Tag Archives: Recreation

urban trout wanderings…


Today’s bright weather seemed ideal for me to return and search for the completely unexpected trout that graces my memory so often since I saw it four years ago. Up early, I enjoyed an invigorating walk, admiring the clean water in the Thames as I went. I left the river wondering how soon I will meet another sea trout, or perhaps even my first Thames salmon this season… Amazing thoughts!

I cannot help thinking that all the rain we received earlier this year definitely helped flush out our waterways. The Tidal Thames seldom looks crystal clear, however the water is in the best condition I have ever seen it at the moment.

I cannot help thinking that all the rain we received earlier this year definitely helped flush out our waterways. The Tidal Thames seldom looks crystal clear, however the water is in the best condition I have ever seen it at the moment.

As I made my way towards the magical stream, my excitement grew  – is it too much to expect a small population of fish to cling on to survival, despite all the potential threats? What about all the rains we had in the winter? I peeped into the water as I crossed the first bridge, delighted to see it running clear and full, ample sign of aquatic life in every nook and cranny. In stealth mode, I walked quietly and swiftly, eyes peeled and tuned into my surroundings… Springtime is such an intoxicating gift, so full of promise and abundance!

Embracing the joy of Springtime - definitely worth the long winter nights...

Embracing the joy of Springtime – definitely worth the long winter nights…

The first shoal of fish gave themselves away, scattering as a breathtakingly beautiful pair of mandarin ducks sneaked along the far shoreline. About thirty fish slightly longer than my hand darted with such speed… I think they were common dace, conspicuous by their fast movement and the reddish tinge to their fins. Glad that I had spotted some fish, I was even more eager to locate a trout!

This pair has a massive territorial range, unless there are multiple pairs along this stretch of river - I saw some at the top end of my walkabout, as well as near the start. They are literally breathtaking especially when the sun shines on them so perfectly.

This pair has a massive territorial range, unless there are several pairs along this stretch of river – I saw some at the top end of my walkabout, as well as near the start. They are stunning to behold, especially when the sun shines on them so perfectly.

I pushed further upstream until a large, deep pool gave me reason to feel that there must be a trout here if there are to be any in the river… Shadows criss-crossed the calm water and I was grateful for my polarised sunglasses, peering into the depths. Almost imperceptibly, a shape loomed up from the darkness… About 30 centimetres of exactly what I had been searching for! Two others joined it and I savoured the experience of watching them frolic in the slow moving current. I caught myself wondering what the passers by thought I was staring at so intently. Clear pictures would be tricky to take because of the reflections in the water so I marked the spot mentally for future visits and walked on upstream.

The following video was taken after I had witnessed countless trout in several sections of the stream… Ideal habitat is limited, however from this short clip you can see for yourself that numbers are strong for the time being:

I spent a couple of idyllic hours filming and photographing these amazing fish… Enjoy the footage and if you want to see more, please visit my urban trout page.

There were about four species of fish schooling together... I would love to know if there are a mix of brown trout and rainbow trout in this population! Perhaps the need to conduct some catch and release research in due course

There were about four species of fish schooling together. I would love to know if there is a mix of brown trout and rainbow trout in this population! Perhaps a need to conduct some catch and release research in due course!

Considering the number of pictures and videos I took, there are not many that show them up close and personal... But then again most of my readers will know how hard it is to get within close photographic distance on a clear sunny day!

Considering the number of pictures and videos I took, there are not many that show the trout ‘up close and personal’… then again – most readers will understand the challenge of getting within close photographic distance on a clear sunny day!

I am still struggling to contain my excitement - and to think that I saw fish from at least three different year groups. I will have to catch and release a few to ensure correct identification... Will they be resident browns, sea trout or rainbows?

I am still struggling to contain my excitement – and to think that I saw fish from at least three different year groups. I will have to catch and release a few to ensure correct identification… Will they be resident browns, sea trout or rainbows?

Once again I sincerely thank all the wonderful people who toil so hard to keep our rivers clean – please let’s all continue to do whatever we can too.

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

all aboard for Abaco!


This little pocket of flies is destined for the Bahamas… What stories will they conjure up in time?

Rolling Harbour, Abaco... All will be revealed in time!

Rolling Harbour, Abaco… All will be revealed in time!


Thanks in advance to RH – I will keep everyone posted in due course!

Looking forward to some beautiful pictures of Bonefish…

Thank you for reading, please visit again soon.

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.

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.

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!

Gearing up for an awesome winter season


There are many ideas for blogposts swimming around in my mind at the moment  –  autumnal nights are drawing in however the uncharacteristic warm and dry evenings for this time of year have meant more time spent walking and less time writing. Having read extensively on the subject of performance optimisation and the intrinsic nature of excellence over the Summer, I am eager to take everything I learned whilst at the vice and on the Thames into the winter season at my local lake.

Basic casting technique is something that has to be practised regularly… From my catch catalogue page, you will see that apart from one dream sea trout and a very unlucky baitfish, the rest of my outings were blank days: I banked many valuable hours of casting practise and at last I am completely at home with my line basket to help protect loose line from being trodden into the mud or getting stuck amongst leaves.

On the vice, I sprang several leaps up the learning curve and feel more at home with a number of new tying techniques. I also met a number of wonderful characters online via YouTube or other blogs, and have a number of far flung experiments bubbling away in the background, hopefully in time for Christmas.

Tried and tested stalwarts... I'll be dreaming up new patterns whilst I settle into a rhythm this winter

Tried and tested stalwarts… I’ll be dreaming up new patterns whilst I settle into a rhythm this winter

I wish to thank all of you who visit my blog for the phenomenal support and encouragement I have received and I look forward to much fun in the coming weeks!

Thanks for reading, please return 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.