Photograph by Steve Barnett

Sunday 28 August 2011


Tup's Indispensable Variant
The olives were hard to see through the blizzard of little sedge flies this afternoon and early evening.  A fish took my Double Badger but it was a speculative rise and not convincing.  The sedge flies were certainly not on the menu, in despite of their presence in their millions.  They were airborne and so out of the reckoning.  Then the cloud dispersed momentarily and it was possible to see the olives and see some of them being eaten too!  The flies were what anglers call "Pale Wateries".  There are several species of upwinged flies that can be called a "Pale Watery" it is just about impossible to tell them apart when they are on the water but that is no hardship as long as we can match the hatch with a suitable artificial.  One of the very best is an old fashioned fly called "Tup's Indispensable".  So named because the original dressing called for the dubbed thorax to be made of the creamy pink wool from a Tup's scrotum (Tup is an old word for a Ram or male sheep).  So you can see that for the Tup to be a Tup this part of his anatomy was clearly "Indispensable"...

Just look at the candle flame on his dorsal fin! (click to enlarge)

It was just what was needed and the trout confirmed this by eating it.  Some lovely fish coming to the net as a result.  It would have been an easy matter to have mistakenly put on a sedge fly in response to their massive presence today, but they were not what was being eaten and as soon as the little Tup's Indispensable was deployed the results came thick and fast.

Such distinctive spotting makes it easier to track this brown trout's career

The summer has been good to the trout round here as you can see from the super condition of these two examples.  Old fashioned flies work just as well now as they did over a century ago.  In fact they probably work better today thanks to modern floatants and modern leader materials.

Regular Rod

Saturday 20 August 2011

Frolics in the Froth

Have a look at this.  The flies were getting stuck in this big patch of foam.  So a trout was getting stuck into the stuck flies...

Here's a close up crop that shows the fish rising in the foam and to the left of the fish you can see a couple of the trapped olives.  I put on a Double Badger that would show up well, sat down beside the foam, let a yard of tippet dangle from the tip ring and plonked the Double Badger as near as I could to the rises.  He took it almost immediately and then promptly pulled all the leader and a few yards of fly line out through the guides as he shot up river and then back down again. After a little while he came to the net and the hook fell out as the net took his weight.  I had no cover to hide behind.  All I did was sit there.  The foam hid me well enough.  Amazing what you can get away with sometimes!

Regular Rod

Tuesday 16 August 2011

A friendly reminder...

You may already remember this post from last year and maybe this one too from our winter time anticipations of the new season? 

You might like to see this additional example of similar rewards for being stealthy and observant that led to fishing exactly where the fish was, even though the approach was originally to try for a fish over behind the willow fronds on the other side of the river.  Instead of chucking the line out there and possibly scaring this fish, all that was needed was a very short cast almost under the rod top and a very nice trout was the result.  I didn't know the fish was there until it rose whilst I was taking a few extra moments to have a good look around the pool...

Regular Rod

Sunday 14 August 2011


Is often much easier than it first appears...

From here this looks almost impossible...

A little closer and it still looks somewhat forbidding...

Here you are at the brink of the bank...

Well, well, look what you have found!  Some lovely tree roots that will get you down to the water's edge, give you somewhere to sit below the skyline and...

A good clear view of the feedlane and...

A very easy backcast with only a few obstructions that you can easily avoid by turning to watch the flyline on the backcast as well as on the forward cast.

Find vantage points like this and suddenly the river has a thousand more places from where you can fish.

Regular Rod

Monday 8 August 2011

Visitor or Resident?

It is remarkable how two anglers on the same river, on the same day, in the same conditions, can feel differently about the fishing.  Saturday was a very hot, sunny day, as days go in England it was anyway.  It made sense to fish until dark and during the day to look for rising fish in shaded places.

One angler reported afterwards that it had been important to keep changing the fly to suit what was being eaten.  He didn't stick with a favourite fly.  He also happened to take his time and invested heavily in those three principles...

He signed off, filled with joy, saying that it was as if fishing in Dry Fly Paradise.

The other didn't think so.  He had found it very difficult to find rising fish but was happy enough that he had caught some on a fly he favoured.  He reported that he had fished  "Pretty much the whole stretch........just walked and cast at any likely looking spot.........good job I had the whole day!"

This might be a choice deliberately made as a visitor wanting to see all 8 miles of the water available on this stretch of river.  It was a choice that was very likely to gravitate against the angler as it left little time to get to know a piece of the water well enough to cease being a VISITOR and instead become, even  if only for a short time, a RESIDENT.

Numbers of fish caught are not all that important here but enjoyment is.  I can't help feeling the second angler missed out by his VISITOR status whilst the first angler enjoyed the benefit of becoming a RESIDENT for the day.

It is hard to explain.  I hope you can understand what I am trying to say here...

Regular Rod

Tuesday 2 August 2011

The Year Turns Full Circle

This blog does anyway...

Last year about this time I reported on the rise forms telling me which fly to try and I ended up using the Poly Prop Sherry (PPS) to pleasing effect.  Recent evenings this year have delivered great results on variations of the PPS that I am trying, which have their bodies made with an alternative to Seal's Fur.  Tonight, in my enthusiasm to continue the trials I started with my synthetic bodied PPS making the error of not OBSERVING the rises carefully to determine what the fish were eating.  I kept missing that nose angle that gives the clue to consider a fake of a midge type fly

With no fish eating my PPS I was brought to my senses and so after watching carefully the angled upwards nose showed so frequently in the rises that midges surely must be on the menu.  The fly was changed to a traditional fake for midges and reed smuts and the like, the Sturdy's Fancy on a size 20 Drennan Super Specialist hook with an eye just big enough for the 5x tippet to be threaded through.  With such small flies the instinct is often to put on a much finer tippet but 5x gives you more chance of avoiding a break if you end up with a zoo creature on in the dark.

The results were remarkable. Fish after fish came to the fly and so it became necessary to move from pool to pool in the fading light to avoid hammering the fish too much in each spot.  It was actually a very easy night and a time for restraint.  So after a nice brown trout returned at only 21:40, the line was reeled in followed by a pleasant stroll home in the sultry and scented night air.

It is on nights like tonight when I am convinced once again that we are truly blessed to be anglers...

Regular Rod