Return From The Irish Fly Fair

Last weekend saw me pay my first visit to Ireland in some time, to long in fact. Its a country that I love and for some reason simply haven’t made the trip. Maybe its trips else where or simply putting not wanting to use Ryan air and there rip off charges. This trip however, found me not just having a excellent time but researching for a trip next year.

The seeds for the trip were set at the end of the BFFI last February when I was asked by Stevie to email him about tying at the Irish Fly Fair in Galway. I did so and got things sorted although I learnt over the weekend that maybe staying in nearby b&b would be a better idea. Not only because its half the price but also there is a kettle in the room. The Galway Bay Hotel was the venue and also where I spent a couple of nights. Really nice place and excellent service but expensive.

The show itself was fantastic with a lot interaction between the people coming in and the tyers themselves. The tyers also exchanged ideas for stuff they were working on. Discussions with between myself, other tyers and people just looking resulted in offers of help with a trip to lough Sheelin and Corrib next year and also a few suggestions for flies including adding a touch of pink to the spent gnat that I kept having to tie to keep the box restocked.

The show was well set out with lots of goodies to buy, you get better choice at shows and are able to check capes and other natural materials for quality which you cann’t do with mail order and some fly stores (see a previous post). The tyers had a high standard of flies on display, including the Sponge Bob fly I saw a couple of years ago. These displays are good place for ideas and a boost for tying new stuff.

The area I was tying was the conservatory (glorified green house) over looking Galway Bay, magic! The natural light was fantasic for tying but I doubt I’ll be tying tying in my greenhouse because it will be to cold and damp but the idea was planted.

Hopefully they’ll have me back.

Ashley

What Month is This Really?

Yes, I’m still behind but getting there, maybe I’ll catch up today as I am off work with a bad foot…maybe get some tying done.

Its been about 3 weeks since I last went fishing, it was only a few hours but it was fun. I had a phone call from a friend a couple of days before to go and fish the chalkstreams with him and has always I accepted (I needed to fish). We fished a private stretch of the River Avon not far fro Amesbury for Grayling. I could see the very odd fish rise upon my arrival but they looked small. So I ignored them and made my way up stream with a small dry attached looking for better fish. I spotted one of about 1 1/2lb  but it saw me about the same time and moved off. He later moved back to his spot because my friend saw him in the same place.

I found a stretch of roughly 200 yards with fish rising at regular intervals, it was noticeable that they were in varying sizes with groups of fish seemingly bunched into size. I picked one spot with what looked like good sized fish with the odd brown mixed in. The fly live was small spur wings, Sedges and Pale Wateries as well as lots of little midges things. Most of my fish came to a size 18 Griffiths Gnat. Other fish came to size 18 snowshoe emergers in a pale yellow colour. Because of the action I hadn’t really noticed until the last hour from 3.30 that it was still warm for the time of year. That may explain the decent hatches but the fish still knew that the mild weather won’t last and were busy adding the fat needed for winter.

Its always nice to fish with someone, in the case its someone I have known for years and its nice to get the low down on the rivers and find out what is happening.

Ashley

Striperheads Watch Out For Sharks

This time three weeks ago I was on my way back from my now annual trip to Cape Cod for the Striperheads clave. It’s more than a clave but a group of friends having an annual get together to catch up but it’s clave atmosphere is still there because new comers are always welcome. There was one new comer this year for me although she had actually been last year but the day after I left. The fishing itself seems to have been more consistent with fish being caught in several places and seemingly slightly higher numbers. I also noticed more bigger fish.

The first full days fishing for myself and Bill took place in an tidal area near Wellfleet, the area seemed very flat with a semi soft bottom with Bill deciding to try his Kayak later in the week. The best spot was the inlet type location with a sluice type thing running under the road. I managed a few fish from here on the a white beastermaster.

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On the Tuesday I fished from Morris Island because we had heard that it had been good fishing over the previous few weeks but a chance encounter on the way down to the ocean and a chat found that the pogies had left the area. I managed to find a small feeding frenzy about a mile along the beach but no takers. I fished up and down looking for fish but nothing. I was later picked up and we went back to the camp site for debriefing. Wayne informed us, once he appeared, that the mill pond was very productive.

Thursday found Bill and myself back at Wellfleet , on the way we had seen a mill pond, salt marsh area that looked promising. We even noticed a large fish swirl when we drove past. Bill visited the spot the following day and manged a few good Stripers. What we found when we got to Wellfleet was that the tide was coming in and pretty high already so we spent some time doing a recon of the area. Wish I had seen it a couple of days before when I was wading.

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Oh well, at least we found a new beach to fish near by. We gave the beach a couple of hours but nothing took or showed it self so we went back to the camp site.

Friday was spent doing alot of recon for new places to fish including the Bass river which looked really good but that was going to have to wait. The reason for this was that the weather had turned with heavy over night ran fall. The cooking area didn’t look to good but we still managed to get a coffee.

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Saturday morning actually found myself and Bill at Herring river where we found fish. While the tide was coming in we managed to pick up several fish but once the water was pretty high the bites tailed off. We put this down to the fish being dispersed and not so tightly packed. Saturday also marked the annual Striperheads clave diner in the evening. I missed last years but this year it was just nice to sit, eat and spend time with friends.

Sunday was the last full day of fishing. Today I joined Ron on a trip to Morris Island. We walked from the car park and made our way along the beach towards the entrance to the harbour with Harding beach opposite but we didn’t quite get there because I show fish about half way along. A few casts and I took a nice Striper of about 17 inches. Then nothing, I continued walking and looking for fish but had to turn around due to time constraints. On the way back I noticed a couple of bow waves in the shallows and saw not two Stripers but half a dozen at least. I spooked the lot. After this I spotted a couple more fish which Ron went for but didn’t get them. These were big fish of at least 40 inches.

Monday was go home day. On the way myself and Splinta stopped at Brewsers Flats, I am still in denial that fish were feeding. But they were, we spotted a very good fish swirl along with several others. Oh, Well theres’ still next year.

Ashley

It’s a Matter of Quality

After my recent experiences over the past year I feel compelled to write a piece on a subject that is important to tyers, namely the quality of the materials being used. The issue really came to me while I was tying for my recent trip to Cape Cod. What concerns me is that it isn’t restricted to just one company but many.

I started to get really annoyed with the quality of the marabou and hackles last year but this year it seems worst and now the problem seems getting worst. I bought materials from a well known mail order supplier (sportfish, materials from this company varied in quality but really good to not fit for purpose). I also got stuff from lesser known suppliers but always the quality varied. What happened to quality control? Some of the saddle feathers were so bad they looked like feather duster rejects, I will most likely start using feather dusters instead. One supplier had the marabou I wanted (blood marabou) but roughly 80% was not fit for use. Materials from Veniards seems to be varied in quality or grading, blood marabou for example seems to be more like standard marabou but the end result on the fly was nice despite the thick stem of the feather.

The quality issue can also be applied to other areas. For example, beads seem to have no set standard even the sizes seem to vary with a 2mm bead being slightly different in size from one company to the next. The holes on the beads also seem to be largely substandard with the holes very often bigger than the hook eye its supposed to sit behind so that it falls off the front of the fly.

So what of the future and how can we fix this. I don’t see much changing unless tyers start rejecting the rubbish and leaving it with the supplier. It will be best to tell the supplier that the material is not good enough for use apart from having a jolly good fire. I seem to finding  my natural materials from other sources instead of fly shops/ mailorder . In fact I am now no longer going to buy natural material from mail order dealers. Instead I will be going to the shows and shifting through the feathers and fur and picking out what I want instead of taking my chances.

Ashley

Is It Really That Close

Its not very often I don’t keep track of time but just recently I’ve been really busy and suddenly today it hit me. Its less than 3 weeks before I make my annual trip to Cape Cod USA for Striperheads. I have done so little for this trip I cann’t believe it. Sure I got the flight booked, the passport and other documents checked but flies? Nope, so Sunday saw the first of this years Striper flies done. One thing that has come from the trip from last year was the searching of new waters was that a rethink re flies and tactics was needed. While I was fishing one spot last year I really wished that I had a flat wing because the situation was perfect, possibly I could use these in other locations but where the water flows they apparently work well. So I tied a razzle dazzle, well a variation off one because a couple of hackle colours were missing so near enough colours were used and crystal flash used instead.

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Anyway, I have mentioned Striperheads before, I really cann’t wait, friends, fishing and a break from work!

Ashley

Deep in the forest

I’ve been meaning to fish the small stream that I fished last weekend for a while, been trying a couple of years but never got around to it and I finally managed it. The trouble was weekends were a struggle with kids and keeping up with a couple of fly orders and other stuff. Now with most of the fly orders done and the kids either working or doing weekend stuff I now have the time to explore. This weekend was just busy but hopefully will give another opportunity.

I was glad that I  finally found this stream and it was ideal for the little 6 foot rod that I got, it looks bigger in the picture on the web site but in reality it small. Size as they say doesn’t matter, it was fun. Exploring small streams, and larger ones for that matter is one of the reasons why I like doing what I do. There is another stream in the same area which I can fish and that may be on the cards next.

Anyway, I managed to get 7 small browns out of the few hours that I fished, I missed a few as well which insisted on splashing at the small flies that I was using. The best flies seemed to be size 16 sedges, like elk hair sedges but without the hackle and a hi-float fibre underwing. As is typical with small streams like this in wooded areas (try forest), there was not alot of fly life but I did see a couple of large mayflies which may have be brook duns. Some spots were so over ground that I wasn’t able to reach them.

Other things I saw during the afternoon was evidence of feeding wild boar (don’t see that very often) and idiot dog owners who cann’t keep their dogs under control. Plus another idiot who forgot his camera otherwise there would be some nice pictures to show.

Ashley

Dropped In For A Quicky

The other week I found myself working in an area that would mean that I could fish on the way home. I had the choice of a simple stop one way, to fish a small stream which I may have mentioned before in an area of industrial development. The other option was to visit the Forest of Dean. In the end I opted for the first plan, this was mostly due to the weather being down right wet, this posed the threat that the other streams were in flood or at least high water. I also had something else I had to do. So on a decent evening when I wasn’t to tired and the sun was out and warm I struck.

I pulled into the layby by the little stream in the Stroud area and got the little new rod out tied on a size 16 grey Elk Hair caddis and went down to the water edge. The stream was a little high for the time of year and a milky white. The colour wasn’t nothing to worry about because this is a limestone stream. I made a couple of casts and bang, a little 6 inch Brown with lots of colour, this spot was easy access so I presume it hadn’t been fished for a few days. Good start! I had tried this spot a couple times before and had nothing so I was happy. I made my way upstream, missed a couple then a nice 10 incher took the fly and I was done I couldn’t make it further upsteam because of fence so I went home, I hadn’t realised I had only fished for 20 minutes.