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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!