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Friday, 21 December 2012

Entomology for Fly Fishers

The 2013 courses from the Fresh Water Biological Association have just been released.
The Level 1 and 2 courses are  invaluable for anyone taking river fishing seriously
see here for the link to all the info

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

The Tenkara debate..........

The debate on 'Tenkara' continues with opinions varying from the real enthusiasts to the its only a fad brigade. Like it or not we generally follow what's happening in the states and the main supplier in the USA has just done a deal with Orvis to retail it's Tenkara products. So at least there Tenkara is approaching mainstream? Will it happen here who knows but what I do know is that Tenkara has definitely allowed me to catch fish that I am certain I would not have done with Western tackle. Will I give up the western stuff, hell no! But I will be using Tenkara whenever I feel it is the best approach in the given conditions. To learn more look at my little film here

Friday, 22 June 2012

British Fly Fair International

The BFFI is this weekend at the Stafford Show ground junction 14 M6. I will be there launching the new Tenkara company that I am a director of - Tenkara Centre UK and we will be displaying and selling our new ranges of Tenkara rods, leaders, flies and accessories Should be good fun and busy! If you are coming along to the show drop by and say hello.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Tues 29th May

Just had a few days off but back in the saddle now with lessons.
Had a great day yesterday with John Burrows from Manchester and today another beginners lesson with Mike Battersby.

Good to see there are still plenty of people wanting to learn this great sport of ours.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012


I have had a good few sessions on the Ribble recently but now it's back to stillwater techniques and beginners.
Today I have a full day lesson in which we look at tackle, leaders, knots, fly selection and basic entomology. Then we move onto casting - both the overhead and the roll cast with variations. Then we switch over to fishing tactics and watercraft and then some fishing, hopefully pulling out a fish or two.
Looking forward to it as always.

Sunday, 13 May 2012


Had a great day yesterday with a group of fly fishers at the Freshwater Biological Association HQ near Windermere doing the first part of an emtomology course. Really useful especially looking at all the main aquatic species under a good microscope. Can't wait for part two in a few weeks time.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Friday 4th May

Great lesson today with Sean Conner from Accrington.  Sean was a relative beginner to fly fishing and came to see me to primarily help him with his casting technique but also with general fly fishing knowledge and tactics.

We had a good day and Sean's casting was pretty much on the money, in fact he took to it as good as anyone I have taught before a bit of arm fatigue set in.

Everyone, no matter how experienced or at what level needs to practise their casting technique but as soon as the first signs of tiredness show, you need to rest. It is a better idea to practise in short sessions of about 20 mins with rest intervals to really make lasting improvements.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Fawcetts Open Day

I will be representing Hardy Greys at Fawcetts open day on the Lune at Underley Estates this coming Sunday 6th May.

If you want to test out any of the rods ranges from Hardy or Greys this is the place to be,

Go down the driveway to Underley School in Kirkby Lonsdale and take a left off the driveway, go towards the river and over the bridge.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Spey casting lesson

I was on the Ribble yesterday with a Father and Son combo for a Spey casting lesson.
Alex and Iain had a basic lesson with me 2 weeks ago at Curley's but now was the time to put the basics to the test on moving water.
Firstly we discussed about wading safety - really important as the river had come up about a foot over normal summer levels due to the overnight rain.

Starting off with a static roll cast and then jump roll to blow away the cobwebs we soon moved onto changing direction and "proper" fishing casts.

We looked at the classic double spey to allow us to cast safely when there is a downstream wind and then a snap T to cast safely in an upstream wind. These two fairly simple options allow us to fish in almost all conditions.
As we progressed through the lesson the river was rising steadily but still wade-able until we saw lots of debris being washed down and it was time to get out and we finished the lesson from the safety of the bank.

Keeping yourself safe is obviously important but having the techniques to do so, need be acquired just like any other skill.

Back to Curley's for the rest of the week and weekend with novies and beginners.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Radio Programme

Hi Folks
For any of you who are interested I will be on Martin James programme "At the Water's Edge" on Radio Lancashire on Thursday at 7.00pm
Click here for the link - you can listen to it for 7 days after the scheduled tranmission time.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

River Ribble

Had a spey casting lesson on the ribble today so decided after the lesson was over to have a go with a double hander for the first time this year, in anger.

The water levels looked ominous last night at  1m above normal Summer levels but fortunately it had gone down to a very fishable 60cms. The colour was a little dark but definitely fishable so I gave it a go.
Early doors yet for the Ribble and nothing was moving about at all but at least it was a start.
Martin James, broadcaster, author and all round good egg was upstream and briefly latched onto what he thought was a sea-trout but never got to see the fish.

Talking about Martin, I will be on his radio programme "At the water's edge" on Radio Lancashire on April 26th

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Extreme Float Tubing

Now most of you will know that I am a float tubing enthusiast, however these guys take it to the max and back again.

Look at this -

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Fishing time

Been doing  bit of fishing myself over the last couple of days. It's my new years resolution to get out more and practise what I preach. I did so little fishing last year that I am determined to put this right in 2012.
Last few days on the river with my new 11ft #3 streamflex - great river rod. Main set-up includes small nymphs and spiders and then to react to any hatches with my 12ft Tenkara rod and dry flies.
So far as a tactics this is working at treat, quite a few nice Brownies to the net.

I have been amazed at the presentation you can get from both of these rods particularly the Tenkara rod.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Spring Fly Fishing

Ok I know it's more like summer at the moment - sunshine, light breezes and no water but we all know this ain't going to last much longer and then we will be back to "proper" spring like conditions.

I was on the Ribble yesterday with a real nice guy, Tom Holden who wanted help with his spey casting. I enjoy all lessons but this one was particularly good in so far as Tom responded very well to all the fixes I suggested and in no time at all his casting was markedly better.

The river was very low but there was a small hatch of Olives that got limited interest from a few local trout but all of them looked to be a good size. Half way through the lesson there was one big splash from a frustrated Salmon stuck in the pool and not able to make progress upstream.

For those of you intending to get out onto the river, look out for Olives and then as we get into April, large Dark Olives and Grannoms.
For the Stillwater/Reservoir fly fisher, look for Sedges, Hawthorn flies and Heather flies.

Monday, 26 March 2012


Went up to Hardy HQ at Alnwick last Friday with my good friend Stuart Minnikin, a fellow academy member.
The main reason for our visit was to thoroughly test all the new rods and reels for 2012 and also to pick out some equipment that I will be using this year for all my lessons and guiding.

It was quite a task as the range of rods in particular is truly awesome from tiny brook rods to big double handers there is definitely something for everyone and every type of fly fishing.

The standout rods for me were the Zeniths. These are the rods that use the new "Nano" technology that makes them both strong and light.
 I will be using the Zenith 13'8" DH#8 and the Greys XF2 13' #8 for all of my Spey lessons and salmon fishing this year.  I have decided to fish much lighter and smaller this year.  Most of the river I fish like the Ribble, Lune, Tyne and Eden are more than suitable for these shorter rods and the Zenith in particular can handle longer casts with a full range of lines.
For the choice of single handed rods I have the following: Greys XF2 9' #6 and the GRXi 9' 6" #6 for all the stillwater tuition and the Zenith 9' #5 and the Greys Streamflex 11' #3 for all the river tuition and guiding.

All of these rods and a selection of other Greys rods are available for testing at my tackle shop at Curley's Fishery just give me a ring or email me to arrange.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Warming up

Only a day or so away from the Brown Trout Season now.
This starts on the 15th March at least for those of us fortunate to reside in the North West. Yorkshire rivers only open up on the 1st April.

The end of March and on into April see the first hatches of meaningful insects particularly the Large Dark Olive and Grannom and then as the air warms up even more we get all the other species of olives and sedges. Every year these hatched vary a lot from sparse to frequent and numerous. Let's hope for a good showing this year to get the trout looking up and picking insects off the surface.

Saturday, 25 February 2012

February lessons

Great lesson this morning with Phil Ratcliffe, who is training to take his APGAI certificate. Doing really well and should be confident in his test which he is taking in April up in Scotland.

Tomorrow looking forward to having all my trainees on the river for some roll and spey casting tuition. We get some serious work done in these session but we certainly have a laugh as well!

Not long now till the "real" season gets underway - already seeing rising fish at Curley's responding to the warmer temperatures bringing on a good buzzer hatch.

Still time to get your casting in order and to tie some grannom and large dark olive patterns for the River.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

February fishing

I was on the river on Thursday with 3 clients for some Grayling fishing. Typical February river and weather conditions - neither very pleasant but an enjoyable day nonetheless and some "Ladies" caught to boot.
Nymphing was the order of the day and all the fish falling to a copper beaded hare's ear.
The conditions deteriorated during the afternoon and put a halt to any signs of a hatch - still early days yet but good to get the waders wet again. Can't wait for the first signs of the Large Dark Olives and Grannoms - this is when Spring time fishing really gets underway, for me anyway.

Again it's typical reservoir stuff for the time of year - lures doing most of the damage but surprisingly at Curley's, not very deep, only about 4ft or 5ft.

A few lessons going on as people get their casting in order for the new season.

Thursday, 9 February 2012


Lots of talk about a "new" river fishing technique where you don't use any fly line but use a very long leader! French nymphing, Spanish Nymphing, Leader in Hand etc. etc.
I am sure all of this so called "innovation" by the competition boys is just their way of circumnavigating the comp rules. The same thing happened with the invention of the coiled indicator - a simple way of using an indicator that was allowable under the rules of comp fishing!!!

Well,  this "leader in hand" concept is not new it's been around for centuries.
Look here for the history of Tenkara and what it's all about.
This technique has really taken hold in the States and is rapidly developing a new breed of followers in Britain.  Personally I find it really interesting and can't wait to try it out on our rivers.

Other sources of info

Tenkara Talk
 UK Tenkara Forum
Tenkara Bum

Wednesday, 1 February 2012


Back to completing my lessons now we have some better weather.  All stillwater lessons for the remainder of this week and next up to now but then back to the river for Spey casting and some grayling fishing.


Monday, 23 January 2012

Today's lesson

Had a great lesson today with John, one of the guys training to become a qualified Instructor.
He did very well in spite of the testing conditions and remains on schedule to take his assessment in the Autumn.

It is hard to avoid all the cr*p that's on the web these days by self promoted "experts" in every field imaginable - but here is one from a true expert and friend of mine Gwilym Hughes
Click here for his latest You tube offering

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Bad weather stops play!

Unlike the England Cricket team out in Dubia basking in glorious sunshine and struggling against Pakistan, the life of a fly fishing instructor in England and in Winter is a different proposition altogether.
I have had to re-arrange quite a few lessons due to the strength of the prevailing wind.
Normally even if it is a bit too windy at Curley's we can go over the road onto Ridgmont Park and find a good bit of shelter but with no leaves on the trees even this option no longer works. Spring can't come quick enough!

On the fishing front Curley's continues to fish very well in spite of the conditions and am about to put some orders in for new stock for the tackle shop, although it's got everything required by the stillwater/reservoir fly fisher already: Rods, Reels, Lines, Leaders, Flies, Bags, Nets and accessories. Come along and have a look around.

Wednesday, 11 January 2012

Back in the Swing of things

All back to normal (ish) now after Xmas. Lesson bookings are coming in for beginners, intermediates and river sessions all very welcome.
Just get in touch if you want a session getting your casting into shape for the Spring.

Curley's is fishing extremely well at present - good rod averages and big fish to boot. Annual memberships now available.

The shop at Curley's will be open and fully stocked for this weekend so if you are at a loose end come along have a fish and a look around.