Tag Archives: Orvis

…catching up!


Today we attempted to visit a far flung spot that I had marked in my mental mapbook about three Augusts ago. Back then I had been walking with a friend, collecting lost golf balls and enjoying the great outdoors despite being firmly within London’s giant sprawl. Lured by the sound of gurgling water, we chose a path that meandered down into a tightly wooded valley and suddenly we found ourselves alongside a beautiful stream.

As most readers may understand, the instinct to look for fish in likely spots never fades and although the chances were improbable, I peered keenly through the leaves and twigs into a perfect lie behind a large rock. A fallen tree arched across the river onto the rock and the current had gouged a hole about a metre deep. Imagine my joy and disbelief when I saw, neatly contrasted against the pale gravel stream bed, two trout silhouettes lightly sculling in the backwash. We tried to edge closer, to get a proper look… As my friend crept cautiously towards the fallen tree, he slipped awkwardly, hurting an injury he’d been nursing. We prudently decided to call it a day.

This morning the sun shone brightly, glinting off surface water that has flooded every low lying piece of land. Puddles in unusual places bear testament to how high the water table is after all the rainfall earlier this week. My Darling and I tried our best to pick our way through the muddy trail, always keen to explore new places. It was not long before we faced the truth: sometimes it is best to stop before a leisurely stroll becomes an ordeal. We retraced our steps and planned to return in better conditions. The whole of spring and summer lies before us and today it was not meant to be: the stream was in full spate and muddy, scuppering the likelihood of a photo of a gorgeous urban trout.

Returning early gave me a chance to catch up on some of my favourite blogs – what a pleasure to see their inspiring pictures and read through their recent posts. Currentseams and SwittersB both shared some stunning footage that resonates perfectly with one of my recent posts “flying Tigers, hidden dragons”.

I humbly suggest if you have not yet seen this video, invest your next two and a half minutes wisely and click on this link:

http://www.orvis.com/news/fly-fishing/video-damsels-in-distress-on-a-new-zealand-stream/

http://vimeo.com/85147880

Turn up the sound and enjoy the experience…

It is a dream of mine to be able to capture such high quality footage, hopefully on the Zambesi River in order to share some of the stunning memories that I carry with me from my childhood days. Thanks very much to SwittersB and Currentseams for sharing this link and huge congratulations to Simon Perkins, the photographer.

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

The ultimate Test – salmon instead of grayling? part one


Hallowed grounds - I heard this described as one of fly fishing's sacred places...

Hallowed grounds – I heard this described as one of fly fishing’s sacred places…

The knowledge I gained through personal experience yesterday is beyond normal measurable value: no amount of preparation, research and optimistic dreaming could predict what unfolded on the famous ginger beer beat… the first cast of the day produced a spritely rainbow for my host and after his third fish in less than fifteen minutes, I graciously accepted his offer of an identical fly… Two casts later I caught and released a beautiful brownie – fit as a fiddle and exquisite to look at in close up. A few more casts with my host’s fly, then we moved on and I switched to a size 16 gold head deer hair nymph – eager to conjure up my first ever grayling take. No bites!

First cast of the day - a spritely rainbow of about 2lbs... Jimmy went on to catch and release 14 fish despite horizontal raindrops and 22mph winds! The island in the foreground was completely submerged when we returned in the evening and all the rainfall in the test valley caught up with us.

First cast of the day – a spritely rainbow of about 2lbs… This would prove to be the smallest: Jimmy went on to catch and release 14 fish despite horizontal raindrops and 22mph winds! The island in the foreground was completely submerged when we returned in the evening and all the rainfall in the test valley caught up with us.

Salmo trutta in pristine condition - well done Mr B!

Salmo trutta in pristine condition – well done Mr B!

my first fish of the Test...

my first fish of the Test…

Fish moved in a way that I have not seen in a wild river…  Chalkstream waters renowned worldwide for their clarity seemed to magnify size and multiply numbers… Could they really be this big?

When we lost count of how many my fishing partner had landed (dare I mention his double figure sea trout that was too large for the net – freeing itself before we could come up with a suitable plan?), we took a stroll to the end of the beat so I could explore the whole territory and absorb one of fly fishing’s most sacred places…

I saw no grayling in the likely spots despite half an hour of drifting my tiny fly through riffles and channels, wondering what the grayling take would feel like. Suddenly my education ramped up a notch: I could only gawk as the “sandbar” that I had been using as a reference point in the middle of the river repositioned itself like a feeding trout does every now and then. My mouth dried and my pulse thumped – this shadow was the size of my leg. Memories of my ‘giant'(1.1kg) rainbow trout from the headwaters of the Nyangombe River flooded back to me: Back then, after an hour of trying every pattern I had, I eventually caught it on a diminutive ‘Bruce’s Bug’ tied by my friend Gareth… My reverie was broken by lactic acid burning in my casting shoulder, suggesting that I had drifted my fly past this leviathan enough times to prove that it was not going to happen soon!

I could not believe the size of the fish I saw slightly upstream of this picture... It only registered as a fish in my brain when the "sandbar"moved like a feeding fish.

I could not believe the size of the fish I saw slightly upstream of this picture… It only registered as a fish in my brain when the “sandbar”moved like a feeding fish.

Thank you for reading – the story continues in part two…

once in a blue moon…


Last Saturday we visited Orvis – at their newly opened flagship store on Regent Street. True to my high expectations, they have created a fine space, befitting of their core values, their trusted brand and exemplary service. Silver Birch tree trunks bring the Great Outdoors right inside, wooden fittings and tasteful decor sumptuously punctuated by stylish apparel and accessories lead shoppers through to a full range of fishing rods. A floor to ceiling bank of fly tying materials on the left hand side, lots of well crafted flies, literature and DVDs to the right, then follow round to spacious fitting rooms.

Jimmy Boyd and his team bustled about, expertly navigating the fine balance between ensuring everyone was catered for and affording them the space and time to browse and make wise choices. My Darling discovered and treated me to a much coveted DVD – click on this link for the award winning clip http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=A4pOOMpFW_8

...the title says it all!

…the title says it all!


The story from 2009 is one that has fascinated me for some time now: once per decade a population explosion of mice in New Zealand’s most remote hideaways causes strange behaviour amongst a variety of underwater giants. Now a global phenomenon, On the Fly Productions has been lauded for their filmography: majestic landscapes and breathtaking underwater sequences make this a visual feast for fly fishers and non fly fishers alike. Definitely a wonderful treat if anyone is still looking for a last minute, fully worthwhile stocking filler.

Who knows how many times my copy will be watched and studied during winter nights as I indulge in my love of the great outdoors from the comfort of my living room…? If you have already seen it, or if you have caught trout in New Zealand I would love to know your thoughts – please drop me a comment below.

Thank you for reading, I look forward to your return!

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!

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!

Thank you for reading – please visit again soon.