Category Archives: sea bass

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!

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fish out of water


Thriving ecosystems are characterised by a plenitude of signs, tracks and evidence of hard fought battles of wits, stealth and cunning as different species clash in the never ending dynamic of survival of the fittest.

Yesterday whilst walking, we crossed the bridge over the Duke of Northumberland’s river in Isleworth and my wife stopped suddenly – as if by magic, six little fish were neatly arranged on the pavement, still moist and upon closer inspection, slightly digested by the stomach acid of a predatory bird. As we took pictures and tried to work out how they got there, on top of the side wall of the bridge, we noticed an even rarer surprise! A tiny specimen of a Thames flatfish had been regurgitated yet, because of its shape, it had not rolled off the wall onto the pavement below. I have no idea if the predator had been a heron, a cormorant, a grebe or even possibly a kingfisher – whilst trying to solve the riddle, it struck me how extremely fortunate we are to have such abundant biodiversity in our waterways that run through the heart of this immense city. Many species of birds and fish have been here for aeons and despite our ever encroaching threat, they still carve out their existence alongside us.

I feel privileged to share this message – enjoy the pictures:

six little minnows - I'd love to know how they got there... Did a cormorant, or a heron get a fright and cough them up? Was it a kingfisher or a grebe that had eaten too much? Leave a comment if you think you know the answer

six little minnows – I’d love to know how they got there… Did a cormorant, or a heron get a fright and cough them up? Was it a kingfisher or a grebe that had eaten too much? Leave a comment if you think you know the answer

I'm not an Icthyologist, I'm an Icthyologist's son... Please tell me if this is a baby flounder, plaice or sole?

I’m not an Ichthyologist, I’m an Ichthyologist’s son… Please tell me if this is a baby flounder, plaice or sole?

Wherever you are in the world, contemplate how you can increase awareness. Can you make further little adjustments (or big ones) to your lifestyle to live in better harmony with your surroundings? The more we look after Nature, the more it will look after us!

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once you pop, you can’t stop… so true!


If you are yet to enjoy the experience of water exploding under your very own popper, you need to fix this condition FAST! I wrote to my Dad recently, reminiscing about some fun we had when I was small… the memories of those magical sunsets punctuated by massive splashes still make my pulse race.

Modern materials and clever merchandising mean you can make your own poppers and customise their colours to your heart’s content. I bought a little kit with ten popper bodies and ten matching hooks a while ago – last night was the perfect time to make some. These ones are plain, built with surf fishing in mind – probably inspired by the video I re-blogged from ‘feathers and fluoro’… A Giant Trevally is definitely a species to get my attention! In this case though, I’ll settle for a humble sea bass off the south coast of England.

There is not much to it, however it is best to try and get the proportions right for the popper to swim easily and to create a realistic silhouette. The idea is to be able to cast it far and for it to push enough water to attract attention from deeper water.

Here’s my version – simple yet (hopefully!) highly effective:

when conditions are right there is no more exciting way to catch fish on the surface - these lightweight hard foam bodies are  perfect.

when conditions are right there are few more exciting ways to catch fish on the surface – these lightweight hard foam bodies are perfect.

I also look forward to seeing what is the first species to bite this in the Thames… Will it be a perch, a trout or a pike?

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message in a bottle…


All the years I’ve spent in England have taught me to appreciate bright sunshine when it does arrive… With today’s low tide at 15h00 I knew full well that I was probably not going to entice a fish to bite, nevertheless I spent several hours casting and teaching myself how to swing my fly up through the potential strike zone using current and different combinations of mending and angles. Another blank day and another great day for honing my skills.

Upon my return home, I went to work at my vice to create some magic… It is early days and I’d prefer not to spoil the fun – suffice it to say that time will reveal all.

Vivid imagination, hours of trial and error and a spot of creativity bound together by solid tying techniques sometimes results in a winner. What will this little experiment produce?

Vivid imagination, hours of trial and error and a spot of creativity bound together by solid tying techniques sometimes results in a winner. What will this little experiment produce?

The JLM Special is about to venture further afield… Who will be the first lady or gentleman to land a Bonefish with one? These five flies are varnished and ready to go. Is this the start of another endless opportunity for adventure?

Into the unknown... Will they withstand the ultimate test? Come back soon to find out!

Into the unknown… Will they withstand the ultimate test? Come back soon to find out!

Thank you for reading – please return again soon!

Latest video – Clouser minnows arctic fox style


So today I was able to shoot my latest fly tying tutorial. Now you can learn how to create your own Clouser minnows using two contrasting shades of arctic fox and some flash to replicate the appearance of a local baitfish.

Thames baitfish caught by accident last weekend. My choice of fly was perfect...

Thames baitfish caught by accident last weekend. My choice of fly was perfect…

Last weekend whilst fishing for a late season sea trout I accidentally foul-hooked a minnow that proved I was matching the hatch according to size and coloration. Despite no bites that evening (again!), I since chanced upon some expert advice in the Deneki blog (http://www.deneki.com/2013/08/king-salmon-swing-techniques/#comment-16595) about how to swing flies to provoke a strike. Tomorrow armed with my new flies, I shall attempt to coax another sea trout into biting.

Enjoy the video and I look forward to your news when you catch your own fish on this pattern. Tight lines!

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surround yourself with success – welcome to Orvis!


One of the best ways to learn is to open one’s mind and seek advice from people who can walk the talk on the given subject. A few weeks ago I took the trouble to place a comment on the Orvis website rating my favourite reel… Last weekend my wife and I paid a visit to their flagship store in London.

Their quality of service and the absolute beauty of their wares is second to none. I felt humbled to be in this amazing space that is part of the legacy that began in 1856. Imagine how my respect increased further for this outlet when a gentleman walked in to purchase something and I recognised him as one of the leading guides and casting instructors from a top rival London store.

After browsing in what felt to me like Aladdin‘s cave, we fell into relaxed conversation with Assistant Manager and fly fishing expert Jimmy Boyd – only to discover that he and I had lived in the same town many, many years ago! We reminisced for a while, thanked him for his time then said our goodbyes… Only after we had left the store did we think of getting a picture to mark the occasion – my Darling has the best ideas!

Mr Boyd – your generosity in allowing this photo is much appreciated and I assure you we will be back to shop many times.

Orvis combines cutting edge technology with 157 years of heritage...  and then they seek out the most wonderful staff.  I'll definitely be back!

Orvis combines cutting edge technology with 157 years of heritage… and then they seek out the most wonderful staff. We’ll definitely be back!

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Tried and tested – discovering true champions is always fun!


One of the joys of modern times is how quickly available information is on the Internet. More than ever before, there is an immediate and unprecedented wealth of knowledge, advice and practical demonstration at the touch of a screen or only a few buttons. I am grateful to all my fellow bloggers, the many professionals and the talented amateurs who generously upload their videos from all corners of the globe – I salute you all!

My recent pioneering into the realms of tying flies for sea trout and sea bass resulted in some great winners and some even more fantastic flops along my steep learning curve… What glorious victory I savoured when my very own pattern produced the fish of my dreams out of the Thames! Since that day I tweaked the formula several times in different directions. Hook size? Dumbbell eyes? Bead or bead chain? Arctic fox or buck tail? No flash, lots of flash or just a little? I enthusiastically ventured down all these paths and more. Once I felt I knew enough to confirm I have SO much more to learn I researched the tried and tested patterns that have been the go-to patterns for so many for so long: Lefty’s Deceiver, the Clouser Minnow and the Sand Eel.

There’s a reason why they work so well. They do exactly what they need to… No more, no less. Simplicity of design and ruggedness are key. I produced some mini Clouser minnows and swam them in the Thames last weekend. No bites, however water conditions were not ideal and I can see from the way they move and sparkle that they’ll produce takes whenever I’m able to put them in front of a fish.

Thank you Mr Clouser... Simplicity of design and ruggedness. Everything I look for when catching the fish of my dreams

Thank you Mr Clouser… Simplicity of design and ruggedness. Everything I look for when catching the fish of my dreams

Thank you for reading – please visit again soon!