Saturday, 13 September 2014

Spade Hooks getting me on the water film!!

Its been a while since i did a blog post but i have been updating my fishing adventures on facebook and twitter, it seems these days that thats how social media has gone but my blog has always been my highlight for me and the ammount of people who contact me from it is mad..I have done write ups for Steve Cullens Total Fly Fisher which has been brilliant but i cannot stay away from the fact that my blog has got me places you cant imagine.
This season i have had probably the best seasons fishing in my life, i have met many new friends and even got to meet up with my mucker Mathew wright as we shared the most memorable two days fishing on the Derbyshire Wye and Lathkill.
As always in my fishing life i am still living and breathing the rivers , i am still searching for huge trout and grayling, some would say this is not what its about but even from the age of 8 years old fishing the river churnet with a legered maggot i have always had the amazing feeling of catching a big special fish, this is what drives me and always will.
On my previous post i caught the fish of a lifetime on a dry fly, will i better it? surely one day i hope..
i had a few people question if this fish was wild!! it was quite obvious to me, but speaking to Tim Jacklin of the wild trout trust summed it up for me, he said he would bet his house on it being wild, its a male (they only stock females) and the markings and the size of the pectoral fins says it all.
Even Warren Slaney congratulated me, he could spot a stocky from a miles away!

Anyway enough of my updates, here is a fly that has blown me away this season for many reasons but i would like to start with a new method that i have been testing.
I remember speaking to Stuart Croft about getting the right profiles on dry flys and he stated that we always have one problem... we have a piece of metal attached to our fly and this totally messes things up to a degree and there is no way out of it..
Yes he was right, i have always had the problem of finding a lightweight hook, the only ones on the market are the Tiemco 103BL, these are lightweight and do a superb job but they tend to snap on occasions especially when hooking a big nasty brown.
I often take a look in my local coarse fishing shop for different bit in there game and as i walked past the hooks i saw some of the finest black light gauge hooks i had seen.. but on closer looking i saw the dreaded spade end..
To put in plain, spade hooks are still used by the match men because they can be manufactured extra fine and sharper than a eyed hook due to not have to form a eye.
This gives tem the edge for better presentation and so it would me!!
I bought some and set out to combat the spade!!
This season i had made what i call a daytime spinner, without going into detail it was tied on a size 16 up to a size 22.. it has caught me so many fish but using a extra light hook would really send the fly into a proper profile on top of the water film..
here is the you tube link fly tying video and i explain all about my theories in the fly... LTD Daytime spinner

The hooks that i have been using are a Mustard 60200NPBLN that can be bought from any tackle shops.they are super light and strong and around a quid for ten...

So what does this super light hook do on flys? it makes them sit right ontop of the water film which is more like the natural on fully emerged drys and spinners alike.. Also using size 22 tiny flys you are able to see them perfectly as they are not sitting half in the film...

To tie the proper knot on a spade hook is a no go on a tied fly, there is always the option to tie the line on then tie the fly so its all made up ready but i think this would be too much pissing about..
I have come up with a method that is easier than tying a normal eyed hook on, and also gives a added bonus for presentation.
I simply just make up a clinch knot on the line, slide the loop over the spade on the tied fly, wet and tighten up!
If you do this with the knot pointing down the line sinks under the water film for a few inches giving a deadly profile.
The only downside of this method than i can see is on weak lines the spade might slice the line but as yet i have had no problems at all.
I have also started to use the tying method on eyed hooks too which again gives a deadly profile and sinks the first bit of line..

Below is a picture of a size 14 hook with some big line to show what i am doing...

Below is a spinner tied on a spade hook with the line for illustration

Please email me if you have any questions and i am always happy to help where i can to fellow brothers on the fly

Still Living the Dream
Are U ?


Thursday, 1 May 2014


Well i must be doing something right at the moment as all my luck seems to be flowing in!!
There are many reasons for my good fortune but i think the most important one hs to be that i have started to hunt down big trophy trout...i have done it in the past but for years now i have spent my beloved fly fishing for big grayling..even out season grayling i have just walked the banks spotting grayling spawning and noted there location for when they do come into season, this has however been a downfall in catching some huge wild browns.
I had decided last year i was going to hunt down trout early season and started to search around my rivers for these elusive 'horses'
At grayling time last year i saw a huge trout leep out the water in the depths of winter, why it did this i was unsure but one thing i noticed was the sheer size of this fish, it had me thinking it was a salmon but i made a mental note of its location.
Another reason is that i am prepared to fish the hardest type of venue you could imagine, i will go places that are totally unfished, believe me there are lots around!!
But i really think the main reason behind my fortune is the sheer hard work and effort and time spent on the water..i try to fish as much as possible, i work as a self employed electrician and i will work hard to get finished as soon as possible and get a few hours after work on the river, this has proved deadly and time spent on the water is priceless..most of my mates are hitting the pub before they go home for tea..there is no comparison, i am on the river!
I had spotted a huge 55cm plus trout by spooking it weeks back, i studied the pool it lived in, when i had spooked it i realised that it had shown itself for one reason, it was on the feed, a trout will not hang near the surface if its not on the feed, so i knew where it feeding lane was, it was on a bend with the flow hitting the tree face on causing a huge back eddy the size of a car..i threw a dandelion onto the food lane that circled and noticed it continued to circle around without going down the main flow, this fish was living in a zone that spun everything around the eddy and it stayed there for a long time so it was obviously a fish that had a ideal spot to get huge!!
Now where did the fish live? i have learnt over the years that a brown will have a spot that is his home and it will have depth as to not see the fish and a overhang of some description, this one had it all, it was obvious a huge tree root tail was its home.
This is a great tip for anyone stalking big fish in small stream, feeding lane and its hide out..from working this out i had my next step..i wanted to take this huge fish on a dry! not being a dry fly elitist but i new this was the cream..i could  easier tease it out of its trees root with a streamer or some nymphs..
So my found info had taught me to get into a position to see the fish in the feeding eddy and then most important to be able to cast a line without drag. I also new that if i hooked this fish it would instantly bolt for the safety of its home, this was going to be a huge problem, 5ft from the eddy there was a fast flow with depth and then the tree root on the slacker side! if it got in the flow i would be fucked...the plan was to hit it hard with a 4lb line, but would this thicker line mess my presentation up?

I had arrived at the river mid afternoon and there were hawthorne and black gnats in the air, i had seen them days earlier but hoped for them to be on the surface...
I walked to a known spot and saw a 2lb plus fish rising, a buttercup beauty, i spent 20 mins getting into position, the fish was casually taking black gnats off the surface, i raised my rod to put a cast in the lane and the flash off my rod bloted the fish!! great start !!
The river was low and clear and i feared this upper reach stream would be a no go, when it gets like this not even a marine siper could get into position without spooking a trout.
i walked upto my trophy trout pool with little hope of seeing the fish, as i walked through the overgrown vegitation i peeked through a elberry tree and like a child opening the living room door on xmas day there he was, with the sun lighting the whole fish up in 2foot of water!!
This is when my heart started to thump, you makes mistakes when you get nervous but i have sort of learned to curb this, i crept into a position upstresm of the fish and sighed with relief, only for the trout twitch its fins as though it new something was not circled around the eddy and then disaapeeredd to its hide out...bastard!! Well i thought there is always another time but i was in no rush, you can spook a grayling and it will be back after a minuite or so but trout take at least 10 mins..
I waited and waited then sure enough he came back out again cautioulsy circling the pool for any danger.. i froze!!
I was now within 15 ft from the fish and could see its every move, it was absoutley huge, i sat for 20 mins watching how it would come towards me up the side of a fast flow and then drift off away from me into the eddy looking around the circling food did not rise for 5 mins until i saw it come into the centre of the eddy and take a dead hawthrone in no flow whatso ever, a fish of this size rising is something to be seen and just shot my nerves to hell..
I now knew i was introuble, how could i present a dead fly in the middle of the eddy with no flow, i would get around a second of drag free then it would rip off the surface..
i would have do a big mend as i cast, this might get me around 3 seconds before it ripped off..
I put on a jingler and waited for it to enter the centre of the pool, the fish was circling around the eddy and then coming through to rise..
as it come through i cast into the zone sweet, the fish looked at the fly and then totally ignored it...this happened twice, the fish was not spooked it just carried on feeding away..
The jingker had nailed me some many fish, it them became very obvious it was totally preocupied with the Hawthorns..
I am not one with a posh fly box with rows of flys in perfection, i tye flys to go fishing and my box is full of ones and twos of my river flys, i was looking for something black, at the bottom of my simms rucksack i had my scottish lochs fly box, i opened it up and found one bibio snatcher type was black and bushy surely this would do the job..
a slight ginking, not too much, i wanted it to go into the surface film like the dead natural..
There i was again waiting for the brown to enter the dead spot of the eddy..
i had three seconds as it hit the hit the water, the fish saw it, one second two seconds, the huge kype come out the water in slow motion, engulfed the fly (time goes in slow motion with a feeling of euphoria) i surprisingly calmly wait for the fish to drop its head then i strike with sheers power straight up to set the hook in its boney kype...
Bang am on!!!
from such a quite scenic setting, birds singing and flys buzzing, river bumbling i wreck the whole scene as i stand up jump into 3ft over water to get away from a tree the fish does what i knew it would, it bolts for the tree roots and i give it full beans and have no chance of stopping it, i decided i got to go after it!!
The fish bolts straight under the roots that are visible to me, i pray they don't go to the bottom.
I have lost the fish am sure, the dreaded feeling when the movement of the rod tip stops bouncing, i run down to it hole and my my line screams through my hands, he has bolted out and heading for the next pool downstream...  my line going under the root... i chuck my whole rod under the trailing roots and grab it out the other side! i am still into the fish somehow!!
I then get some form of control and run downstream following the fish with a good loop in the rod...i get a glimpse of this trophy as it goes through the shallow gravel at the back of the pool, its horrendously big...
The fish goes two pools down using the flow, i have no chance of bullying this fish but i know for sure the fish is hooked very well...
two pools down i am into a slack bend with a good depth and no flow, i am now on top of this fight as i side strain the fish both ways and start to make progress..
The fish makes one more bolt but my 5 weight rod turns him and i know its time to net the fish
Now seeing a fish of this size and beauty hit the net is something that will stay with me forever, a 10 year old fish 60 cm in length, a true wild fish from a small derbyshire stream, on a dry fly!!
I made a hash of weighing the fish and wanted to get it back in the water, at first my scales said 2lb then  3lb 14 and i decided to leave it...i get asked what weight and am unsure, it looked 5lb but who cares really its a fish of a lifetime
 who needs New Zealand? we have trophy trout in the uk, you just got to open your eyes..
who said fishing is boring
'living the dream'
60cm it dont get no better

Sunday, 20 April 2014

'The Buttercup Horse'

Its still April and i am still in shock over how much good fortune i have had on my Derbyshire  rivers, the warm mild winter has obviously had much to do with this..
Around 1 o'clock in the afternoon there has been a regular trickle of the hardy Large Dark Olive which has given me excellent sport, my chosen fly has been the Jingler that is being used all across the uk by many anglers due to it sheer effectiveness, i do however feel that this fly is a early season fly and when the fish start to get wised up i will be transferring to the JT olive that has been proven for me time and time again for any olive pattern that comes off our rivers.
I am still quite on a high from my previous catch of the 4lb 2oz wild brown trout, only us fisherman know what it feels like to catch something you hunt for years and to be honest i will be buzzing for a few months...
Over the years i have learnt many techniques but small stream stalking has tested me right to the max in Fly fishing.. A broken twig or vibration from 20 yards away and your fucked in this game, these huge trout are wised up, they are looking for prey on top of eating!!
Last week i took a stroll down the river while unhooking a 1lb trout i saw a rise further upstream on a bend in the corner of my eye, maybe fishing has made me so alert these days i seem to be aware of everything around me, i creeped up on my hands and knees and saw a butter cup beauty sipping olives! a sight that never fails to pump the heart stronger... it was another horse too!
This fish was moving around the pool looking for olives and eating every one it could find...
I did not mess about i just patently waited for the fish to present its self in a good casting position and then chucked it into the food lane..
To see a big brown take a dry fly so calmly is magic to my eyes, the splashy sedge hits are good but you know you are fishing everything right with a olive dun when the take it in slow motion, another nerve jangler to say the least.
I set the hook hard and it went berserk, i shall not go into detail but it took me around 10 mins to land, it bolted down stream taking line then bolted straight across me up stream bouncing through snags!!
Finally when i lifted the net i realised i had caught another very special fish...
'the buttercup horse' at 3lb 4oz  
Without sounding like a twat i caught another fish that topped the 3lb mark but i had to walk away from the river after soul had been healed and more would of been pure greed to carry on...
'living the dream' has never meant so much
Nice one
3lb 4oz buttercup horse

the fish controlling me!!

Monday, 14 April 2014

Huge Wild Brown Trout PB has me Trembling

Well as i have spoken in my previous blog post, the early season fishing has been quality for me and just to add the my thrills i had one of them moments that will stay with me for ever.
We all like different styles of fishing and i have done many but stalking big fish has always been my thing, i can sit for hours not casting a rod waiting for a moment to catch that special trout, i just returned back from a trip to Islay on the scottish lochs to see my mate David Wood who now lives there, i had opted to fish for the hard lochs with huge fish, this can be frustrating for many flogging the water all day long without nothing but this does not bother me in the slightest, i just know what could happen and this drives me on..
I did flog a Islay hill loch all day long and hit into what i could only describe as a horse of a wild trout, the hook pulled away as it streamed off  leaving me gutted but even more keener to get my goal..

Back home on the Dove there has been huge hatches of LDO that have really bought the fish on big time and i have caught some awesome fish but what happened a few days ago still has me walking around in a daze!!

Around 1 oclock i packed my tools on my van and headed off to my river, i was running late as i knew there would be hatches coming off around 12 o'clock.
Turning up at the river it looked just right, overcast and a warm breeze, bit of sun peaking through to raise the early season spirit...
now walking through my river i noticed the olive hatch was in full swing, the pools i had fished previously had the browns inches from the surface sipping away, i had already caught a few of these resident fish and i would not even think about targeting them again until the end of the season..
I walked to a unknown pool on a big deep bend and peered into the water looking for trout, i saw nothing and could not believe this amazing looking pool would not have a trout in there, i then turned away and under my feet i noticed something, oh my god, there was a huge trout and i mean once in a lifetime trout sitting inches under the surface in a back eddy....I froze instantly....i had to look again to believe my eyes, yes it was real...
Now i started to turn my stalking senses on,  i was stood there frozen as not to spook this old warrior,  i was planning already how i would approach this fish... i would have to get behind the fish and run my fly around the eddy, something that was very hard but still possible, a over branch was in its cover and i knew i did not have a chance for a fuck up cast..
My heart started to race as i saw the horse rise to a large dark olive, it looked unreal as its huge kype was breaking the surface tension, this fish eating trout was obviously very hungry as it looked too big to rise..
I shortened my leader down to 8ft with a 4lb tippet, heavy yes buti would need to really get stuck into this fish...its hole was obvious, it was about 5 ft away to a huge tree root in a 5ft hole...i knew what i had got to do but could i?
As i watched this fish taking olives from behind it i could see how bigit really was as it turned on itss flank...i then stripped my leader and went up-to 5lb flouro straight through!!
Sitting behing a fish that you have dreamed to catch all your life is the so exciting but a complete nightmare, i was making mistakes, tying a shit knot to the jingler, i had to calm down which i did..

There is was with my bow and arrow cast loaded up....i pinged it through a few branches and caught the fucking tree...was my fish of a lifetime over?? paused, so did i, it knew something was not right, and then it flicked its fins again and rose to another olive pheeeewwwwww
I then pulled the fly slowly from around the branch, it lopped around and did not hook up...yesssssss i thought...
My second cast landed a bit short, it did not matter, it turned and whaoppled it, that moment you cannot describe in words and only a angler can feel it...
I watched it fully take the fly and set the hook home with my trusty side strike...the feeling of the hook setting home was amazing, the trout just paused a moved to the left and i was in shock, i think the fish was until about 5 seconds when it realised it was under threat, it bolted for its hole, the 5lb flouro was the key i really did bollock into the fish and it did not stop it, my 5 weight rod just bevelled completely out and i had to adjust myself to get more power in, i managed to turn it but it opted to scream upstream of me, my drag was too tight and the rod was lunging, i took a few clicks softer on the drag and it ran perfectly around the pool keeping full tension on..
The moment it broke the surface i knew it was more special that i had thought, i was thinking, 'is this a salmon.? thats when you know your into a special fish when you question what it is...
I played the fish for over 5 minutes and i could honestly say there were times in the fight i was totally out of control!! this fish was a pure wild angry beast and boy it let me know...
The fish barely went in my net, i left him in the water and never raised the net, a method i use all the time now, this is too help the fish 'get its wind' i really do think this  is the  difference in a trout surviving be imagine having a boxing match then someone putting there hand over your nose and mouth!!!
I sat there and fell back on the bank, i had done what i had dreamed off, a huge wild trout on drys!!
lifting the fish was a amazing feeling, holding a fish that looked so big to its surrounding...
weighed on my £50 Salters it went the magic 4lb 2oz !!
A few pictures and as i let it go back i spoke to myself and thought of my mucker Steve Cullen, 'ITS A HORSE' in a scottish accent!!
4lb 2oz PB

Monday, 7 April 2014

Early Season on the trout is good for the soul

Early sesason for me is the best time you could ever fish, the trout are hungry and some might be slightly out of shape so its good practise to play them very hard and get them back quickly..
Fishing the jingler in a large dark olive hatch has proved deadly.. I am enjoying sport like no other and without being too greedy i am getting what i can until it slows off...
nice one 

early season brown hunting
surely a 10 year old fish
this has got to be the nicest brown i ever caught
snake trout!! 52cm
the moment you think you fucked up!!