Friday, 25 February 2011

With rain forecast for this afternoon, I thought I'd seize the opportunity to get on the river in search of a few grayling. We've had so much rain that, even with the drier weather yesterday, the water was carrying the colour of well-brewed tea. Not a bad looking colour to be fair; hopefully enough to give the fish some confidence to feed in the shallower runs and pockets.

Success came fairly quickly as the leader tip darted forwards and a stuborn, out of season brownie fell to a bug trundled along the bottom. It parted company quickly and thankfully it had not thrashed about too much. Another few casts and the leader lifted again. This time a lift was met with that typical roll of a grayling, a flash of silver flank and some dogged pulling:

The river is literally full of life. The Rhyacophila larvae are a main-stay of food for grayling and trout. It's good practice to turn a few stones and check that your imitation matches the natural. It's also good to see the good health levels of the stream. These indicator species are vital early warning signs of problems.

There's alot of variation in the size of the food on offer. Here you see a Rhyacophila larva above a much smaller larvae. Remember, sometimes you can take fish on a #10; other times they demand a #20. A decent imitation fished through each run is likely to bring some success.

This small piece of submerged bark must have had several hundred specimens on it. The fish's larder!

... and a cased caddis showing itself. Note the green head:

A useful imitation of the cased caddis:


Plenty of fish were willing to take. None of them huge, but on long, light rods, they give a good account of themselves:

A better handful:

The forecast was spot on too. The rain started to fall and the river started to colour a little more. Mind you, Spring is in the air and it's good to be on and in the water.


Tuesday, 22 February 2011

The Large Dark Olives were pealing off the river today, making the most of the milder weather. Certainly seeing the duns fluttering through the air gives you the sense that spring is here and that can only mean one thing... the trout season is just around the corner...

Large Dark Olive Dun (Baetis Rhodani)

But, in search of the grayling today, there was nothing showing at the surface, so it was a caddis pattern on the dropper and a constant changing between PTNs and beaded nymphs on the point. The heavier caddis / shrimp pattern was helping to get down to the fish, especailly in the faster water. However, it was also the prefered choice of the fish.

A welcome grayling on the the heavy weight bug took in faster streamy water. The short-line approach worked a treat:

Another falls to the heavy bug:

Even a few out of season trout showed an interest in the pattern:

Working the water methodically gave plenty of takes and the grayling were gathering in fast and quite shallow water. The warmer air temperatures and recent rainfall has seen the rivers in fine condition. More rain is forecast which may put a stop to sport for a few days... so I'm watching the clouds.


Monday, 21 February 2011

The reliable GRHE

It's one of those answers to the 'If you could only carry half a dozen flies...' question. It may have started life as a dry fly, but the Gold Ribbed Hare's Ear makes a very fine nymph. A good early season searching pattern, with a decent tungsten bead it can make its way through the deeper channels and runs where the fish will be lying.

On the RFB tutorial, I am using a Varivas 2120WB hook. The wave barbless has an interesting profile, especially at the point, but I have been impressed by its hooking capability. I have several friends tying their dries on them too.

Keep things simple: A black or gold coloured tungsten bead and I like just three (or so...) turns of the gold rib.

I like to the hare's mask to ensure there are plenty of spikey, buggy guard hairs that give this fly its pulling power.


Saturday, 12 February 2011

Shell Backs

Getting a neat, well balanced profile can be tricky with Czech-style nymphs. Here's a short sequence from the River Fly Box showing how I approach tying in the shell back for both Czech Nymphs and Shrimp (Gammaris sp.) patterns.

1) With the ballast in place (flat self-adhesive lead) I tie in the shell back, protruding over the eye.:
*Note* The shell back needs to be tied in so the side you want showing uppermost on the finished fly is facing downwards when tying it in.

2) Dub the fly from the eye to the bend. The thread should be hanging behind the dubbing at the bend end of the hook:

3) Pull the shell back over the fly and secure at the bend with two tight wraps:

4) In open wraps, bring the thread towards the eye, pulling down to give the segmented effect in the shell back. I'm using Moser Powersilk 10/0 here -which is very strong thread):

5) When you finish the ribbing, build a small head behind the eye, whip finish and varnish. Trim the excess shell back from the base:

I hope this helps. Full tutorial can be found here: Czech Nymphs / Gammarus


Sunday, 6 February 2011

A new forum to occupy your time... this time dedicated to the lady of the stream:

Fly Fishing Grayling Forum


Tuesday, 1 February 2011

A few more delicate dries: