Monthly Archives: November 2013

topwater technicalities


A combination of deer hair and tightly turned hen hackle over an Antron yarn body gives maximum buoyancy and a lifelike silhouette… At least I hope so!

surface to air... This pattern is light and offers substantial wind resistance... Casting with the breeze will still extend the tippet and if the water is calm it should sit on top for long enough to attract attention!

surface to air… This pattern is light and offers substantial wind resistance… Casting with the breeze will help extend the tippet and if the water is calm the fly should sit on top for long enough to attract attention!

I am exploring new methods tonight and although these ones appear a little ragged and too wooly, there is enough of a result to push ahead and give them a field test. I shall enlist the help of a trout or two to give me honest feedback.

Materials make a big difference to the performance and durability of a fly. Whilst I strive for the best looking, hardest wearing patterns, I am sure this dry fly will not withstand being chewed! Time will tell, as it always does!

adapted from an elk hair caddis pattern, I chose an olive colour with roe deer hair to match the local favourite colours...

adapted from an elk hair caddis pattern, I chose an olive colour with roe deer hair to match the local favourite colours…

I look forward to reporting back once I have put these to the test in due course.

Thank you for reading – see you back soon!

Two Tales in the city…


I have enjoyed dipping into Talesbytheriverbank (http://talesbytheriverbank.wordpress.com) for some time now, having originally connected online exchanging comments about Sea Trout and other Salmonids in the River Thames. Yesterday we finally got to meet and despite what felt like an arctic breeze, we shared an afternoon of easy going conversation and fishing…

Mr Tales and Young Tales - what a pleasure meeting like minded gentlemen who braved the elements and rose to the challenge of the day's fishing admirably. Young Tales has a knack for predicting the future and Judging by how adept he is with a fly rod, I foresee a lifetime of exploration and mastery of everything that fly fishing has to offer

Mr Tales and Young Tales – what a pleasure meeting like minded gentlemen who braved the elements and rose to the challenge of the day’s fishing admirably!

Our mission was to connect Young Tales with one of Syon’s finest and although it took a lot longer than expected after the wind came up, we eventually sought refuge from the breeze and Mr Tales tied on the winning formula. Hardly any movement on the surface meant many probing casts and much patience endured by Young Tales – it is wonderful to see how they have learnt to operate as a team:

Young Tales has a knack for predicting the future and Judging by how adept he is with a fly rod, I foresee a lifetime of exploration and mastery of everything that fly fishing has to offer...

Young Tales has a knack for predicting the future and Judging by how adept he is with a fly rod, I foresee a lifetime of exploration and mastery of everything that fly fishing has to offer…

We sent a scout up ahead to scan for movement:

Returning to report back that he has a feeling we are about to catch something - predicting the future (no pressure Dad!)

Returning to report back that he has a feeling we are about to catch something – (no pressure Dad!)

Mr Tales had mentally marked a few spots where a fish had moved and skillfully returned his fly several times before a beautiful rainbow finally connected… Seeing Young Tales spring into action and his remarkable calm despite his obvious excitement was a real joy:

Playing a 2.5lb trout is an adrenalin rush - this young man was having the time of his life!

Playing a 2.5lb trout is an adrenalin rush – this young man was having the time of his life!

Father and son did a great job landing their catch and ensuring Young Tales’s dinner (apparently to be ably assisted by the cats!)

Told you so! Young Tales had predicted this moment and then worked towards it all afternoon - well done!

Told you so! Young Tales predicted this moment and then worked hard towards it all afternoon – well done!

All in all, a day well spent in the great outdoors, passing on knowledge and adventure to the next generation. We look forward to future outings if and when our crazy schedules allow it.

This Gentleman's love of fishing is easily apparent, and his encyclopaedic knowledge of antique tackle, piscatorial current affairs makes for fantastic conversations... Http://talesbytheriverbank.wordpress.com

This Gentleman’s love of fishing is easily apparent, and his encyclopaedic knowledge of antique tackle, different species and piscatorial current affairs makes for fantastic conversations… http://talesbytheriverbank.wordpress.com

Thank you for reading, please return again soon!

Dutch wildlife film, over 600,000 visitors


Can you imagine what the fox must have been thinking – this is a great video that takes only a few seconds to watch. Thanks yet again to Petrel41 for sharing these great snippets

Dear Kitty. Some blog

This video is about barnacle geese and a red fox in Oostvaardersplassen nature reserve in the Netherlands, from the film De Nieuwe Wildernis.

Dutch NOS TV reports that so far, wildlife film De Nieuwe Wildernis has brought 600,000 visitors to cinemas. This hardline ever happens with a wildlife film.

De Nieuwe Wildernis is the second Dutch movie attracting more than 600,000 visitors this year. Earlier, this happened to the romantic comedy Verliefd Op Ibiza.

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making hay…


Today was split in two by an icy wind from the North shortly after lunchtime… This blog entry is about the first half – I had arranged to meet some special people at the lake and made the most of the sunshine before they arrived.

A beautiful creature welcomed me to the lake and I was honoured to be allowed this close:

goldeneye - such a vivid colour and so clear!

goldeneye – such a vivid colour and so clear!

I wandered only a short way along the bank and paused to capture the ambience…

I took this picture in an endeavour to convey the water clarity - what is that weird line?

I took this picture in an endeavour to convey the water clarity – what is that weird line?

The answer was right above me, in a perfect sky:

ah - now that makes sense!

ah – now that makes sense!

I am fascinated by water… Here it waits patiently for the sunshine to give it a lift:

Such is the mystery of the Universe that when conditions are right, the very element that can be used to extinguish a fire out, can also be used to make it...

Such is the mystery of the Universe that when conditions are right, the very element that can be used to extinguish a fire, can also be used to make it… So much depends on how energy is focused!

I made the most of the sunlight to get a photo opportunity that describes the season:

amazing to think that only a few months ago this was a sugar and oxygen factory... now it is a work of art

amazing to think that only a few months ago this was a sugar and oxygen factory… now it is a work of art

Today’s catch put a serious bend in my rod!

When is the next time you go fishing? Tight lines - metiefly

When is the next time you go fishing? Tight lines – metiefly

I was grateful to have caught my fish early on, so I could spend some quality time with two people that I had been looking forward to meeting for a while…

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

running repairs – staying sharp


I try to minimise what I carry with me while I fish. Mobility and comfort are essential and the more I lug around, the higher the chances of forgetting something along my way during my adventures. One of the key items I take along is a little whetstone, mine is actually a fragment of one that was passed on to me as a boy:

This is a key piece of my kit, useful for running repairs and using it improves my catch rate significantly

This is a key piece of my kit, useful for running repairs and using it improves my catch rate significantly

Here’s how I put it to use: Regardless of how skilled or experienced one may be, there will be a time that your fly hits an object, either on the back cast or perhaps a tree, or any number of underwater possibilities. If you are lucky enough to retrieve it, very often, the point of the hook is blunt. Sometimes, usually after a back cast strikes a stone, the very end of the tip may have snapped off. Instead of just forging ahead, or discarding the fly, I reach for my whetstone and similar to using a nail file, I hone a new hook point. For best results, hold the fly hook point upwards, then create a three sided pyramidal point by filing either side and the top edge to meet in a sharp point.

It may take a little practice at first, however the payoff is definitely worth it when the fish are biting on the only fly in your box of a particular pattern!

This beautiful specimen bit shortly after I had re-sharpened my hook after connecting with a barbed wire fence on my back cast... Glad I had my handy whetstone and that I had made the effort to use it!

This beautiful specimen bit shortly after I had re-sharpened my hook after connecting with a barbed wire fence on my back cast… Glad I had my handy whetstone and that I had made the effort to use it!

Hope this helps you in your ongoing adventures – best of luck…

Thank you for reading, as always.

Orvis – grand opening in Regent Street


Last week I popped in to the Dover Street store, only to find a closed door and empty premises. I recalled resident fly fishing expert Jimmy Boyd explain that they were due to relocate when I last visited, so I tracked down their new premises, 11b Regent St, a short hop downhill from Picadilly Circus.

Although the website http://www.orvis.co.uk/regentst is not specific, it states they will be opening in December… For those of you still undecided on where to do your Christmas shopping, wait a couple more weeks and you won’t be disappointed.

The website has a picture of the external facade, however I managed to snap this shot in a rare moment between the hordes of passers-by:

Trading since 1856 and still completely in touch - drawing on a rich heritage, Orvis are equally at home on the cutting edge of new technology and forward thinking... Straight down the hill from Piccadilly Circus, on your right hand side.

Trading since 1856 and still completely in touch – drawing on a rich heritage, Orvis are equally at home on the cutting edge of new technology and forward thinking… Straight down the hill from Piccadilly Circus, on your right hand side.

I wish the team the very best of success in their new premises.

Thank you for reading, please come back soon!

match the hatch – late autumn (mid November)


Following on from yesterday ‘s blogpost about full circle, and the effectiveness of small flies, tonight I was fortunate enough to uncover a wealth of information! A flat calm in the evening made the feeding fish easy to spot and although several other fishermen assured me there was not much action around the lake, I set out to find the right pattern. When conditions are flat and tough, these are my initial thoughts:

Flat calms can be tricky unless you know how to exploit them!

Flat calms can be tricky unless you know how to exploit them!

* Keep out of sight – crouch down if possible
* Use a small fly that is not too garish
* Preferably a slightly heavy fly such as a tungsten bead head or one that has a weighted core – this helps extend your leader for maximum distance when casting
* Retrieve slowly, using tiny twitches or a figure of eight retrieve
* Search the surface constantly looking for signs of a fish, walk the bank until you spot movement
* Cast smoothly and let your line land onto the water softly
* Use a light tippet with a length of at least two metres (I use 4lb fluorocarbon)

Sure enough, it was not long before I cracked the code with a spirited rainbow – two and a half pounds of steamtrain challenging my 4lb, 5 weight tackle. As predicted, late autumn’s colder water has brought extra horsepower into the mix:

Read 'chemistry lessons: fluid dynamics and respiration' to find out my cold water formula!

Read ‘chemistry lessons: fluid dynamics and respiration’ to find out my cold water formula!

Whilst cleaning my catch, I spotted movement in the stomach contents, so I filmed the following 72 second video to show you exactly what my trout had eaten:

I identified at least four species of freshwater invertebrates:

Damselfly nymph
Water louse
Water boatman
Freshwater shrimp

some common freshwater invertebrates, courtesy of  wildpro.twycrosszoo.org

some common freshwater invertebrates, courtesy of wildpro.twycrosszoo.org

Importantly, all of these are significantly smaller than my size 16 beaded deer hair nymph… Just because a fly looks small does not mean it is not effective!

Remember that trout have to eat voraciously for most of their waking hours - it is up to the discerning angler to work out what's on their menu at any given time...

Remember that trout have to eat voraciously for most of their waking hours – it is up to the discerning angler to work out what’s on their menu at any given time…

As I was leaving the lake I met a father and son – Michael has fished since the age of two and he and his dad have recently begun fly fishing. Despite his impeccably well mannered reluctance at first, I gave Michael a ‘metiefly’ woven nymph exactly the same as the one in tonight’s blog and wished him a lifetime of fishing fun and shared adventures with his Dad. Let’s hope it brings him great fortune!

Thank you for reading as always.