Monthly Archives: October 2013

more appreciation and sharing


This post is to thank the many readers, followers and critics of metiefly who have engaged, questioned and encouraged me throughout the journey so far. From 30 countries across every continent, I have received enthusiastic feedback and forged several exciting collaborations – friends old and new taking a little time now and then out of their busy schedules to enjoy something a little different.

Statistics are not my reason for persisting however I am honoured, privileged and frankly a little surprised that these pages have been viewed so many times in what feels like such a very short space of time. My biggest dream is that readers (of every age) may be drawn ever closer towards actually trying to cast a line or tie their own fly for the first time… I am convinced that the vast majority of those who do will pry open the door to a lifetime of fun, learning and above all, appreciation of all the joys Nature has to offer.

Return visits are deeply appreciated and I will do my utmost to continue finding interesting, useful and relevant content – please keep your side of the dialogue flowing too!

First fish ever caught on the JLM special - this fly pattern is set to be a huge success all over the world, in fresh water and in the sea...

First fish ever caught on the JLM special – this fly pattern is set to be a huge success all over the world, in fresh water and in the sea…

Thank you for reading, I look forward to your next visit.

staying connected!


Knots are a very personal thing. Some people stick to tying one knot for their entire lifetime, others chop and change depending on circumstances and types of tackle used. Personally, I use about six or seven different knots which cater for all the various connections I need to make.

One to join backing to the reel
One to join fly line to backing
One to join leader to fly line
One to join different thicknesses of monofilament
One to join two similar thicknesses of monofilament
One to join hook or lure to tippet with a loop
One to join hook or lure to tippet without a loop

The video is not ideal (will re-film one soon) however it will give you a chance to practise this knot before the weekend.

Same knot, different perspective. When tightening, moisten, then pull steadily on the long piece of line until you feel the knot click into place.

If you take a kid fishing, this will be a great one to share with them!

Thank you for reading – please come back soon.

singing in the rain!


This morning’s flat calm coupled with crystal clear water forced the need for long casts, crouching down and much patience… Fish were moving about just under the surface, glimpses of fins and tails teasing and hypnotising me at the same time.

I love when trout don’t cooperate… Their knack of coaxing the best out of us by being stubborn is a headache for many. I prefer to work a little for each one – the reward of a hard earned catch is so much sweeter when they refuse to play.

All morning I honed my double hauls, shooting shiny golden bead-heads as far as they could go, retrieving each cast as though it was my last. Not one bite! I switched gears, losing the bead to facilitate softer landings, choosing a different profile in the hope of enticing a take. Close observation confirmed the absence of most insects… A lone dragonfly marking out straight lines like an ancient bi-plane and nothing else.

Eventually – time to wise up and scale down… Damselfly nymphs are almost impossible to spot from the bank, yet I know they predominate over winter… This time an auburn variant, paying homage to fall and matching camouflage perfectly:

This is actually a tiny fly... Intricately woven, ideal for soft landings on a calm surface...

This is actually a tiny fly… Intricately woven, ideal for soft landings on a calm surface… (photo – metiefly)

When the rain swept in at lunchtime, I quickly snapped pictures of some mushrooms before they disintegrate, then sought partial refuge under the trees… There is still enough leaf canopy to protect against a downpour and earlier, I had spotted a few feisty shapes in this impossible spot:

It pays to scout ahead sometimes... After it started raining, I came back to work out how to present my fly to this almost impossible spot. See how they tease with their tails - just to the right of the coot and a couple of feet this side of the leaves touching the water

It pays to scout ahead … when the rain commenced, I came back to work out how to present my fly to this almost impossible spot. See the trout tease with it’s tail – slightly right of the coot and a couple of feet this side of the leaves touching the water (photo – metiefly)

Since voicing my desire to find the perfect cast, I have no option other than to coax my fly where few others have ever been before.  Sideways loops creeping further and further, a couple more inches at a time. My auburn fly drops softly onto the water, it’s entry disguised by the myriad of raindrops. A sharp tug, then slack. The heavy surge of water pushes outward, signalling the stout nature of my near miss… I gasp, retrieve and rest the spot for a little while. More movement nearby, then silence again whilst the raindrops gather on the leaves and trickle boldly onto the rippled surface… Soft loops reach out tentatively, back into the perfect lie… Three twitches, a pause – Slam! Oncorhyncus mykiss at it’s very best. Low hanging branches neatly navigated, two powerful runs and an airwalk before final passes for the camera. A swift landing and last rites.

When I have to, I am always very sad to dispatch these exquisite fish – I pause long, for respect. A moment of mindfulness, savouring the ancient wisdom of Native Americans “what you need, never more…” As I write, l have already baked this one, my first trout of the cold season and I will treasure today’s adventure for the rest of my days.

perfect specimen, pristine water... This season promises to be as good as it gets!

perfect specimen, pristine water… This season promises to be as good as it gets! (photo – metiefly)

Thank you for reading, please return again soon!

when outdoors one does not have to look far to find beauty. Take special care not to pick poisonous mushrooms - only eat them if they are picked by someone with proven experience!

when outdoors one does not have to look far to find beauty. Take special care not to pick poisonous mushrooms – only eat them if they are picked by someone with proven experience! (photo – metiefly)

Another brilliant read – Ray Mears’ autobiography


From time to time I drop in a recommendation for bibliophiles… One book that recently grabbed my attention was written by a man who commands the respect of a great many people around the world. Ray’s love for his subject and the humility he shows when interacting with his hosts in far flung places is endearing to virtually everyone who sees his work.

Wintry nights have often been spent watching his captivating DVDs and I am proud to have experienced the great work done by Operation Raleigh through my parents back in 1989. It was fascinating to learn of Ray’s involvement with them at the time.

Huge fun, totally captivating... A perfect gift for everyone who loves Nature.

Huge fun, totally captivating… A perfect gift for everyone who loves Nature. (photo – metiefly)

When you are able to get your hands on a copy,  you won’t be disappointed!

If you are familiar with his work, please let me know if you have a personal favourite – I would love to hear which one it is!

Thank you for visiting, I look forward to your return.

my winter season debut – ring necked parakeets


Two days ago in the morning, bright sunshine greeted me as I swiped my membership card and entered the gate for the first time since the 24th of March. I trembled with anticipation as I attached a minimalist, size 18 upwing pattern tied using ring necked parakeet feathers sourced locally from the pavement en route to the lake earlier this year.

Ring necked parakeets brighten my day whenever I see or hear them!

Ring necked parakeets brighten my day whenever I see or hear them!  (photo metiefly)

Large, healthy looking trout moved just under the surface, crystal clear water making it necessary for a stealthy, low profile approach. Non-committal nuzzles of my fly resulted in much adrenalin and little else. The fish were teasing me… I cast ahead of them, on top of them, even behind them in an endeavour to get their attention – no solid takes, regardless of how I presented my fly.

At midday I walked further along the lake to my old haunts, admiring the way the grounds are so meticulously kept and I noticed the breeze pick up at the same time as the temperature dropped. If you have read elsewhere in my blog, I have no qualms about blank days, or a need to find excuses for fish not biting. On the contrary, I look for ways to improve my own approach. This time I was stumped completely. Fish that had been recently stocked were milling around in the centre of the lake, often leaping clear of the water for no apparent reason as they welcomed their new found “freedom” in their open surroundings.

Disorientation from being recently stocked and the temperature plummeting from 18 Celsius to 9 Celsius in only a few hours is my explanation for no bites – I have to believe this because I love the way these flies came out – aren’t they delicate?!

I made this pair of flies to fish my winter season debut - 2lb fluorocarbon tippet and size 18 hooks

I made this pair of flies to fish my winter season debut – 2lb fluorocarbon tippet and size 18 hooks (photo metiefly)

Tomorrow the cold front persists, however the fish will hopefully be more settled now and I will be casting right amongst them, happy in Nature once again!

cold fronts tend to switch fish off the bite, especially when the temperature drops rapidly. Trout seem to be able to tell the future better than we can! (photo - metiefly)

cold fronts tend to switch fish off the bite, especially when the temperature drops rapidly. Trout seem to be able to tell the future better than we can! (photo – metiefly)

Thank you for reading, please return again soon!

supermodel flyfisher


Fly fishing enriches people from all walks of life, and one may discover it’s joys at any stage… Just yesterday I met Ed, a relative newcomer to the sport and I could tell he is loving every minute. Judging from the exquisite flies he made himself, and the way his eyes lit up when describing his surprise that fly tying is actually enjoyable, I know he will derive much pleasure building his knowledge and expertise in the coming years.

My Darling Wife shared her cosmopolitan girl insights (http://worklondonstyle.com) into the life and accomplishments of Karen Graham, a true champion of the Great Outdoors. After a phenomenal career in modelling (Estée Lauder‘s spokesperson for 15 years), Karen built a business as a professional guide and instructor. I find this inspirational as it resonates so well with the quote “You can have it all – perhaps not all at once!”

from this...

from this…

...to this!

…to this!

Whether you are stuck in an office, juggling young children, or always on the road, fear not… Fly fishing is always available for when you do have a moment, and what a great goal for you to strive towards.

Thank you for reading, please return soon!

finding the perfect cast


My earliest memories of fly casting are from watching my Dad expertly feed out line, his false casts cutting tight arcs through the darkness. An eastern glow announced the new day – an invigorating backdrop while mystical swishing noises combine with the echoing barks of baboons to etch a permanent source of pleasure deep in my brain… As I write I am transported back to Udu and Mare: rare pockets of crystal water nestled in the foothills of ancient African mountains, fed by streams. Mist rises softly from the mirror calm surface, punctuated only by moving ‘v’ shapes and concentric circles whilst feeding fish feast discriminately, sometimes slow and gentle, sometimes in a frenzy.

Frenzies were either the worst, or the best: Swishes stopped abruptly when line slapped the water or stretched backwards, rudely anchored by a tree. Silence would be shattered by colourful language and muttering whilst another fly was hastily affixed. Sometimes, very rarely, a rainbow avalanche would part the waters, diving upwards to catch the feathered offering before it could float delicately onto the surface – silence shattered this time by squeals of glee emanating from the core of my spirit! My Dad savouring the echoes and deftly playing his catch on light line.

Those rare, sweet casts, when they do happen, are a culmination of many hours of trial and error, propped up by lessons gleaned from ancient books, modern videos, anecdotal conversations, ad hoc demonstrations, observation and live experiments repeated over and over. My quest to decrease the time intervals between perfect casts is fuelled by anticipation of future frenzies, and stealthy stalking as well as an insatiable hunger to know and understand every aspect of the cast.

Anatomy
Physiology
Kinesiology
Rod design
Line construction
Air resistance
Temperature dependent viscosity
Surface tension
Currents
Leader materials
Tippets
Fly construction
Water clarity

The list goes on and on…

The more I learn, the more I realise I need to practise… Like I did as a young boy casting at stones in the garden. Hundreds and hundreds of hours: aim, cast, retrieve; aim, cast, retrieve. Sleep. Aim, cast, retrieve. Now, it looks easy because I have banked the ten thousand hours lauded by Malcolm Gladwell in his phenomenal work ‘Outliers‘. If you are still reading these words, you are bitten by the same bug, maybe even worse than me, in which case I sympathise and envy you in equal measure. Which one of us will be back on the water first?

Fly fishing is a moving meditation most of the time for me... And then it's a roller coaster! (photo metiefly)

Fly fishing is a moving meditation most of the time for me… And then it’s a roller coaster! (photo metiefly)

If you are in the London area, or if you are ever passing through, drop me a comment if I can help you in your quest… I would love to assist if I can!