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!

Fly Tying Materials Reviewed – Semperfli Dirty Bug Yarn!

Fly Tying Materials Reviewed – Semperfli Dirty Bug Yarn!

This week I’m reviewing another new product from Semperfli, Their Dirty Bug Yarn. Its a material that I have come to incorporate in many of my river dry flies and nymphs. There are many reasons for this. when I first received the yarn the first thing that came to my attention was not the many different colors there are but how natural looking they were.

semperfli Dirty Bug Yarn

Immediately I was already imagining what flies I could tie up with the Dirty Bug Yarn? I’ve successfully tied up caddis dry flies using the Dirty Dark Olive & Grey Caddis colors. The Shrimp, Cinnamon & Salmon colors make great use for Gammarus Patterns.

Tying With Dirty Bug Yarn

As I mention above there are many fly patterns you can tie using dirty bug yarn. If you’re new to fly tying you might be wondering how you would use this material? it is super, super easy to work with. If you’re tying small dry flies where you don’t want any bulk simply pinch off the fibers from the rope and dub onto your thread, helping you create a natural looking body!

The other beauty of Dirty Bug Yarn is that you can split the strands, so if youre wanting a thinner profile to your fly simply pull apart the two strands! this is helpful when tying tying smaller flies. Or, if you’re wanting to bring two colors together!

You can of course use it straight from the spool. I’ve found its also a fantastic use for when tying peeping caddis flies. the shades Red, High Contrast Olive and Orange Aphid make great peeping heads on these flies.

It comes in spools of 5M, I like the fact its on a spool too as this make storing it super easy and much more neater!

all in all I have come to love the Dirty Bug Yarn! It’s multi purpose makes sure you can tie loads of different fly patterns with it. You can buy Dirt Bug Yarn from Semperfli Dealers Worldwide! if you’re unsure where your local Semperfli dealer is, simply get directly in touch with Semperfli and they can send you in the right direction!

Fly Tying Materials – Semperfli Kapok Dubbing Reviewed!

Fly Tying Materials – Semperfli Kapok Dubbing Reviewed!

In the latter stages of last year Semperfli released a whole new and exciting bunch of fly tying materials. Included in these was Kapok Dubbing.

what is Kapok Dubbing?

Kapok dubbing is a highly buoyant, resilient to moisture and quick drying material. This making it the perfect material for tying your dry flies. A little fact – Kapok has been used before in life jackets due to its superb buoyancy and at Semperfli HQ the team there have ran tests on this leaving it in test baths where its taken days to absorb water.

Using This Dubbing

It has to be noted that when tying with this material it is dubbed on correctly. The best way, and to get the most out of it is to NOT dub it on to your thread like you would with a standard dubbing, but split your tying thread. this ensures you don’t crush the fibers and maximize the floatability.

working with the dubbing is a wonder. its super easy to use with sort fibers make it easy to tease apart, especially when your looking for a more sparse and natural body on your dry flies.

some examples of flies i have tied with this dubbing are below.

This dubbing from Semperfli is available in a dubbing selection box or in individual packets through you local semperfli dealers worldwide!

overall Kapok dubbing is definitely my new favourite dubbing for my river dry flies, with the fantastic range of colors it makes it a definite game changer in the dubbing world!

What’s In My Fly Box? Week #10! Duracell jig!

What’s In My Fly Box? Week #10! Duracell jig!

Well it’s the final fly tying step by step on my feature on some of my favourite flies for river fishing. To wrap things up I’ll be tying up a Duracell Jig.

About the fly –

It was designed by Scottish angler and super fly dresser Craig McDonald. A brilliant fly for both trout and grayling and one you can count on to bring you fish to the net in coloured water.

In my box I have a range of sizes from 14 – 18 everyone I speak too has nothing but praise for this fly. Fished on a euro set up you can count on this fly to get the job done! See below my take on Craig’s fly!

Materials

Hook – Fulling Mill Jig Force #16

Thread – Semperfli waxed thread 12/0 Mocha Brown

Tail – coq de Leon

Body – Ice dub UV brown

Rib – Semperfli micro metal, dark scarlet

Hackle – CDC.

Thorax – brown uv dub

Bead – silver slotted bead 3.0

Step 1

Place the bead on the hook and pop in your vice. Start the thread off and secure the bead.

Step 2

Taking the thread down towards the bend of the hook take a bunch of coq de Leon fibres and tie in. trim away the waste pieces of coq de Leon.

Step 3

Cut a piece of micro metal or red copper wire and tie in.

Step 4

Take a pinch of brown UV dubbing and dub onto your thread. I like to try keep the dubbing on the thin side, to achieve a slim profile to the fly which will aid the fly in sinking faster.

Step 5

Dub the body on and finish behind the eye. Make sure to leave enough space for the cdc hackle.

Step 6

Wind the rib up the body, trimming away the waste piece.

Step 7

take a cdc feather, hold with your thumb and index finger. With your free hand draw back the free fibres and tie in where the feathers separate. When secured trim off the tip of the feather.

Step 8

Take some hackle pliers and grab the but of the feather, wind round, I usually like to take 2 turns. To tie off and secure the cdc I tend to take 2 turns behind and 2 in front then trim away the waste piece.

Step 9

To finish the fly off take another pinch of the uv dubbing to make the thorax. Then make a whip finish and add a dab of varnish to complete the fly!

I hope everyone who has taken the time to read my step by steps has enjoyed these in the past few weeks! And that it’s inspired some of you to dig out the fly tying kit and tie some of the patterns up!

In the new year I hope to be doing some exciting reviews of some brilliant and game changing Semperfli Fly Tying products! So keep your eyes peeled for them!

As for the step by step blogs please do head over to my fly tying page on facebook “ phillippa hake Fly Tying” where you’ll see regular fly tying and fishing posts but also a chance to win the flies I’ve tied in this feature. All the information will be posted on there!

That will probably be it from me in 2020, let’s hope 2021 brings us a little more joy than this year has and I hope each and everyone of you has the best possible Christmas and new year you can!

Tight lines and wet nets!

What’s In My Fly Box? Week #9! Squirmy Wormy!

What’s In My Fly Box? Week #9! Squirmy Wormy!

Love them or hate them squirmy wormys get the job done! They are controversial however they are hugely successful when fishing for trout, on both river and still waters, brown trout, grayling and are also great for tempting chub and barbel!

You might be thinking, when would I fish this fly? It’s a terrific patten to fish when the rivers are falling from a recent flood. Especially so because the river may be full of dredged up worms. I tend to fish mine the same I do when using a euro style set up. If you’re fishing after a flood look for places such as behind structures in the river like behind rocks/fallen trees etc… You’ll also need to get your squirmy wormy down fast so for the weight of the fly look to use the bigger and heavier tungsten beads such as 3.6 to 4.5!

A couple of tips for tying this pattern.

• don’t use a thread that’s too thin, it will just rip right through the squirmy material, I opt to use the Glo Brite range of threads for theses flies.

• when finishing the fly steer clear of regular varnish and glue. These will react to the squirmy material and un do your work on the fly. If your going to use anything you’ll need to use a good uv resin to finish the fly off!

Materials

Hook – Fulling Mill Jig Force size 14

Thread – Glo Brite #5

Tail – Fulling Mill original squirmy material

Body – Fulling Mill squirmy material

Bead – slotted tungsten 3.6 silver

Thorax – (optional) black uv dubbing

Step 1

Place the bead on the hook and pop in your vice

Step 2

Start the thread and secure the bead on the hook, trim away the waste piece.

Step 3

Take the thread down to the bend of the hook.

Step 4

Take the thread back to the bead, this is to create a nice bed of thread for the squirmy material to lay over so it doesn’t slip around the hook! Trim a piece of the squirmy material and catch it in.

Step 5

By stretching the squirmy material, not too hard though and keeping tension on the thread, gently wind down towards the bend of the hook keeping the material on top of the hook shank.

Step 6

Take your thread back to the bead and repeat step 5 to tie in another piece of squirmy for the body!

Step 7

Tie in and take your thread down to the bend of the hook and then with your thread make a nice tapered body finishing with your thread behind the eye.

Step 8

Wind the body material up. You’ll find that it can be a tricky material to work with. Aim to put a little tension on the squirmy material and as you wind up on each turn take some tension off to create a nice tapered body. Take tight secure turns to tie secure the material in place.

Step 9

Trim off the waste piece of material. At this point I like to make 5-6 more turns just to make sure nothing is going to come undone

Step 10

This is an optional addition to the fly, I like to sometimes add a little bit of sparkle dubbing before finishing the fly.

Step 11

Whip finish and the fly is done! Remember don’t go in with regular varnish you’ll need uv resin to finish this fly!

Thanks for reading this weeks step by step! Next week is the final week in my little feature on here before Christmas! In the new year im looking forward to bringing you some exciting content reviewing some top fly tying materials from Semperfli!

Also next week as it will be the final fly. Keep a look out on my Facebook page phillippa hake fly tying as I’ll be giving away all 10 flies that I’ve tied in the step by steps! Watch this space!

What’s In My Fly Box Week #8 – CDC & Elk Hair Sedge!

What’s In My Fly Box Week #8 – CDC & Elk Hair Sedge!

These weeks are flying past us and already I’m onto week 8 out of 10 of my step by steps! This week I’m going to tie you a CDC & Elk Hair Sedge pattern. A slight disclaimer – I couldn’t find my elk hair so settled for deer hair! However this works just as well I find!

The CDC & Elk hair sedge is an extremely popular pattern and one that you’ll no doubt catch fish on all over the world! Imitating a caddis, this fly is a brilliant pattern through the warmer months fishing in the latter part of the day! I also use this fly or a retirer sedge when fishing the duo on the river. Every fly angler will have a CDC & Elk in their box! If you don’t, follow my tying sequence below and get some tied up!!

Materials –

Hook – Fulling mill Ultimate Dry #14

Thread – Semperfli waxed thread, brown 12/0

Body – CDC

Wing – Elk hair (or what I’m using in this fly, deer hair)

Step 1 –

Place your hook in the vice and start your tying thread behind the eye. trim away the waste piece.

Step 2 –

Take your thread down to the bend of the hook.

Step 3 –

Take a CDC feather, hold the tips with your right hand and draw back the fibres with your left. Tie in where the fibres of the feather are separated. Gently pull the feather from the but and draw through so you have just a little bit of the tips poking out like below.

Step 4 –

Take your thread back towards the eye making a nice bed of thread for the body to be wound over.

Step 5 –

Take your hackle pliers and grab the but end of the CDC, gently wind the cdc around the hook. When you start to wind loose fibres round with your free hand draw back fibres with each turn. Stopping just before the eye and Secure with thread turns. I like to make 3 over the top and 2 in-front. Make sure you leave enough space to tie in the wing. Trim off the waste piece of cdc.

Step 6 –

Take your elk or deer hair, cut a bunch off and place them in your hair stacker, tips first. Give it a couple of taps to align the tips. Gently take them out of the stacker and measure up against the fly. Just so they are going a little beyond the bend of the hook.

Step 7 – when your happy, with your free hand pinch the tips where they are. Making sure you holding them directly on top of the hook shank.

Step 8 – to make things less “fussy” take your scissors and cut the buts of the elk hair off so your left with something like below! this makes it much easier to tie in!

Step 9 – at this point I like to make 3 tight turns all the while make sure you keep hold of the tips as if you let go the hair will spin around the hook and you want it to stay right on top of the fly. Take a couple of turns in between the buts of the hair at 45° to secure the fly. I then like to try get a couple of turns under the fly just behind the eye before whip finishing!

Step 10 – whip finish the fly with a dab of varnish or super glue and if your super picky tidy the fly up trimming away any lose fibres of deer or elk hair with your scissors! Although I’m not sure this makes much of a difference to the fish they like them when they are more on the scruffy side!

The finished fly!
A couple of rows of these excellent flies!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this step by step! I’ll be back next week with another fly for you to try! Keep safe and tight lines if you get out fishing this week!

What’s In My Fly Box week #7 – Hot Ribbed Hares Ear Jig!

What’s In My Fly Box week #7 – Hot Ribbed Hares Ear Jig!

This weeks fly is taken from the Fulling Mill Tactical River Range and is called the KJ hot ribbed hares ear.

A little bit about this fly – It’s a simple fly to tie and A “modern” take on the classic hares ear nymph, which might I add is still a widely used pattern used with confidence all over the world! With the added hot orange rib this variation of the hares ear stands out and looks super fishy! I know if I was a fish on the hunt I wouldn’t be able to resist this coming past! I use this fly when I’m targeting both trout and grayling, see the materials I’m using below and have a go and tie some up your self!

Hook – Fulling Mill Jig Force #16

Thread – Semperfli Waxed thread 12/0 black

Tail – Coq De Leon

Rib – Glo Brite no°5

Body – hares ear dubbing

Thorax – hares ear

Bead – Get Slotted Black Matt Slotted Tungsten Bead 3.0mm

Step 1 – place the bead on the hook and fix the hook in your vice.

Hook in the vice

Step 2 – start your thread off and secure the bead in place so it doesn’t move. trim away the waste piece of thread

Secure the bead

Step 3 – take your thread down toward the bend of the hook and prepare your tail material. I tend to use 6-7 Coq De Leon fibres. The tail you want to aim it to be the same length as the hook. When you’re happy, trim away the waste pieces of coq de Leon.

Adding the tail

Step 4 – take a length of Glo-Brite, here I’m using shade number 5, tie in and cover over any remaining pieces of tail and the rubbing materials.

Tie in the rib

Step 5 – take a pinch of hares ear and dub on to your thread. In this fly I’ve opted for fox squirrel to achieve a much more buggy effect to the fly.

Getting the body material ready

Step 6 – dub all the way up to just behind the bead. Aiming for a slim but tapered body.

Dubbing the body

Step 7 – take the glo brite and take open even turns up to the bead. Tie off and trim away the waste piece.

Rib the body
Trim away the waste piece

Step 8 – take another pinch of hares ear or Fox squirrel, as I’m using in this fly. this is to make the thorax of the fly.

Step 9 – take wraps to make the thorax. Whip finish and add a dab of varnish to finish the fly off

Finish the fly with a whip finish and a dab of varnish
The finished fly!

Be sure to have a go and tie your self this pattern up for your fly box!

Recent fishing outings!

Over this last weekend I’ve had the opportunity to get out and tempt some of the local grayling to my net. On Saturday I ventured out quite early before the rain set in and was rewarded with some fine looking grayling.

Sunday saw a trip to a different stretch of water I dont fish much but I know holds some great fish and sport. The river was up a little compared to Saturday but still running quite clear.

Without a doubt the fly of the weekend was a red tag Jig on the point which the majority of the fish fell victim too! See some pics below!

Fly of the weekend for me! The red tag jig 
What’s In My Fly Box – Week #5, Purple & CDC Jig Nymph

What’s In My Fly Box – Week #5, Purple & CDC Jig Nymph

Week 5 of my step by steps of some of my favourite and most productive river flies, this week I’ll be tying you a Purple & CDC jig fly. With just a hint of purple UV dubbing on the thorax the Grayling go mad for it! this fly has brought me great success on them days when your stood scratching your head wondering what you’re doing wrong!

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What’s In My Fly Box Week #2 Flashback Hares Ear

This weeks step by step is a Flash Back Hares Ear Jig. A variation of the standard Hares ear nymph, this fly is certainly one that is a proven fish catcher, a simple but deadly pattern.

I’m tying this fly on a size 16 Fulling Mill jig hook with a 3.0mm tungsten bead and using it when fishing a french leader. However, when fishing the duo method otherwise known as klink and dink/dry and dropper. I tie this fly on a much smaller hook and usually I’d opt for a hook such as the Fulling Mill Ultimate Dry Fly Hook, and sometimes down to #20/24 this is because the fly In this step by step below would be too heavy to fish under a dry fly and would just pull it under. See how I tie it below and be sure to add some of these in all sizes in your river fly box

The materials I’m using here are the following

• Hook – Fulling Mill Jig Force Hook size 16

• Bead – Lathkill Fly tying 3.0 Slotted Tungsten in Silver

• Thread – Semperfli Black Waxed Thread 12/0

• Tail – Coq De Leon

• Flashback – Semperfli Silver Holo Tinsel

• Rib – Semperfli Bright Silver Wire

• Body – Lathkill Hares Ear

Step 1 – Place the bead on the hook and fix the hook in your vice.

Hook in the vice

Step 2 – Start your thread behind the bead and make thread wraps to secure the bead so it doesn’t move about. Trim away the waste thread

Fixing the bead in place

Step 3 – Taking your thread down to the bend of the hook, catching in your tail fibres, I like a bunch of around 5/6 fibres. For the length of the tail you want to aim for around the length of the body/hook shank Trim away the waste ends of the coq de Leon.

Catching in the tail

Step 4 – Take the thread back up towards the bead tying down any ends of the coq de Leon, making a nice level body.

Step 5 – Prepare the wire and catch in tightly with your thread.

Catching in the rib

Step 6 – whilst making thread turns back towards the tail just before you reach the bend of the hook I like to catch in the flash back, this makes it easier for you to control, adjust and make sure that it will sit directly on top of the hook and not slide around the shank.

Catching in the flash back view from the top
Catching in the flash back side on view

Step 7 – Once you’re happy that the flash back is in the right position trim away the waste piece and tidy up.

Step 8 – Take a pinch of Hares ear dubbing or similar, I like to make sure that it’s nice and spikey! Dub onto the thread. Like I always tell any beginners it’s much easier to add more than to take it off so if your not too sure if you have enough subbed on you can always add more along the way!

Making a dubbing rope

Step 9 – Make the body by wrapping the dubbing all the way up to the bead, your looking to make a carrot shape body, nice and tapered!

Making the body

Step 10 – Taking the tinsel, gently pull it over the top of the body and make a couple of turns to catch it in behind the bead. Make sure that it’s sitting right over the top of the body and not pulling towards the sides of the fly. Once your happy take a couple of tighter turns I like to do one behind the tinsel and one in-front then trim the waste piece away.

Pull the tinsel over the body

Step 11 – Take the wire and make open turns up towards the bead. Make sure that they don’t pull the tinsel to the side of the fly. Take a few turns of thread to secure the wire then wiggle the wire until it snaps off, try not to use your scissors as it will make them blunt! On this size fly I would expect to get 4/5 turns of wire.

Ribbing the fly

Step 12 – take another pinch of dubbing and dub onto your thread make a few turns to make a nice spikey thorax.

Making the thorax

Step 13 – whip finish and add a dab of varnish to secure the fly.

The finished fly
The finished fly

Again I hope this step by step gave someone the inspiration to pick the vice up and tie a few flies! I always like to have a varied selection of these in my box in a range of colours and sizes! Thanks for reading and come back next Monday to see another step by step of some of my favourite flies!

Tight lines

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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