Category: Flies and fly tying


I treated myself to a pint on the way home from the river yesterday. On balance, I probably deserved one. There have been few opportunities to fish in recent weeks and even yesterday I barely managed to negotiate my exit pass. I was down for the shopping run but Catriona told me I could head off to the river for a couple of hours as long as I cleaned out the fridge first. Continue reading

If you are desperate enough to visit this blog from time to time you will be familiar with the broad range of topics under discussion. Keith Baxter who recently joined Steven Lawler and me on a fishing trip to Jaen told me that he had enjoyed my book Dry River. He described it as “eclectic” which is fair enough and, I suppose, the same can be said about this blog.

So let´s get down to business and talk about mice. Continue reading

Every now and then I come across another fisherman´s box of flies and think to myself “Christ, I wish I could tie a few like that!”

That was certainly true of Mariano Alcaide´s flies. These live in various multi-compartment fly boxes in orderly rows and remind me of soldiers on parade during an inspection. My own flies do not march in line and are merely tossed into compartments of a couple of fly boxes. They look less like soldiers on parade than battlefield casualties in the bloody aftermath of some military catastrophe. Continue reading

Today I had a chance to pick up some bass flies that Johan Terblanche very kindly tied for me. I was away from home during his recent visit but he was good enough to leave them with some nearby friends and when I dropped in on them today to collect my daughter who had spent the night there, I was duly given the flies. Continue reading

I caught a good carp today. It took a fly intended for black bass and I had no reason initially to think it was not a big bass. The fly was cast in close to the margin and I had just begun to work it back when everything went solid.

I saw a flash of flank initially and it did seem pretty dark but then the fish sounded and for the next 10 minutes or so I saw nothing beyond the end of my fly line or the first few inches of leader. Continue reading

In the face of it “French nymphing” sounds like a highly dubious activity that might appeal only deranged perverts. Thankfully it is not quite as dodgy as it sounds. French nymphing so no more and no less than a simple and very effective way of extracting trout from rivers. I knew a little about it before receiving some instruction a little over a week ago on the Upper Guadalquivir. Continue reading

Good question. Like many good questions the answer is not straightforward. In fact it doesn´t have an answer at all. The truth is carp are very adaptable and they do what fish do best, which is to feed on whatever is available and, given the choice, the source of food that provides the most nutrition for the effort required to obtain it. Carp, just like the rest of us, want the most bang for their buck.

If you asked a seasoned trout fisherman what the best fly for trout is you will get a deluge of answers. You will get suggested patterns ranging from diminutive midges through to large streamers and Chernobyl Ants that look like the Titanic but have greater inherent buoyancy. The real answer to the question, unsatisfactory as it may be, is “it depends.” And it is the things that it depends on that make fly fishing so absorbing. Continue reading

In the car on the way to the river this afternoon Cher started giving me a hard time. She told me she was annoyed with me for being unfaithful to her and asked sarcastically if the woman I allegedly engaged in a bit of slap and tickle with last night was “worth it.” Then she announced that she was stronger now and was just going to get on with her life. Jesus! Give us a break! I´ve never even met the woman. Anyway, as it happens, last night I was at home watching the telly. Continue reading

Can you get an indian summer in the middle of winter? Well, it certainly seems we have one here! Yesterday I was off galavanting on the river in shorts and crossing the river, as I usually do, in wearing a pair of neoprene diver´s boots. It seems quite odd to get away with this while much of Europe is, if not yet in the grip of winter, not far away.

At this time of year many fly fishermen switch to species like grayling and pike which don´t seem to mind the cold too much or which are not excluded by close season rules. There are no grayling in my neck of the woods although nearby reservoirs contain pike. What we do get, here in my local river, are gypsy barbel and common carp and both of these were in fine form yesterday.  Continue reading

The weather forecast for yesterday stated that there was a 100% chance of rain, which is a pretty lousy forecast in most peoples´ books. Of course, if you wanted rain this would have been about as good a forecast as you could possibly hope for.

Personally I don´t mind the rain one bit. I´m Irish, which means that an occasional drenching is part of my cultural heritage, like drinking Guinness. So yesterday I headed off to the river knowing that I had a pretty good chance of getting soaked but it was not so much how the rain might affect me that I was thinking about, but how it would affect the river and, indirectly, the fish. Continue reading