fished differnt styles, each with a single fly. I was using the French Leader, Garret a short furled leader and Ceri, sighting the takes with his leader/fly line.  Our tackle choice for the night ranged from 8ft to 9ft rods, with 3-4# rating fly lines.

As Ceri had fished the river before, he volunteered to show us the ropes. Casting a fair line upstream, where you can, and staying relatively low seemed to be the key as the river was so low and clear.

We fished pool for pool, standing well back and observing the angler fishing.  We were all keen to find and fool some of the rivers inhabitants, Ceri had fished through the first pool with no luck, although we did see a few fish that we spooked darting about the pool. It was a good sign, they where there, just had to get ’em out.

Walking around the corner, we could hear the light tumble of water, the sound of a nice run was in the air. Ceri fished to the top of the pool in the above photo and we notices a small but tasty looking run. I started to fish it with the French leader, watching the nymph sink into the hold and from no where a fish darted and grabbed the size 19 nymph. Fin perfect.

The fish by now in that pool where very unsettled, darting back an forth, the result of being spooked I guess. so we made our way up through the next few pools with no success. It was down to Garret, he posed as he changed his fly.

 

The river was looking in great condition, although low, there wasn’t much weed or algae build up, which showed the river was full of life and oxygen. There were thousands of water boatmen on the surface. I’ve always wondered why fish don’t take them?

The short fly rods we took seemed to be the right choice, some of the pool where ‘hairy’ to fish to say the least with overhanging trees ready to jump out and claim your flies as you cast, short tippets and stealthy ‘catapult’ casting normally allowed for accurate shots between the brush.

A (not so) little surprise for me, a minnow, nearly the same size of some of the trout we were getting.

 

Ceri with the biggest and last fish of the day, a cracker.

As the light was fading, and lost sight of our leaders we decided to call it a day and head back to the car. After a great nights fishing we were already planning our next trip out on the Passport waters. For more information take a look at the Wye & Usk foundation website, or the W&U passport booklet.

 

Written by Kieron Jenkins