Mayfly are up!

Its that time of year when my family dread with the appearance of the laburnham (sp) yellow flowers. There is a old tradition which says that the appearance of these signals the start of Mayfly hatch. Thanks to the weird weather this year they are out of sync. But the hot weather of the last week or so as got the bugs active.

After what seems a lengthy lay of due to a number of reasons (finishing my degree, etc) I escaped. Still with my foot recovering I went fishing with my good friend Barry on a private stretch of the river Avon near Durnford, Salisbury.

The recent heavy rain and low temperatures for the time of year had somewhat delayed the Mayfly hatch (E. Dancia) so it is now just kicking off with the fish just getting used to the large flies. Tried a number of favorite flies for this hatch including the Roadkill Wulff. The rise forms did suggest that they may have been taking the spent flies which were around in very small numbers. The other option was that the few fish which were rising late morning was that they taking the emerging flies. I also tried an upside down dun which bought the fish up but these resulted in long range releases.

As is normal when I fish with Barry it was a pub lunch, a chat with the landlord/barman result in a report that the river had only cleared the day before with very few fish (actually, his exact words were nothing)caught. 

After lunch we moved to a different stretch of the river a small way up stream, there were a number of fish rising. I changed the fly to an old French fly, the Anadell (sp), which is basically a soft hackle fly (dressing tomorrow).

I fish this fly as a dry with floatant, I find that when first applied I can shape or mold the wings to fish it as a dry. It seems to be taken as a newly hatched Mayfly due to the coloration, the soft feathers probably help as well. The result was a change in my fortunes with a number of Browns to roughly 2.5lb.

There seems to be some colour variation amongst the browns.

This butter brown coloured fish.

And this small wild, fin perfect fish.

One thing I really like about the mayfly hatch is the accidental catch of large Grayling which I put back (they’re out of season). It must be the decent size of the bugs that brings them up. Roll on the autumn when I can try a heavy nymph for them.



Soft Hackles…My new love

I recently became aware of the flymphs forums, when I joined and had a look around it rekindled a love for these flies and realised that some of my better flies have the elements of this style of fly. I also have a knack of collecting materials from shooting friends so have an abundance of game hackles from English Partridge, Snipe and Woodcock. I also have a good supply of French partridge and a thread on the forums got me thinking about Pale watery olives and the French Partridge wings, hence the following fly.

Hook- size 18 to 22
Thread- pale yellow (I’ve used Sparton).
Thorax- Dyed turmeric squirrel
Hackle- Small outer covert feather from the outside of the wing of a French Partridge
Head- Finished in my normal way for small flies!

I also came up with a simple fly that I will be trying during the sedge hatches during the summer. Looks like any other similar soft hackle.

This fly is simply olive squirrel dyed olive and a Woodcock outer covert feather. The hook is a standard wet fly hook in size 14 although I will be tying some others sizes to matches the size of the natural.


Hawthorn Time!

Its about that time of year when the larger Spring bugs start to appear. The Grannam just about finishing, a few dark olives still lingering and March Browns in South Wales which possibly finished by mid April. Unfortunately the past few years I have missed these due to university assignments so next year I get to hit them. Why not this year? Two reasons,Uni fees have wiped me out again, but the main reason is that I am recovering from sever damage to my right foot.

All is not lost! I still get to see the bugs and tye them.

The first that I really notice when not by the water is the Hawthorn. This seems to have really bad years or really good years with nothing in between.

I have been playing around with the tying for the past few years with CDC wings and dubbed bodies with the latest version having rubber legs. One problem, the legs seem to break off easy so I am going to have to find a better leg material or go back to the feather knotted legs.

The hook is a size 14 straight eyed dry fly, others use a size 12 but I think these are to big.

Body- Black dubbing (doesn’t matter, it seems to change every time I tie some up).

Legs- Black rubber

Wing- 2 Natural CDC feathers

Thorax- Black dubbing (same as body) with a few turns of black hackle along.

Although the dubbing seems to change, I am currently settled on Hares Web by Fly Tyers Dungeon.