Tag Archives: Fish

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.

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.

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!

Thank you for reading – please visit again soon.

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!

Thank you for reading, please visit again soon!

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!