Tag Archives: Dry fly patterns

Slow and steady is the way!

As you know I had plans to go out today with my good friend Ceri Sweeney. I was picked up by Ceri at 8 and off we set to see if we could have a little fun tracking down a few trout and grayling.

Overnight we had rain bringing the river up a few inches and giving it a slight colour but this was a good thing because the river really needed it. After a short drive we finally got to where we wanted to try first but for the water and the time there was no point of setting up the dry so I kept that on my back and set up the french leader on my 10ft 3wt. For the flow of water we were in, I had a 3m hares ear jig on the point and on the dropper a 2,5m hotspot pheasant tail. My thinking for the hotspot was that it would stand out in the murky waters. Ceri also setup on the french leader with similar weights and we pressed on fishing a long run on the far side. I decided to go below Ceri and give him some room and fish the back-end where it was a little shallower to get some idea where the fish were. After a few short casts i was into a lively trout about half a pound and as quick as i hooked it, it was released to fight again, in that Ceri just above me took a fine grayling about a 1lb and in the flow it put up a good account of itself and after a quick photo the fish was on its way to get about its business. Not a bad result in a short time.

Ceri netting the grayling.

After Ceri slipping this one back there was no stopping him taking around 6 more grayling in the same area and one trout, I didn’t have much luck on the grayling front but I was doing well on the trout. As Ceri was picking the grayling off I spotted a few fish rising on the far side of the run in the slack so I pulled the dry fly rod off my back and set it up. Not sure what they were taking I put on one of my newly tied emergers . I watched for a bit before taking a cast to see if I could work out which was the best fish and after a few moments I decided to go for one just off the bank. First drift nothing but on the second drift, bang fish on. It was a trout about on the 1lb mark, didn’t get a photo holding it because it had other ideas by jumping out of the net and unhooking itself, these trout are getting wise :).

As we pressed on up river I had a phone call off another mate, Mark willows, asking what I was up to and if I was fishing. After a short chat, Mark was on his way to meet us and have a dangle! Ceri wasn’t staying long because of other commitments so he planned on making a move about 1pm but before that time mark met us up and we all pressed on looking for the fish with a good amount of banter:)  I wasnt even fishing and I was having bites off Mark 🙂 I think it would take more than 3lb stroft to pull that fella in mind! After covering a fair bit of the river picking off a few more fish , Ceri had to leave so I stayed and Mark left with Ceri to go up river and fish somewhere else. I planned on meeting Mark further up river later on because I wanted to check out a few spots that I havent fished for some time. Just before the boys left, I hooked into a fine trout and Ceri took this photo for me below.

I made my way out of the fast water looking for slower waters to see if there were any fish rising, I seen the odd splashy rise but there was no way I could cover them on the far bank so I pushed on looking for something that I could cover without drowning. I finally found a few rising in the backend of a large pool so I slowly made my way up trying not spook the buggers. I spent some time creeping around there, taking a hand full of trout on my size 16 quill dun. One of the better ones below.

I finally met up with Mark and he was with one of his mates, I was introduced and I knew his face straight away, Rob Evans, Hywel Morgans apprentice 🙂  had to get that in Rob, Mark told me to mind so get him for it hehe.  We all moved onto a long pool looking for likely spots and with that I could see a rise on the far bank so I moved over and after a few casts I was into another fine trout, i netted it after a good run around. Rob said pass the cam over and took this below, another fine river taff brown trout, Cheers for taking the shot Rob!

After releasing this fish I made my way out of the river with Rob to give the water a break, we talked for some time about flies, nymphs, river quality and how well the taff is doing for what it used to be like, it’s just great having this wonderful river just a stone throw away from my home in Pontypridd. As we talked on, Mark was still fishing targeting fish rising just above us in the dead slow water, not the easiest place to catch fish, fine tippets and long leaders are a must in the areas and a delicate cast. Mark is a fine angler and one of the most patient anglers I know, if there are fish there he will worry them out or if that didn’t work he would wait till the cows come home for the fish to rise again. Mark below with one that he worried out. Good angling butty.

Rob below nymphing this fine run

As me and Rob watched Mark working the river I spotted another fish rising not far from where the other fish fell on the dry. This rise looked much better and I even seen the fishes’s nose at one point. I made my way over slowly to get the right angle on the fish to get the best presentation and not to spook it. First cast was on the button and a few seconds after the trout come up over the dry and a split second after the strike, the trout was on and I knew it was a quite a good un at that. After a good run around and some wild runs I managed to slip the net under the fish and have a good look at this wonderful Taff Trout. After a quick photo courtesy of Rob the trout was on its way back into the depth of the Taff.

It was a great days fishing with great friends and it was very nice to meet another fine angler Rob. Rob it was a pleasure mate.

I’ll leave you with a gallery of all the photos taken on the day.

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Just a few for the morning

Looking in the box today i found that i was running low on a few patterns so i just sat down and tied a few for an early morning trip out with my mate Ceri sweeney.

6 of each pattern tied on size 16 j hooks bought from here.http://www.flytyingboutique.com/.

The water levels around my area in south Wales are quite low at the moment so smaller the better! God we need rain but not to much! Hope you like the patterns!

Jig nymphs.

 Emerges.

 Duns.

All before the rain set in

I was checking the weather report last night and it didn’t look good for today but I sorted the gear out anyway just in case the weather man was lying again 🙂  As I woke up and I listened to see if I could hear the rain on the flat roof but I heard nothing so up I got and opened the window to see. The Taff just below the house was looking totally fishable and inviting.

I didn’t wait around, I just got the gear on and made my way down to the Taff, this only took me a matter of minutes and I was on the river bank checking out the far run across the river where i’ve had some fantastic sport in the past. The water was up a few inches but not noticeable really but it did have a slight tinge of colour to it. Having both rods as usual I only set the 10ft 3wt up to do a spot of light nymphing on the slack side of the run that I was looking at.  The water depth was around 2 ft at most so I pulled about 3ft of stroft off and tied that to the indicator and at the point I  tied on a single nymph, it was a black bead hares ear jig, size 16.

I slowly got myself into position just below the run so I could cast the french leader up into the run and keep the indicator pointing up river giving me direct contact with the nymph.  Light nymphing can be so delicate and the takes just the same. Sometime the takes can be that delicate that you wont even see the line move or stop. It’s like a sense that something is wrong so you strike and there the fish is. Casting my way up the slack side I managed to fool a few trout and as I hit the head of the run I changed the weight of the fly so I could cover the more turbulent water. Many more fish fell to the single fly in this kind of water and after the takes slowed down I came from there looking for the next likely looking spot. At this time my good mate Sion Lewis turned up looking to fill his boots with the wild Taff brownies..

Sion lewis with a fine Taff Trout below

Me and Sion slowly worked our way around the runs and pools picking a good number of nice size trout out with a good amount of banter as you do amongst mates 🙂 I did mange a few on the dry after a short hatch of small olives made an appearance and even Sion got in on the action by whipping the rod out of my hands 🙂

The sun was bright for a while but it didn’t take long to cloud over and then the rain started and the river become quite coloured. Fishing become quite tough but we both pressed on fishing close to the banks and margins and the very slow waters of the fast runs. Visibility was very poor but we still manged to take a few in these conditions . Sion moved on up river past me targeting the much shallower water where visibility was much better. I kind of watched Sion fishing for a while and he was doing really well by taking fish from every small run and from behind every rock that was visible. Sometimes I just like to watch other anglers fishing and see how they tackle certain waters and how they go about it.  After another hour the condition just got worse and the river started to rise even more so that was that really. Not a bad few hours and some cracking sport with a good mate!

I’ll leave you with a gallery of the photos that we both took in our few hours out,

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Lewy you old dog, congratulations on making the Wales team mate, Proud of you and look forward to fishing with you in the international next year. We got lots of fishing to do now and we got a good excuse for it now 🙂

Wales takes gold on the river Tay.

Well what a hard week that was on the river Tay in Scotland, never have I ever fished a river so fast and wide and dangerous. The flow of water going through there was just beyond belief! Well where do I start really.

Dunkeld Bridge below 

I was lucky enough to be reserve for the Welsh rivers team for the international held on the river tay in Scotland and god what an eye opener it was. We headed out on the 23rd of June in advance of the comp so we would get a whole week of practice in for the international that was going to be held on the 29th. Conditions were not great with rain most days and an up and down stream wind. At points in the day, there were waves going down river and it was just bonkers to say the least. Kieron Jenkins, Captain of the team assigned everyone a different method to fish that day and would swap everyone the next day. Great tactics to covering all the water and seeing where the fish were and what depth they would be feeding at certain times in the day, Dries would go first then wets then the bugs would come in on the French leader and stimmy behind. Many fish come to all methods through the week but it was far from easy.

 The fly life wasn’t the best throughout the week but the odd day the fly life would be fantastic but you wouldn’t see a fish rise. This was so confusing and I just couldn’t believe that nothing was picking off these wee beasties, frustrated wasn’t the word for it. Most nights after a hard day searching out the water we would all be called in for a meeting by Kieron and Paul to discuss the day’s fishing as a team and lay the flies on the table for all to see. Then as a team we would decide on the best method to cover the water that we tackled that day. After the meetings we would all have a few hours tying and then to the bar for a little banter with the other teams. All in good fun. I met some cracking chaps and I do hope I get the chance to be there again some time.

Competition day…..

It was a nice and early start, double checking the gear over and then a quick breakfast and off we set to meet the controllers for the day’s fishing ahead. Around this time reports started coming in that the river had risen around 3ft over night and this was quite concerning for the fishing ahead.  The plan was that i would run for Kieron in the morning and then in the second session I would run for Mark Willows, this was a great opportunity for me to see other anglers on the water in focus mode and to see their styles in action. Kieron, me and his controller got to our peg and what we knew about the water just went straight out of the window. River was up,coloured and the wind was making a quite a nuisance of itself. The time come for kieron to step in for his first session and he started off in a lovely run screaming fish but it wasnt to be. Everything was working against him and he left the first session with a blank but made up in the second session. fishing was out and out hard going.

After the morning session were over we all had to go back and meet up and have a bite to eat before leaving for the last sessions of the day. This was a tense time waiting on the boys to come in and say how they done in the sessions. I think the all round smiles said it all when we all finally met up that we were doing well.  Food was done and handshakes all round and it was back out for the second round, eager and confident. This time I was out with Mark willows for the final sessions of the day, we got to the peg nice and early checking that water out and just hoping that we didn’t have to run out looking for something that was fishable. Mark set the one rod up on wets and the other on the heavy bugs. Before we knew it, it was time for Mark to get in and fish his heart out. As I said before nothing looked familiar and we were all back to a blank canvas.  As Mark fished the wets and covered a fair bit of water, I spotted a few fish on the other side rising, this was our opportunity to give them hell, the information was passed over to Mark and he instantly changed methods and made his way straight to the spot with plenty of time to spare in the first session. I had my fingers crossed that we wouldn’t blank in the first, with only minutes to spare Mark had a measure in the net. Big smiles all round. Mark moved out of the spot where the fish were rising and left them alone till the next session started, he changed over at this time doing a little bit of heavy bugging but with no success. The second session kicked in so he moved back into the spot where the fish were, after a few casts, Mark was into a fine trout and no blanks, that’s all we wanted to do. The last session ended with 2 fish and god what a relief it was.  Mark done so well and I was proud to be there with him.  After a big handshake we moved out to go back to the hotel to find out the final scores. We all waited in the car park after putting in the score cards.  You could feel the tension in the air. As we all moved on down the car park I could see paul with his hand in the air and with the biggest smile i’ve ever seen. You could see how proud he was with the team. We went into the club and straight away the handshakes kicked off with everyone  saying well done boys 🙂   We did it! Wales takes the gold, what a feeling and I was so proud of all the boys for pulling out all the stops and bringing home the gold for Wales. I don’t really remember much after that but here are the photos of the team and the captain Kieron Jenkins and Alun Hughes for taking top rod.

I’m a proud Welshman and im so proud of the boys for doing so well in the condition. Well done to all.

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Finally a bit of fun on the dry

While I was in work on friday counting down the hours I had a phone call of my mate telling me about the great day that he was having on the river with the dry. He went on to say about what the hatch was like and what was on, then with a bit of a giggle he told me his biggest at that time was a 3lb 3oz brown, jammy bugger 😦 Not something you want to hear while stuck in work is it! With this news I was already planning the trip for saturday morning and crossing my fingers that the weather would stay fine.

The fly box has been a little bare with dries lately because of the nymphing i’ve been doing throughout the winter months, so friday evening was spent tying a few dark olives patterns to cover the hatch that is mainly on at the moment. I did tie a few small gray dusters up and a few griffin gnats just in case they started to pick of smaller flies in the evening.

I was out the door just gone 7am in the morning and busting for it, little early for the hatches around here at the moment but I had a few places that I wanted to check out with the nymphs. I had a good idea of the time that the hatch would start because of my mate’s success on the day before so I had plenty of time to have a little fun with the nymphs. As normal I had two rods with me, one set up on the dry and the other with the french leader, this is so there is no messing around changing over and re-tying leaders and so on. In the past i’ve missed out on a few chances to catch the bigger trout feeding because of chopping and changing and as you know they don’t rise very often. This gives you that little bit more of an edge of catching a fish of a lifetime in my eyes and it has worked for me.

I finally started the morning in a nice long run that had lots of pocket water so the french leader was the best option. I set up and cut off around 3ft of stroft ABR and attached that to the indicator but this time I decided not to tie in a dropper because of the water condition, the rivers in south Wales running low and very clear so I wanted it to look as natural as possible. I tied a 2.5m copper head hares ear jig to the point and made my way up the run casting the nymph far away from me and keeping out of the trouts vision. In no time, the leader slipped away up river and then shortly after the trout slipped into the net and was quickly released after a quick poses.

The first run of the day and also the first fish of the day below

Another fine trout below that fell to the nymph while searching out the water in the photo above.

I spent a lot of time fishing the water quite hard, increasing the numbers slowly with the nymph and hoping to bump into something a little bigger but they didn’t seem to be there. It doesn’t really bother me catching a big fish but it’s always nice to land one now and again. At this time I started to see the odd olive flying past so I made my way to a little slower water to see if there was anything rising but I seen nothing for a good while, so I sat back and just watched this one pool knowing there was fish there. It was only a matter of time before they started to look up and see the olives,.

This was the pool below

Finally a trout broke the surface taking an olive, that was my cue to take the dry setup off my back and give it a whirl. Here is the pattern I used to imitate the large dark olive below and the first trout that was fooled by it of the day 🙂 Result!

Over the moon with the trout above, I went searching for trout rising and with that the bugging rod was taken down and it didn’t have a look in for the rest of the day and rightly so. Every pool that I came upon had a trout picking the olives off but only the one and it seemed they were the better size ones, I really wasn’t sure why but I didn’t think too much about it. As I moved up river scanning the water I could see that the olive hatch was reducing so my time was limited to find fish on the fin. Knowing that this was happening I jumped pool to pool looking but the rises were getting scarce. Time was getting on and I was thinking about calling it a day to go home and watch the wales match, where I was going to get out of the river just below a bridge, I walked out onto the bank and I seen a rise right tight to a large rock on the opposite back. The fish didn’t rise again so I just thought bugger it i’ll see if it’s still looking up, I cast the fly around 3ft above where the rise was and in seconds the trout took the fly and made a mad dash for cover, straight away I knew this was no tiddler. Seconds later the trout was tail walking and trying to chuck the hook but I had a good hook set and after a few mad dashed around the river the trout was to hand and a quick photo and then released to fight anOther day. Cracking result and what a trout to finish the day off.

The last and the biggest of the day below.

Tying the hotspot hare’s ear jig

I’ve been tying a few flies today and while tying i thought i would give making a video a bash, not done it before so bare with me 🙂  This jig has been working a treat over the last few months with the grayling and the trout are quite partial of it to!.  Not wanting trout but it happens… There is a nice line of them in my box now ready for the trout season 🙂 Bring it on!!!
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A few dries from tonight

Thought i would sit down and tie a few dries tonight and give the bugs a rest.

Here are  two patterns that i use to imitate the olive hatches on my local rivers and streams in the summer months.

I’m no expert on tying the dries as you can see below but they work very well so that’s the main thing 🙂

More patterns will be up soon so please keep checking out my blog posts.

The dries below are all size 16.