Early Season Update

Early Season Update

It’s been an up and down start to my trout season this time round. In all honesty some sessions on the river I’ve stood and scratched my head as to what I might be doing wrong. Don’t get me wrong I’ve had some really good sessions but a few early season blanks too! But at the end of them tough sessions I soon remember we are still very early on in the season!

Some stunning markings on the smaller trout of our rivers

April saw hardly any rainfall resulting in summer time levels on our rivers. The temperatures have been low, barring a small period of time when we hit the high teens. All making the fishing that little more tough, that said. Us anglers like a little challenge and after all that’s why it’s called fishing and not catching.

One of the better fish I’ve connected too this season! A beauty!

Now we’re allowed to travel that little further to fish a few weeks ago I had a couple of friends Jonathan McGee and James Stokoe over for some fishing. We had a cracking little session, not huge numbers of fish. At the moment it’s a struggle to avoid them pesky out of season grayling and we as anglers can’t tell them not to take our flies, a reminder if you find you are catching them it’s a good idea to move spots on the river and reduce the amount of time we are handling these fish until they are back in season! we finally got some connections to some beautiful wild brown trout. Both me and James catching some stunning fish!

Beautiful wild brown trout
James with his brown trout caught

As we moved out way up the stretch of river we finally found some rising fish. They were taking super small midge from just under the surface, right on the far bank. Our casts had to be spot on, mending the line to reduce drag. After 2 or three different flies we tried they refused all of them. It wasn’t meant to be!

Despite the hard fishing conditions we had a fabulous day and more importantly it was just nice to fish with other anglers and have a laugh on the way! Huge thanks to Jonathan for some cool images!

Moving on a couple of weeks and this last weekend just gone I hosted my first guests that had come for a days fishing through Fishing Breaks.

I knew the day was going to be tough just like when Jonathan and James came. Again we were met with low water, little fly life and cold winds. There were fish rising but not actively feeding so we opted for the dry and dropper method. A nice buoyant sedge with a pink sighter and a small size 18 copper beaded nymph suspended below was the choice of tac tic, again it brought some success but not the right species we were after.

A quick break for some lunch which we had to eat in the car due to a 15 minute downpour and we were back on the river, this time a little further upstream to see if we could find a trout or two!

We were struggling to get the trout in the net, a couple of misses and the ones that got away we made a decision to jump in the cars and head upstream in the hunt for some wild brownies!

A quick fly change to an olive quill perdigon nymph fished euro style and almost instantly one of my guests had a really decent fish hooked, “please don’t be a grayling” I was saying in my head. When we knew it was a trout and it was in the net we all cheered! It really was the highlight of the day! Ironically my guests were a lovely couple originally from Spain and the fly we caught the trout on, the olive quill Perdigon which is a Spanish fly! It was just mean to be! Smiles all round!

The trout that saved the day!
The release!

I really enjoyed our days fishing but as I said above it’s just nice to be able to be out and about seeing and fishing with anglers again isn’t it! I hope you are all having success and let’s hope for some rain in our rivers!

Fishing Adventures

Fishing Adventures

there’s certainly an autumnal feel in the air and as summer draws to a close and we near the end of the 2020 trout season. I’ve been trying to squeeze in as much fishing as I can before them shorter days and darker nights creep up on us!

Recently I’ve had some fantastic outings, many on and around my local rivers and a brilliant road trip down to the River Itchen to fish my first UK chalk stream where we sight fished for brown trout and grayling. I already cant wait to head back down there and hunt down some of them grayling!

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Carsington Water 15 July 2020

Carsington Water 15 July 2020

A week off work saw me and my dad take a mid week trip to Carsington Water near Ashbourne in Derbyshire, one of our favourite waters to fish. And one where you are certain to find some hard fighting rainbow trout.

It’s always helpful to do some research into a water if you haven’t fished it for a while, the fishery websites usually have a fishing reports section where you’ll be able to see where the fish have been caught, what methods and flies you’ll need to use! The night before i had a look and new that they were taking all manner of flies, nymphs, damsels and of course blobs and boobies. So I replenished some of my flies and got everything ready for the early alarm.

We left home at 06:30 and arrived at carsington at around 8:45, like most fisheries of recent due to to the coronavirus we booked and paid for our boat and fishing ticket before hand online. Which makes things much easier when you get there, limiting the time your booking in etc, meaning more fishing time!

From the fishery reposts i had seen the best methods were sinking or intermediate lines, I set my rod up with my Airflo DI3 line an orange blob/boobie on the point, silver cruncher on the middle dropper and claret cruncher on the top dropper. A simple three fly set up. My dad went out on an intermediate line and a hot head damsel lure.

A silver cruncher pattern which proved successful on the day!
Hook – Fulling Mill Grab Gape size 10
Tail – hen hackle
Body – Semperfli silver tinsle
Thorax Semperfli sparkle dubbing orange
Hackle – hen hackle

The fishery ranger said a few fish were caught on the previous day from the dam wall drifting right into the middle of the lake. So we made our way up to the dam, and set up our first drift, a nice ripple on the water, overcast sky’s and a slight breeze. I love these conditions.

As I cast my fly out I had a knock and a little pull, hanging my flies at the end of the cast to entice a take but nothing came of it. It wasn’t too long after that the first fish of the day was caught. I was casting my flies out, letting them settle for around 5 seconds, 2 or three sharp pulls and then a steady figure of eight retrieve. And bang! Fish on! it took my silver cruncher tied up the night before! A brilliant fight, and I wouldn’t expect anything less from a carsington rainbow. I was off the mark and it was 1-0 to Phillippa!

A brilliant rainbow!

I’m a big believer that if you have the confidence in the flies and methods you’re using you fish better and catch more fish. I always have a thought in the back of my mind that although we can’t see our flies doing their work below the surface I always assume that there’s a fish following that fly! Confidence is everything in fishing! It can determine if you have a good or bad day on the water.

As they day went by we had the odd drizzly shower but nothing to put a dampen on our day! As I said above it was 1-0 to me, we always like to have a little competition between our selves me and my dad. I was about to put a downer on his day when I landed my second fish of the day. Another fighting fit rainbow. The same method used as the first one except this one took the attractor fly, the yellow and orange blob/boobie.

A typical carsington rainbow

It wasn’t long before my dad was into a fish, at last! He was fishing the intermediate with the hot head damsel fly, it took him for a Merry run around and a few deep dives for the depths before it was safely in the net! His smile says it all!

A fine rainbow for my dad!

Over all we had a fantastic day afloat this brilliant reservoir. We will be back here for some more action I’m sure! Keep any eye out for my next adventure in a few weeks where I’ll be fishing the river dove! I can’t wait!

Keep safe and tight lines if your out wetting a line this week!

What Is Euro Nymphing?

I remember when I first started out fly fishing there are many methods we can use to catch fish. “Euro style nymphing” was one method that appealed to me. I was just starting to venture out river fishing and I had no idea what I was doing. I was playing a guessing game.


I’d go to the river, fish for hours and not catch a thing but leaves and trees. coming home and spend hours and hours scouring the internet on what I was doing wrong. low and behold I was doing it wrong, the length of my leader, no indicator, wrong choice of flies, bad casting. the list is endless. so, if you’re a beginner just like I was, I hope this blog will give you some form of indication or tips on what you can do to improve your river fishing.

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Llyn Clywedog, 29/10/2017, New Personal Best! 

Llyn Clywedog, 29/10/2017, New Personal Best! 

Having just qualified to represent England in next years Internationl which will be held at Llyn Clywedog in Wales. Having never fished the reservoir I thought it would be handy to have a trip down and get a feel for the place. Me and my dad made the three hour journey on what was a beautiful autumn Sunday.

Clywedog is located in mid Wales, surrounded by stunning scenery, the drive over the hills is quite breathtaking really.

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Go Small or Go Home! 

Go Small or Go Home! 

On my most recent outings the river has been literally on its bones. Although, some recent rain will have sent through some much needed fresh water for our fishy friends. 

It’s funny what a little bit of rain can do to the river. A  couple of weeks ago I had fished a section of the river and had a great little season catching some stunning Grayling, notible was the water temperature, it was warm however it didn’t seem to put the fish off feeding as I worked my way through various pools. 
The following week I met up with a friend and we planned to fish the same stretch of river. it had rained near enouh all day, despite this we decided to go on with the session. The first thing I noticed was how cold the water was from the days rain fall. It was evident that this had knocked the fish off as we struggled to get them. Finally, they came but not as many as we were hoping for. 
Since then the weather has settled down again but the lack of rain has meant the river has been running low. It has resulted  in the fish having to move to different holding spots. 

Last week I met with my good friend Lisa Isles, for a very long over due fishing session. We had a cracking couple of hours on a very warm and sunny Saturday afternoon. 

We both set up with the duo in search of some trout and grayling. It wasn’t long untill the first fish came, and a lovely grayling it was to start the session with. 

A few more grayling followed along with some lovely brown trout! The trout I caught took my sedge pattern on the outside seam of a ripple of water, it even went airborne a couple of times! 

During this time of the year, when the water is low, fishing smaller flies can make a huge difference, unless of course you get a greedy trout come along and it can’t resist a pop at  the sedge! the majority of the grayling were caught on a size 20 simple copper bead flash back hares ear. Keeping your flies small and simple can make all the difference to your catch rate! 

I can hardly believe the season is almost finished! It doesn’t seem two minutes since it was March! However I’m looking forward to a couple of fly tying shows that are taking place in a month or so, I’ll be at Fly Fest in Cumbria (1st and 2nd October) tying with Partridge and then at the Uttoxiter show on the 16th of October again with the Partridge  gang! So lots to look forward too! 
I hope to see some of you at the up and coming shows. 

Tight lines and wet nets! 
And remeber, small flies catch big fish! 

New Friends, Fishing, Tea and Cake! What More Could You Ask For! 

Last weekend I spend the day on the River Ure surrounded by picturesque views, in North Yorkshire on a ladies day organised by Brian and Sue Towers and Anne Woodcock. With ladies of all abilities in attendance it was lovely to meet more ladies interested in Fly Fishing! 

Meeting at the farm shop for tea, coffee and a spot of breakfast we all got to know one another and talked fishing!  Off to a great start already! 

Arriving at the river, which was running rather low. We all got geared up for Brian to give his introduction which was brilliant, Showing how to do  casts for both trout fishing and salmon fishing. The trout were actively rising all morning as we were preparing to get on the water and have some casts at these fish. 

It’s true, time flys when you’re having fun! Before we knew it, it was dinner time already and time to tuck into the buffet kindly  prepared and brought down to the river by Sue, accompanied by some gorgeous soup! 

Soon after dinner Brian took me up-stream past some more good looking trout to have a cast at on my way back down.  I jumped in the river further up and slowly got into position to work my spiders through a fast run of water. A few casts later I had a bonnie trout in my net. Followed shortly by another. I tried my look at the uber spooky fish on the slower water however failed to tempt them with the dry fly, next time! 

As we all gathered at the end of the day to talk about the day’s events, everyone seemed to have a great day and the sun even made an appearance! Who says we don’t get sun up north? 

A big thank you to Brian, Sue and Anne for your hard work on the day and also to The brilliant Cliffie boy! 

I hope to see you all on the bank again soon, tight lines. 

Rain… Rain and More Rain! 

For many anglers, the grayling season this year has been very hit and miss.. Or even non-existent! Due to the amount of rain that’s been dumped in our beloved  UK rivers! 

I live in the small town of Sowerby bridge, West Yorkshire, just one of the little towns that was hit with the devastating Boxing Day floods. I’ll never forget seing all the local people coming together to help everyone effected by the floods donating food, drink and cleaning products and working through the night to get their businesses up and running again. Below are some of the pictures from Boxing Day, you can see the cross bar of a football goal post, with the water inches off the top! 


I’m keen to see how the rivers have changed, I imagine that the Boulder that was in the middle of the river on my favourite stretch is no longer there, or maybe it is? Who knows!

I watched the river levels like a hawk until they reached a “normal” level in order to get out and have a fish, I managed an hour one Saturday in January. I set up with a French leader and two weighted hares ear jig nymphs with an added hot spot. Not long after getting back into the swing of things I was into my first fish of the year. I’ve never been so happy to see a grayling in my life. Shortly followed by some hungry out of season trout!

So, with the rivers been blown out when ever I’ve had the opportunity to fish them I’ve been tying lots of flies recently, in preperation for the British Fly Fair Internationl that has just passed where I tied on the Partridge Of Redditch stand along side Matthew Pate! It was a great weekend all round and I’m already looking forward to tying at more shows! Thanks again to Mark Hamnett and the Partridge team for the opportunity and looking after me! 

My attention now focuses on the coming trout season and filling my box with juicy flies to tempt them with! Along with fishing new rivers and meeting fellow anglers and meeting new ones

Tight lines! 

Out With The trout, In With The Grayling! 

Out With The trout, In With The Grayling! 

Now the trout season has come to an end, many of us will be spending the up and coming winter months with days chasing Grayling and those dull, dark evenings at our tying desks filling the box in anticipation of March to come.

The past couple of weeks I’ve been on the river I’ve caught some lovely grayling, coming to both nymphs and dries. It’s been an odd year this year, the fishing I have done has been different to last year, I’ve found ive caught more grayling than trout on my days out some days not even netting a trout! It seems grayling are taking over the Calder!


I don’t know where this year has disappeared too but it only seems two minutes since that first day of the trout season was upon us. My most memorable day of this season was catching my PB brownie out of the Calder early on in the season. being on my own i remember thinking to my self, i have to get this fish! Guiding my rod in and around the over hanging trees, keeping the fish away from any snags in the river. Having netted the fish I remember looking in my net like a child does when they’ve been trick or treating, a huge smile on my face!

My top three flies this season have been the olive jig, quilled nymphs and sedge patterns, which you will be able to see in my new “Fly tying section”

the next couple of weeks will be exciting ones I’m sure, tying flies for a weeks fishing in Poland towards the end of this month, i hope you have all had a brilliant end to your trout season!

just a short one today, ill look forward to bringing you some fintastic tails from my adventures in Poland!
tight lines !

What’s Been Going On? 

I’ve not written on here for a while! But here I am, I’m back! It’s been a busy last couple of months. At the beginning of June I was away at Grafham Water with the England ladies competing in this years international. As it was my first international, I didn’t know what to expect but as the week progressed I was learning new things and meeting new people, who share the same passion for fly fishing as me! It was a great week and lots of memories were made! We came third in the competition, Scotland 1st, Wales 2nd and Ireland 4th.
Since then I’ve had a some great evenings on the river, my most successful method has been the same as last year, the duo. It’s my favourite method for river fishing, watching for that dry to pop under the surface and striking into a fish. My Duo set up is a CDC sedge and a beaded nymph, I use  a 3.5lb tapered leader with about 2 ft of extra tippet attatched below. I’ve also been getting some good sport using other various dry fly patterns such as parachute flies and spinners. 
Along with the typical Calder trout, there is also an abundance of grayling coming through the system, with the Calder being an urban river there is always the high chance of pollution, as like any other urban river. Worrying indeed, but to see the river producing new fish each season is great to say it wasn’t that long ago that it suffered a big setback. 


Along with some river fishing I’ve had a couple of days out the reservoirs, with a day at Ladybower in Derbyshire, and my most recent trip to Eyebrook in Leicestershire, where the fishing was tough to say the least, but enjoyable, isn’t that what fishing is all about?

I’m looking forward to the next few weeks, a day at the CLA game fair and some fishing at Bewl water in Kent, at the end of August I’ll be back at Eyebrook for the ladies national qualifier! 

Tight Lines!