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Pete's Weighty ( Fly Fishing ) Words

Archive for October, 2008

Red and pink….

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

I’ve been busy tying up pink bugs for the upcoming grayling trips. I sort of stumbled on the colouration by my lack of a subtle shade of pink in my fly tying kit. The funny thing was that the grayling loved it. This is a shocking pink the sort of thing that makes you think “naaaaah, no way” but it works and works really well!

As ever with my fly tying it is simplicity more than anything else with a lead wire under body, clear back and 5lb mono as the ribbing. I have tied it as big as a size 8 and a little bit smaller too. Dependent on water height an conditions I’ll throw it under a dry or grease up the end of the leader and watch for the line to dart forward as a fish falls for it.

I don’t know if it is me but it feels pretty cold today. The wind is blowing and it feels miserable. I thought of warmer climes when Nigel phoned this afternoon to book a fly casting lesson and told me about his trip to the Seychelles in December. Sounds like he’ll be having a look for GT’s and wants to throw his fly just a little bit further.

I popped up to London yesterday and was amazed to see snow had fallen. Surrey had a hint of Siberia (OK just a little bit) about it and reminded me of how things are changing globally but also in our tiny little world we call fly fishing. The Russians are coming! I noticed it in London yesterday but also at a trade fair a few months back. It was held in Amsterdam and there was a good smattering of folk from across Europe but I bumped into some Russians too. Hardly surprsingly they spoke very good English (they probably write better English than me too!) and they could cast a bit too. I had a cast with a couple of them and they were pretty good. One of them had just passed his European Fly Casting Exam and the other was interested in coming to see what AAPGAI was all about. Apparently there are not a lot of fly fishermen there at the moment but things are changing as the locals are getting in to sport fishing as opposed to fishing for the pot by whatever means is required. Russia has long been a destination for travelling anglers but as the local economy has continued to grow more are taking it up.

We loaded up my truck and strapped a glass cabinet onto the roof to take up to Howard for the BFFI this weekend. I managed to get it there in one piece and Howard will take it the rest of the way. Sounds like there will be a good group going and please pop by and say Hi if you are there.

Lastly, I didn’t get a chance to fish with Jo on his stretch of the Exe this year but he dropped me a mail today and had 7 salmon this year….excellent work and see you Sunday!

Dare to be different?….

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

It has been a busy few days having just got back from the Tackle and Guns show. We were busy bunnies and had the pleasure of Jeff from Abel over to help on our stand. He was a most welcome addition and fitted in very well with our sense of humour and handled himself very well despite me spending most of the weekend trying to push him in the casting pool. It is so nice to have a company like this behind you and even better that their philosophy to life and fly fishing is the same as ours. It was nice for him to meet a lot of our accounts and a few new ones too. The nice thing is that the industry is getting what we are about in offering a quality product at a fair price.

We have done our best to price our products made in the U.S. as close to the U.S. retail price as possible so that the public are able to buy here and, most importantly, support their local dealers throughout the country. The nice thing is that we know the companies that we use in the U.S. are actually using the products themselves as a very large percentage of them are fishermen themselves. It is nice to know there is some heritage involved and they are not just trading on a faded old name of yesteryear. We were amazed by the support we had for St Croix and it is a brand anglers throughout the UK will be able to get their hands on from a large variety of fishing shops in the very near future.

Jeff leaves today and has seen some of London as he, Bob and Graham called in to one of our dealers but thankfully he got a look at fly fishing in Devon when he visited Wimbleball with Mark last week and is on a small trout stream with Graham in Hertfordshire as I type, just before he leaves for Heathrow. A man after my own heart!

I popped in to see Howard yesterday as we are supporting him at the BFFI the weekend after next and I also was in Crediton and was dying for a tea and hob nob!!. BFFI is also Marks birthday weekend and I am sure we will all be out to mark (quite literally!) the occassion. A lot of the lads from the association will be there too.

I am off for a couple of days as my brother is getting married. Mark is at the helm and taking Helen out for some casting and fishing and then off guiding for some toothy critters on Mon. Bob is doing some spey stuff with Steve and then I have a busy grayling diary coming up; look for some pics and movies too. I promise I’ll be behind the camera!

Many, many congrats to Mat and Georgie at Fly Odyessy on the birth of Thomas. At 9lb 2oz you’re talking a fair sized bonefish!

Just about at the end….

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

It feels like I have been trying to mark the end of the brown trout season for about 3 weeks now. I managed to get out just before the close of the river season down here with a wonderful day up on the Moors followed by a trip onto my beloved Taw. On Sunday the brown trout lakes shut and so Mark and I popped up to Fernworthy to have a go for some trout there and to take some photos for the new website. I rigged up with my typical brown trout lake set up of intermediate line and black tadpole. I was a little shamed by Mark as he carefully tied on a dry. We decided to walk a bit and take in a beautiful day. We worked the bank that was out of the sunlight and came across a few rising fish. Being a gentleman (more like I had the wrong set up!) I offered Mark a shot at them and he efficiently picked out 3 fish. It was tricky fishing as there was limited back cast room. We walked and fished a fair bit but it was really nice to be out there on such a nice day. We also bumped into a few other anglers which was nice.

Yesterday I headed up for some chalkstream fishing. The river season for browns on chalkstreams closes today and I wanted to meet up with Ray to see in the close and to plan our trip to NZ. I say plan, we had a quick sandwich and decided to head for Christchurch where Ray has made contact with a well known guide there and fish around there for 5 days and then head south and fish for that area for 5 days. It is only a 10 day trip so we plan to maximise fishing and come back exhausted…I can’t wait!

The fishing was amazing yesterday. I got into the river and made a few casts with a dry (the usual scruffy klink) and picked up a nice brown. I moved up a bit and fished a “pool” just below a footbridge where I could sight cast to fish. It was nice to see the reaction of the fish to the fly and I watched with interest several refusals. There was a nice hatch of smallish olives in progress and I decided to scale things down a bit and tied a similar, smaller fly with a lighter hackle and watched similar results. This time I popped on a black klinkhammer with silver ribbing in size 20. This time no refusals and they were liking what they saw. Ray had left a message, the fishing had been too good to answer the phone, and when he turned up just over an hour later I had moved just 20 feet. When we broke for lunch I think we had moved about 60 feet or so. Ray had to leave about 2 ish so we headed downstream and worked our way back up. When he left I still had plenty of water to fish so I decided to see if the fish still wanted smaller still and tied on a size 24 klinkhammer I had tied earlier in the year. I was really pleased to see that it did work pretty well despite the lack of hatch at this time. I headed upstream further and I hooked a nice brown of 12 inches. I released it, snipped off my fly and said to myself that it was perfect point to end my river season for browns. Its nice when things like that happen, I didn’t feel the need to carry on for the sake of numbers; it just felt right to stop there. I guess it is now time to think about some grayling now….

We are busy getting ready for the Tackle and Guns show this week. It is a show for the trade to see what will be on offer for the 2009 season. It is always nice to meet up with people in the industry and show each other our latest offerings. We will be taking new rods from Scott including the new A3 and additions to the S4 range including a new 10ft 7wt. We have Jeff from Abel over who will be on our booth with some new goodies. We are also very excited that we have been asked to be the UK distributor of St Croix fly rods. We felt these rods fitted in perfectly with Scott from a pricing view as they don’t really overlap but they also fit in with our view of sourcing products that are built by fishermen for fishermen at a fair price. The rods, as with Scott, are built in the US and come from a company that has a heritage of rod building. I have been using and teaching with one of their rods of late and am really impressed. Jeff is with us for a few days so I am hoping to take him in search of some grayling!

It was sad to hear of the passing of Mel Krieger. I doubt there isn’t an instructor out there who doesn’t own a copy of The Essence of Fly Casting. It is a great book that explains the mechanics of casting in a clear and concise manner. He will be greatly missed.

Weighty or not….

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008

I was just tying a few flies ready for the grayling and had knocked up a couple of blue winged olive nymphs. They are nothing really special but as I was tying them I thought of the hatch Champo and I witnessed a little earlier in the year. It was interesting as his dun pattern was completely outfished by my scruffy, I mean really scruffy klink which caught the fish as they were picking off the flies as they emerged. It was probably the case that my fly just caught the hatch at the early stage but it made us laugh anyway. It in turn got me thinking about a similar hatch Ray and I fished through on the Frying Pan a couple of years back. He was actually fishing an unweighted emerger pattern and was happily picking up fish. When I got back I tied up a few and never really got round to using them but the time with Champo brought them back to my mind again. The reason for this is that when I fish nymphs, as a whole, I fish them with a bead head. Nothing clever behind it just that if there are no risers theres a good chance the fish will be sitting down on the bottom waiting for something to happen. All the bead does is get me down to them a bit quicker. What about the time when the hatch is starting to get going though and the fish already aware of the flies ascending to the surface and starting to get interested? A bead head below the dry would work just fine but for real, just sub-surface presentation when we are starting to see them bulge below the surface would an unweighted nymph do a good job? I’ve played with it a bit this year and seems to be a pretty fair bet. I know its not new or revolutionary but how often are you using a weighted nymph compared to unweighted and what is the ratio of weighted nymphs in your fly box? I’d be really interested to know? If you catch a BWO hatch hang an unweighted fly off the back and see what happens. I tie mine in a variety of shades from hares ear to light olive to darker olive with a wire rib. The only thing I add is either a black wing case from a pheasant tail or just some black dubbing. When a nymph is about to emerge the wingcase is a lot darker in colour. Do the fish know? I don’t really know but it is a nice, neat way of finishing things off. As I mentioned before Ray is a huge fan of this and will often fish a really lightly ginked up pheasant tail and he puts it to good effect HERE.

Spookily enough I have jusy got off the phone with Champo and we had just had a discussion about it and we are going to play with unweighted nymphs a bit more next year!

Mark is really getting the hots for fly fishing for pike now the river season is over and has been creeping up to Chew on a regular basis. The man knows more about pike than most of us ever will! Anyway, I thought I’d pop this piccie up of him when we both went a few weeks back. The rain and wind had driven the trout anglers off of the water at lunchtime but there were two idiots that stuck it out… Fair weather fishermen?….Never!

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Saturday, October 4th, 2008

I headed up to guide on the chalk yesterday. I had been watching the weather and use a website that is supposed to give an accurate reading and having watched it throughout the summer I have learnt to do the opposite to what the forecast says. Again this was the case and although the wind was blowing a bit the sky was clear and we even had some fish on dries which was a nice surpise.

Mark and I were going to go to do some fishing tomorrow but it looks like the wind and rain will be against us. That’s me looking out of the window rather than using the website I was telling you about. You never know, if it looks OK tomorrow we might give it a go, we’ll see.

Speaking to Chris today made me think of better weather. He has booked a fly casting lesson with us as he has a friend in the U.S who he meets up with and they go chasing False Albacore. I have been lucky enough to catch some of these members of the tuna family and although I was on a bone fish trip it stole the show for me. Seeing a bait ball explode as they are being savaged by these fish really gets the heart pumping and requires you to keep everything together as you send your fly into the action. If you manage to hook up you better hold on but if you spend too long false casting they have gone! This is the brief Chris gave me that he wants to learn to deliver his fly as quickly and effectively as he can. Sounds like a fun day in prospect and will remind me of warmer climes…I just have to hang in there til December….

We have had some nice messages of late a few of which are below:

Pete,

just wanted to let you know what a great day I had yesterday. Everything from Mark to the teaching and venue was really awesome.

Simon

Hello Pete

please will you say a big thank you to Mark, Graham, Jaqui, Emma and Charlie for making our day so enjoyable. They couldn’t have made it more fun and everyone had a wonderful time.

Thanks again

Annie and Richard

Hi Pete,

once again thanks for a cracking day. I have not enjoyed myself on a days fishing trip in many a year!

Dave

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