Gift Vouchers

Gift vouchers available for all tuition, from only £25.00 See here for more details

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Merry Christmas

I would just like to take this opportunity of wishing all my clients , past, present and future and their families all the very best for Christmas and the New Year.

Have a great time - keep counting the days to the new season!!!

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Let it snow, let it snow!

Well this cold weather snap doesn't look like going away for some time! The forecast, generally for the North West is continuing cold conditions then more snow on Christmas day. I have now accepted that my usual Christmas visit to the "Ladies of the stream" will more than likely not take place! Pity but that's life! Maybe not much chance for casting practise either but boredom may overcome common sense over the next few days!

Time maybe for some "internet fishing" lots of great info all over cyberspace, on You Tube and Vimeo - I'll put links to the better stuff on here over Xmas

Although the last post before Christmas is tomorrow I can still email gift vouchers right up till Xmas Eve for all those late, late presents! Just get in touch.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Group lessons

Had a great group session today with Bolton Fly Tyers and my merry gang of trainees.
It was brilliant to see all the guys casting away with such enthusiasm.
It was certainly a win win scenario, with the Fly tyers learning and improving and the trainee instructors gaining valuable experience.

Bolton Fly tying group are a great bunch of guys who arrange lots of fly tying demos throughout the winter - have a look here for more info -

Monday, 6 December 2010

Minus 8 and still practising!

Beyond the call of duty!
It's one thing getting guys to practise it's another entirely getting them to practise in a river at minus 8 degrees!
We had to break the ice before we could even get in!!

Now that's dedication or is it just plain insanity! You decide!

Fantastic day nonetheless, really enjoyed it!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Winter casting practise

Hi all been out this morning with my buddy Richard, doing some distance work.
Casting in a blizzard is great fun!! It's not the line bending his rod it's the wind!!
It was a bit chilly and a biting wind but got some satisfying casting done all the same. Richard's technique is improving all the time.

I used the trusty Angel TE MK2 #5 for a change, not used it for ages. I have been working on improving my tracking and the speed of the hauls. It seems to be paying off as I am now hitting 110ft plus on a regular basis and it wasn't that long ago that 100ft was the objective. So it is now onwards and upwards to 115ft then the magical 120ft -- I hope!?!?!?!

I must admit to being fairly hooked on distance casting particularly with a #5, which is the blue ribbon event in distance stuff.
Need to buy a couple new lines now and will probably go for the Barrio GT140 and a MED (Mastery Expert Distance) both are great lines with very long heads. The Barrio in particular at only £25.00 is an amazing line in comparison to the MED which is twice the price!

Group casting update
Only a couple of places left for the first class on the 18th Dec.
More will be arranged for early in the New Year - get in touch to reserve your place.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Group refresher lessons

I am going to do a short series of group casting sessions over the Winter.

The first one will be on Sat Dec 18th at 10.00am till 12.00 noon (others to follow in January) meeting at Curley's fly fishery.
These will be for all levels but particularly aimed at all of you who have had your first formal lessons with me over the course of this year.

The spaces on these will be limited and cost £25.00 per person for a 2 hour session and so represents great value for money.

I'll do a refresher on the basics of the overhead cast, then move onto wind direction variations, followed by shooting line and maybe double hauling and distance casting. For any of you interested in river fly fishing then we can also look at slack line casts for up, across and downstream presentation.

To reserve your place just send me an email  here  asap

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Back from Wales

Just got back form a hectic but very enjoyable 4 days in Mid-Wales for the GAIA autumn meeting.
Great to meet up with some old friends form all over Britain and Ireland.
Thursday and Friday spent holding assessments Some were succesful and other will be next time around I am sure.
Saturday was the training workshops - every minute in this environment was helpful as we all strive to improve our performance as Instructors and finally Sunday was the associations AGM.

Back to reality this next week with lessons booked for most days at Curley's.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Wales again

Last weekend in mid Wales was a bit of a wash out as regards the rivers but we managed to find some sport at a large reservoir called Llyn Clywedog. It is about 1000 acres which to put into persepctive - Stocks is 300 acres!!
It is really stunning scenery and well worth another visit in the spring/summer. Good quality fully finned Rainbows.
This weekend back to Wales for the GAIA autumn meeting . On Thursday and Friday I will be assessing some hopeful candidates who have been training for the GAIC - the Game Angling Instructor's Certificate.
Saturday is our main CPPD (Continued, personal, professional, development) Day with lots of workshops going on. Followed by our AGM on Sunday.

Of course all this will be linked to some time at the Bar! - meeting old friends and making  new fishing buddies.

Will be back to some sort of normality next week with more 1to1 tuition.

Friday, 5 November 2010

River Wye and Irfon

I am off this weekend on the stag party of my buddy Stuart Minnikin, we are all going to mid Wales to heopefully do some Grayling fishing on the Wye, Irfon, Lugg etc..
However I am confident that the river will be far too high so I am throwing in the Pike fly fishing gear as well. Am determined to catch something other than a bad head!!

Next week fully diary of bookings for tuition and then would you believe back to Mid Wales for the GAIA Autumn weekend.

After this I will be sorting out some dates for the Winter group tuition programme and some Grayling dates.

"Speak" next week!


Sunday, 31 October 2010

Salmon Season Ends

Well, it ends at least in the North West - now it's time to really concentrate on the "Ladies"
More on this to follow......

The BFFI is well underway - a busy day yesterday with lots of folk coming along the the GAIA stand to watch our guys, Mark Roberts, Louis Noble and John Green tying some great flies and explaining the techniques.

I will be holding a few group casting sessions over the winter aimed at 3 differant sections:

1/ Early learners - i.e. all you guys have only really started fly fishing this year and maybe had a starter lesson with me
2/ Intermediate fly fishers who have been fishing a while but could do with a little help with your casting maybe!
3/ More advanced stuff - learn how to double haul, for example.
Again more to follow but if you fancy these group sessions just get in touch for more details

Thursday, 21 October 2010

BFFI Trentham Gardens

Martin, from Ramsbottom who was a complete beginner came to see me this week. It was a horrible day, windy and cold with the odd shower thrown in for good measure!
However the lesson went well and Martin never lost his enthusiasm and seems very keen on taking up fly fishing.

Lots of lessons with my trainees and the ongoing process of getting them all prepared for their assessments.

In addition, just making the final plans and arrangements for the GAIA stand at the forthcoming British Fly Fair (BFFI) at Trentham Gardens near Stoke on the 30th and 31st Oct.
If you haven't been to this fair over the last few years you are missing out - it's a great event and always in my calender each year. Have a look here for this years line-up.

I will be on the GAIA stand off and on over the 2 days, so come along and have a chat.

I will also have Mark Roberts, Louis Noble and John Green tying flies and these guys are really good and will show you how to tie any fly you want!

See you there?

Friday, 15 October 2010

River Ribble

On the river this morning with Phil and his Dad, Bernie, both of whom are training to be fly fishing instructors.

Went through all the roll casts and spey casts that the guy will have to demonstrate during their assessment. Both did very well and Phil who is taking his assessment next month showed his ability and control to a very good standard and should make it through the assessment.

Whilst on the river only saw 2 salmon but whilst we are casting there were lots of small fish sipping off the surface, these turned out to be Dace with the odd Parr and small Trout thrown in for good measure.
So another good day all round.

Tomorrow I have all my mentoring group together for a session, off on Sunday and a full week of lesson booked Monday onwards. I hope the weather keeps up!

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Intermediate casters

Had some lessons over the last few days with guys that have been fly fishing for a while and wanted to improve their casting techniques.

I enjoy doing any lesson but these I particularly enjoy. It is all about being very accurate with the diagnosis of what is going on with their existing style and technique.
It's very easy to jump to the obvious - too much wrist, not stopping the rod in the right place etc.
However these may not be the only things going wrong.

This is where the 6 point diagnostic technique comes into play - As an instructor I always look at what is happening to the line first - is it going out straight, hitting the water, hooking to the side or falling in a heap?
Then I look at the rod - acceleration, stops, power application?
Then I look at what is happening to the arm, hand and wrist?

Once I have these observations I can "mend the problems" in the reverse order i.e. I alter the movement of the arm, hand or wrist first - then mend anything required in the rod movement - then observe the effects on the line.

A simple formula that works well - provided you know what you are looking for ,of course!!

It certainly worked with Phil from Ormskirk and Oliver from Chorley!

Day off tomorrow but then on the Ribble doing speys and roll casts with 2 of my trainees.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Technical casting

Lots of lessons this week (and next for that matter) have been with the trainee instructors I am helping.

This is a progressive learning process that requires understanding of how the rod and line work mixed with the ability to demonstrate a variety of technical casts to a very high standard and not forgetting of course, knowledge of fly fishing.

All of them are now really getting to grips with this challenge and are rising to it extremely well.

I am on the river tomorrow with 2 more going through roll casts, spey casts and slack line presentation casts.

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Fly fishing Australia

Had a good lesson today with Stuart from Perth, Australia! Stuart is from Blackburn but has lived in Aussie for 17 years!

Stuart does a lot of sea fishing North of Perth and was telling me that on his last trip he caught 27 different species. Fascinating listening to him listing the many ways you can die just going out fishing - from Blue ringed octopus, Crocks, sharks, box jelly fish etc... and I thought the pontoons at Curley's were sometimes a bit slippy!!!!

Anyway we had a great day together = caught a few rainbows on a variety of methods and hopefully encouraged Stuart to have a go at Salt water fly fishing when he gets home. That's if he is feeling brave enough???

 If you wade a bit deep around our coast you just get wet....................?????

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Full day format

Had a great lesson yesterday with Mark from Lostock Hall, Preston. It was a full day gift voucher bought by his girlfriend, Janet.

Mark had done some maggot drowning in years gone by but had always wanted to have a go at Fly Fishing.
My normal full day lesson format for a complete beginner is:
  1. Introduction to equipment - rods, reels, lines, leaders, knots, flies and fly selection covering the basics of entomology.
  2. Safety - hats and glasses, waterside common sense!
  3. Basic casts -roll cast and overhead cast
  4. Variations of the basic casts - wind direction etc..
  5. Watercraft - where to start, what tactics to adopt, working out where the fish might be, depth of the fish, what the fish are feeding on etc...
  6. Finishing up with a session actually fishing.
After 9 years of doing this full time I think I have just about got the balance right - it's a full day but I like to give value for money.

So Mark did all of this and did it very well - his casting was excellent and he even managed to show Janet his newly gained skills as she turned up at the end of the day.

Another satisfied customer who will hopefully go on to enjoy this great sport!

Thursday, 30 September 2010

More mentoring

We are getting down to the "squeaky bum" time for the guys I am mentoring - only a few weeks away from their assessments and hopefully becoming fully qualified instructors with GAIA

Final decisions for some of them - go for it in November or practise a little more and go for it in March next year.

I have been a fulltime fly fishing instructor for over 9 years now and thought I had seen and heard everything till this week, - I had a lesson cancellation because it was raining!!
I didn't know that fly fishing was an indoor activitiy!!

It takes all sorts to make a world!

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Fly fishing for Pike

Had a couple of good lessons today, first off with Peter from Westhoughton who is a complete beginner but a very experienced coarse fisher. Whenever coarse fisherman have a go at fly casting you know what you are going to see. Coarse fisherman do not do any form of backcast and generally speaking always stop the rod low down on the forward cast - and Peter was no exception. Once this was highlighted his casting became much better and a bit more practise should sort it out completely. Hopefully another convert from "maggot" drowning!

The second lesson was with Jeff from Chorley who has been flyfishing for a couple of years but was struggling to use a very stiff Pike rod and cast a huge Pike fly. So firstly we went back to basics with a middle to tip fly rod. Again the most common problem with all leisure fly fishers came to the fore - namely stopping the rod in the right position. We worked on 3 issues:
1/ moving the rod on the same plane for the back and forward casts
2/ the application of power
3/ sticking to the right places to stop the rod.

In no time at all Jeff was casting much further than he had been able to in the past and with much less effort. We then looked at techniques he could use when Pike fishing and we introduced, side casting, roll casting and combination casting for use with a sinking line.
I am confident that Jeff will make further progress in the future.

Autumn is here

Typical Autumn day yesterday - bright sunlight with a cold biting westerly! The thermals will be out very soon, I think.

Had a great lesson with Andrew and his son Sam ,from Manchester, both complete beginners.

Not much action in the fishing anywhere on the reservoir, almost certainly the fish were well down and not in reach of our floating lines.

An intermediate, sinking at about 1.5 ins per second would have been just about perfect but beginners need a little pratice with the floater before having a go with a sinker.

Tomorrow 2 more beginners will learn all about fly fishing!

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Icelandic trout

I was talking to Steve Cooper  (BFFI organisor) the other day and during the conversation on all matters fly fishing, he mentioned that he goes to Iceland (the country not the shop!) most years to fish for Trout and Char. I was suprised as I associate the fishing with Salmon only. So anyway he sent me some photos. Mega gob smacked is the only expression I can come up with ....... and trust me the kids bike is NOT a dinky toy version!

So when are we all going to Iceland???

On a real level had a great lesson today with John from Longridge. and gentleman of 70 years young! John was casting really well in no time at all and reachinig over 60ft with a simple shooting line cast - great technique! He followed that up with catching 3 rainbows all to dry fly!
Very enjoyable day all round.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Killer Bug

It seems that everybody and his brother is sending me info about the "new" killer shrimp that has been found in Graftham Water!
It sounds pretty bad news and just another invasive predator that shouldn't be here to add to the Mink, Grey Squirrel, Signal Crayfish and 99% of the players in professional football!

On another brighter note I had a good lesson with Steve, one of my trainees today. We did a full "dress rehersal" of the GAIA assessment and with a bit of tweeking here and there, Steve is pretty much bang on time in his preparations for the real thing in November.

The Midland Game Fair went well over the weekend with my merry group of GAIA instructors doing a splendid job of teaching fly fishing to both new and old to the sport.
It's great to see everyone enjoying these first steps into the great world of fly fishing.

Tomorrow an experienced fly fisher who is using his gift voucher for a full days tuition and the weather forecast looks better!

Friday, 17 September 2010


Well just back for a few fishing days on the Tyne. As normal I judged this trip to perfection - NOT!

After a drought of weeks I get there just in time for a full on spate!  The river came up about 5 ft in half a day, The persistant fly fisher never gives up and we didn't either until the trees started to come down on the flood!

Loads of fish moving upstream but they weren't going to delay their journey for any of our flies!
Had a great couple of days though with Mike and Steve - good company and an even better laugh!

Then I was with Sam from London for 2 days, who wanted to learn about Salmon fishing with a double hander. The first day it was litterally blowing a gale but we managed to find a little shelter and got some spey casting done. Then on the second day we put it all into practise on the river. Sam did really well being able to cast up to 80ft off both shoulders with a good degree of control. Sadly this went completely unrewarded by any Salmon, although the conditions looked very good, no one on our beat touched a fish.

Hey! that's salmon fishing for you!

Just time now to unload the car then load up again with all the GAIA banners and stand material for the Midland Show at Weston Park near Telford.
I will be there with a team of instructors doing the casting clinic - come along and say hello!

Friday, 10 September 2010

Casting Control

Yesterday's lesson was with Graham from Foulridge, nr Colne. Graham has been fly fishing for about 2 years on reservoirs and wanted to improve his casting and have more control and distance.

He soon made vast improvements to his basic casting and so I was able to move onto more advanced stuff and soon had him double hauling.

Double hauling why do we do it and what advantages does it give us?
Firstly let's get rid of the popular belief that DH is all about distance - it isn't.   It is about control !! The extra control we get from DH allows us to be more accurate and certainly the ability to be able to cope with the wind better -in fact it is essential when it is windy.
A bi-product of this extra control is that it allows us to aerialise and shoot more line and therefore to achieve more distance. However I always double haul when I am river fishing and only casting very short distances because I will always have a more controlled and accurate cast - and therefore more fish!!

Tomorrow my mentoring group again....

And Sunday I am representing Hardy/Greys at Westlow Mere Fishery with Stockport Fly Fishing.
It's a charity day for "Help for Heroes" so it goes without saying that I will be more than happy to be there.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Thunder & Lightening

Hi All
Was with Andy from Preston, today who was using his gift voucher bought for him by his wife.
Andy is part of a mountain rescue team and so is used to the outdoors and the changeable nature of our weather, which is just as well. Today we saw just about everything except snow.

The one weather condition that all fly fishers need to be wary of, is of course, lightening. When it starts you stop and put to rod down! Carbon and electricity are not a good mix.

The lesson went very well and Andy learned 2 variations of the roll cast which he did well and then ended up with a very good basic overhead cast. Just a little bit of overpower on the forward cast which is very common in most self taught fly fishers and nearly all beginners.

Just remember it does not require any more power in the cast just because you are going forward! Even if you are shooting line - even the power out both forward and backward to the absolute minimum required to flex the rod.

Tomorrow I am on the River - and it's might be in decent condition - with a bit of luck!!

Back to reality

After the fun of Chatsworth it's back to the day job now. Chatsworth is a unique show that is more a family day out than anything else. It has a bit of fishing, shooting and dogs but most of the show is family entertainment. Even so GAIA taught about a hundred people over the 3 days, how to fly cast for the first time or helped them improve their existing technique and really that's what GAIA is all about.
Click here for the GAIA website

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Chatsworth Country Fair

Hi All
I am going down to Derbyshire today to set up the GAIA (Game Angling Instructors' Association) Stand and the Chatsworth Country Fair near Bakewell.

There will be a group of Instructors there doing the casting clinic for the 3 days on fisherman's row

It's a great show albeit not much fishing content but more a really good family day out.

If you come along be sure to say hello.


Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Over from the dark side

Had a good lesson with Andy from Thornton Cleverleys, yesterday. Andy has done a bit of maggot drowning in the past and was bought a full day gift voucher by his children to learn fly fishing.

After talking to Andy I felt confident that fly fishing would offer all the things he was looking  and hoping for in a new pastime. He wanted activity and a challenge as much as anything and fly fishing certainly tick all those boxes.

When we got down to it his roll casting was good particularly off the opposite shoulder but his overhead casting was very good. Just a slight tendency to overpower a little but on the whole very good.

Hopefully Andy will go on to become a very keen fly fisher - another one over from the dark side of coarse fishing!

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Beach Casters

The lesson yesterday was with Stuart and Wendy McNair from Preston. Both of them are very keen on sea fishing with powerful beach casting rods. It is normal to expect people who do this sort of fishing regularly to find it difficult to make the transition over to fly fishing. Why? because the technique is so very different and more so on the application of power.
However, once Wendy and Stuart recognised and understood these changes we made terrific progress.

The roll casts were executed with good control and accuracy and the overhead casting was very good. Starting off with a basic overhead we soon got onto false casting and shooting line.

With all these casts we looked at the safety factors and variations of each cast taking into account the very nasty Westerly. This was just as well because when it came to actually fishing the wind was horrible but using the wind behind technique with the roll cast both of them were able to get a good line out with more than sufficient distance and more importantly without putting themselves in danger of being hit with the fly line or the fly.

So in spite of the conditions I was happy with the way the lesson went and we achieved all the original objectives and hopefully Stuart and Wendy will go on to do and enjoy more fly fishing in the future.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Father and Son

Had a great lesson today with Gareth who lives in Switzerland and his Father, Bill from Bolton.
The lesson went according to plan untill the casting, Bill was good but Gareth was exceptional for a complete beginner.

The main reason for Gareth's performance was that he is one of those rare people who have the ability to control the movement of the wrist from the onset. Most people instinctively cock the wrist whilst trying the overhead cast and it requires a bit of patience and for some a lot of practise to overcome this fault. Gareth however had almost instant control and was therefore moving the rod with only his forearm and shoulder and started to cast some impressive loops straight away.

I teach hundreds of people over the course of a year and probably only about one in 50 have this control, the rest of us mere mortals have to work a bit harder but get there in the end.

Gareth is just visiting on his annual holidays before going back home to Zurich. He did tell me that there are Brown Trout in Lake Zurich but at 500 ft deep you might struggle using fly fishing techniques but got to be worth a go!

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Windy conditions

Today I had a lesson with Anthony from Manchester, a complete beginner. The weather was awful, high winds from the West and very heavy rain and so I had my doubts that we would be able to do the lesson. Rain is not so bad - clothing can protect you against that but strong winds are another thing entirely, especially with a new starter. However we started the lesson with an explanation of the tackle, knots, leader set-ups and fly selection with a bit of entomology thrown in for good measure.
At this time there looked to be a little break in the conditions so we ventured outside. The roll cast went well once Anthony started to stop the rod high, so we progressed onto the basic overhead cast. Then the rain came and the wind picked up. Fortunately Anthony was used to the outdoors and so the conditions didn't put him off and he wanted to continue and in the end he was able to put a good straight line out in spite of the conditions.

High winds can cause problems for any fly fisher, no matter how good you are at casting. Most leisure anglers go the the upwind bank to cast with the wind behind them - this is not the best thing to do!
The prime position for a right hander is to stand with the prevailing wind coming from the left so that the wind keeps "danger" (the fly) downwind of where you are stood. If you are left handed then position yourself with the wind coming from the right.
You will get a decent line out casting across the wind but you won't be in danger!!

Try it!

Monday, 23 August 2010

Gift Voucher

Had a lesson today with Kevin from Bolton who was bought a gift voucher for his last birthday.

The lesson went very well with Kevin getting to grips with the technical demands of casting. As with all beginners it boils down to the wrist - using it in the roll cast and not using it for overhead casting. Practise makes perfect and I hope to see Kevin putting what he has learned to good effect in the near future.

Unfortunately the weather was horrible, heavy rain interrupted with spells of slightly less heavy rain! As the saying goes there is no such thing as bad weather just inadequate clothing!

It would be good, however, not to have to rely on the "good clothing" sometime in the future!!!!

I have another beginner tomorrow but maybe have a go for the Salmon on Wednesday (day off) if the rivers stay up. Here's hoping!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

The new golf??

Good lesson today with a really great couple from Rochdale, Ryan and his wife Kirsty. They went through my usual day lesson, and ended up with a few hours fishing time. Both of them were casting very well and achieving a decent distance with control and accuracy.
Unfortunately the fish were not in a good mood - water temps way up - fish way down but on another day they would have had fish I am sure.

I am teaching more and more couples and partners to fly fishing I wonder why?
Is it because its is a good healthy sport that both can do equally?
Is it because one or the other doesn't want to be left at home and so joins in?

I don't know for definite but it has been said that fly fishing is becoming the new Golf - both sexes able to do it well, any age, any ability and enjoy doing something different together!

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Family Fly Fishing

Hi all, had another good lesson today with Steve from Bolton with his Son and his Son's friend.
After a little explanation about what fly fishing is, the equipment we use and the fly selection we have, it was off to the water for casting.
I immediately started them off with the Roll cast which is fairly easy to learn but more importantly gives them the ability to get the fly out onto the water safely, in most conditions. They all did really well and so we then moved onto all the other variations of the roll cast taking into account wind direction etc.
We then spent some time on applying this cast to actually fishing, retrieving, playing the fish, fish handling etc. In addition to the vital aspects of "watercraft", where to fish and what to look for.

All in all a good introduction to fly fishing and hopefully giving them all the encouragement to take up this great sport long-term.

I am often asked to teach kids fly fishing and I guess it's one of those areas that promotes a lot of discussion within Instructor circles. My take on it is simple - Kids need to be at least 10 years old and an early teenager better still. In my experience children younger than this are better off having a go at coarse fishing where the technical demands are not as great and the probability of catching fish are greater.

I whole heartedly encourage parent and child lessons where they both learn together - it's a fantastic opportunity to do some bonding and get the kids away from the game consoles and PC's, get some fresh air. Even if the parent is a fly fisher already I will still get them to come along and participate in the lesson. There is no point at all in my teaching the child to do certain casts safely if the parent can't keep them on this path afterwards, through lack of knowledge on their part.

Hey, but that's just my point of vue!?!?!

Friday, 20 August 2010

Single handed spey casts

Had a session with two of the guys training to become GAIA instructors today on the River Ribble.
The main focus of our attention were the spey casts that need to be demonstrated during their final assesment.

Spey casts are obviously associated with the double hander and salmon fishing but they also have a large part to play in any river fishing, single or double handed. Single speys, double speys, snake rolls and snap casts can allow you to cast when you have limited space behind you, awkward upstream or downstream winds and you need to change the direction.

Some of these are quite simple to do others will require a little practise to get them right but all of them are worth the effort.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Application of power

Had a lesson with Mike from Manchester who is a regular client of mine.
Mike has recently invested in a very fast actioned  and powerful rod and was having some difficulties in "taming" it. The key in this case it to let the rod get on with what it's good at - casting a line - don't try and do all the work yourself!

The main problem with fast actioned rods are that they can magnify any slight problems with tempo and/or power application which encourage a concave movement of the rod tip and result in tailing loops.

Just a little bit of regular pracitse and Mike will be casting like a dream with his new "wand"

Mike has siged up for my Salmon trip next month on the river Tyne and we have organised a little double handed casting practise  before this trip.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Fly fishing not fly casting!

Had a good lesson yesterday with a regular client Anna from Wrexham. Anna has had a few lessons concentrating on casting technique but we are now looking at actual fishing techniques.

I describe myself as a fly fishing instructor NOT a fly casting instructor.
Fly casting is very important and the better you can cast the more fish you should be able to catch by having the ability to overcome the forces of nature, wind, trees and bushes in the way etc.. but you also need to ability to fish and "read the conditions".

The very best fly fishers are able to cast well, of course but they also are able to get the best out of the prevailing conditions by applying the most appropriate fishing technique or adopting certain tactics in order to maximise the opportunities of catching.
These are the guys who NEVER blank!!

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Double hauling

Had 2 great lessons today the first with my mentoring group who are all training for Instructor qualifications. The content of this lesson with them was teaching techniques and I enlisted the help of Frank a pal of mine, to act as a client. Frank played the part well and both he and the trainees benefited from the process.

The second lesson was with Bob from Helmshore. Bob is a very experienced fly fisher and is chairman of one of the big fly fishing clubs in the North West.
I have been teaching Bob to have more control and accuracy with his casting and being able to overcome the effects of fishing when it's windy.

Most of our reservoirs we use for fly fishing are very windy places and this control is essential to keep us safe and to still achieve some distance and presentation, double hauling is a vital technique in doing this.

Bob was confidently casting a good 60ft straight into a wind today and only using the minimum amount of energy doing it and so went away a happy man.

A day off tomorrow - need to repair my waders which have sprung some leaks! It's all go!

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Stag Party

I was over in Yorkshire today helping out my mate Stuart Minnikin with a group booking at Kilnsey Park Fishery.
Mike from Chorlton with his father Richard and a small group of chosen friends wanted a stag party with a difference. Mike is getting married next month and chose a day fly fishing as his main activity on this occassion.
Great bunch of lads and everyone had an enjoyable and hopefully memorable day, all caught fish and had a laugh - just what a day like this should be about!
Fly fishing is getting higher on the list of things to do on Stag parties - I probably do 3 or 4 a year as more people want a change from the go karting or drunken binges in all the usual suspect venues abroad.
Tomorrow it's another group - all the guys I am mentoring through to a GAIA qualification.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Andy from Chorley - a beginner's lesson

Today I was teaching Andy, from Chorley, a complete beginner who has done quite a bit of coarse fishing with poles and stuff!
Once Andy got to grips with the technique he made excellent progress and I ended up going a lot further with him in terms of variations of casts than with most beginners.
He is a powerful Bloke, who does weight training and the initial problem was getting the application of power correct,  as it is with lots of people from a coarse or sea fishing background.

The application of power is critical with any casting - smooth acceleration forces the rod (spring) to work effectively. The "spring" then transfers energy to the fly line and allows us to achieve good presentation and turnover.
As a general principal if you want to cast better (and further) take the power out of the cast. If we try too hard we end up throwing the rod forward which can result in tailing loops or rebounds in the line.

Andy is now off to buy some fly fishing tackle and then will be back to try his hand at actual fishing and putting into practise all the information and skills he has learned during this initial lesson.

Thursday, 12 August 2010


Had a good session with my mate Richard who is working hard towards taking his APGAI exam in March 2011.
APGAI - The Advanced, Professional, Game Angling Instructor is a very prestigious award known all over the world.
It is not easy to achieve and requires lots of time and dedication to reach the required level of skill and knowledge.
What do you think are the main attributes that a good fly fishing instructor should have?
Personal skill and knowledge certainly, ability to teach, definitely, years of experience in fly fishing, yes. A formal qualification with one of the main fly fishing instructor associations is a must in my eyes as it a proof that the person has achieved a high standard in all these attributes.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

The River Ribble

Went river fishing myself today on a private stretch of the river Ribble. The E.A. river levels this morning showed the river 14cms up on normal summer level, so not enough water to fish for salmon so just went with a 9ft #5 and some trout flies.
Although the river was not up much, it was more coloured than I expected but perfectly fishable.

Almost from the start I was plagued with little Parr jumping all over my flies. It is a little annoying but on reflection it is a sign that the river is in good nick and producing our future sport. As soon as I begin to get a few plucks from these little guys  I move away and let them get on with the job of getting bigger!

Let me know if you can tell if this is a Salmon or Trout Parr, cause at this size, I can't tell the difference.

Managed to get into a couple of decent sized trout and a small Grayling so the day ended well. I decided to call it a day just as a horrible upstream wind kicked in.

Monday, 9 August 2010

Coarse fishing

Had a lesson today with Glen from Wigan, who is a really avid coarse fisherman. Glen did really well once he go to grips with the differences between casting a fly rod and any other fishing rod.
I think he will make a very good fly fisher and once smitten will get rid of all his "maggot drowning" tackle!

The differences with coarse casting and fly casting are immense and really cannot stand comparison. The rods themselves have completely different actions. A coarse is manufactured to cast weight in the form of the terminal tackle used. A fly rod is made to cast a fly line, which is obviously weight but it is not concentrated purely at the end of the fishing line but a continuous and ever increasing weight the more line is aerialised.

There are advantages being an experienced fisher in other disciplines - your fishing instincts, fish playing, handling and netting etc. but it is a disadvantage when is comes to casting.
It is not a major problem and easily overcome but it does surprise a few about how technical and how different fly casting is.

Tomorrow I am off and going to do a bit of river fishing myself if the weather allows??

Sunday, 8 August 2010

What better way to spend a Sunday morning?

Taught a couple today, Mike and Helen both complete beginners.
Really took to it very well and made good progress and more importantly understanding of casting and fishing technique.

This is the crux of learning - understanding. If you don't know what you are trying to do and don't understand how the rod and line work in unision it is very hard to gain a good technique.

Once you have the knowledge of what you are meant to do and are able to recognise when it goes wrong and what you do about it - then the only difference between a beginner and a competent caster is mere practise.

and we all know what practice makes......???

Friday, 6 August 2010

Friday 6th Aug tuition

Two lessons today - first was Tony and his son Marcus from Lancaster. Did my usual 2 hour intro lesson as neither of them had done any fly fishing before. Talked about equipment, leader set-ups, fly selection etc,. then onto the casting, followed by watercraft.
Both of them did very well - they are off to Fawcetts now to buy some gear and then will be practising before another visit back to me for more tuition.

Then I had a regular client John from Stockport. John is quite an experienced flyfisher who mainly does Salmon fishing but has come back today to learn a little bit more about reservoir fishing. His basic casting was pretty good but we concentrated on his double hauling technique, so that he could have more control in the wind and hit a bit more distance when required.
I was happy with the progress he made and more importantly so was he!!!

Thursday, 5 August 2010

River levels

Over the last few years whenever I had any doubt about the river levels I have used the E.A. rivercall number 09066 197733 which has certainly helped me to avoid frustrating trips to the river only to find that's it is unfishable.

Recently I discovered this service from the E.A. website, which lists basically the same info as the rivercall but obviously online!

Check it out and keep them in your favorites

River Ribble
Rivers Lune and Wyre
Rivers Eden, Eamont and Esk
River Wharfe
River Dee, North Wales
River Tyne
Other areas and rivers

A great service that will be very handy when planning your next river trip.

Beware that this info lists the height of the river NOT the colour!!! As a very basic rule of thumb, I assume that if the river is 0.3m or more above normal height then the colour could be an issue for trout and grayling fishing, at least..
If you have any other observations then please let me know.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Today's Tuition

Two lessons today.

First off is with Nigel from Manchester who I am mentoring to become an Instructor - today we will be concentrating on double hauling technique, as part of the assessment is to cast a distance of 75ft with a maximin 2 false casts demonstrating ease and control.

My second lesson this afternoon is with Robert from Bolton, who was given a gift voucher. Robert is a complete beginner and will be going through all the basics of fly fishing and fly casting to prepare him for his first solo fly fishing session. The wind really picked up during this last lesson with Rob but he mangaged very well and was able to execute a pretty good roll cast and basic overhead cast.

I love doing days like this - great variation in the content, pity about the weather.
Are we ever going to get the summer back??

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Back to the day job

Had a great lesson with Steve and Dave from Chorley. Dave has been fly fishing revervoirs and stillwaters for about 5 years but Steve is a relative newcomer to our sport.

Like most self taught fly fishers, Dave showed all the faults that you would expect, too much power and a bit wristy but improved really quickly and was soon casting very well with lots of control and more distance than he normally would achieve.

Once Steve understood the basics of how to cast he made great progress and should go on to be a very capable fly fisher.

A 2 hour lesson like this one is normally enough to iron out the problems with all self taught fly fishers and make real improvements. All revervoir fly fishers want to cast further (although this is not always required!) Distance comes with pure technique NOT power!!

The other major obstacle comes with being able to cope with the wind - technique and keeping yourself safe are the primary objectives.

Steve and Dave will now practice the techniques learnt in this lesson and then come back for another session to make more improvements.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Mentoring for GAIA

I am an official mentor for GAIA, the Game Angling Instructor's Association and am currently helping about 12 guys to become fully qualified instructors.
Yesterday I had 1 to 1 sessions with 2 of them.  First up was Peter from Slaidburn and then Steve from Runcorn. We concentrated on roll casts and Spey casts during both lessons.

Good sessions, it's great to be working with guys who are eager and keen to learn and improve. Both of them are well on track for their assessments in November.

I am on the committee at GAIA and we are the largest and oldest organisation representing Instructor's for all over Britian and Ireland.
Have a look here for more information - GAIA

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Hi All
Had a great lesson with a Mike and his 10 year old son Tom from Bolton, today.
Very keen and enthuiastic but hard fishing with a very unseasonal chill westerly.
Both used the roll cast predominantly because of the difficult casting conditions.