Iain Barr’s Fly Fishing Diary

I took my first trip to Draycote since the reopen earlier this year. I heard it had been fishing extremely well with some very big fish being caught and vast numbers by some. It’s not very often I get leisure fishing these days but this was a rare trip of this nature with my dad and a few friends including the father in law.

The wind plagued us as we set up our fishing rods, so I opted for my #8 Enigma and matching 3foot #8 clear tip fly line. I wanted to use a #5 or #6 outfit but you need this stronger tackle to ensure you get a good back cast in to this gusty wind. My aim was to simply enjoy this rare occasion and fish nymphs and buzzers all day.

I have witnessed hundreds of anglers who dont seem to understand the word static when fishing buzzers. I set up with a team of my new ‘Fish Finder’ buzzers and cast them across the wind to the 10 o’clock position and simply held my line tight with no retrieve initially. Once the buzzers settled i would do a very slow long pull and pause for 20 seconds before repeating with zero retrieve in between. I watched as my fellow anglers, with the exception of my boat partner, constantly insist on slowly figure of 8’ing their buzzers to no avail. This lift and drop method of buzzer fishing is simply devastating, try it!!

Fighting Rainbows
My partner and I landed 33 fish up to near 6lb and I challenge any lake to match these Draycote fish for a pound for pound fight. Several times the fish took me to my backing despite my competitive instincts to get them to the boat as soon as possible. I was using 10lb G3 fluorocarbon and my #8 Enigma rod but still couldnt turn these incredibly fit fish. The average fish was well over 3lb so use a minimum of 8lb fluorocarbon but dont be afraid to use 10lb as I did.

Mini Tip

I highly recommend the Airflo mini tip fly line when buzzer or nymph fishing of any sort. After many years of experimenting with short sink tips there is no doubt -I miss far less fish with the Airflo mini tip against any floating line when fishing this method.

Far less ‘nips’ and ‘bumps’ but just solid lock-ups! A floating line has it’s place when the fish are higher in the water and you are fishing closer to the boat where you can watch the tip of the fly line move but for distance or deep nymphing I would use nothing else other than the Airflo Mini Tip.

Fly Pack Recommendations

Stealth Buzzers
Black Buzzers
Diawl Bachs

Fly Fishing the Usk

Airflo‘s French distributor, Hugues Bruneeo, had a fantastic couple of days fly fishing at the Gliffaes Hotel on the river Usk, Brecon.

Despite the low water conditions, many fish were landed, mainly on small nymphs fished upstream in the faster runs.

Even in the clear water, the fish showed a definite preference for flies with either a Fl. orange or Fl. pink thorax, unweighted flies were best as they kept the hooks out of the weed.

In Hugues best session 15 fish were landed to just over a pound in weight. Although many undersized fish were also returned to the water and shows a good crop of fish for the future.

Gareth Jones commented ‘Hugues’s patient approach proved just what was required in the low water conditions’

Written by Kieron Jenkins

Lexus Welsh Final Results Brenig

Saturday 24th July saw the Nymph-a-maniac team awaken to a bright and windy day at the Giler Arms inn, North Wales. The squad had travelled up and practised on Llyn Brenig on the Friday, albeit with  light winds and good over cast cloud cover! Typical for it to change on Competition day –  that wouldn’t be fishing!

Competition day saw 36 anglers from 6 different teams competing for the top 3 team places to qualify for the Lexus Grand Final on Rutland.

At the start of the comp 18 boats set off from the jetty, 2 boats headed towards the dam and another 2 stopping short of the ‘RSJ’ to the left of the jetty but the majority heading up the lake towards the ‘Ring of stones’ area.

Losing a fish on my second cast I thought to myself we’re in for a good day… but after the first few drifts it was becoming apparent that it wasn’t going to be an easy one at all! The day grew older and the net become dryer, as the wind picked up and the sun become stronger the fishing seemed to slow down. Sun and wind is a killer !

Not seeing or hearing of many fish caught throughout the day I was hoping that the team would have pulled it together averaging a good number of fish. Usually these team comps are won with an average of about 6 per man (around 40 fish a team) with a superstar taking a few more.

Here are the team results :-

1.Nymph-a-Maniacs 71 Fish
2. Anglo Scots 44 Fish
3. Margam FF 39 Fish
4. Pitsford Pirates 34 Fish
5. Team Ruabon 30 Fish
6. Prince Albert AS 28 Fish

4 out of 5 of the top 5 individuals on the day where of the Nymph-a-maniac team, with Kieron Jenkins and Gareth Jones of fly fishing tackle suppliers Fishtec taking 1st and 5th position. What are they putting into the fly lines at Airflo!?

Written by Kieron Jenkins

18th IFFA – Fly Fishing International Ireland 2011


The 18th IFFA International Rivers Match took place on the River Agivey in Northern Ireland on 1st July 2011. Anglers travelled from all 4 home nations, England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales to compete for the coveted Geoff Clarkson Trophy and gold medals. This was the 3rd time that the Agivey Anglers Association had hosted this prestigious competition and in the previous 2 occasions Scotland lifted the honours…would this be 3 in row?

Many of the competitors made the short journey to the very north of Ireland to a small town called Garvagh a week prior to match day hoping to gain some advantage with valuable practice days on the river.  The weather had been very kind to the competitors giving them various scenarios from rain, wind and sunny spells…the water levels also played an important role with small rises throughout the week changing streams and pools and more importantly the hot spots! Fortunately the river remained relatively constant with low black water providing perfect fly fishing opportunities suitable for all methods from dries to nymphing.

Al l teams had been praising the quality of the wild brown trout fishing available together with the hospitality of the locals and of course the quantity of the black stuff!!

With all practice complete, all flies tied, all beats walked it was time for matchday. All the controllers arrived sharp on Friday morning at the Bushtown Hotel to receive their briefing and meet their angler who they would be looking after for the first couple of sessions. I think some of the controllers were as excited at the competitors to get started!

At the river, the anglers could finally study their section and hopefully see a couple of rises while they setup their rods. As in previous years, the preferred method was fishing the ‘duo’ in the streams and possibly the flats, but dry fly and straight nymphing also played their part in certain areas. The key was to maximise the first sessions in the streams and then concentrate on the free rising fish in the flats below the trees in the later harder sessions for those bonus fish.


After the first 2 morning sessions all the competitors and controllers headed to the Brown Trout Inn for some well deserved lunch and quick debrief from the between the Teams. At this stage the results of the morning sessions were being collated however rumours suggested it was a 2 horse race between Wales and Ireland.

It all came down to the last 3 hours of fishing to decide who was going to lift gold. The River Agivey has always been a very tightly contested venue with only a handful of fish between teams. This year was no exception… as both Ireland and Wales caught 90 fish each, England had 63 fish and Scotland had only 53 fish. In total we had 296 fish, measured and returned safely for another day which was almost 50 fish more than the last international on the River Agivey…either the anglers or the fishing is getting better, I think the latter personally.

The results of these competitions are determined by individual placings within each beat so when the score cards were all tallied up it was not long before a cheer was heard within the Irish camp. They had won by only one placing. Well done Ireland on winning gold on the River Agivey and congratulations to their Captain Joe Winders and Manager Seamus O’Neill for their efforts on bringing glory back home!

Congratulations to young Kieron Jenkins of fly fishing tackle specialists – Fishtec, on a magnificent individual performance with four 1st placings and a total of 31 fish. He also caught the largest fish on match day with a Brown trout measuring 36cm. Good angling Kieron.

What a great week to meet old friends and make new ones and a big thank you must go to the Agivey Anglers Association for their hard work and organisation. Also to all the controllers who gave up their time to be along the river with the anglers.

Well done again Ireland…hope your success continues to the River Tay in Scotland next year. Full results can be viewed here www.iffa.net.

Report and Pics courtesy of Arden Pollock.


Fishing with Emerger patterns

Playing With Emergers: CDC Style

Author: Gareth Lewis

For the last few weeks I’ve been playing around with a few emerger designs, both for my own fishing, and to offer clients via my usual fly orders or during my guided trips. The amount of time I now spend behind the vice has risen ten-fold, so it’s important that my ‘guiding patterns’ are quick and easy to tie whilst, at the same time, offer my clients a robust and quality tied product. They also pass the test as, all of the flies I offer for orders or during guided trips, I also use myself; so they’re kind of ‘Guide Approved’…so to speak.

The tweaks I’ve mentioned above have been applied to three patterns featured below – the Chironomid Emerger, Basic Baetis Emerger, and the Reversed CDC Olive Emerger.

Chironomid Emerger

Hook: Varivas 2200BL-B, size #18
Thread: Sheer Ultrafine 14/0, black
Shuck: Krystal flash
Wing: 3x CDC feathers
Thorax: Squirrel, lightly dubbed

I’ve been fishing and tying the Chironomid Emerger pattern (pictured below) a lot over the last five/six years, and it’s simplicity of tying and fish catching ability always draws a smile to my face when I see a fish rise to it. I believe I have tweaked the design as much as I can, and I’m very happy with both the way it looks and, more importantly, the way fish think it looks. This simple pattern requires just four simple ingredients (three if don’t count the tying thread), and is a great pattern for when fish are feeding on chironomids (non-biting midge of the Diptera order). The slim profile allows it to pierce (and sit in) the film, while the combination of CDC, spiky squirrel dubbing, and Krystal flash add stability and floatability.

I fish this pattern in sizes from #18 down to #24 and, during the times when the water is carpeted with midge, I’ll opt for the larger, more eye-catching, size #18. The smaller ‘micro’ #24s are kept for the spookier fish and work really well in our current ‘low water climate’ with light fly lines and tippers. They also lend themselves fantastically to winter fishing for grayling; when the air temperatures rise just enough, you’ll often see a hatch of midges in the coldest of winters, and this is the time to quickly swap those heavy bugs for a long tapered leader loaded with a chironomid emerger.

Chironomidae (aka, the non-biting midge)…

Olive/Baetis Emergers

I’ve been left with a hole to fill in my guiding fly boxes or, more specifically, I needed an emerger pattern to imitate the emergence stage of blue winged olives, large dark olives, olive uprights, pale wateries, etc. With this in mind, I set out to tie a design which would hold the correct triggers whilst still allowing me to tie a large batch in a relatively small time. I also wanted a design which would allow me to represent a range of baetis, and this pattern does just that; simply change your colours, and you have a different imitation (not that colour matters all that much, but that’s a discussion for another time…).

Large Dark Olive (Baetis Rhodani, female)


Large Dark Olive (Baetis Rhodani, male)

Basic Baetis Emerger

Attempt #1 was the below ‘Basic Baetis Emerger’, which holds true to the basic profile of any nymph of the Baetidae family. Whether the tails will matter all that much is yet to be seen, however, I’ve classed them as a trigger on this pattern, so we’ll leave them there for now.


Hook: Partridge Klinkhammer 15BN, size #18
Thread: Sheer Ultrafine 14/0, brown
4x CDC feathers
Microfibbets, olive
Abdomen: SLF Masterclass, #2 (Baetis Green Olive)
Rib: 4lb tippet material
Thorax: SLF Masterclass, #1 (Baetis Brown Olive)
Thorax cover: Shellback, dark brown

Reversed CDC Emerger

Attempt #2 was for a smaller pattern which would lend itself to targeting spookier fish. The ‘reverse’ design of a number of emerger patterns has worked well in burying the tippet either in or below the surface film, so it was with this idea that I based the below generic olive emerger. I’m a huge fan of tying and fishing with CDC, as it lends itself well to floatability and dries easily and quickly when treated with a desiccant powder.

A slim, ever-so-slightly tapered body was needed with gentle segmentation, followed by a scruffier thorax, and maybe a thorax cover too; although whether the latter point has any fish-pulling capabilities, I don’t know, but it looks nice to me. This pattern is able to represent an emerging baetis nymph or, in smaller sizes, an emerging midge.

Hook: Partridge K14ST (Oliver Edwards Nymph Emerger), #18
Thread: Sheer Ultrafine 14/0, brown
4x CDC feathers
Abdomen: SLF Masterclass, #2 (Baetis Green Olive)
Rib: 4lb tippet material
Thorax: SLF Masterclass, #1 (Baetis Brown Olive) with a pinch of dark olive seals fur
Thorax cover: Shellback, dark brown

Reversed CDC Emerger (#18) – Rear View

Over the next week I will be tweaking the Basic Baetis and Reversed CDC Emerger a little further as, after a few hours away from the vice, I’ve had a fresh re-think about the patterns; with a removal of a couple of ingredients, and the addition of one or new materials, I think I’m nearly there.

Stay tuned! www.ffisw.com

Glengap Fly Fishing

Area of operation: Scotland

Glengap Scottish fly fishing instruction

Glengap Scottish fly fishing instruction

Whatever your requirement is Gordon James can put a program together to suit. 

Name: Gordon James
Website: glengapflyfishing.com/contact.html
E-mail: s.james.glengapflyfishing@ntlworld.com
Qualifications: Qualified Professional Fly FishingInstructor,
Game Angling Instructors Certificate, Certificate in Coaching Angling (Game) Level 2, Angling Development Board Licensed Coach (Game), City & Guilds Unit – L20
Instruction: Lake and river
Levels: Beginner – Advanced
Guided Fishing: Yes
Instruction for Corporate Groups: Yes
Onsite Shop: No
Fishing tackle provided: Yes
Accommodation: can be arranged

Gordon first qualified as a Professional Game Angling instructor in 2004. He has since then conducted guiding and coaching at various venues, rivers  and fisheries throughout England, Wales and Scotland, as well as supporting where possible the Game Angling Instructors Association and the Salmon & Trout Association at various County Shows and Fairs.

During that time, he has offered the novice and experienced fishers  a variety of events that he knows he would have appreciated in his formative years, in fact these events have evolved into a four year ‘continued personal developement programme’ for the the fly fisher, running during the year to accommodate any level of angler regardless of experience.

Total Fly Fishing

The Total Fly Fishing Company is an expert in advising specialist fly fishing and tackle information, and provides tuition in all disciplines.

total fly fishing

Total fly fishing instruction

Name: David Griffiths
Website: www.totalflyfishing.co.uk
E-mail: david@totalflyfishing.co.uk
Phone: 01747871695
Qualifications: APGAI, STANIC, GAIA
Instruction: River, Lake
Levels: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
Guided Fishing: Yes
Instruction for Corporate Groups: Yes
Onsite Shop: No
Fishing tackle provided: Yes
Accommodation: Yes

With expertly tailored trout and salmon casting instruction for individuals or groups, the total fishing company offer great tuition to improve the levels of anyone’s casting.

They offer salmon, trout, sea trout and other game species fishing, and also saltwater flyfishing at home and abroad. Tuition can be held on Lake or Chalk stream guided trout and river Grayling flyfishing in Wiltshire and Hampshire, England.

At Total fishing company there are always Speycasting and salmon fishing specialists on hand which also hold bespoke residential guided salmon fishing holidays. They hold trout chalkstream flyfishing corporate days on the Rivers Test,Itchen, Kennet, Nadder and Anton.
They can also offer advice on trout and salmon fishing tackle choice.

Chris Bright Flyfishing

Area of Operation: Stillwaters and rivers throughout Hampshire,Test Valley,Dorset

Chris Bright, fly fishing instructor

Chris Bright, fly fishing instructor

Fly fishing with Chris and Candy Bright

Fly fishing tuition (single handed rod) for complete beginners up to level 2 instructors.  Guided days for individuals or groups.  Full corporate days at selected venues.

Name: Chris Bright
Website: http://www.chrisbrightflyfishing.co.uk/
E-mail: cbrightflyfishing@tiscali.co.uk
Phone: 07762183583 / 01590671893
Qualifications: GAIA, L2CCA
Instruction: River, Lake
Levels: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced
Guided Fishing: Yes
Instruction for Corporate Groups: Yes
Onsite Shop: No
Fishing tackle provided: Yes
Accommodation: No

Lake of Menteith

Set in the Trossachs, amidst magnificent scenery where Highland meets Lowland, the 700-acre Lake of Menteith is a well regarded rainbow and brown trout fishery in Scotland and is reputed to be the best location for fly fishing for rainbow trout and brown trout in Central Scotland.

These attributes make the Lake an outstanding venue for some of the most prestigious fishing competitions and a great day out for all anglers. Below the December on the Lake in 2010.

Facilities on offer at The Lake of Menteith

Disabled access: Yes

Tackle Hire: Yes

Toilets: Yes

Refreshments: Yes

Day passes: Yes

Phone: 01877 385664

Web: www.menteith-fisheries.co.uk

Fly Fishing for brown trout on small streams

One of the most luring things about a blog is its design and how well maintained it is, here’s one which I found pretty interesting.

The blog consists of Richard Barrett writing a daily diary on his ventures to the small streams around England. Posting quality pictures and updates of his days on the bank, Richard lets in on some of his most successful dry fly patterns and techniques of how to catch those unsuspecting trout. His knowledge and understanding of the small streams provides a good read for the small stream addict or the hardened reservoir fisher. His tips on fishing the Dry fly could help you catch your personal best  trout or grayling!

Richards blog shows dedication and perseverance to the sport and willingness to share his ability and experiences with others. Keep an eye out on the blog for some tackle  reviews, the most recent being one of our own Airflo fly lines.

Here’s the link – http://www.smallstreambrowntroutfishing.blogspot.com/


Written by Kieron Jenkins