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!

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!

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!