fly fishing sport fishing freshwater fishing
Martin James award-winning fisherman consultant,broadcaster,writer



Fishing News June 30th

Rutland Water The best fish of the week, a rainbow of 5lb 8oz fell to season ticket holder Tony Gray, of Sheffield. The best brown was taken by Mr E Clark from Retford, who managed a 5lb fish.Twelve anglers came south to Rutland Water from Crawfordland Fly fishers, Kilmarnock. Led by ‘buzzer’ Bob Fitzpatrick the group made its annual pilgrimage to Rutland, amassing 181 fish during their three day break. Most fish fell to nymphs plus one or two on dries. Bob said “It’s been a great three days, hope to see you in September!” Rutland Water hosted a very successful Ladies Day on Saturday. Eighteen lady anglers enjoyed a busy day, taking advantage of tuition and advice on all aspects of fly fishing. The day was made possible with assistance from Sue Shaw of England Ladies, John Wadham of Rutland Water Flyfishers, Dave Doherty and several of Rutland Water’s own wardens. In the afternoon it was time for the ladies to put their new skills into practice and fish from the boat. Most of the group caught fish. Alison Merryfield from Huntingdon, who has fished for about a year without a great deal of success, was delighted to hook three fish and take one. Best rainbow 5lb plus taken by season ticket holder Tony Gray Best brown 5lb taken by E Clark of Retford Best boat areas Lax Hill, Browns Island, Gibbets, Main Basin Best bank areas Normanton, Fantasy, New Zealand Point, Gibbets Gorse Best methods Floating line, black buzzer, diawl bach, hares ear, damsel nymph. Suspender, hares ear. Dry flies, orange, red, claret c.d.c. and Shipmans. Try orange, gold and silver sparklers.

Grafham Water Fish have begun to feed on the large amounts of pin fry in the reservoir, mainly in the top few feet of water around the margins. Floating lines, nymphs, buzzers and pin fry patterns have been the best method. Fast sink lines and blobs around the boils have been very effective with some good silver fish being caught. Bank anglers are still catching good bags of fish with early morning and late evening the best time on bright, sunny days. Best rainbow: 4lb 7oz taken by R Line of Earls Barton Best brown 5lb 4 5/8oz taken by T Aldiss of Norfolk Best boat areas bowl of dam, sanctuary bay, hill farm, G bank, and the boils Best bank areas north, south and bowl of dam, G bank, Marlow bay and stones, the stumps, rectory bay Best methods floating lines with long leaders with black or olive buzzers or red, brown, diawl bachs and orange dries. Intermediate lines, diawl bachs, damsels and GRHE’s ptn. Fast sinking lines, orange lures and gold tubes and boobies.

Pitsford Water Nine members of the Northamptonshire county federation of the Womens Institute enjoyed two sessions of fly fishing at Pitsford. The first session concentrated on fly tying, entomology, tackle selection and fly casting. The second session was hands on with two hours of bank side fishing. Denis Footman and Nathan Clayton were on hand to help out. The ladies fished North Farm Bay where there were plenty of fish, and several were hooked, but not landed. Senior Warden Nathan Clayton said the event was a great success and organiser Sheila Clark said it was very exciting and an event to be repeated. Best rainbow 4lb 5oz Best bank areas Stone barn, pines and sailing club bank Best boat areas Main bowl and dam, Brixworth Bay, Narrows. Best methods Floating lines with long leaders using nymphs on the drift or at anchor. Some surface activity to some methods also to wet flies, soldier palmers and wickhams

Ravensthorpe Reservoir Paul Collinson of Nottingham took the best fish of the week, a corking 10lb 8oz rainbow. Paul fished a diawl bach from a boat. Plenty of fish are willing to take nymphs such as damsels and epoxy buzzer and flash back hares ear. Floating lines are the order of he day. Boats are best drifting around the island . Bank anglers should head for the platforms. Mornings are the best time with sport slower from about 3pm. Best rainbow 10lb 8oz taken by Paul Collinson of Nottingham Best bank areas Platforms Best boat areas Island area

Coarse Fishing

Taverham Mill Taverham angler Bob Anderson got a shock whilst fishing for Carp. Bob hooked a massive Catfish weighing 28lb 5oz. Bob used his usual Carp tactics of caramel ripple boiley. Taverham is fishing well with lots of tench. Ardleigh There have been some good quality roach and perch caught this week. Bob Hornsby fished the Lodge Bank near the Sailing Centre and had an excellent mixed bag which included bream to 6lb., roach to 1½lb and several lovely 2lb perch. The bream fishing has started to take off with some very good bags reported at Noahs Ark. A good number of pike have also been landed this week, mainly low double figure fish, but it has been remarked on that they all seem to be in superb condition.



Each day in the Piscatorial Centre marquee from 10 AM - 6 PM there will be Fly Tying demonstrations with Pendle Fly Dressers Guild and 14 year old English International fly fisher Lisa Isles, from Poulton-le-Fylde who has tied flies for Prince Charles. Lisa will be showing her fly tying techniques. Lisa is sponsored by Thomas and Thomas fine fishing rods of Massachusetts and Rio Lines of Idaho

Others attending will be - The Barbel Society - Friends of the River Yarrow - Lancashire Boat Anglers Club - Shore angling with John Amery - Members of the Hodder Consultative and Ribble Catchment and Conservation Trust and The Specialist Anglers Alliance.

The Piscatorial Centre will be the place where anglers will gather to talk about the big ones caught and lost. Without doubt one of the big attractions at this years show will be the riverside walk with Dr Malcolm Greenhalgh

Europe’s top angling club Prince Albert Angling Society will be in attendance with various club officials and fly dressers. You will also be able to apply for membership. During the 3 day event you will also be able to try out a Thomas and Thomas fly fishing rod.

Demonstration Times Each Day

10-0 AM - 10-30 AM Kent Sherrington and Martin James will be in attendance to discuss fly fishing for Pike and Bass

11-0 AM and 3-0 PM Wallis Casting with Alan Roe

11-30 PM and 3-30 PM Beach fishing with John Amery

12 Noon and 4-0 PM Spey Casting with Frank Casson of Barnsfold water

1-0 PM Chub Fishing My Way With Martin James

2-0 PM River Walk with Dr Malcolm Greenhalgh

5-0PM Bonefishing the Bahamas Martin James


Hooked on Bass 27th June

Alan Vaughan and Mike Ladle published by Crowood Press

Its back, "Hooked on Bass" The book for all of you who want to catch bass. I suppose this book is the nearest you will get to one that really does cover the subject of the bass and bass fishing around the coastline of the United Kingdom.

The first edition was published by Crowood Press in 1988. Looking back to my comments in those far off days I said "If you want to know about the bass and be successful in catching this hard fighting sports fish then you need to read Hooked on Bass by Alan Vaughan and Mike Ladle. Having read the book, you should then read it all over again" Those words are as true today with this second and revised edition of "Hooked on Bass".

The publisher and authors must be congratulated, for not changing the previous text, but adding a lot more text from knowledge that has been gained over the past fifteen years. The use of lures and flies in saltwater, is certainly growing in popularity. No doubt a lot of the interest in this branch of fishing have come about through many of us fishing in the United States. The authors have tried to cover these aspects of bass fishing. Though I would have like to have seen more on the tackle, flies etc used in this new branch of bass fishing.

The first edition with 192 pages is now very collectable, I believe this second edition with 221 pages, 8 pages of colour with many black and white pictures and numerous line drawings will also become collectable. Without any shadow of a doubt "Hooked on Bass" is the book for you if you hunt this fine sporting fish from the coastline of the United Kingdom. Its a book I thoroughly recommend at a price of £19-95 its excellent value for money



Youngsters in Cumbria have opportunities to give angling a go this summer, thanks to the Environment Agency and the Salmon and Trout Association (STA). Fully-qualified coaches from the STA, along with fisheries staff from the Agency, will run two day-long junior angling events at the New Mills Trout Farm, New Mills, Brampton, on Saturdays5 July and 23 August. These follow a successful session last month.

Children, aged 10 to 16, will spend the mornings doing pond and stream dipping, learning how to fly cast and how to tie flies – with prizes for the best fly. Time after lunch will be spent fishing, and youngsters who take part will be awarded certificates and can take home two of their caught fish. Jo Barrett, Environment Agency Recreation Officer, said: “We are giving children an opportunity to learn about angling and to try it for themselves. It’s a wonderful sport, and hopefully some of these youngsters might take it up and join the millions who regularly enjoy fishing.”

Each session begins at 9am and will end at 4.30pm. All tackle is supplied but children, who must be aged between 10 and 16, should bring wet weather gear, a packed lunch and sunglasses (which protect eyes from hooks and against glare from the water). The course costs £15 per child.

My view is this is another excellent idea to give kids the chance to try fishing. But why such a high charge. A single parent family having two chldren who want to attend the event would find it very costly. £30-00 for two kids is a costly day out especially if the parent is on benefits. Recently the Environment Agency along with the Lancashire police force and BWB organised some teach ins at no cost which were very successful. Martin James


Your Dreams Will Come True With The St Lawrence Experience - Martin James 24th June

Pushing my way through the long grass I arrived at the waters edge. The early morning sun in the clear blue sky was slowly climbing high over the riverside trees. A kingfisher flew low over the water. Suddenly a dozen minnow size fish jumped skywards to escape the feeding bass. Wisps of mist drifted across the river as big fish rolled on the surface. "Was it a pike or muskie" I asked myself.

I cast a medium size popper some sixty feet across and slightly downstream, Retrieving line in a series of six inch pulls, the lure popped and gurgled across the mirror like surface. Suddenly what seemed like an under water explosion, the water erupted as the popper disappeared in a boil of water. The strip strike connected with a good fish which leap skywards then crashed back in a shower of spray sending out ever increasing circle the reel grudgingly giving line.

These days I probably spend an average of one day a year carp fishing. Fly fishing the ocean has taken over much of my fishing time. Having said that, I still try to catch all the fish in both fresh and saltwater when time and conditions allow, Especially the chub in winter. One area I certainly enjoy fishing is St Lawrence County in Up State New York. for muskies, smallmouth bass, carp and trout. The St Lawrence river is certainly a carp fishers Mecca. The place to stay is Joe Babbitt’s St Lawrence River Experience near Ogdensburg.

It was a long flight from Manchester but all that was quickly forgotten, the moment that Joe Babbitt met me at the local Ogdensburg airport, in a few minutes I am sitting in a log cabin, my home for the next ten days enjoying a mug of tea and catching up on all the news. Joe Babbitt’s camp on the banks of the St Lawrence river are where dreams are made for carp anglers where you have the chance of landing a fifty pounder if your fit and skilful enough to handle these big ones.

My cabin was comfortable and clean, with an excellent kitchen area, which included a wood burning stove for those cold nights when the thermometer in late September early October can go below zero degrees farenheight. As I sat sipping tea, Joe told me all about the fishing. We discussed the chances of catching a forty perhaps fifty pound carp. St Lawrence County was certainly a good area for me, with the Grass river a few miles away. There you have a chance of a good muskie, pike or small mouth bass. Perhaps all three if your skilful enough

Next morning Joe knocked on the door saying " Martin, Kate want some breakfast". It sounded a good idea, I shouted back "Give us ten minutes" A quick shower, then pulling on some cloths and slipping our feet into some shoes. We were ready to face the day with a plateful of bacon, eggs and home made bread. Climbing into Joe’s vehicle we headed for Madrid and Joe’s favourite cafe. On the way we spotted a couple of deer, Kate and I both commented on how quiet it was on the roads. I thought the countryside looked like England did in the 1950’s. Joe said "I use this cafe in Madrid because they bake their own bread daily, the food is good, hot and freshly cooked" That was OK with me. After the crispy bacon, eggs, home made bread with lots of fresh coffee served by a good looking blond waitress we were ready for the day ahead.

Breakfast over we made a tour of the Grass river" The Grass river between Madrid and Caton is a mixture of slow deep pools, fast shallow runs and steady glides, I liked what I had seen. It hadn’t changed much since my last visit, it certainly looked very fish able. The riverside trees and bushes would provided lots of cover for the fish during the heat of the day. I didn’t see a single cormorant . No doubt this delightful view would have been different on a cold wet windy morning.

Carp Tackle and Baits Can Be Supplied

I didn’t bring any carp fishing gear, I made a one off payment of £50-00 and used tackle that Joe has in stock, I chose Voodoo model carp rods from Masterline International, Shimano bait runner reels which are all spooled up with the best branded lines and Fox bite indicators and rod rests, I didn’t need a bed chair, using just a seat. collecting landing and weigh net, weigh mat and scales. I was ready to tackle the St Lawrence carp. Joe had baited a couple of swims for me so I was more than hopeful of catching. I reckoned one of the great benefits of using the St Lawrence River Experience for carp fishing is the amount of work Joe puts into making sure we anglers have every chance of catching that dream fish. By using the tackle provided by Joe. It takes away the worry of transporting your bait and tackle across the pond. No worry about baggage handlers breaking your valuable rods or the airlines getting them lost. For a one off payment of fifty pounds sterling you have piece of mind. Carp Fishing Package Deals

There are three types of packages, If you want to fish twenty four hours a day then the Bivy Package is for you. It will also of course keep your costs down. This package includes A top quality bivy, bed chair, sleeping bag, lantern/lamp per person, cooking stove, pots, all the utensils one needed for the week, igloo cooler box, toilet facilities, communications equipment and a first aid kit. There is boat to ferry you to the various swims with a twice daily visit from Joe. He will also collect and deliver paid for supplies and food to your bivy. Joe also brings ten pounds of cooked maize per person a day for baiting up your swims.


You need to make sure you have a good set of waterproofs and a pair of chest waders. If you don't have a pair you can buy some in the States where they are cheap. Chest highs will allow you to wade out on the shallows when playing a big fish. There is a small dingy to use if you should get weeded by a big fish. Boilie baits and corn are supplied so you can use the boat for baiting up.

No Fancy Rigs For Me

I used a simple set up, stopping the running 3 ounce weight some twelve inches from a size 2 hook. The St Lawrence river is huge, big cargo carrying ships and tankers designed for the ocean moving up and down river during the day and night. It doesn’t stop the carp from feeding. The size 1 hair rigged hook was baited with a standard boilie and a pop up. I was probably casting some forty fifty yards. I will say is the fishing is incredibly easy, if you want to put in the time, you can build up a big list of carp with thirty and perhaps forty pound fish to your credit. If your extremely lucky you might get a fifty pounder. Then you get a free weeks holiday. Even the kids catch thirty pounders.

Carp Fishing School and Tournament

Talking of kids Joe Babbitt along with other local anglers and the St Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce with many sponsors have put together a carp fishing school and junior carp tournament. Tom Felton one of the stars of the Harry Potter movies, who is a keen carp angler and myself the are guest host’s for this event. The school takes place on Wednesday and Thursday August 20th and 21st with the tournament on Friday and Saturday 22nd 23rd. which will be covered by BBC Radio Lancashire.

St Lawrence county would make a good holiday centre for all the family , if your not a carp fisher, don’t worry there is plenty of fly and lure fishing available. If you want to float fish with worms for perch, you can do that. In fact there is something for everyone. Don’t forget to visit the Remington Art Museum

Huge Carp

Back to the fishing, half an hour after casting out, I had my first fish in the net a lovely common of 23lbs. During the day this was followed by several more good fish including a thirty pound plus fish. I didn’t do any night fishing as I didn’t need to with the carp feeding quite avidly during daylight hours. I well remember the day when myself and Kate decided to fish one of the bays off the main river. In three foot of clear water a huge common carp slowly moved under the boat then drifted out from the other side. I was spell bound. I wouldn’t like to put a weight on that fish except to say it could have weighed between 60 and 80lbs.

Great Bass Fishing On A Fly Rod

After catching a few carp I spent the next day fishing the Grass river near Madrid in St Lawrence County. Pushing my way through the long grass I arrived at the waters edge. The early morning sun in the clear blue sky was slowly climbing high over the riverside trees. A kingfisher flew low over the water. Suddenly a dozen minnow size fish jumped skywards to escape the feeding bass. Wisps of mist drifted across the river as big fish rolled on the surface. "Was it a pike or muskie" I asked myself.

I cast a medium size popper some sixty feet across and slightly downstream, Retrieving line in a series of six inch pulls, the lure popped and gurgled across the mirror like surface. Suddenly what seemed like an under water explosion, the water erupted as the popper disappeared in a boil of water. The strip strike connected with a good fish which leap skywards then crashed back in a shower of spray sending out ever increasing circle the reel grudgingly giving line. For several minutes it was give and take, several good jumps and a couple of runs from the fish. Pulling it towards the bank could see I had a good bass of some three pounds. Bending down I lipped the bass extracted the popper then released the fish to its watery kingdom. It felt great to be alive in a delightful part of the world catching good size fish.

Fishing with big streamer flies and small popping plugs on a six weight outfit and floating line I caught a succession of good size small mouth bass, also losing a couple of good size pike when they bit through the nylon line. I tried to overcome the problem by using a small length of wire but the bass numbers dropped quite dramatically.

Make sure you visit the Ausable

Other days were spent on the St Lawrence river fly fishing for bass and pike and trying for the muskies, but sadly they eluded me on this trip, but come August I will hopefully hook up to a few. The Ausable river is one of those "Must fish waters" Known as one of the Blue Ribbon rivers in Upstate New York. While your on the river the family if they don’t fish, can spend a very pleasant day at Lake Placid Take a look at the ski jump and ask yourself if you would want to emulate Eddy the Eagle?

I would often fish early mornings and evenings, then during the day visit some of the many places of interest. Driving around and sight seeing in St Lawrence County is like going back in time to the 1950’s. Its a delightful slow pace of life, the local people are extremely pleasant, friendly and helpful. For those who like to catch lots of big carp my advice is go and fish the St Lawrence River Experience with Joe Babbitt. Your guaranteed a lot of string pullers and from my experience its excellent value for money. I have witnessed many anglers catch a lot of big fish through the expertise of Joe.

Comfortable Log Cabin

For two couples going across for some fishing and other holiday activities I can thoroughly recommend the self catering cabin with its two bedrooms both fitted with en suit shower and toilet, There is a good size kitchen with lounge area that looks out over the St Lawrence river. Everything you need is supplied. For further details Write to Joe Babbitt PO Box 722 Waddington near Ogdensburg New York State 13694 USA Telephone 001-315-393-2350 Why not take a look at or E-mail me St Lawrence County is a great place for carp anglers fly fishers and all the family. It has something for everyone young or old.



The Environment Agency has been giving some sixty or more young people in Preston a chance to take up angling, with its series of free coaching sessions and competitions. The Agency teamed up with British Waterways and Lancashire Constabulary to host the sessions, that have been running each week throughout June on the Lancaster Canal at Ingol.

The young anglers met up at the new Ribble Link footbridge in Ingol for an angling competition, with trophies and prizes for the winners. Youngsters new to the sport were able to get free tuition, with tackle and bait provided.

Martin James, Environment Agency Recreation Officer who organised the events, said: “Angling is a terrific sport. We want to give more youngsters the chance to learn about it and how to enjoy it. Summer fishing sessions like these are an ideal way for children to get an introduction to the sport, some of them may take it up and become regular anglers for years to come.”


Fishing News 23rd June

Rutland Water A good number of fish, including some excellent specimens were recorded at Rutland this week. Raymond Rule of County Durham took a cracking 6lb 8oz rainbow, along with seven others giving a total weight of 22lb 8oz. Sleaford anglers Mark Smith and Robin Chapman shared a boat and recorded eleven fish, including 6lb 4oz and 5lb 12oz rainbows respectively. Rutland Water Fly Fishers made a presentation and donation to Rutland Accident Care Scheme this week. This follows the successful litter pick up morning around the banks of Rutland Water held on Sunday 9 March. In perfect Spring weather, thirty volunteers from RWFF including ladies and junior members, collected 38 bags of rubbish from around the banks of the lake. Anglian Water Services, sponsors of the event, provided the volunteers with bags and heavy duty protective gloves. Rutland Water Fly Fishers nominated RACS (Rutland Accident Care Scheme) as the recipient of the sponsorship money and the sum of £100 was presented to Dr Gray, the Founder Chairman of RACS – at the Fishing Lodge on June 19th. John Wadham of RWFF said that he regarded this as one of the most important annual club functions as it is useful, sets a good example for angling in general and is in aid of a very good cause . The RWFF Club committee would like to thank all those volunteers who took part in the event and Anglian Water for their sponsorship.

Grafham Water has continued to provide excellent sport this week. The fish are feeding mainly in the top few feet of the water out in the middle of the reservoir. Floating lines and nymphs are the best method. Bank anglers are catching good bags of fish, with early morning and late evening the best times. best rainbow: A Badon of Beds – 5lb 8oz best boat areas Central drifts, bowl of dam, G,K,N,B,J,H and M buoys and the boils best bank areas north , south and bowl of dam, G bank, Marlow bay and stones, the stumps and rectory bay best methods floating lines, with long leaders with black or olive buzzers or red, brown, diawl bachs and orange dries. Intermediate lines, diawl bachs, damsels and GRHEs, ptn. Fast sinking lines, orange lures and gold tubes and boobies

Pitsford Water The highlight of the week at Pitsford was the Commonwealth Fly Fishing Championship on Saturday. A total of 40 anglers fished in teams of five. With teams from Australia, England, Scotland, the Isle of Man and Wales competing in the championship with practice days on Thursday and Friday. This catch and release match was fished according to the World Championship rules. All fish were caught using barbless hooks and then measured and safely returned to the water. Points were collated for each fish caught and the length of the fish. Top spots were found in the sailing club bay and the next bay along Brixworth Bay. Top methods seem to be nymphs fished deep on the popular bung method, which was perfect for the conditions which were very hot and bright with very little wind. Bob Church well known Northampton tackle dealer and match organiser hailed the event a huge success and complimented the top class fishing at Pitsford Water. England One took first place in the team event, followed by Wales One in second and Australia in third place. In the individual event first place went to England One’s Dave Grove, with Stuart Rees of Australia in second and Paul Jenkins of Wales One coming a very close third. Northampton’s John Emerson represented England One in 4th place and Graham Pearson of Leicester took 5th for England Two. best brown 7lb plus taken by D Clarke of Irchester, Northants

Ravensthorpe Reservoir Boat angler Dick Haynes took the best brown of the season – a superb specimen weighing 8lb 14oz. Season ticket holder Dick from East Haddon used a cdc to take his fish, which was returned safely to the water. best brown 8lb 14oz taken by Dick Haynes

Coarse fishing

Taverham Mill The river Wensum is on top form with the first Barbel of the season falling to season permit holder Mark Watson from Taverham. Mark lured the 8lb 2oz specimen to the bank with a worm, he followed his first ever barbell with a personal best bream of 8½oz. There are plenty of good chub to 5lb also being caught from most parts of the river. Taverham Lake is again participating in the Angling Times/Nash Carpmaster Competition. Ardleigh Now the bream have finished spawning a number of good bags have been reported. Ian Thacker, fishing from the Lodge Bank, had ten fish for an estimated 50lb bag. Noah's Ark car park area has also produced some good fish. Aaron Powell and Jermaine Poulter demonstrated the ability of season permit holders to fish overnight with mirrors of 20lb, 17lb and 12lb from Noah's Ark. Regulars Mick Scutter and John Servant both had half a dozen pike each while boat lure fishing, with 5 double figure fish amongst them.

Anglian Water – Fulling Mill International

Anglers from all over the Midlands fished at Grafham Water on 17 June for a place in the Midlands final, with four teams qualifying.

1st ACA Masterline

2nd Bob Church Tackle

3rd Team Lochstyle

4th Greylags

John Maitland of the Greylags took the best fish at 4lb 2 7/8oz. The best bag went to Graham Pearson at 25lb 2 5/8oz including time bonus.

Rutland Water hosted a very successful Midlands heat of this event on 19 June.

The top four teams qualified for the Midland final. Local teams led the way with Cormorants Team Airflo taking first place and Greys Team Rutland FF in second place. Otters FFT came fourth - congratulations to team member Charles Bowers, retail assistant at Rutland Fishing Lodge and team captain Paul Shaw who is also employed at Rutland Water.

Best fish went to David Lang of Brigg Country Lines. Steve Crowson of Market Deeping took the best bag for Greys Team Rutland FF.

1st Cormorants Team Airflo 37 fish for 91lb 7 7/8oz

2nd Greys Team Rutland FF 34 fish for 83lb 15 ¾oz

3rd Greys Cardinals FF 24 fish for 53lb 15 7/8oz

4th Otters FFT 21 fish for 48lb 9 3/8oz

The last of the England heats for this popular competition was held at Bewl Water on Sunday 21 June with anglers aiming for a place in the southern final at Grafham on 29 July

The three teams winning a place were

1st Bewl Bridge Flyfishers

2nd BBFC Chingley Chompers

3rd Ouse Valley Fly Fishers

Congratulations to Jenny Gibb of the Ouse Valley Flyfsihers, Jenny is the only lady angler to qualify for the South of England final.


Its Great Fun in The Bahamas 23rd June

With flights costing just £255-00 return from Gatwick to Nassau, I decided it was time I made another visit to the Bahamas. My trip with Dave Jones in March had been so enjoyable I wanted some more of the action in the sun. This time I chose to fly from London Gatwick to Nassau on a charter flight arriving in Nassau at 2-15pm. After clearing customs and immigration I moved further along the building to the Bahamasair check in desk to book a flight for Mangrove Cay. Ten minutes after checking in, I boarding a six seater aircraft for the twenty minute flight, arriving at ten minutes past four. Joel Moxey was waiting for me, within minutes we were at Joel’s bonefish lodge, soon the kettle was on for a fresh brew. I was back in paradise and meeting my new companions for the week David and Tom Price from the USA. What delightful people they were.

There are many species of fish to catch on a fly rod in the Bahamas. The fearsome bone crushing sharks, razor sharp toothed barracudas, fast swimming bonefish, the difficult to catch crab eating permits. Then we have the fighting tarpon, who think they are Olympic high jumpers. Then we have the jacks, best described as the street fighters of the aquatic world. These are just some of the string pullers and stick benders you can attempt to catch.

I have fished many of the islands in the Bahamas, but Andros is perhaps my favourite. That's if you can have a favourite place in the sun. Moxey town at Mangrove Cay in the South of Andros is the place. Its a poor settlement, where the people are incredible friendly. Each time I visit I take a holdall of cloths, for the local men and woman. Pens, pencils, writing pads, games and books for Burnt Oak Primary School.

Bones From The Shore

The big bonus in choosing Moxey Town, is, you can walk some fifty paces from Moxeys bonefish lodge, cast a fly then catch a bonefish or two before breakfast, or after dinner. That's if you can find the energy after one of May’s delightful dinners. When you go off for a days fishing its not a 9 until 4 job like so many lodges. Often your on the water at 7-0 am and coming off just before 7-0pm You certainly get excellent value for your money and a big ice chest full of food and cold drinks for the day.

On this visit I was equipped with Thomas and Thomas fly rods from eight weights through to twelve's. My lines included floating, intermediate, slow and fast sink lines I was going to target the Tarpon, barracuda, sharks, bonefish and jacks. I badly needed a picture of a big barracuda for the front cover of my next book. I also had a couple of spinning outfits, so should the weather make it difficult to fly fish I could then use bait. My tackle bag included wire traces, flies tied up on hooks from size 6’s through to 7/0’s, I also included various sizes of poppers. Finding a good quality nylon line for making up leaders can be a problem, I have been using Frog Hair leaders and spools of line in various diameters with complete confidence.

When anglers discuss fishing in the Bahamas, most of them think bonefish or Hemingway’s fishing off Bimini for marlin. In the Bahamas you have various jacks, in my book pound for pound these fish are tough fighters. Most of the snapper species are present including the schoolmaster where you have a chance of a world record which at the time of writing is 4-5-0 Fishing with a Clouser minnow on my last trip I had a schoolmaster estimated by Joel Moxey at between 31/2 and 4lbs. Compared with most schoolmasters you catch averaging a pound or less this fish looked huge. A prize fish is the mutton snapper with the world record just over 28lbs If you want some exciting fishing for the big ones then target the tarpon. There is something for everyone to catch in the Bahamas.

Its Not All Fly Fishing - Take A Lure Outfit

I well remember the following conversation one day with a group of American fly fishers in the Bahamas. As I sat having breakfast, one of the Americans said " Martin, fishing is off today " I answered "Yes, I know but the guide is willing to give it a go and no doubt we will find a few bonefish" the American then said "You want cast a fly in this wind" I quickly answered "I am fishing shrimps or a bit of conch today". He then said "You can’t catch bonefish on bait" I said "Is it written in stone that I have to fly fish for the bones, don’t talk so bloody daft" Jerry an American from Florida said "Can I fish with you Martin" I said "Yes of course Jerry" We caught over twenty bones that day while the rest of the anglers got bored to tears back in camp. Fishing is all about having fun, I get fed up with people saying to me "I am a fly fisher" in a snobbish attitude. Anglers fishing with lures or bait can be just as skilful and knowledgeable as the fly fisher. Lets face it salmon and trout are not the hardest of fish to catch. In fact salmon don’t feed in freshwater so why do they take the fly lure or bait. Could it be a big chunk of luck I ask In fact the best fly fishers, are usually former bait or lure anglers. Lets be honest, we are all anglers. If you want to fish with float tackle then do so, I often use float tackle, its great fun, and an excellent way of catching many fish in the Bahamas or any other place in the world.

On this recent trip I had a couple of days on the flats chasing the bonefish which seemed rather spooky, they would often follow the fly for several yards before turning away. I did have one bonefish take a fly off the top which hasn’t happened to me before. As I hooked into the fish Joel said "That's a barracuda" but as it moved off fast across the flat we both new it was another bone. One day Joel and I made the long trip to the west side in the hope of finding the tarpon, sadly they didn't show despite a good tide. Still that's fishing.

Sharks on a fly

I spent one day was spend targeting the sharks close to the shore of Gibson Island, I was equipped with a Thomas and Thomas 11 weight rod, Tibor Gulfstream reel with 200 yards of backing and a WF floating line. The end rig was six feet of nylon of 40lb breaking strain with two feet of forty pound wire. Shark fishing from the shore in three feet of water is certainly exciting stuff. To get the sharks in close, I needed some bait for chumming the fish close to the waters edge. Catching some small barracuda, they were cut up into chunks, the same size as the big 6/0 fly I planned to use. After chucking in a dozen bits of bait size fish, the first of the big barracuda appeared. They were quickly followed by the first shark It was a bull shark of some 200lb Ten minutes later a lemon shark of about 60lbs plus showed up This was followed by two more lemon sharks. Within half an hour I had those sharks in a feeding frenzy. It was time to get my string pulled.

Chucking in a bait size chunk of fish, I quickly followed up with a fly, as it hit the surface the bull shark swirled engulfing the fly. Three strip strikes and the fish was firmly hooked. where it immediately shot off across the shallow sandy flat seeking the deep water. The reel gave a long metallic piercing scream as it gave line, This was a big fish. I couldn’t stop it, in its head long dash. With my backing disappearing fast I had to clamp down hard and pull for a break and pop the leader. Making up a new leader then fitting on a new fly by using a crimp I was ready for action. Chucking in three or four more bits of bait size chunks of fish. I quickly had two lemon sharks fighting over the offerings. I chucked another fly size bit of fish quickly followed by my fly. This was quickly taken by one of the lemon sharks. Three strip strikes, and the fish was well hooked, this to shot off across the flats. For ten minutes there wasn’t a winner it was give and take between me and the fish. Cramping on as much pressure as the tackle would allow I started to win this "Tug of War" fight between man and fish.

Slowly I was getting the backing on the reel foot by foot. Occasionally the fish managed to take back a few feet of line. Providing the knots held I couldn’t see me lose this fish. Now I started to get the fly line back on the reel, I felt there was only one outcome. Five minutes later I was touching the leader. The fish was mine. I was thankful I had some long handled forceps which helped me release the barbless hook It was a bit dangerous, both the shark and myself were within feet of each other in shallow water. Once the hook was released the fish disappeared quickly across the flat into the deeper water. It had certainly been a lot of fun.

Big Barracuda In Shallow Water

There is something menacing about the looks of a barracuda. Its a vicious and dangerous fish, but a superb fighter when hooked. They will often jump many feet clear of the water, sometimes five or six times during the fight. The morning had been spent fishing for jacks over a blue hole on a flooding tide. Sport had been good, I even had a big schoolmaster which Joel thought was well over three pounds. It looked huge especially when one usually catches these fish between eight and twelve ounces. The world record stands at 4-5-0 After a long lunch on Gibson island. I moved to the south side of Gibson in search of bonefish and barracuda.

On my first cast after lunch to a bonefish, the fun really started as a barracuda about twenty pounds grabbed hold of a glass minnow tied up by Bury Lancashire angler Dave Jones. This fish gave an excellent display of its fighting qualities zipping across the flats at a fast rate of knots causing the line to make a rooster tail in the water. It jumped clear of the water by some five feet on two occasions. The Thomas and Thomas eight weight Helix was certainly given a tough workout. As this toothy critter made its third jump the hook fell out. The fish was gone For five minutes It was explosive fishing.

Ten or fifteen minutes later a big barracuda. No, a huge barracuda was spotted swimming slowly across the flat some forty feet off the port side. The conditions were perfect for chucking big flies, a light wind off my right side and warm sunshine. Quickly stripping off some fifty feet of line I made two false cast and shot all the line landing the fly some ten feet in front of this huge fish. Its the biggest barracuda I have seen in some three feet of water. The fishes attention was drawn quickly to the fly by the sound of the plop as it hit the water. I stripped the line like a demented demon as you cannot strip the line to quick. The fish immediately pounced, with seconds it ate my fly. A firm strip strike found the fish hooked, it was quickly off the starting blocks, ten yards of line were gone in the blink of an eye, then the fish threw itself high out of the water twisting and head shaking.

It was a magnificent sight, to see the fish highlighted in the tropical sunshine, beads of water droplets looking like bright diamonds. The reel screamed in protest as the fish tore off line in its bid for freedom. Then another big jump, this time its leapt from the water was like a javelin, going up and forward shaking its head and twisting its body, before crashing back in a shower of spray. This was fishing at its best. I cramped on all the pressure I could manage, but there is only so much pressure you can exert with a ten weight rod. My Thomas and Thomas nine foot Horizon was probably bent to its limit. Many thoughts were going through my mind. Would the knots hold, was the nylon leader being weakened, would the wire leader hold out against the razor sharp teeth. The fish then gave another acrobatic display which had me shouting "Look at that fish go". At the same time it was all being recorded for my "At The Waters Edge" programme.

Guide Ezra said "That's a big fish man" Slowly I was getting a bit of line back on the reel, then it would be taken back by the fish, slowly I was gaining line even if it was just a foot or so now and again. "Shark" shouted Ezra. It was now a battle between me, the barracuda and the shark. This shark was a big one. It could probably eat half of my barracuda with just one bite. I pumped and took in line gradually drawing the fish closer to the boat. Ezra stood by with the gaff. I had to beat the shark. My rod had never been tested like this before Its amazing what you can do with a few ounces of carbon. "Should I go in the water" I thought in the hope I could frighten the shark off. But decided against this course of action when I realised how big the bull shark was. I was now taking in the fly line when suddenly there was a savage pull on the rod as the shark grabbed hold of the barracuda’s tail. Ezra frightened it off. I wound down on the fish, then lifted, I repeated the action time and time again until the fish was alongside the boat. Ezra quickly gaffed the fish and heaved it aboard, then gave it the coup de grace. I sat down completely whacked. It had been a tough fight. This was fishing at its best. There would be some good fillets of fish for the people of Moxey Town.

During the week I had some excellent fishing, some good conversations with the other guests, where I am sure we all learnt something from each other. It was also exciting news to learn from Joel that the Bahamian sports fishers, guides and bonefish lodge owners have got together in the interest of conservation and preservation of the fishing and aquatic environment. They have formed The Bahamas Sports fishing & Conservation Association

Its interesting to note that a bonefish is depicted on the Bahamian ten cent coin. That’s how important the bonefish is to the Bahamian economy.


Same Result as in 2002 23rd June

The result of the 2003 World Fly Fishing Championships for top three spots were the same result as in 2002 when it was fished in French waters. France won Gold, Belgium Silver and Spain the Bronze - . England were 6th overall and within only 24 points of the bronze medal - very close. Simon Kidd was individual 4th and the highest position an English angler has attained since 1998. He was equal on points to the bronze medal, but caught fewer fish. He was only three points off individual gold - a fantastic the competition which was very enjoyable and fished in some spectacular scenery with a very varied mix of waters

John Tyzack had a great comp and was 20th despite having two horrible beats on the rivers. England Team manager Simon Gawsworth said "All in all a reasonably good performance by the team and I am not too unhappy with the results. We couldn't not have done much more with what we had".

Rain Badly Needed 23rd June

Many of the rivers in England and Wales are low, gin clear and weedy with little flow, in some cases the gale force winds blowing upstream is causing the surface flow to go in the opposite direction.

I cannot say it was an exciting start to a new season from the fish catching point of view, but it was great to be back. On the rivers I fished most of the fish had only recently spawned. Talking with other anglers countrywide it was the same story. I started off on the river Wye at Ross-on-Wye where the river was low, weedy and gin clear. At approximately 9-0pm on the 15th June I spotted a very big chub, probably going six pounds plus. I dropped in ten bits of bread flake, they were all quickly mopped up. This fish was in a clearing all on its own. I couldn't believe my luck. The long wait for midnight seemed extremely slow in coming.
At 4 minutes past the magic hour I cast out a big bit of crust on a size 4 Partridge barbless hook. Within a minute the dough bobbin moved up to the butt. Thirty seconds later the fish was wallowing on the surface. Sliding down the high bank in the darkness, I must have given some slack. The fish got off. I was that gutted I didn't want to fish any more and went off to bed.
During the first day June 16th I had 4 chub best at 4-14-0 and 1 barbel about six pounds. I lost 2 other fish which were either carp or barbel. I felt they were the former. All the chub had recently spawned. John Sheekey an accountant of Chester had one barbel of 7lbs Peter Williams from Bristol had a barbel of 81/2 lbs

I didn't fish on Tuesday 17th, though I was at the waters edge, this time on the river Teme where I was teaching a friend how to read and fish a river. Conditions were terrible for teaching an angler the art of river fishing. It was low and gin clear with little flow. In fact its a long time since I have seen the Teme so horrid looking. Fishing was quite poor I didn't see any barbel caught on the stretch. My friend fishing a spot which screamed barbel, had the perfect barbel bite on crust as the rod tip was pulled round savagely. Sadly it was missed on the strike. The river is desperate for rain

Wednesday it was the early shift, at 4-30 am I was on the river Aire near Keighley the river looked horrid with little flow and masses of clodorpha weed. Chub and bream could be seen. I targeted the chub, catching 7 fish all over 4lbs best 4-12-0 all on balanced sausage meat paste. It was impossible to fish with crust or flake due to minnows which is the reason for choosing sausage meat paste.
At least the minnows couldn't whittle it down, though they did try. Tackle was Avon rod, centre pin reel, 4lb line and size 6 barbless hook. I packed up around 12 noon.

After a break, I was back on the river Aire at 6-30pm this time at Kildwick where I had 12 chub best at 5-1-0 and 5-0-0 and 9 other chub all 4lb plus the other fish probably weighed about three pounds. I used the same tackle and bait as used during the morning session.

Thursday morning I was on the Ribble below Ribchester which was like most rivers low, gin clear with little flow and masses of clodorpha weed. Using roving tactics with 6lb line with a balanced sausage meat bait on a size 4 barbless hook. I had 14 chub best at 5-2-0 and 3 small barbel averaging I should think about 5lbs. The reason for using balanced paste bait was to keep the bait above the clodorpha blanket weed and defeat the minnows. While the rivers are very low, some of the chub not yet spawned or having just spawned. I will now concentrate on fly fishing for pike, a trip down to Rutland and a week in Swedish Lapland before heading back to the rivers. Hopefully we will get several days of heavy rain in the near future, then hopefully it will be worth going out at night to try for a seatrout.

Seatrout fishing on the northern rivers seems to have been a waste of time with just the odd fish being caught. If you want to get your string pulled then why not try fishing one of the many club still waters or one of the commercial fisheries. Several of the advantages of fishing the commercial fisheries are, they usually provide safe car parking and toilets facilities which should encourage more ladies to try the sport. These fisheries are also ideal for children and adults new to the sport as they are usually stocked to a high density.

On the river Wyre Preston's Brian Joyce had a personal best bream of 6-10-0. Brian legered a bunch of gentles on a size 12 hook to 3lb line.

Royal Lancashire Agriculture Show.

This years Royal Lancashire Agriculture Show on July 29th, 30th and 31st on the banks of the river Ribble just upstream of Ribchester bridge will for the first time have a Piscatorial centre catering for all branches of angling. Most shows just cater for salmon and trout, lets be honest there are many more species of fish to be caught in fresh and saltwater.

Each day in the Piscatorial Centre marquee from 10 AM - 6 PM there will be Fly Tying demonstrations with Pendle Fly Dressers Guild along with 14 year old English International fly fisher Lisa Isles, from Poulton-le-Fylde who has tied flies for Prince Charles. Lisa will be showing her fly tying techniques.

In attendance will be - The Barbel Society - Friends of the River Yarrow - Boat angling with Lancashire Boat Anglers - Shore angling with John Amery - Members of the Hodder Consultative and Ribble Catchment and Conservation Trust and The Specialist Anglers Alliance. The Piscatorial Centre will be the place where anglers will gather to talk about the big ones caught and lost.

Europe’s top angling club Prince Albert Angling Society will be in attendance along with various club officials and fly dressers. If you are not a member of the society, you will be able to apply for membership during the three day show.. The society will be running a tombola where all the monies raised are going to Ribble Valley Crossroad Carers. During the event there will be various demonstrations for coarse sea and game anglers.

Demonstration Times Each Day

10-15 AM - 10-40 AM Kent Sherrington and Martin James will be in attendance to discuss fly fishing for Pike and Bass

11-0 AM and 3-0 PM Wallis Casting with Alan Roe

11-30 PM and 3-30 PM Beach fishing with John Amery

12 Noon and 4-0 PM Spey Casting with Frank Casson of Barnsfold water

1-30 PM Chub Fishing My Way With Martin James

2-0 PM River Walk with Dr Malcolm Greenhalgh

5-0 PM Bonefishing the Bahamas Martin James


The Environment Agency has introduced new rules to protect declining salmon stocks in south Cumbria.New byelaws mean netting on the Leven Estuary is now banned during June, with the netting season reduced to July and August only. Also, a ‘catch and release’ byelaw means rod-caught salmon in the Leven and Crake catchment, upstream of the Leven viaduct near Ulverston, must be returned to the water unharmed.

The Leven and Crake catchment includes waters inland of the Leven viaduct, including the Rivers Leven and Crake, Coniston Water, Windermere, Esthwaite Water, Rydal Water, Grasmere, Elterwater, and associated tributaries. The byelaws will be in force for at least the next 10 years, after which they will be reviewed. In the meantime the Environment Agency will monitor fish stocks and carry out habitat improvements in the catchment, working closely with anglers and landowners.

In addition, a Net Limitation Order means netting licences will only be issued to people who already hold such licences and continue to fish year-on-year. No new netsmen or women will be able to enter the fishery during the next 10 years. The new measures are because salmon stocks in the catchment are declining. Spawning targets, which would indicate healthy fish populations, have not been met for several years.

The Agency is recommending that anglers also adopt ‘catch and release’ when fishing for sea trout, as its stocks have also declined. Jeremy Westgarth, the Environment Agency’s Fisheries Technical Team Leader, said: “We are very concerned about the salmon stocks in the Leven and Crake catchment. These new legal measures are vital to the conservation of these stocks. All anglers need to be aware of the changes and make sure they comply with the law. “By using ‘catch and release’, anglers can continue to enjoy their sport, and fish can safely continue to their spawning grounds. Anglers can help us by doing all they can to help increase the survival of healthy fish.”

Anglers can help further by adopting measures to ensure fish can be released unharmed: · Decreasing hook sizes and using barbless hooks.· Fishing with a fly rather than bait, to avoid deep hooking.· Landing fish quickly, with suitable tackle.· Using soft mesh landing nets.· Keeping fish in water during unhooking.· Keeping handling to a minimum, and remembering to wet hands first.

Copies of regional fisheries byelaws, and further information about ‘catch and release’, are available from the Environment Agency’s website at or by contacting the Agency on 0845 933 3111.

My thoughts on the subject of endangered salmon stocks are the Environment Agency should bite the bullet and completely ban all salmon and seatrout fishing by netting and rod and line anglers. Asking anglers to follow a few rules is OK for some, but most will just pay lip service. Prawns shrimps and worms will be used by the many. Perhaps we don't have a complete ban is because the EA will lose some licence revenue.

Fishing News 10th June

Rutland Water

fish week 2095 (season24444) returns658 (5526) rod average3.18 (4.42)

Rutland Water has excelled this week with some huge bags and the heaviest rainbow of the season. Baz Street of Loughborough and boat partner Steve Waddington caught 9 fish for 36lb. Baz took five fish including a very nice 9lb 5oz rainbow, which is the heaviest rainbow for the season. He also took a 5lb 4oz fish. Boat partner Steve managed a 5lb plus rainbow. Most of the fish were taken on sinking lines with diawl bach and cormorants in Manton Bay.

Richard Williams from Milton Keynes caught 8 fish for 26lb 10oz including rainbows of 5lb 4oz and 4lb 10oz. Richard took all of his fish in Manton Bay on a floating line with olive buzzers, fishing the bung method. The bank anglers also had their share of big fish. Well known angler ‘clever’ Trevor Ashby from Wing caught a very nice 8lb 2oz rainbow on a floating line and olive buzzer. Steve Clennel from Douglas, Isle of Man managed a 6lb 1oz rainbow.

A very successful corporate day for beginners was arranged by chairman of the East Midlands area of the civil servants sports council, John Bell. 8 beginners benefited from a full day’s tuition with Dave Doherty and John Wadham. The group took 21 fish between them.

The annual float tubing evening, organised by Andre Russell, proved popular last Friday. Several anglers launched their float tubes at the transformer in the north arm and had a very successful evening fishing with several limits taken.

Grafham Water fish week 848 (season11877) returns 264 (3065) rod average3.21 (3.87)

Grafham is providing excellent sport. The fishery has seen lots of activity this week with great support for both the popular evening boat leagues. 17 anglers fished on Tuesday and 25 on Thursday night. At the weekend season ticket holder Chris Bobby, from Bristol, won Grafham’s eliminator to earn a well deserved place in the Midlands final of the English nationals.

The fish have moved up to within 3 feet of the surface and are now taking readily off the surface throughout the day. The main patterns are either hoppers or cdc shuttlecocks fished just in the surface. Anglers are casting to rising fish in the centre of the lake. Also still working are small nymphs such as Diawl Bachs, GRHE, crunchers and damsels as well as olive or black buzzers, all fished on either a floating or intermediate line.

competition news The weekend was dominated by the second round of the regional eliminators for the English National. The top 39 anglers go forward to the Midlands final and then on to the national to be held at Grafham on 27 September. Some of the Midlands’ top anglers were doing battle for these places and it was a hard fought match after the first leg at Rutland last month.

1st Andrew Taylor 8 fish for 22lb 5oz

2nd Chris Bobby 8 fish for 21lb 3oz

3rd Paul Wild 8 fish for 19lb 2½oz

The best fish of the day went to Peter Hartley a beautiful fish of 4lb 9½oz taken from around B buoy on a damsel pattern, the rod average was 4.52 with the average fish weighing in at 2lb 4oz. The overall winner of the two legs was season ticket holder Chris Bobby from Bristol. Chris came 5th in the Rutland leg and took second at Grafham to earn himself 7 points for the two legs. We wish all the qualifying anglers good luck in the next round.

Pitsford Water fish week 405 (season5459) returns 145 (1891) rod average 2.7(2.8) Pitsford is fishing well, especially for boat anglers fishing with lures using the rudder method. The main bowl has started to produce some good results to various methods including floating lines with wet flies or a team of nymphs fished on long leaders. Best fish of the week was a brown weighing between 7 and 8lb. This was caught by Pitsford warden Andy Barton and returned to the water.The Narrows to the Causeway is producing some good catches. Bank anglers are finding early morning and late evening the best time to fish.

Ravensthorpe Reservoir fish week 347 (season7255) returns 73 (1350) rod average4.75 (5.37)

Season ticket holder Mick Griffin of Northampton recorded the biggest fish this week, a 7lb rainbow from the dam wall on a black holographic buzzer. Recently retired warden Mick Beardsley had no trouble finding the fish this week taking 25 nice rainbows fishing nymphs on a floating line. Ravensthorpe is crystal clear and alive with damsel nymphs. Anglers should fish single thinly dressed imitations in buff and olive on floating or intermediate lines. Fish are cruising the shallows in search of this food. Takes can be savage, many anglers are losing large fish on leaders of less than 8lb. Surface moving fish can be taken on flashback nymphs, green and gold buzzer, GRHE and occasional fish to dries.

coarse fishing

Ardleigh The first week of Ardleigh’s pike fishing season has gone really well. Over the weekend a high number of fish were caught with Mick Scutter landing 5 double figure fish from the boats. In addition the carp have settled in well after spawning with season permit holders Neale Firmin and Jamie Willson each landing mirrors of 22lbs. Another season permit holder Aron Powell managed to find the tench with a cracking 7lb specimen from Wick Lane. Names are now being collected for the Open on Sunday 29th June. Pegs will be limited to 50 and there will be Shimano tackle as prizes up to the value of £500. Tickets are £5 plus £5 optional pools. Further details and names to be left at The Fishing Lodge on 01206 230642

Hollowell Sport is thriving at Hollowell. Tench are being taken up to 11lb 6oz and Bream to ll lb 9oz. Most swims are producing Tench.

Anglian Water – Fulling Mill International South West heats - Wimbleball The results of the first day were that Kerrier Park Flyers won through to the next round with 37 fish for 88lb 151/8 oz. The best fish went to Paul Jones 2lb 10 3/4 and Gavin Hurst took the top bag of the day 23lb 3/8 both anglers represent the Kerrier Park Flyers. The second day saw some of that area’s best teams competing for the top three positions. It was the tightest match yet with no one actually knowing until the results were announced who had done it, as the time bonus was the key factor in the results with everyone trying to work out their own plus every one else's!

1st Bath and District 41 fish 108-7 1/4

2nd Team Snowbee 38 fish 100-4 1/2

3rd B.R.F.F.A. 39 fish 98-13 5/8

4th Kingfishers 40 fish 97-4

5th Kingsbridge Heavyweights 37 fish 89-1 1/2

Fishing News 8th June

Rutland Water Hereford angler Harley Godsall took the best rainbow of the week – a solid looking 6lb 11oz fish taken from a boat off Lax Hill. Best brown, 6lb, fell to Mr Devroe who was fishing at Rutland Water on a three day boat package with a party of friends from Belguim. Over wintered fish featured well again, with stunning rainbows in superb condition. The recent high temperatures have not effected the fishing with some impressive bags of fish recorded, falling mainly to nymphs fished on floating rainbow 6lb 11oz taken by Harley Godsall of Hereford on a floating line and black buzzer off Lax Hill

Competition news Rutland Water hosted the first of the northern heats of the Anglian Water Fulling Mill International on Saturday. 16 teams competed for a place in the Northern final with 8 teams winning through. The top team was Guide Renegade flyfishers with 38 fish for 92lb 8oz. Rutland Water retail assistant Phil Brown was in the winning team. Full results are reported at the end of this newsletter.

The John Wadham Trophy This popular bank only match was held on the evening of Friday May 30th, in hot, sultry conditions with very little wind. Fished to an eight fish limit the match was open to members of Rutland Water Fly Fishers. John Wadham writes “There was a record turn out of 22 members for the event. Don’t we just love this place. Even those who blanked said that they had enjoyed themselves.” 1st Iain Barr 8 fish for 15lb 6oz 2nd Paul Shaw 8 fish for 15lb 4oz 3rd Ziggy Leikowski 6 fish for 10lb 8ozCongratulations to the winner Iain Barr - for the fourth time in a row! Iain took just 1 hour twenty minutes to complete his limit from Stockie Bay on Cruncher and Green buzzer fished almost static. Comiserations to Paul Shaw who finished up two ounces behind the leader. Paul caught from Old Hall point on GRHE & Diawlbach, he was fishless until 8.45 then caught his limit in the next hour. Bob Barr took the best fish, an overwintered one of 3lb 2oz. This result quite accurately summarises the fishing at the moment. Find them and they are really ready to take. The fish without exception were in very good nick and well silvered thanks to the current dense buzzer hatches. There was also a smattering of overwintered specimens . Later in the evening, the roadside trees between Manton and Edith Weston appeared like “smoking chimneys” with millions of insects in the thermals above them.

Ravensthorpe Reservoir fish week 207 (season 5408) returns 71 (1277) rod average 4.07(5.41)

Mike Salt of Highcross took 14 fish to 13lb on a bright, hot day. Season ticket holder Graham Watson of Sawtry also managed a 13lb 8oz rainbow on a black buzzer. Both fish were returned. In spite of the hot conditions the rod average is over 4.

Fish are to be found deeper than of late. Floating lines are still accounting for most fish but with long (18 to 20 foot) leaders. Buzzers in red, green, brown and black are taking most fish but they must be fished static.

Water clarity is excellent so boat anglers should stay seated! Bank anglers should head for the dam with mornings being the best time. When boat fishing a second anchor or mud weight helps to stop the boat swinging so enabling you to fish your buzzers static. Damsels are now showing in good numbers along with a small Mayfly hatch.

Pitsford Water fish week 834 (season 5053) returns 300 (1746) rod average2.7 (2.8)

Pitsford Water hosted the Anglian Water Fulling Mill International on Friday. Four teams of 6 anglers took part with a 3.25 rod average for the match, and an average weight per fish of a fantastic 2lb 13½oz.

The Pitsford Fliers took third place. This was a very creditable result for the newly formed team, made up of mainly new starter permit holders taught on the recent Pitsford Beginners courses over the last two years. Captain Adrian Brewer said “it was a thoroughly good day out, with lots of new tips learnt. Let’s hope we see some more heats here in the future.” Fish were caught in the small half and the Causeway, Gorse Bank, W Buoy and the main bowl. Full results appear at the end of this newsletter.

best rainbow 5lb 4oz taken by Martin Elsworth best boat areas small half, Gorse Bank, Causeway best bank areas Gorse Bank, Pines, Brixworth Bay, Cliffs and Stilton Point best methods Boat sport is more favourable than the bank at present, as fish are out in deeper water, feeding on nymphs and daphnia at 10 to 15 feet on sunny days. Evenings and early mornings on the bank are producing. Areas like the gorse to Stilton Point or Pines to the Holly Bush. Fish have been taken using dry flies. Patterns to try would be buzzers all colours and emergers like claret hopper or cdc buzzers, GRHE and PTN. Sinking lines with orange fritz or cats whiskers.

coarse fishing

Taverham Mills The carp have been spawning this week in the hot weather we have been enjoying. Some good carp catches have been hitting the bank. Season ticket holder Carl West managed to tempt two carp to just over 20lb. Andrew Weir won May's Wychwood challenge with an impressive 27lb 12oz Mirror. Christine Weir managed a great Tench of over 8lb and new season ticket holder Peter Ingram managed to get 3 personal bests this week with carp to 18lb plus. Now that the carp have spawned I would expect there to be a few more out this week.

Ardleigh The new pike season at Ardleigh started with a bang on Sunday with at least 36 pike being landed from the boats and bank. Eight of these were over 14lb. Top haul was reported by Seb Shelton who had 11 pike whilst boat fishing with the best two specimens weighing 15lb and 16lb. Up to 8 fish were reported by anglers fishing from the bank with the Lodge bank and Wick Lane proving particularly popular. Due to recent spawning activity and oppressive thundery weather the bream fishing proved difficult for the weekend matches. Top weight at Ardleigh in the Basildon and District Angling Society club match went to W Candy with just 6lb 10oz of bream on the feeder. The full result is as follows 1st W Candy 6lb 15oz 2nd P Goodwin 5lb 8oz 3rd T Piccolo 5lb 7oz

Similar conditions affected the welcome return of the Open at Alton Water. 19 anglers fished the event with Paul Catermole finishing up with top prize of a Shimano Feeder rod and reel with two excellent bream for 10lb 6oz. Bream again provided second spot for Ian Stallard and a fine 1lb 5oz perch gave third spot to local angler Trevor Haynes. The full result is as follows 1st Paul Catermole 10lb 6oz

2nd Ian Stallard 4lb 10oz 3rd Trevor Haynes 1lb 5oz The pegging arrangement proved popular and the thirty match pegs will now be maintained and made available for future matches. With spawning now completed it is expected that the match weights will return to normal.

Anglian Water – Fulling Mill International

Pitsford Water hosted the Anglian Water Fulling Mill International on Friday. Four teams of 6 anglers took part accounting for 78 fish - a 3.25 rod average for the match. The average weight per fish was a fantastic 2lb 13½oz – the highest at any heat to date. Fish were caught on a variety of methods from sinking lines to floaters, but the top two teams, both from Greenwell Persuaders, used a new method. This was the bung method with a difference - an orange egg fly on the point of their cast. This successful tactic took most of the fish for both teams. Paul Mitchell of the Greenwell Persauders A team took the biggest fish at 6lb 6oz . Paul also took the best bag of the day at 22lb 6oz including time bonus.

1st Greenwell Persuaders A 31 fish for 78lb 15oz 2nd Greenwell Persuaders B 27 fish for 58lb 7oz These two teams go through to the Midlands Final at Rutland Water on 25 July.

The first of the northern heats was hosted by Rutland Water on Saturday. Competition was keen with 16 teams fishing for one of the 8 places in the northern finals.

1st Guide Renegade Flyfishers 38 fish for 92lb 8oz 2nd Soldier Palmers 37 fish for 89lb 1 3/4oz 3rd Loomis Rutland Raiders 37 fish for 83lb 15 3/4oz 4th Ospreys A 34 fish for 74lb 14 1/8oz 5th Team Network Appliance 28 fish for 58lb 5/8oz 6th Ospreys B 20 fish for 43 lb 9¼oz 7th Titans 20 fish for 41lb 14 7/8oz 8th Hodnet Nomads 20 fish for 40lb 8 ¾ oz These 8 top teams qualify for the northern finals at Rutland on 22 July. 96 anglers took 321 fish with a rod average of 3.34. Best fish went to Simon Kidd of Ospreys A 3lb 11 3/8oz. Best bag went to Lindsay Simpson who took 8 fish including time bonus for 25lb 7 5/8oz.


The Environment Agency is giving young people in Preston a chance to take up angling, with a series of free coaching sessions and competitions.

The Agency has teamed up with British Waterways and Lancashire Constabulary to host the sessions, that will run each week throughout June on the Lancaster Canal at Ingol.

Each Monday, from 9 June, young anglers can meet at the new Ribble Link footbridge in Ingol for an angling competition, with trophies and prizes for the winners. Youngsters new to the sport can have free tuition, with equipment provided.

Martin James, Environment Agency Recreation Officer who has organised the events, said: "Angling is a terrific sport. We want to give more youngsters the chance to learn about it and how to enjoy it. Summer fishing sessions like these are an ideal way for children to get an introduction to the sport, and after that some of them may take it up and become regular anglers for years to come."

Youngsters, aged 16 and under, who want to take part in the Environment Agency's angling sessions should meet at the Ribble Link footbridge, off Tom Benson Way, at 5.45pm each Monday. Fishing will take place between 6.30 and 8.30pm. Children aged under 10 must be accompanied by an adult.

For more details about getting involved, people should contact Martin James at the Environment Agency on 01772 339882.

June 16th The Start To A New Coarse Fishing Season (23rd May)

At this time of the year our thoughts turn to the start of a new coarse fishing season, for some of you it’s either the carp or tench. Many of you will head to the rivers to seek the barbel and chub. I will start off fishing one of the Prince Albert AS waters for barbel, my tackle and bait will be quite simple. Baits will be bread, worms and cheese. Tackle will be the new five piece barbel rod from Masterline, center pin reel and 10lb line with a size 4 barbless hook After a couple of days fishing for these powerful river fish.

I will then switch my attention to brown trout on the rivers Ribble and Aire during the day, followed by fishing the rivers Wenning, Lune, Hodder or Ribble at night for seatrout. Hopefully during June we will get some warm settled weather conditions, then I will go across to North Wales fly-fishing for the bass. If not I will chase the pike with a fly rod on several rivers and stillwater venues. Don’t forget your Enviroment Agency rod licence.


Let’s Help The Newcomers And Improve The Habitat 23rd May

This week I want to try and pass on some of the ideas and experiences which have helped me catch fish from fresh and saltwater over many years. No doubt most of you readers are coarse fishers with a few game and sea fishers. I would say to all of you. Don’t knock the other persons chosen branch of the sport. Let’s be honest, we are all anglers. Since I started out in this great sport or pastime in 1941 I have been happy to catch anything that swims. One day it could be rudd from a clay pit, the next trip I might be fishing from a pier for flounders. Perhaps trying to get a tiny brown trout from the tiny river Len. I have never worried about the different aspects of the angling. I have a saying “If it pulls the string and bends my stick I’m having fun” after all I am an angler.

Over the years I have had some very angry arguments with other people about their behaviour at the waters edge. I well remember many years ago being sent to photograph a twenty pound plus carp that had been caught from the river Medway near Tonbridge. The captor a crazy person had tethered the fish in the river with some thick nylon, passing the line through the carp’s mouth and gills. How that person didn’t get thrown in the water that day, I will never know. I cut the line and released the fish. But I doubt if it survived.

I have known carp anglers in the 1960’s throw bream and tench in the undergrowth, until the late 1980’s we still had people fishing for salmon and sea trout in Lancashire who would throw chub up the riverbank. On the southern chalk stream some idiots were involved in killing thousands of grayling and other coarse fish. Thankfully today it doesn’t happen. The coarse fish are netted, then sold to coarse fishing clubs. The grayling are left in their habitat providing wonderful sport for the trout fisher during autumn and winter. All fish deserve our respect, you might not angle for them, but another guy will no doubt like catching those fish.

Looking After The Habitat

Let me ask you this question. Have you visited your clubs water with a rubbish sack and a pair of gardening gloves? “No” I thought that might be the answer. Very few anglers are prepared to give up a few days clearing away the riverside rubbish such as, supermarket carrier bags, fertiliser bags, builders rubbish, plastic sheeting, cattle feed bags and all the rubbish stuck in the riverside trees and bushes. You would be surprised how much you can learn about your local river when you spend time wandering the banks. On a recent weed planting exercise on the river Aire, where I was replanting Ranunculus known as water crowfoot or water buttercup. An aquatic plant with delightful white flowers. Its ideal for rivers, offering shelter for the fish and harbouring a million insects, especially shrimps.

After finishing the planting, I had a walk upstream, as I arrived at “Railway Corner”, I noticed a big brown trout chasing Stone loach, Bullheads or Minnows. This trout was big, in fact it was enormous 5lbs plus a truly wild brown trout perfect shape with a big broad tail. I watched spell bound. No I watched with total fascination, thinking of a way to catch such a magnificent fish. For two weeks I thought about that fish trying to work out a way to catch it. I didn’t feel it would take a dry fly unless we had a big hatch of Mayflies that are rare aquatic flies these days. It certainly wasn’t going to accept a small nymph unless I was lucky.

Catching Big Brown Trout

I had recently been reading an American book Modern Streamers for Trophy Trout The Countryman Press. In the book the authors Bob Linsenman and Kelly Galloup discuss the use of big streamers, sculpins crayfish and leeches for big brown trout. I thought next time I have the chance of getting on the river, I would take their advice and use a big streamer. The month of May 2003 was certainly a very wet month, though I didn’t complain we needed all the water to give the rivers a good flush out and bring the sea trout into the river Lune, Ribble and the tributaries. With the rivers up and down like a yo yo, I was certainly glad I had replanted the Ranuncalus in the early part of May.

On Wednesday 21st of May I visited the river Aire in the hope of seeing if all my hard work had paid off. The river was up eighteen inches and fairly clear. As I made my way upstream I could see clumps of vivid green weed swaying beautifully in the current. I was as excited as a five year old on Christmas morning. All my hard work had been worth it. Walking upstream I could see fish rising to Olives. “Why didn’t I bring a rod”, I thought. After a seven-hour session on the river clearing and burning rubbish I arrived home about 4pm. After dinner, I decided to go off and fish the river.

No Flies

It was Sod’s law, not a fish or fly could be seen in a mile of water, making my way downstream I came to the pool where I had seen the “Big One”. I decided to fish a big streamer. Off with the dry fly and 2lb tippet, I tied in some 6lb Frog Hair fluorocarbon to which I attached a size 6 Olive Woolly Bugger. The rod was a Thomas and Thomas light presentation series, which could certainly handle anything I should hook. With the extra water, I fished upstream allowing the streamer to free drift. On my second cast I had a vicious take, connecting with what I thought was a small pike. Suddenly a big fish leapt clear of the water. This was no pike. The fight was on as the fish dashed off downstream to the weir. It had to be stopped at all cost. Applying side strain I pulled the fish off course then in towards the bank where the flow wasn’t as fast. Slowly I was winning this game, very soon a super looking trout was in the net. It measured 191/2 inches weighing a good three pounds plus. Not the “Big One”, but my best ever from the river Aire fly caught trout. I doubt if I would have caught that fish if I hadn’t been working and walking the banks. Just one of the many bonuses helping to improve the environment has rewarded me with.

Flounders On A Fly

Living in the Northwest of England certainly gives me some excellent fishing possibilities in both fresh and saltwater. Over the past few years my interest in saltwater fly-fishing has got me spending many hundreds of hours (An advantage of being an OAP) chucking flies in the salt all over the world. I've caught many species of fish from sharks to flounders. The latter fish can be found all around the British Isles. They can be caught in a variety of ways, spinning, legering, float and fly-fishing. Baits are numerous, rag and lugworm, crabs, shrimps and fish strips. In fact, if it lives in the ocean, a flounder will eat it. Most ocean species of fish numbers have dropped over the years. Not so the flounders they are still around in good numbers.

The tackle I use is an eight weight nine foot Thomas and Thomas Helix model. You will need a fast sinking line, flounders feed on or near the bottom. I use either a Teeny 350 or 450 grain shooting head depending on the tidal flow. The leader should be no more than two feet in length, most of my fishing is done with a foot long leader of 15lb line. If you use a long leader, the fly will ride too high in the water. Fly selection is quite easy, all you need are a selection of Clouser Minnows Chartreuse/White Chartreuse/Yellow Green/White Olive/White Red/White in sizes 2’s and 1’s Often you will get a savage take, the line gets pulled from your hand and reel. It’s usually a sea trout or salmon. Unless you have a salmon and sea trout licence the fish must be returned immediately. If you fish for reservoir trout, go out and try for flounders. They are good fun. If your’e lucky you might even hook into a bass.

Keep It Simple and Helping The Newcomer

Visit a tackle shop today and you will see dozens of different baits and flavours. One must ask the question. Are these modern baits and flavours out to catch the angler or the fish. Just like lures, flies and floats have done over the years. We have all collected dozens of the last three items, and not used them. I meet many beginners in tackle shops, buying this flavour and that bait, but still they struggle to catch.

I certainly feel we more experienced anglers must act more responsible and give more of our time to the beginner. Many of today's beginners are fifty plus year old men and woman. I must say, Ladies make excellent anglers. They listen, learn, take notice practise and don’t know it all after a day. Next time you see someone struggling to catch a fish. Give them a helping hand, give them some tackle and bait. In fact give them your winning swim. When they catch you will see a pair of sparkling eyes and a grin a mile wide.

If a person I have taken out for a days angling wants to pay me. I suggest he or she, ( I take a lot of ladies angling). Send a donation to Ribble Valley Crossroad Carers charity. In fact all my writing fees go to charity or habitat work. Bradford City AA have received over a £1000-00 for wildlife and aquatic environment work. Other clubs have received cheques between £200-00 and £400-00 for their habitat work from my writing fees.

One Of My Many Successful Pupils

Last season an experienced game angler Stephen Ainscow asked the question “Could I help him catch a barbell” The immediate answer was “Yes”. I spent two days teaching Stephen how to read the water, where to find the fish, the tackle and baits to use. I also emphasised that you didn’t need anything special.

A good Avon action rod, the John Wilson Avon quiver is certainly good enough, its the biggest selling rod in the UK. All those buyers cannot be wrong. I suggested a centre pin reel with some ten pound bs line with a size 4 barbless hook. Baits were bread or worms. Stephen’s first barbel weighed over 7lbs caught on a bit of bread with one LG shot some six inches from the hook. No flavours or special rigs. Just good water craft, common-sense and keeping it simple.

Two weeks later Stephen was out with me again, this time he wanted a 4lb chub. Within an hour he had a five pounder. Again bread was the bait. Finally Stephen wanted to fly fish for pike. He purchased a Masterline Toothy Critter pike rod with a Cortland nine weight floating line. We fished the river Aire around Keighley. As we walked upstream I spotted a good chub, casting a white Clouser minnow, I hooked and landed that chub on my first cast. It weighed 5-12-0. My best ever on a fly. Nothing could have been easier. Spotting a pike Stephen cast the same Clouser minnow, soon a 7lb pike was in the net. Since that day he has caught a lot of pike on the fly.

Have you noticed how so many experts have suddenly shown up saying they are pike fly fishing experts. I do not feel there are any experts in this branch of angling, I have been targeting pike on the fly for over forty years, I am still learning as are many more experienced pike fly fishers. These so called experts want to charge a hundred pounds or more to show you how to catch a pike. Your more than welcome to join me free of charge. If you enjoy the day your more than welcome to make a donation to Ribble Valley Crossroad Carers charity.

Anglian Water – Fulling Mill International 19th May

Anglers fishing the southern heat of the Anglian Water – Fulling Mill International fly fishing championship at Bewl Water in Kent declared the day a great success. The heat ran very smoothly and the competitors appreciated the help from Anglian Water and Southern Water staff who ran the day. It was certainly a dramatic occasion – culminating in a thunderstorm one and a half hours before the end of the match.

Thirty six anglers fished for six teams and enjoyed a great day’s sport which led to 3 teams qualifying for the Southern Final at Grafham Water on 29 August. A popular win for the Bewl Piscatorials, with Go Fishing Worldwide in second place and the sponsor’s team of Fulling Mill Weald of Kent earning third place.

1. Bewl Piscatorials 30 fish 59lb ½oz qualify for final

2. Go Fishing Worldwide 30 fish 58b 12oz qualify for final

3. Fulling Mill Weald of Kent 20 fish 41lb 14oz qualify for final

The top rod was Bob Lawrence of Bewl Piscatorials and the best fish, a superb 3lbs 6½oz was taken by Bob Hoare of Friendly Fisherman Scientific Angler. Both anglers received prize rods from sponsors Fulling Mill. Tackle prizes and other goodies went to the winning team.

Anglian Water’s fishery manager Jon Marshall, who organised the event, said "This competition is proving a great success and everyone seems to think that we and Fulling Mill have got the right formula".

Rutland Water is on a roll with numerous bag limits taken during the week. Ray Garrod and his boat partner Mick Atkinson travelled to Rutland from Cleethorpes to have a bumper day’s fishing. The pair each took their 8 fish limit with Ray’s weighing in at 21lb 8oz and Mick’s at 19lb 6oz. Mansfield bank angler Nigel Barker took his 8 fish limit for 21lb. Trevor Ashby, recently retired from his position as retail assistant at the fishing lodge at Normanton, used his renowned fly tying skills to take the best brown of the week, which weighed in at 5lb. Over wintered fish are still being taken almost all around the lake with early stock fish being as silver as the overwintered ones and putting up as good a fight. 28 June Ladies Day hosted by Anglian Water and England Ladies Flyfishing Association. A fun day with instruction and advice. £20 including lunch and a goody bag at the end

Grafham Water outstanding rod average this week is due in no small part to a group of six anglers visiting from Scotland. The border raiders enjoyed a tremendous three day boat package. Party leader Robert Koher said "We have never had fishing like it and wish we could move Grafham further north and claim it as our own". By the end of the third day the group had released 185 fish with rainbows to just under 4lb and browns to 5lb. The fish came from all over the lake with either damsels on slime lines, buzzers on floaters or orange lures on fast sinking lines.

Not to be outdone, the ‘local’ anglers haven’t let the side down. The best brown of the season so far, went to Cambridgeshire angler John Gale, from Lode. John’s fish weighed in at 6lb 14oz and came off the bank, right harbour wall, on a black buzzer. Colin Gayton of Northampton took a super 4lb 10oz Rainbow, the best of the week, on a green buzzer from the seat. Buzzers under the bung have been doing very well, especially in the shelter of the south shore from around the Seat and Sludge Bank area, with either black or olive being the best colours. Some anglers that are venturing out through the middle and drifting are being rewarded with some fine over wintered fish of 3½lb to 4lb, but they are having to fish deep for these with either orange lures or gold tubes.

Pitsford Water Pitsford’s reputation for big browns has been reinforced this week. Peter Bills, a Pitsford regular from Nottingham, caught an 8lb 12oz brown whilst rudder fishing the small half of the reservoir on Monday 12th. Pete’s fish had been feeding on 4 inch roach fry. Just a couple of years ago this would have been a new record for the reservoir! Tuesday 13th proved a lucky day for Bronwen, Lady Astor, who caught a 5lb 10oz Brown from Pitsford Creek. This fell to a cats whisker lure.competition news Some nice rainbows have been caught during competitions. The R.A.F. had their Central League match on Monday 12th. Boat partners Mr Daniels and Mr Fisher finished early with limit bags of 18lb 7oz and 16lb 4oz respectively. Mr Daniels’ best fish was 3lb 2oz and Mr Fisher’s was 3lb exactly. England Fly Fishers match on Thursday 15th was won by Daniel Price with 7 fish for 17lb 5oz. Chris McLeod caught a 4lb 6oz Rainbow during the same match, which was fished under bright, sunny and for the most part, flat, calm conditions.Fish are feeding on daphnia, buzzers and damsels at different depths according to light levels.

Ravensthorpe Reservoir Best fish this week went to London based Mark Everleigh. Mark, previously based in Northampton, returned to his home water for a first time float tube session. He was rewarded with a superb 8lb 14oz rainbow in his catch of 7 fish. He described the experience as unbelievable. Eddie Car, Bill Colerton and John Turner each took 6lb rainbows from boats on buzzers. Prolific concentrations of buzzers and olives will see fish close to the surface and prepared to take emergers, GRHE and diawl bachs on floating lines. Long leaders with buzzer teams fished static from anchored boats will search out that all important ‘feeding depth’ so critical to successful buzzer fishing. Black, olive and red buzzer patterns are taking most fish. Bank anglers should concentrate on presenting a single buzzer at maximum distance in the clear margins. With fish now feeding on a wide range of insect life anglers should be prepared to be mobile and change tactics during the day to achieve the best results.

coarse fishing

Ardleigh An excellent week for carp anglers, with quite a few double figure fish being landed. Amongst these season permit holders Richard ‘Barty’ Bartlett had a 14lb fish, Rob Bantock an 11lb fish and Clive Baldwin a 12 pounder. But best of all, local Roger Shipley managed a lovely 26lb specimen. There have also been some good bags of Bream, with Tim Donnell and Rob Bugg both fishing at Noah’s Ark, amongst the better bags. A 5lb tench has also been reported by regular Clive Baldwin.

Hollowell Some better class Bream have been caught with the best verified being a 9lb 14oz specimen which fell to feeder tactics with double red maggot as hook bait. Its captor was season ticket holder David Boulstridge of Coventry who also caught a Perch of nearly 2lb during the same session. The best Tench noted so far was a 7lb 9oz female which was in excellent condition. This fell to the same tactics as previously mentioned and was caught by Hollowell regular Nigel Downes.

Good Turn out At Barbel Society Conference 19th May

Despite other attractions such as the Chatsworth Angling fair and the AGM of the Specialist Anglers Alliance the Barbel Society AGM and Conference was well attended with all seats in the conference room being taken. The meeting started with the Opening Address by Martin James during which Martin reminded the audience that fishing was all about having fun. If you see a beginner struggling to catch a fish give them a helping hand. In fact give the boy or girl, man or woman some bait, a bit of tackle and a helping hand. In fact let them have a session in your winning swim so they catch fish. When they do you will see a big pair of sparkling eyes and a grin a mile wide.

The AGM was followed by Vice President Peter Wheat presenting Trevor West with the Gordon Scott trophy for his work over many years in promoting and teaching fishing to many anglers young and old. Certainly a well deserved award.

School teacher Pete Reading was the first conference speaker who certainly had the audience attention. This was followed an historic auction of the late President Peter Stone' tackle which created a great amount of interest. A Richard Carter centre pin fetched over £600-00 with the auction raising over £3000-00 for Peters wife Sue. Others speakers were Jeremy Wade joint author of Somewhere Down the Crazy River and Chris Ponsford who with his first talk to Conference. It was an interesting talk about his young days fishing the Severn. Chris then went on to discuss tackle, bait, methods and location on fishing the river Severn today. One of the famous faces from the past Bob Buteux was in attendance with his new book "Fishing with The Famous" published by the Little Egret Press. The Barbel Catchers and the Chub Study Group along with various trade stands were also in attendance. It was well past 6pm before members started to drift off home All in all a good day for everyone


IN GENERAL: The beach looks good. Water clarity and great sun made for outstanding sight fishing conditions. However, I was only able to spot a single pair of jacks that gave my fly the
cold shoulder. On the other hand, light tackle opportunities were excellent. I found an absolutely epic ladyfish bite that never seemed to end. I caught them at will on an olive Clouser and my chivo sardina. I finally had to pry myself away from the action after playing the "just a couple more casts "game for almost two hours. Good sized fish too. Jumping, running, and peeling off backing like little steelhead gone psycho! A soon as one spit
the fly, another would take over the fight. At one point I had three "spit and takes" on one cast. Tons o' fun!
Offshore Cruisers from all the hotels report more of the same: billfish, dorado, tuna and a stray wahoo or two. Some skippers are reporting dorado so thick it's tough to target anything else. Tuna are flyrod perfection, around 30-pounds, while a few of the dorado are 50-pound+
bruisers. A 12-weight rod is in order.
Inshore: You're likely to come up a real Senor Bubba roosterfish cruising around looking for a meal. Look for birds diving on bait and it could be roosters, jacks or even dorado in the shallows.
Beach: There are so many different critters of all sizes that you don't know which rod to use. An 8-weight for bones at La Ribera, ladyfish, pompano and small jacks, a 10-weight for Bubba Jr. or a 12-weight for Bubba Sr. which could be a rooster to 50, a jack to 25 or a dorado that got stupid.
Billfish - They're out there, but chances are you'll get a dorado or tuna before a marlin.Yellowfin tuna - Plenty of football-size and some better quality mixed in this week. Dorado - We've had more than one report of dorado skimming along just a few yards off the beach. Roosterfish - From now through June seems like the best opportunity to get your World Record. Jack crevale - They wouldn't be jacks if they were always around. Where do they go? Fortunately, as fast as they disappear they're right back at it.

Rhode Island Fishing USA; By Capt. Jim White 18th May

The striped bass fishing is excellent thus far this early in the season. Many of the fish are in the 8 to 12 pound class this year. They are hitting large clouser half and half's, herring patterns and squid patterns fished on sinking lines.
The fish are still entering the bay as they all have sea lice on them. The East Side of the bay has been the best thus far when the weather cooperates.
We have reports also of the first bluefish being taken inside the bay this week. Usually the first run bluefish are small but a few fish of nine pounds have been reported.
Weakfish, known locally as "Squeteague" which is a Narragansett Indian name that means a fish of many colors have arrived and they are not that far from our marina. These fish, known as sea trout as well, will readily take flies fished deep along the bottom. Last season while we hosted world famous Lefty Kreh, we landed weakfish up to 14 pounds at the mid bay islands while casting our own Ghost Squid pattens in tight to the shore. Capt Jim White

Fishery Report 14th May

Rutland Water "Brilliant" that was how top national angler and season ticket holder Graham Pearson, described the sport at Rutland this week. Graham, along with a lot of other anglers has been experiencing superb sport with fish feeding heavily on buzzer, with more over-wintered fish than he can remember. Big fish have featured with Derek Elms of Derby, taking the best rainbow of the season – a solid 7lb 11oz fish that fell to a green buzzer, fished on a floating line. Derek fished the east bank of Whitwell Creek. Fourteen year old Edward Parsons took the best brown of the week. Edward was boat fishing off Carrot Creek and took a splendid 6lb specimen. Edward’s friend, fourteen year old Philip Wells, netted the fish, while season ticket holder Rob Waddington skippered the boat. Rob who runs the popular bed and breakfast accommodation ‘The Lodge’ at Barnsdale, said they also recorded three other fish the same night.

This year’s anglianwater WaterAid Fly Fishing Challenge will be held at Rutland Water on Friday 27th June. Last year’s event raised a fantastic £6,700 for 'WaterAid' and helped the charity to provide safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene education for around 400 people in developing countries around the world. The day is aimed at companies and organisations sponsoring individuals to come and fish in the event and raise funds for this extremely worthwhile cause. Beginners are very welcome. Teams of seasoned anglers and beginners can experience some great sport at the UK’s premier trout fishery. If you or your company is interested in sending a donation then please either email Chris Evans at or telephone him on 01733 414163 (it may also be possible to make late team entries).

Grafham Water Grafham Water’s first major competition of the year was held on Wednesday. A strong field of 102 anglers was invited to the prestigious Bob Church Classic. Each angler had qualified through winning a major event, or fishing for their country last year. Practice day gave anglers a foretaste of Grafham at its best. Match day itself saw some outstanding results, with a lot of big fish. The main methods were either pull lures over the North shore areas or fish the buzzer on a floater on the South shore or a combination of both. Anglers who headed for the Dam and fished the buzzer and bung method were rewarded early on and the most successful then went on to remove the bung and fish the buzzer back slowly and deep. The Bob Church Trophy went to Wales with Gareth Jones catching a total of 14 fish. Second place also went to Wales with world casting champion Hywel Morgan, who caught 12 fish. Keeping the Welsh flag flying was young Kieran Jenkins, aged only 10, who took a super brown weighing 3lb 10oz and 4 other trout. Kieran finished 40th, ahead of a lot of other anglers in an experienced field. Peterborough’s Tony Curtis came in third with England angler Graham Pearson of Leicester in 4th place. Heaviest fish on the day weighed 4lb 14+¾oz and went to Peter Page.

1st Gareth Jones (Wales) 6 fish 8 released for 27lb 8 3/8oz

2nd Hywel Morgan (Wales) 6 fish 6 released for 21lb 11 3/8oz

3rd Tony Curtis (England) 6 fish 5 released for 21lb 8 3/8oz

4th Graham Pearson (England) 6 fish 4 released for 21lb 8oz

5th Michael Hill (England) 6 fish 5 released for 21lb 3¼oz

Ravensthorpe Reservoir Season ticket holder Graham Smith of Guilsborough was again amongst the big fish this week, taking a 12lb 6oz rainbow, whilst boat fishing the three pine gap with an orange lure. John Allen of Flitwick went one better with a 12lb 12oz beauty. John boat fished the Coton End with buzzer and GRHE. Ravensthorpe regular Nick Mead returned 25 fish and Rushden’s M Kirkland 23, in a hectic spell on Saturday. Buff buzzers with yellow wing cases proved irresistible to the fish in the bright unfavourable conditions. Ravensthorpe continues to fish exceptionally well. With the improving weather and higher water temperatures fish are feeding higher in the water, taking buzzer and pond olives. Anglers fishing imitative patterns, particularly black and olive buzzer, GRHE and green emergers are getting the quality silver rainbows. Best methods for boat anglers are a long leader on a floating line from an anchored boat over 12-15 feet of water, using a very slow retrieve. Fish are now well spread with no particular hotspots. Bank anglers should concentrate on the dam and catwalk platforms using weighted nymphs on intermediate or floating lines for best results. Cats whisker and GH damsel are also taking fish.

Pitsford Water Gary Whittaker from Holmer Green, Buckinghamshire made a very rewarding trip to take an immaculate 9lb 4oz Rainbow. Acting on advice from Kay Mains, at the Fishing Lodge, Gary fished the May Tree bank , using a pheasant PTN. Also worthy of mention was a 7lb 12oz Rainbow caught by Nottingham angler John Brady on Friday. This was caught on the rudder.

The small half of the reservoir is providing good sport for bank and boat anglers alike. Damsels, buzzers, Diawl Bachs and Hares Ear are all proving successful. Boat fishing is good and a recognised ‘hotspot’ is the Gorse Bank. Bog Bay and Duffers Reach are providing good sport for bank anglers. Early morning and evening are best. Intermediate lines are proving very effective with the above mentioned flies being most effective.

Coarse fishing

Taverham Mill ‘Single Scale’ was caught and released in Costessey No 3 this week by season ticket holder Zak Bezeczek of Gorleston. At 40lb 12oz this was the first time this fish had been reported at over 40lb.Sheffield angler Daniel Slome took a superb 21lb Common. He promptly followed this with another Common of 15lb and several good tench. Season permit holder Simon Cox of Norwich banked a good Mirror of 19lb 1oz and Tench to 6½lb. Most anglers are landing Tench to 6lb, despite both Carp and Tench starting to spawn

Fishing Report 12th May

East Cape Baja California Mexico Is certainly the place to be Ken and Amy Potter continued their Baja Adventure with a wide open tuna bite, with many double digit tuna in what can only be described as a perfect week for them on their first trip to Baja. Guide Lance Peterson was out with Ken and Amy Potter with Amy threatening to give up saltwater fly-fishing forever if Lance didn't get her into a fish. Talk about guide pressure! Here's his report from later that afternoon:"Wow! It went well for us today. The events of the day are too numerous to go into, but the high point was that I got the lady a HUGE roosterfish. 35-
or 40-pounds at least. It was awesome, it may well have been the biggest rooster ever hooked by a woman on a fly. She had another big one eat first cast, but missed it! I had Ken Potter shoot my camera with slide film to capture the beast. It was 45 minutes-plus fight on a 10-weight rod. She did wonderfully well. What a great first saltwater fish? I guess she's over the saltwater hump now! Ken hooked a big jack too, but his backing birds nested on him and it broke off. Lots of shots had by all anglers. Jack crevale the street fighter of the aquatic world are around in numbers - Look for some records to be broken this month.

AIR & SEA - Water temperature 72-77 Air temperature 64°-85° Humidity about 69%
Wind SSE at 7 mph Conditions Mostly Cloudy Visibility 12 miles Offshore fishing: Plenty of tuna, marlin with an attitude and dorado that want to bite. Inshore: Big flies- Big fish, roosters, jacks are just waiting to show you your backing and bend your stick.Billfish - There are enough to make it interesting for the flyrodder.Yellowfin tuna - Plenty of good size fish.Dorado - Must be May it is getting better by the day.

Magdalena Bay Baja Mexico In general Its warmed up a tad this week and the fishing followed suit. Pompano,
cabrilla, a few leopard grouper and snook make for a mixed bag in the Esteros. The bridge at the entrance to town early morning produced a mixed bag for a few.
Water Temperature 60-66 Air Temperature 63°-78°
Humidity 36% Wind NW YELLOWTAIL - Pretty slow except at Thetis Bank.Corvina - Spread out throughout the bay, try pier or power plant.Snook - Several in the mid teens within thirty minutes of San Carlos. Halibut - Skinny water along the sandy beaches at Punta Belcher producing a few of the larger variety (5 - 15 lbs.) if you put in the time. Sight casting for halibut? What more can I say

New Rod For Barbel Season 12th May

I have been privileged to handle the new five piece barbel rod from Masterline International. Its a very powerful rod with an all through action I was most impressed with the quality and action. In a couple of months I will be writing a review on this rod. From first impressions this rod would be ideal for both float fishing and legering. It would make a good float rod for big tench in weedy snaggy conditions. If your attending the Prince Albert AS Open Day on June 8th on the banks of the river Ribble you will get the chance to handle this rod I will also be giving a talk on chub fishing at 11-0AM and 3-0PM


Latest monitoring by the Environment Agency shows how the Mersey Estuary has transformed from one of Europe’s most polluted waterways into a haven for fish and wildlife. For the first time since the Industrial Revolution oxygen levels are now high enough to support fish along the entire length of the estuary, something that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago. Levels of dissolved oxygen in the estuary water need to be at least 30 per cent for fish to thrive. When routine sampling was begun by the Environment Agency’s predecessors in the late 1970s, levels in much of the estuary were at zero.

A target to improve oxygen levels to just 10 per cent was set as long ago as 1976, but very low levels were still a problem as recently as the 1990s. The pollution was a legacy of years of raw sewage and industrial waste including chemicals being discharged into the river. However, latest information from the Environment Agency shows oxygen levels are now well above 60 per cent for the entire length of the estuary, easily high enough to support healthy fish. George Ager, of the Environment Agency, said: “This is fantastic news for the Mersey. It was once a prolific fishery famed for its salmon, but after the Industrial Revolution it became infamous for pollution.

“No so long ago people said there were no fish in the estuary, and folklore was that you couldn’t drown in it because you’d be poisoned first. But nearly 20 years of hard work have paid off and now we have an estuary to be proud of “The hard work has involved not just the Environment Agency and its predecessor, the National Rivers Authority, but also United Utilities, local industry and the Mersey Basin Campaign.” Last autumn the Environment Agency followed-up reports of salmon being spotted in the Mersey by operating a humane fish trap at Woolston Weir, near Warrington. They captured and returned 26 salmon, as well as brown trout, sea trout, lamprey and dace. Regular angling matches are also held on the Mersey in the Warrington area. Catches are growing and include roach, bream, perch, chub, dace and gudgeon. Anglers fishing the estuary are also successful, with species including cod, whiting and flatfish. Water quality improvements have also boosted the estuary’s position as a venue for other sports and attractions. Sailing regattas are held there, and canoeing, rowing and windsurfing are all increasingly popular.

George Ager added: “It has cost more than £1 billion to improve the Mersey to the state it is in today. I’m certain future generations will see this as money well spent, and in the more immediate future it can only support Liverpool waterfront’s bid for World Heritage Site status.”

Fishing Reports 7th May

Rutland Water Over wintered fish are still featuring well, especially for anglers who are using nymphs. Season ticket holder Al Owen, of Sleaford, has had some cracking bags of rainbows, and took another fine limit this week weighing 26lb. Al boat fished the bottom of the south arm.

Anglers who like to fish deep are also taking good fish. Boat regular and season ticket holder Terry Humphries from Barrowden in Rutland, came back with a fine limit of 24lb 8oz, including a 4lb 8oz rainbow. Terry remarked that in his five years of fishing Rutland Water he’s “never had, or seen better quality fish so early in the season.”

Best fish of the week fell to Terry Oliver from Lincolnshire. Terry managed a fine 5lb 8oz rainbow. Best Brown fell to Mr J Holland who took a superb conditioned 5lb fish.

The blustery conditions of the last seven days have been challenging, however the reservoir has maintained its fine form since the start of the season. Bank anglers have been taking plenty of limits along the Normanton Bank, the Finches, Whitwell Creek Armley Wood and the Berry Butts area of the reservoir.

Grafham Water

fish for week 1049 (season5909) returns 258 (1404)rod average 4.06(4.2) Colin Gayton of Newport Pagnell took the season’s best bag to date weighing 30lb 8oz, all on the buzzer and bung from the shelter of the Sludge Bank. The best rainbow of the week was taken by Bev Perkins, season ticket holder, from Northampton. Bev took his 5lb 3oz fish from a boat off the Seat on an olive buzzer. The best brown of the week went to Steven Thorpe from a boat off Caxton Hill Farm on a black minkie.The fish seem to be moving out from the margins slowly with the central drifts across the lake starting to fish. The fish here seem to be deeper down. The recent high winds have made the north shore coloured and uncomfortable to fish. Anglers are continuing to find fish on the sheltered south shore that are still willing to feed.

Ravensthorpe continues to provide excellent sport for boat anglers with pond olives joining the extensive buzzer hatches and daphnia on the trout’s menu. A spell of settled weather will see fish in the surface layers concentrating on these hatching nymphs. John Ralfe from Blythe made his journey to Ravensthorpe worthwhile and was rewarded with a super 7lb 2oz natural Brown (the best of the week), taken on a size 12 hares ear and floating line. Colin Kent took a superb brace of 6lb rainbows on buzzers from Coton End. Andy Simpson and Jim Tuck also took rainbows in the 6lb bracket. The best rainbow of the week went to John Carson of Coventry and weighed 6lb 2oz. Bloodworm, olive and brown buzzer, GRHE and PTN’s are the most successful flies fished slow on long leaders and floating lines. Cats whisker orange fritz and black peas on Hi D lines from boats and intermediate lines from banks are accounting for some nice silver rainbows. Anglers are reminded to keep leaders to a minimum 7lb to keep fish losses to a minimum.

Pitsford Water fish for week 347 (season3271) returns 105(1017) rod average 3.3(3.2) Jose Arranz of Northampton took advantage of the Bank Holiday and fished the May Tree bank at Pitsford on Monday afternoon. His first cast put him a 13lb Rainbow on the bank - his biggest fish ever. Jase used a gold head damsel with a floating line. Peter Bills of Papplewick, Nottingham, rudder fished with boat partner John Brady and took a big bag of fish. 14 of these weighed 38lb, Pete recorded a 5lb Brown, which was full of 2 inch Rudd. The duo ruddered across the narrows with fast sinking lines and gold tubes. Gavin Friel of Hannington boat fished the Causeway on Friday. In his first cast he weighed and returned a 9lb 8oz brown trout and his second cast was a 6lb rainbow. He used his favourite buzzer pattern tied by himself. A delighted Gavin commented on the quality of fishing at Pitsford.

Taverham Mill Good weather proved to be the answer for some tremendous catches this week with at least six 20lb plus Carp and a season’s record Tench from Taverham. Top of the bill was William Matthams from Basildon in Essex who banked a personal best Mirror of 22lb 12oz and a clonking personal best Tench of 8lb! Season permit holder Dave Hyne from Cheshunt, Herts, also topped the list with his 21lb 6oz Mirror. Most anglers bagged up on Tench to 6lb 13oz but the lake also produced several commons to 20lb 6oz and a 17½lb Linear Mirror.

Ardleigh Reservoir Season permit holder Roger Gardener from Sudbury landed a lovely 25lb 10oz common carp at dawn from Wick Lane this week. There have also been some very big bags of bream caught especially down the A12 end of the reservoir. Daniel Smith had over 100lbs and there have been numerous more around this mark. Wick Lane is now beginning to fish well, as expected at this time of year. The Butterfly Pond continues to produce some good mixed bags of roach, perch and bream.

Barnsfold Water - An Historic Fishery

A light breeze rippled the western bank, I could see small clouds of buzzers some ten feet above the grassy bank. Trout were sipping and swirling at these tiny non biting midge as they struggled in the surface film to get airborne. My tackle was a nine foot Thomas and Thomas Light Presentation Series medium action rod rated for a five weight line, I had chosen a Cortland double taper five weight floater, to which I had nail knotted a twelve foot Frog Hair leader with a two pound tippet. In my book the important item was the size 16 suspended black buzzer, which I had tied on the leader with a five turned tucked blood knot. Making a cast of forty feet the buzzer landing like thistledown. A good fish moved close by, I slowly retrieved two inches of line. Then I noticed a slight swirl and felt the take. I gently lifted into the fish which then bolted away from me. The finely tuned reel grudgingly gave some line.

A Hundred Year Old fishery

One of the most popular fisheries in Lancashire is probably Barnsfold Water near Chipping in the beautiful Ribble Valley. A few miles from the towns of Blackburn, Burnley and Preston. This two lakes fishery of approximately twenty two acres, is situated in the Shadow of Beacon Fell, one of the many beauty spots in the north of England. Unlike many of today's small trout fisheries Barnsfold water isn’t a new hole in the ground water. It comes with an excellent pedigree having been constructed over a hundred years ago The first reservoir was constructed in 1892 followed by the second water in 1911 the same year George V was crowned King. Also the first electric trolley busses went into service in Leeds and Bradford. The two reservoirs were built for Fullwood Urban District Council as drinking water compounds and originally stocked with brown trout. It was thought the brown trout would help keep the water pure.

In the days, just after the second world war, few gentlemen were invited to fish, no doubt it resembled an outdoors gentleman's club. These invited guests would in fact wear knee britches, tweed jackets, collar and tie. Tackle used would have been cane rods such as Hardy’s "The Pope" A ten foot dry fly rod with a stiff action in two pieces, or The "C.C. de France", which were made in lengths of six and a half feet, seven, eight and nine feet. No doubt they would have used a nine foot rod matched with a Hardy reel, silk lines and silk worm casts, later followed by nylon casts. Early fly patterns used at Barnsfold in the 1950’s and 60’s were Watson's Fancy an old Scottish loch seatrout pattern. I cannot give you any information on the following three flies. Dickson's Tangerine, William's Favourite and Brazzle, The early lures were Sweeny Todd and Polystickle mid 1960’s by Richard Walker. Whisky Fly from Albert Willock, Hot Pants from Freddie Rice, he devised this pattern after reading about American Navy wartime research which discovered orange as the most easily seen colour. The Jersey Herd a fry imitation was devised by that great angler Tom Ivens I recommend his book Still Water Fly Fishing published in 1952.

Its interesting to note that Beacon Fell and the surrounding area were planted with conifers in 1945, with the growth of these Scandinavian trees, a huge invasion of starlings appeared in the area. So heavy were the birds droppings, they caused pollution in the local streams and still waters. In 1957 Fullwood Urban District Council had to cease drawing off drinking water. The two lakes then changed from being a public water supply to a stillwater brown trout fishery, which was runs by a syndicate of mill owners from Manchester who had the fishery until 1963. It then changed hands, when the Collins family purchased the property. Under the leadership of Charles, the brown trout fishing prospered, the average size of fish being around one and a half to two pounds with several fish of 4lbs plus being caught each year. Charles and his guests fished imative dry flies and traditional wet fly patterns and no doubt enjoyed many exciting moments. Michael the son of Charles Collins decided to sell the property, but it remained a stillwater trout fishery with its first introduction of rainbow trout in 1976.

The present owner Frank Casson was a bailiff at the fishery from 1974 until he purchased the property in 1984. Frank was born in the Roman town of Ribchester on the banks of the river Ribble where he lived for 45 years. Before becoming bailiff in 1974 he worked as a loom overlooker, making sure his skills as a mechanic kept the looms working. Like myself he was one of the lucky ones who having lived in a countryside village was educated into countryside sports of shooting, ferreting and fishing. He was also a useful soccer player representing Blackburn schoolboys. Today his sporting interests are golf and fishing.

Modern Fishery

Today Barnsfold Water is a thriving put and take rainbow trout fishery, which experiences some wonderful Chironomid hatches (buzzers) This in turn provides excellent fishing with imative buzzers. Remember buzzers move very slowly as they make their way from the bottom of the lake to the surface. Once they reach the surface film they will sit there until they have gained enough energy to burst through and into the other world, then become airborne. I will often hold my imitation buzzer in the surface film for a minute or two. Its not time wasted, usually the indication of a take is the minute sideways movement of the leader. Many of my buzzer caught fish have been taken under the rod tip

Don't try using six pound tippets with small buzzers, they don’t look natural. I use tippet material between 2 and 3lbs depending on the size of the buzzer. But remember when you get a take, all you need to do is just tighten into the fish. Don’t strike aggressively, its not needed. During the warm still summer evenings (Yes, we still get evenings like that) there are some good brown sedge hatches, then you will need some six pound tippet material. Rainbows hitting sedges are certainly aggressive, the takes very savage. Other natural hatches are Hawthorn flies one of the first terrestrials, usually the last couple of days in April or early May. Hawthorn’s are followed by other land bred flies, various beetles, daddy-long-legs, cow dung flies and various ants. I well remember a great session at Barnsfold when a big hatch of winged ants were blown on the water. The fishery resembled a trout hatchery at feeding time. You don’t often get big hatches of upwinged flies at Barnsfold water. Two flies you often see are the lake and pond olives. The imitations I suggest using are, Tups Indispensable, Greewell’s Glory, Paythorn olive, Blue winged olive also the Grey duster to imitate the real thing.

Lures catch fish

At one time I was quite an avid lure fisher early in the season, visiting waters like Rutland and Grafham twice a week through the season. Starting of fishing big lures and fast sinking lines I caught my share of big rainbows and brown. As the season progressed I would switch to fishing smaller lures on floating or slow sinking lines. Occasionally fishing imative patterns especially buzzers. Finally I got tired of chucking big lures and dragging the bottom looking for a double figure brown or rainbow that didn’t come. More and more of my trout fishing was taking place on the rivers of northern England and Wales with a few trips south to fish the Kennet and other chalk streams. A twelve inch trout was great fun and an eighteen inch fish a monster.

At Barnsfold all the usual selection of commercially sold lures will catch fish. I certainly don’t like the modern practise, where a visitor sits on a seat box, chucks out a booby lure, then wait’s for the reel to sound a warning of a take. This in my book isn’t in the spirit of fly fishing. At least when you are fishing a lure, you are trying to imitate a small fish, or using a lure that will attract the aggressive nature of a fish into striking. Tackle I would suggest for lure fishing would be a nine or ten foot rod rated for a six or seven line, To get the best out of lure fishing you want two lines a floater and a medium sink both weight forward, also a selection of tapered leaders with six pound tippet. You will get a better turn over and presentation by using tapered leaders. For advice on lures I suggest you call the fishery on 01995-61583

Fishing Imative Patterns

My style of fishing at Barnsfold is with a single imative pattern or a team of buzzers, if I cannot see any surface activity I will then fish various imative nymphs. To get the best out of the water you need two lines, a floater and slow sinker. I use a Cortland five weight double taper floater and a weight forward slow sinker. How rods and styles have changed over the years. At one time I would use seven and eight weight rods. Today its a five weight, when the wind is blowing a hooligan its a six weight. I find the nine foot Thomas and Thomas Light Presentation Series medium action rods in both weights ideal for stillwater fly fishing. A most important item in my book is the leader. I use a Frog Hair fluorocarbon leader of between nine and twelve feet with a tippet between two and six pounds. Before starting your days fishing give your line and leader a good stretch. All my flies are barbless, I have never lost a fish through having a barbless hook. The fish have been lost because I made a mistake. I use barbless hooks for all my fishing because its easier to unhook the fish in the water or the net. I well remember hooking a big tarpon in the Gulf of Mexico that gave me 14 big jumps but it didn’t throw the barbless hook.

What It cost’s and Wheel chair Access

Fishing prices are very competitive, A full day 4 fish ticket will cost £19. Half day ticket {any 6 hrs} 2 fish £13. Evening ticket {3hrs after 5pm} 1 fish £8. Full day sport ticket, no fish £13. Half day sport ticket no fish £8. Gates are opened at 8-0 am and close at dusk. As with many fisheries today there is a wheelchair fishing platform, situated one of the second lake in front of the bungalow. Remember it was designed and built for the angler who is disabled. Not for the rest of us fly fishers. Frank Casson the fishery owner, offers fly casting lessons on the water, with Spey casting on the river. Its a friendly fishery and Frank is very approachable so seek advice. A mile or so down the road there is the very nice Inn at Goosnargh which includes a restaurant. Also in the area you will find several good B&B’s at reasonable prices..

First Stripers and Blues Arrive 3rd May

Over the past three years fishing for stripers and blues on the east coast of America has become very popular with the UK anglers. This year with cheaper transatlantic flights even more angler will be fishing on the other side of the pond. To give you the reader a better service, regular reports from Capt Jim White based in Rhode island will be appearing on this site.
The first striped bass and bluefish have arrived this week along the south coast of Rhode Island which is referred to as the South Shore. This is early for bluefish to be showing along the beaches, as the water is still cold, its only 46 degrees F. Last season the bluefish arrived a week before. The previous winter was a lot warmer than this past one.
There are winter holdover fish which are now active in the Seekonk, Warren and Barrington Rivers. Which also contain white perch . The fish can be taken on small Clouser Minnows, Crazy Charlie's or very small Deceivers. A full sinking line is the best as the water here moves very quickly when the tide is moving fast.
Water temperatures inside the bay are running from 46 to 48 degrees F. When the water hits 49 or 50-degrees F, the fish will become a lot more active and will move closer to the surface.
Herring (alewives) are now running in almost all the rivers that lead to a freshwater ponds. This is a yearly ritual where they ascend the river to the ponds to spawn. As fry return to the ocean in late May and June big stripers are waiting for them as they enter the bay, when the feeding turns into mayhem as the stripers begin to eat all that they can catch. This is the time of year when your in with a chance of landing a big cow bass on a fly rod. A nine or ten weight Thomas and Thomas Horizon or Helix model would be my choice, Make sure you have some two hundred yards of 30lb backing. E-mail Capt Jim White for further advice on choice of lines and flies applicable for the time of the year you plan to visit.
At this years Royal Lancashire Show on the banks of the river Ribble at Dinkley July 29th 30th and 31st you will get the chance to cast with a T&T rod. I have just been reading a new book Tug-O-War by Nick Curcione, Its excellent and one I can thoroughly recommend for all you saltwater fly fishers, or those of you who are planning to take up this exciting branch of the sport. Its published by Frank Amato publications the ISBN number is soft cover 1-57188-250-2 hard cover 1-57188-263-4

Is The New Evidence On Fish Feeling Pain Flawed? 2nd May

You have probably noticed the media frenzy over the latest 'evidence' that fish feel pain when researchers inject them with bee venom and acid. Of course the antis have seized upon this and will claim that this strengthens their arguments. The following is a statement from Martin Salter MP, on behalf of the sports minister and H.M. Government. This is followed by a statement from James D. Rose, Ph.D.Department of Zoology and Physiology University of Wyoming


Controversial research led by Dr Lynne Sneddon of Edinburgh University on whether or not fish can feel pain will not alter the Government's enthusiastic support for angling as a sport and pastime claimed Labour MP Martin Salter who is Parliamentary adviser to Sports Minister Richard Caborn.

Mr Salter said - "The conclusions of the Edinburgh University research team are completely at odds with a recent report from Professor James Rose of the University of Wyoming which proved that fish lack the capacity in their brains to feel pain. Scientists can argue this point until the cows come home but I have confirmed with Richard Caborn that nothing that has been published will dissuade the Government from giving both political and financial support to angling projects such as "Get Hooked on Fishing" and other schemes designed to encourage young people to take up Britain's most popular sport."

The Get Hooked on Fishing project in Durham is run by local police officer Mike Watson and targets young people at risk of re-offending. It has received over £70,000 in government funding via the Environment Agency, £15,000 in Lottery cash and £50,000 from the local Youth Offending Team budget.

Martin Salter and Richard Caborn have been visiting a variety of angling projects across the country over the last twelve months and are working on proposals to back the creation of new urban fisheries to provide opportunities for a new generation of young anglers. One of the projects Stoke Angling for Everyone (SAFE) has recently received a Lottery grant of £88,000 and is regarded as an example of best practice for other areas.

Martin Salter added:- "Richard Caborn is the most pro-angling Minister we have ever had as Minister for Sport and he is channelling a serious amount of money into angling. It will take more than a few scientists to dent Richard's enthusiasm for fishing."
Angling Governing organisations have also been responding to this latest report. Dr Bruno Broughton, a well-known fish biologist and scientific advisor to the National Angling Alliance (NAA), is unconvinced by claims that fish can feel pain.
"I doubt that it will come as much of a shock to anglers to learn that fish have an elaborate system of sensory cells around their mouths. Nor is it a surprise that, when their lips are injected with poisons, fish respond and behave abnormally. However, it is an entirely different matter to draw conclusions about the ability of fish to feel pain, a psychological experience for which they - literally - do not have the brains" he said.

James D. Rose, Ph.D.Department of Zoology and Physiology University of Wyoming writes as follows. - The Royal Society paper by Sneddon, et al. does not actually deal with pain. It deals only with nociception. I have already addressed the kinds of conceptual confusions that undermine the paper by Sneddon et al. in my 2002 Reviews in Fisheries Science Paper. They did not cite this paper and apparently haven't read it. The flaws in their argument include the following.
Their definitions of pain and nociception are misleading. Pain, as defined by investigators who study it (e.g. the International Association for the Study of Pain) is purely a conscious experience, with a sensory and emotional component. The detection, processing and transmission of information related to injury is nociception, unconscious and not pain.
Contrary to the assertions of Sneddon, et al. behaviors more complex than reflexes are are frequently purely nociceptive as well. For example, humans with extensive damage or dysfunction of the neocortex in the cerebral hemispheres can still make facial displays, vocalizations, and show struggling and avoidance reactions in response to nociceptive stimuli, but they are unconscious and unable to experience pain.
By the definition of pain used by Sneddon et al. it would be concluded that these unconscious humans are feeling pain rather than making purely nociceptive responses, which is clearly erroneous.
Secondly, a sustained change in behaavioral activity in response to a sustained nociceptive stimulus (like the bee venom or acid injection in the jaw), shows nothing more that that behavior can be persistently changed if a nociceptive stumulus is sustained. In light of the probable intensity and sustained nature of this noxious stimulus, it is quite likely that a physiological and/or endocrine stress response was elicited in the trout to a much greater degree than procedues to which control fish were exposed. A physiological response of this type is known to alter the ongoing behavior and physiological function of trout and is perfectly understandable, but it is not evidence of a pain experience. I'm quite surprised that the authors of this paper didn't thoroughly consider the confounding implications of the likelihood of a physiological and/or endocrine stress response.
In order to show that a fish experiences pain it is necessary to show that a fish has consciousness. Without consciousness, there is no pain. Nothing in the information presented in this paper necessitates predication of consciousness for its explanation. Furthermore, from the extensive knowledge that exists on the neural basis of consciousness, there is no basis for assuming that a fish might have such a capacity. Only anthropomorphic speculation would lead one to conclude that the trout in this study are experiencing pain. Complex behaviors are known to occur without conscious mediation, even in humans, and the fact that there are nociceptive reactions of trout to sustained, noxioius stimuli in no way justifies a conclusion that these fish have a capacity for the conscious experience of pain.

The flaws in their argument include the following.
1. Their definitions of pain and nociception are invalid and misleading. Pain, as defined by investigators who study it (e.g. the International Association for the Study of Pain) is purely a conscious experience, with a sensory and emotional component. The detection, processing and transmission of information related to injury by lower levels of the nervous system (below the neocortex of the cerebral hemispheres) is unconscious nociception and not pain. Contrary to the assertions of Sneddon, et al. complex, non-reflexive behaviors can be purely nociceptive (and unconscious) as well. For example, humans with extensive damage or dysfunction of the neocortex in the cerebral hemispheres can still make a complex of responses including facial displays, vocalizations, and struggling and avoidance reactions to nociceptive stimuli, but they are unconscious and unable to experience pain. By the definition of pain used by Sneddon et al. it would be concluded that these unconscious humans are feeling pain rather than making purely nociceptive responses, which is clearly erroneous. There are many other examples of complex, non-reflexive behaviors that can be performed unconsciously, like the fact that sleepwalkers can open doors, navigate around obstacles and speak while unconscious during deep sleep.
2. Secondly, a sustained change in behavioral activity in response to a sustained nociceptive stimulus (in the Sneddon, et al. paper, the bee venom or acid injection in the jaw), shows nothing more than that behavior can be persistently changed, especially if a nociceptive stimulus is sustained; there is nothing about these behavioral responses, including the rocking behaviors and jaw rubbing by the fish that proves conscious awareness. Furthermore, it is likely that a sustained nociceptive stimulus would cause a hormonal stress response that could, by itself, produced a sustained change in behavior, purely unconsciously,. Most important, in order to show that a fish (or any organism) experiences pain, it is necessary to show that a fish has consciousness. Without consciousness, there is no pain. Nothing in the information presented in this paper necessitates predication of consciousness for its explanation and the authors don't even deal with this essential issue. Furthermore, as I have shown in my 2002 Reviews in Fisheries Science paper there is extensive scientific evidence which shows that pain and consciousness depend on very specific brain regions, namely specialized neocortical regions of the cerebral hemispheres. These brain regions are absent in fishes and there are no likely alternative systems to perform the same tasks. Consequently, there is no basis for assuming that a fish might have a capacity for consciousness or pain.
The burden of proof that trout are conscious and potentially capable of feeling pain is on these authors and they have ignored this issue by citing previous studies that also used invalid criteria for demonstrating pain. Only anthropomorphic speculation would lead one to conclude that the trout in this study are experiencing pain. Complex behaviors are known to occur without conscious mediation, even in humans and the fact that there are non-reflexive, nociceptive reactions of trout to sustained, noxious stimuli in no way justifies a conclusion that these fish have a capacity for the conscious experience of pain. Regarding the difference between a lack of nociceptive receptors in sharks and rays and the evidence for nociceptive receptors in trout presented by Sneddon et al., their evidence for nociceptive receptors comes as no surprise. A paper published by Whitear in 1971 showed the presence of C-fibers in bony fishes (e.g. fishes like trout). C-fibers are the principal type of nociceptive receptor. I cited Whitear's study in my 2002 Reviews paper, but Sneddon et al, failed to cite this earlier, anatomical evidence of nociceptors in fish, treating their results as wholly new.
The bottom line is that any attempt to show pain in fish must use valid criteria, including proof of conscious awareness in fish. This is not something that can be taken for granted because on neurological and behavioral grounds it seems so improbable that fish could be conscious and feel pain. We know a great deal about the neurological requirements for consciousness and the experience of pain. Extensive, specialized regions of neocortex are required. Fish lack these brain regions and have no likely substitute systems for performing the same functions.
The improbability that fish can experience pain in no way diminishes our responsibility for concern about their welfare, because they are still capable of robust behavioral, physiological and hormonal responses to stressors, which, if sufficiently sustained, can be detrimental to fish health, but the idea that fish are capable of experiencing pain or suffering resembling our experiences is, on the basis of extensive factual evidence, extremely improbable.

The Environment Agency is reminding businesses across the North West to be vigilant when buying wild salmon, especially before the netting season begins on 1 June, to ensure the fish have been legally caught. Illegal fishing for salmon continues in several areas despite the severe depletion of many salmon stocks in British waters in recent years.

The latest Annual Assessment of Salmon Fisheries in England and Wales shows that less than 30 per cent of salmon rivers have satisfactory stocks, against conservation limits set by the Environment Agency.

Early-running salmon are a particular concern. These ‘spring salmon’ are protected by bylaws introduced by the Agency in 1999 which prohibit the killing of salmon by nets before 1 June, and require the release of all rod-caught salmon before 16 June.

Anyone selling or buying wild salmon commits an offence if they could reasonably suspect that the fish was caught illegally. Offenders - including buyers - are liable to a fine of up to £5,000, and could face imprisonment.

As a reminder, the Environment Agency is sending a Buyer Beware! leaflet to fishmongers and fish merchants throughout the country as well as to hotels, inns and restaurants in those regions that contain major salmon rivers.

Environment Agency Head of Fisheries, Dr David Clarke, said: “Although most businesses are law-abiding, some may not be fully aware of the laws that affect the buying and selling of salmon. We want to make sure everyone is informed of what to look out for, and how to contact us if they are offered salmon in suspicious circumstances.

“Regrettably, there may be a few who will be tempted to buy illegally caught salmon. Given the concern over the state of our salmon stocks at present, the Agency will treat any offences very seriously. ”Anyone who suspects illegally-caught salmon or sea trout are being offered for sale should contact the Environment Agency’s free Emergency Hotline on 0800 80 70 60. All information is treated in strict confidence.

Angling Reports 28th April

Barnsfold Water Chipping This two lakes fishery is offering excellent rainbow trout fishing for those fishing buzzers, with several double figure bags being taken. Best fish was a rainbow of 8lb 3 ounces on a black buzzer by Peter Ashworth of Barnoldswick Lancashire. Its nice to see the odd good brown trout being caught. If your planning to fish buzzers on size 14 - 20's hooks, Don't use tippet material of 6lbs I use Frog Hair tippet material between 6X .005 3.7lbs test and 7X .004 2.8lb test. I have seen anglers fishing small buzzers on 3X and 4X The finer the tippet the more natural your buzzer will behave in the water. Always carry a selection of buzzers in various sizes and colours. Its surprising how one minute the fish are feeding on black buzzers then switch to red buzzers.

I have just returned from northern Finland where I have been demonstrating Thomas and Thomas fly fishing rods, one of the countries big fly fishing shows. I was most surprised to see so many ladies visiting the show, where I spent a lot of time helping many of them with their casting. I didn't get a chance to fish, all the lakes were frozen over, in fact it was possible to drive a car onto some of the lakes. Arriving back home it was nice to see some extra water in our rivers, which certainly put a smile on my face. Hopefully we shall see some seatrout moving up our rivers from the ocean. Have you noticed how over the past few years healthy aquatic plants have disappeared from our river The rivers Aire, Hodder, Calder, Ribble and Wharfe to name just a few are certainly lacking in weed. Waters without a good supply of aquatic weed, do not offer security to the fish or the insect life. I feel this would be a good project for a University student to undertake and study with some help from the Environment Agency

Fisheries Reports 28th April

Rutland Water is enjoying a tremendous start to the season, one of the best for many years. A superb 7lb 6oz rainbow, taken off the Old Hall bank was the best fish of the week. Kevin Wilkinson, from Mansfield was delighted with his catch. However, the fish did leave him in some pain! On hooking the fish, it charged off towing his shooting head backing out at such a blistering speed that it burnt Kevin’s fingers. Kevin momentarily let go of the line, but regained control to guide the fish to the net after a hectic battle. A cat’s whisker on an intermediate line, taken on the first cast, led to the rainbow’s downfall. Kevin managed a fine limit of eight fish weighing 24lb 8oz, with a mixture of the aforementioned fly and a black buzzer.

Boat anglers Al Owen from Sleaford and Roger McCarthy of Melton Mowbray (both season ticket holders) took 16 overwintered rainbows, from the top of the south arm that weighed 42lb 12oz. Floating line and black buzzers fished under the bung being the successful method.

As in previous weeks, the number of overwintered fish has been outstanding, coming mainly from the South Arm and falling to nymph tactics. There are, however, good quality fish coming from all parts of the reservoir, with one or two showing right up the top of the north arm.

Ravensthorpe Reservoir Recently retired warden Mick Beardsley, from Kettering, took the best fish of the week from the Coton End on a damsel nymph. The fish just tipped the scales at 10lb and was safely returned to the water.

Fish are feeding heavily on buzzers and Daphnia. This weekend saw the first olive hatches. Boats are catching on static buzzers or orange lures. Bank anglers are using damsel nymphs or single buzzer to get their fish. Coton End and dome bushes seem to be the best area.

Grafham Water John Pritchard of St Albans caught the biggest rainbow of the week at 6lb 9oz from a boat on a sparkler booby with a medium sinking line. The heaviest 8 fish bag of the week was taken by Mr M Cox of Finedon, Northants at 21lb 6oz, which included the best brown of the week at 4lb 6oz.

Anglers with catch and release tickets have been very successful with Brian Collins (Hitchin) doing well from the bank and Norman Shippey (Cambridge) from the boat, each catching around 30 fish using floating lines and nymphs. Season ticket holder David Oxborough of St Neots, and his boat partner John Foley took a tremendous catch of 78 fish on catch and release. The pair took their fish off the seat area on buzzers, with over half of the fish over wintered and weighing 3-4lb.

Bank anglers have fared particularly well on the harbour arms where over wintered fish have been common and on the dam wall where largely stocked fish have provided the action.

Anglers fishing floating lines using a team of nymphs have generally been the most successful from both bank and boat, although lures, such as tubes, sparklers and blobs on a medium sink line have also worked well.

Pitsford Water Season ticket holder Terry Pancoust, a regular stalwart at Pitsford, bank fished Pitsford Creek to land a superb 11lb 8oz rainbow. Panc, as he is known, used a wet1 line with a green pea, to take Pitsford’s best rainbow of the week.

Andy Stanbridge of Watford boat fished the small half to bag 4 fish on an afternoon boat. His best fish weighed in at 6lb and is Andy’s best reservoir Rainbow. He and his boat partner fished the small half, Holcot Arm, using buzzers on a floater.

William Hill of Wellingborough bank fished Pitsford Creek on Sunday to bag a 10lb 1oz Rainbow. The fish took a white muddler (size 12) fished on an intermediate line.

Lawrence Free, aged 13, and Dad Bill had some tuition with Nathan Clayton. Afterwards the pair decided to boat fish for the first time. Lawrence and Bill both took one fish each. The father and son were over the moon with their catch. They travelled from St Albans and will be back at Pitsford soon.

coarse fishing Taverham Mill The Weir family were in excellent form again this week with Mike taking several Tench to over 6lb. Christine Weir took tench and a 19lb Mirror Carp (her personal best). Son Andrew took an 18lb 6oz Mirror Carp. The best Common Carp of the week weighed 20lb 8oz and was taken by Simon Wrigglesworth. Other good catches of Common Carp fell to Ian Rust (15lb) and Bob Anderson (13lb).

Fishing News April 24th

Rutland Water fish for week 3539 (season8436) returns 644 (1430) rod average5.49 (5.89)

Rutland Water is in outstanding form at the moment, with over wintered fish again featuring in most bags. The rod average for the week was another impressive 5.49. “The best fishing I’ve had for ages” that was the quote from Northampton’s John Emerson who took the top individual in The Today’s Flyfisher European Open, fished on Wednesday. John caught his eight fish rainbow limit, weighing 19lb and the best fish, which weighed 4lb 5oz. John came back to Rutland Water on Friday for a day’s pleasure fishing and recorded the best rainbow of the week, a solid 6lb 1oz fish. John took this with another haul of over wintered fish while fishing with his wife Julie. All fish fell to floating line and black buzzer.

best bank areas Sykes Lane, Whitwell front, Old Hall, Yellowstones, Green Bank, the Damall, Yellowstones, best boat areas Normanton, Sykes Lane, Barnsdale, Dickensons, Old Hall, Yellowstones, Manton Bay, Hideaway Bay

best methods Black or green buzzers fished on floating lines for bank anglers and intermediate lines for boat anglers. Also try black, green or olive lures, gold or silver sparklers.

best rainbow 6lb 1oz taken by John Emerson of Northampton best brown 3lb 8oz taken by Al Ovenden of Wittering on floating line and black buzzer

Ravensthorpe Reservoir fish for week 527(season4173) returns 61(745) rod average 8.64 (5.6)

Boat anglers at Ravensthorpe are enjoying the time of their lives with an outstanding rod average of 8.6. East Haddon angler Dick Haynes took one hundred rainbows during the week up to 12lbs. Dick’s top method was buzzer, GRHE and green minkies. Giles Wilson and Jamie Cousins returned 22 fish to the boat including rainbows over 7lb in a half day session.

Resident season ticket holder Graham Smith enjoyed an exciting week taking rainbows of 7lb 12oz and 9lb 4oz topped by a superb natural Brown of 7lb 2oz. Graham fished GRHE from a drifting boat and shared a 32 fish bag with Bob Church. Fish have switched on to prolific concentrations of black and olive buzzer supplemented by snail and daphnia. Buzzer combinations on long leaders fished almost static from anchored boats are taking some big bags of fish.

Grafham Water fish for week 969 (season3910) returns 255 (911)rod average 3.8 (4.29)

An outstanding week at Grafham with the season’s best Rainbow and Brown being taken. George Ogden of Thorton, Notts, took a superb 9lb 7½oz Rainbow on a gold tube from T Buoy. The best brown was taken by Steven Tod of Kings Langley.

Steven took this lovely brown, weighing 5lb 13oz, on a black minkie from Hill Farm off the bank.The best bag of the week went to Chelmsford’s Simon Thorpe
with 8 over wintered rainbows for 28lb 6oz from Rectory Bay. Anglers on catch and release tickets are reporting catches of up to 30 fish from the north shore area with the most consistent of these being Norman Shippey of Cambridge.

Pitsford Water fish for week 357(season2310) returns98 (693) rod average 3.6 (3.3)

Best fish of the week was a 5lb 6oz rainbow taken by Richard Webb. Stuart East, new warden at Pitsford, caught his first Pitsford trout - a beautiful 3lb 4oz rainbow, whilst on his first boat fishing trip. Stuart took his fish near the dam wall on a sinking line and a lure. Stuart turned to bank fishing on Monday and caught his first rainbow off the bank.

Higham Ferrers and District Fly Fishing Association enjoyed a closely fought mid week match. First was Mr N Childs with 6 fish for 10lb 7oz, second Mr M Frost with 6 fish for 10lb 6oz and in third was Mr R Welch with 6 fish for 10lb 5oz. Biggest fish of the match (3lb 9oz rainbow) went to Mr J Gonter

best bank areas Gorse, Stilton Point, fish are also being caught in Bog Bay best boat areas The Narrows towards the West Bank, Pitsford Creek and the Dam

best bank areas The Gorse and Stilton Point. Fish are also being caught in Bog Bay

best methods fast sinking and intermediate lines using damsels and small lures. Fish are also falling to buzzers on the bung.

Coarse Fishing

Taverham Mill has provided a tremendous week’s fishing, especially over the Easter weekend. The biggest fish of the week was a personal best for Taverham angler Bob Anderson who banked a 23lb 12oz Mirror, followed by fish of 17lb 8oz and 10lb 3oz. He also spent time in between landing 10 tench to 5½lb.

The Weir family from Bacton hit the jackpot again, this time with youngest brother Simon landing the biggest with a brace of carp weighing in at 21lb (common) and 20lb 4oz (Mirror), plus another of 13lb 4oz. Big brother Andrew caught 21 tench to 5lb plus Mirrors of 13lb, 18½lb and 11lb. Dad Mike couldn’t compete with the boys with his 4 Carp of 16lb 4oz, 13lb 12oz, 13lb 1oz and 12lb 12oz. Most other anglers banked Carp and Tench of a good size.


The carp are now showing well in many areas of the reservoir. A superb 26lb 2oz mirror was landed at Wick Lane by season permit holder Richard 'Barty' Bartlett. This follows his superb catch of a 30lb 8oz common a couple of weeks earlier. Night fishing is reserved exclusively for season permit holders and these may be obtained from the Fishing Lodge on production of 2 passport photos. Cost is £125 for full permit and £75 for a concessionary. The permit covers a full 12 months from the date of joining.

The A12 end of the reservoir is the place to head if you're after bream. Some good bags have been taken with local David McWilliams landing about a dozen all between 4 - 5 lb.
There are also good reports for Alton Water near Ipswich. Anglers have been enjoying consistent sport with bream, many of which exceed 5lb., especially just above Lemons Hill Bridge. A reasonable number of excellent roach to 1.5lb have also helped to boost local interest.

Big Fly Fishing Show

Sportsfish will be staging their fourth annual Reading Show this year on Saturday and Sunday 10th and 11th May. Based on last year’s attendance and sales, they expect this years show to be even more popular with Saturday being the busiest day.

Highlights of the show include: 100ft. manufacturers marquee including brands such as Hardy, Sage, Orvis, Guide and Fulling Mill just to mention a few. Casting demonstrations all day from experts including Andy Murray, Charles Jardine, Garry Coxon and Jerry Siem. Fly Tying demonstrations covering fly tying techniques and patterns for trout, salmon, saltwater species and pike.

A full programmed of lectures in our lecture room covering everything from entomology to overseas travel. Members of Sportfish Team England will be on hand to answer questions and offer advice. APGAI and STANIC instructors running casting clinics Refreshments Competitions Public entry to the show is free and its 5 minutes from junction 12 of the M4 As you can see there is plenty to see whether an experienced fisherman or a newcomer to the sport.

A Spring Day On A Pennine Stream 23rd April

The size 16 Grey Duster settled on the water like thistledown, it drifted a few feet downstream then disappeared in a small dimple. I tightened into a good fish which put a nice curve in my 4 weight .

A Cold Dry Start To The Season

Since the beginning of April I have made many trips to the rivers Ribble and Aire, catching just the odd trout, but enjoying the experience despite the cold easterly winds which seemed to blow most days. The rivers have been low and gin clear, by the start of the Easter holidays most rivers in the north of England and Wales were bare bones. I was getting concerned about the many thousands of bright silver smolts in the Ribble, a river which needed a lift of water too help them on their way downstream to the estuary and then the ocean.

I had another concern, if we didn’t get rain soon to increase flow rates I feel we were sitting on an ecological time bomb. In these present conditions, just a small pollution incident could cause a major fish kill. What did please me during the week leading up to Easter, has been the big increase in fly life, there has certainly been a profusion of olives and sedges.

While I have been fishing the rivers Aire and Ribble, Kent Sherrinton of Burnley has been travelling over the Pennines to fish some of the Pennine streams with great success catching many wild brown trout to seventeen inches. Sitting in my study having a mug of tea after a tough testing session on the river Ribble which accounted for one trout. I had a call from Kent. "Hello Martin have you been out today"? I answered "Yes" saying "Just one trout what about you". "I had 14 trout today most of them on dry flies". "Well done" I said "When are you taking me"? "I will give Steve a call tonight about a membership card" A couple of days later I was told by Steve that my membership card was in the post.

The day before Easter Friday Kent called "Are you up for a days trout fishing tomorrow" My answer was an immediate "Yes" Kent said "Be at my place for 6-30 tomorrow morning" I decided a four weight, seven and a half foot Thomas and Thomas rod in the LPS series would be quite adequate matched with a floating line and a nine foot fluorocarbon leader. Talking of leaders I have been field testing the Frog Hair leaders both in salt and freshwater. On a recent trip to the Bahamas I felt they did give me a big advantage when bonefishing in the skinny water with bonefish to 6lbs. From my tests over the past few weeks I am more than happy with them for my fly fishing leaders.

An Early Start

I arrived at Kent’s house with some minutes to spare, "Good morning Kent what a delightful day for fly fishing, Yes, we should get a few takes today Martin" said Kent After loading the car boot with tackle, waders and breakfast we headed off to the Pennines for my first days trouting on a Pennine stream. An hour later we were parking up in a quiet area of the countryside with lots of beech trees, with scattered clumps of primroses. After pulling on our waders, we set up our tackle, both of us using four weight outfits. I then my waterside breakfast of tomatoes, cheese, brown bread and a banana. It was time to head off for the stream. As we made our way to the waterside Kent said "Martin there’s a Jay, its on second branch up on that beech tree to our left" What a nice sight, its always nice to see this picturesque and secretive bird. You don’t often see Jay’s. The best chance is certainly in early spring when the trees haven't yet got their cloaks of green.

I heard the bubbling, gurgling, flowing stream as it tumbled downstream before I reached it, pushing my way through some riverside elder bushes and hawthorns I had my first glimpse of the tiny river, though I preferred to call it a stream. It looked beautiful in the early morning light. Twenty yards upstream it disappeared as it made right turn between the riverside trees and bushes. I could see scattered clumps of wild daffodils and primroses. A dipper stood on a rock just a feet upstream of me. Two red Admirals chased each other. There were small areas of water rippled by the light easterly wind, The odd buzzer could be seen, under a horse chestnut tree a good fish swirled on the surface. "Good fish there Kent, chuck it a fly" I said. He made three good casts, the drift’s was perfect and spot on. The fish didn’t want to eat his Paythorn Olive. On his next cast the fly was grabbed by the branch that liked flies. Kent said, "before I free the fly you have a few casts Martin" I made four casts, perfect drifts still no fish wanted to eat. On my next cast my fly got grabbed by the trailing branch. It was time to free our flies then move on upstream.

After a few yards, we arrived at a nice looking pool. Kent the perfect host said "Cast up towards that moss covered rock", I did as I was told. The Grey Duster landed perfectly then drifted downstream, sadly the trout didn’t think it was a good drift. On the second drift the fly disappeared in a swirl of water. In my excitement I struck too hard and got broken off. Result was one nil to the trout. I didn’t make the same mistake twice.

My First Pennine Trout

We moved a few yards upstream to where the river flowed quite fast from right to left over some rocks before flowing slowly over silt and gravel. I made a long cast upstream , the size 16 Grey Duster settled on the water like thistledown, it drifted a few feet downstream then disappeared in a small dimple. I tightened into a good fish which put a nice curve in my 4 weight rod. The tip pulled over, my first Pennine trout was hooked. After a brief struggle a ten inch fish was unhooked in the water. It was a fin, tail and scale perfect unlike most of the stocked fish in our stillwaters. In fact Walt Disney could have painted that trout. Wiping my hand I turned to Kent and Said "That was good" as we shook hands.

Wading quietly upstream for a few yards we came to a good looking pool, At the bottom of pool on the right hand side was an over hanging willow, a couple of yards before the pool on the left hand bank was a large hawthorn waiting to grab a badly cast fly. To make matters worse, at the bottom of the pool a length of steel rod was sticking some three feet above the water out towards the far bank. Making it difficult to make a parallel cast upstream.

Kneeling down Kent pulled off some line, he then made two false casts dropping the Paythorn Olive at the head of the pool. As the Olive drifted downstream Kent slowly retrieved the slack line. Twenty feet into the drift a fish swirled on the surface sucking in Kent’s Olive. The answering strike pulled the rod tip downwards, it was a good fish. Kent unhooked his landing net, a minute or two later a twelve inch brown trout was being unhooked then released a beautiful fish untouched by hand. I waded out into the stream and cleared away the length of steel rod.

It Looked The Perfect Place

Once more we moved upstream, for several yards the river was over hung by trees and bushes. Two large beeches, some willows, alders, and hawthorns created a tunnel like appearance. Some branches of the beech tree trailed in the water creating a scum line, We sat watching this area of water for rising fish, We were not disappointed. A good fish rolled on the surface, another fished sucked in what I thought was a buzzer. A flash of turquoise blue disappeared up the tunnel, as a kingfisher made its way upstream to a favourite Fishing Hole no doubt seeking a meal. A blackbird flew across the stream, we spotted several wrens and warblers, the latter a delightful waterside bird with its black cap and white necklace. A clump of Kingcups or marsh marigolds looked magnificent in the morning sunshine. A few Dark Olives were coming off. Life was wonderful.

Kent made a couple of drifts over the rising fish, sadly no interests was shown in his Paythorn Olive. I made a couple of drifts with a size 16 Grey Duster, again no sign of interest. I then made a bad back cast, getting hooked up in a hawthorn bush, retrieving my fly would have spooked any trout. So we moved on upstream. As we made a left turn I could see a beautiful looking stretch of water, no bushes or trees to impede the casting. It looked perfect. A good fish swirled on the surface. Kent said "Go ahead Martin" Keeping low making sure I wouldn’t cast a shadow on the water, I pulled off some line then made one false cast. Dropping the Grey Duster at the head of the pool. The fly drifted about three feet before it was sucked down by an eager trout. The gentle but fast strike connected with a nice fish which was soon to hand, bending down I slipped the hook from another beautiful wild brown trout, then watched the fish dash off to its resting place. I was a happy angler.

I moved back from the waters edge where Kent and I sat and chatted for some minutes. Then it was Kent’s turn to cast a fly on the water. The fly drifted downstream some fifteen feet before being eaten by a very good trout. After being netted and unhooked we discussed the beauty of the fish as it regained its strength in the shallows before swimming off to sanctuary of the deep water. In the next couple of hours we fished some delightful water with lots of character. We caught a few more trout both on dry a flies, wet flies and small imitation blood worm larva. As we walked across the fields to the car we both agreed it had been a delightful session on a beautiful Pennine stream. It would have been nice to have had a three weight Thomas & Thomas LPS on these small rivers or streams.

The Deadly Silent Enemy

Sadly all the life and beauty of this Pennine stream and others like it, could be lost by some silent enemy escaping into a water course, such as chemicals, fertilisers, pesticides or silage. Perhaps the releasing of a deadly poison from a riverside factory, garage or farm. It doesn’t of course have to be a riverside factory. That small foot wide stream near your home eventually flows into a river. We need to make sure all these tiny veins of the countryside are kept clean and healthy. As we build more homes, factories schools and hospitals. We must make sure we build the sewage treatment plants to cope with all the sewage and chemical effluent before we go ahead with any new buildings. I recommend the following reading The Pursuit of Wild Trout Mike Weaver Merlin Unwin books. ISBN 1-873674-00-7 Environmental Poisoning and The Law ISBN 0 9516073 1 6 The Silent Spring by Rachel Carson published by Hamish Hamilton 1963 Of course we should all be members of the ACA, Lets be honest we cannot trust the EA which as we know is a Government quangoe.

Big Attraction For Piscatorial Centre

Royal Lancashire Show July 29th 30th 31st will have its own Piscatorial Centre with something for all anglers. Every show has a special attraction - This years show on the banks of the river Ribble upstream of Ribchester has Dr Malcolm Greenhalgh with his entertaining riverside walk where he invites the general public to join him as he discusses the flora, fauna, water fowl, wildlife, birds and aquatic life along the riverside. It will be one of those perfect, relaxing, educational and entertaining sessions of the Royal Lancs Show which commences at 2-0pm each afternoon. Other attractions are Fly dressing with Pendle fly dressers guild, including Eric Parsons Brian Shoesmith and Clare Brindle. Another attraction is 14 year old England Youth International Lisa Isles of Poulton-Le -Fylde who will be tying flies in the marquee. There will be twice daily demonstrations of Wallis casting by Alan Roe of Blackpool and Spey casting by Frank Casson of Barnsfold Water Chipping. The barbel society will be present under the leadership of Phil Bettley and his team. Other anglers present to answer your questions are Greger Johnsson the Swedish Lapland fishing expert. Learn about Fly fishing for pike. Sea anglers haven't been forgotten, come along and meet some of the anglers who fish the Fylde coast Andrew Cross, Dennis Kirkham and George Korrol. Also in attendance will be the Bradford City AA Prince Albert AS Other clubs have also been invited. Meet with various personalities from the world of coarse sea and game angling.


Sheffield Children Win Free Day Out at Chatsworth Angling Fair 18th April

Ten Sheffield boys and girls, aged 12 to 14, have won an all-expenses-paid visit to next month’s annual Chatsworth Angling Fair - to be held over the weekend of May 17 and 18 on the world-famed Chatsworth estate near Bakewell, Derbyshire. Their trip is sponsored by the Chatsworth Bursary, an award provided by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire and the fair’s organisers, which aims to offer an introduction to angling for children who might not otherwise get the chance.

The 10 youngsters all attend Handsworth Grange secondary school, which was nominated for the award by the Lord Mayor of Sheffield, Councillor Mrs Marjorie Barker, who is one of the school’s governors.

Chatsworth Angling Fair is Britain’s largest open-air show devoted solely to all branches of the sport, even including sea angling. During their day out, the children will be able to meet many of the sport’s biggest names, They will also see a cavalcade of "100 Years of Angling History", taking spectators from some of the greatest Edwardian fishermen, appearing in appropriate costume and wielding the heavy old fishing tackle of the day, up to the latest innovations of modern times.

Also accompanying the group will be one of the Handsworth Grange teachers, Barry Cartwright, a leading light of the Specialist Anglers' Alliance (whose highly skilled members concentrate on catching fish of specimen size and are also at the forefront of angling politics).

"It’s now widely accepted that children don’t just enjoy angling but can get many other benefits from it The sport keeps them off the streets, gives them greater self-confidence, and instils a lifelong appreciation of wildlife and the environment.

"Direct proof of this comes from four teenagers from Co. Durham whom the Handsworth Grange youngsters will see demonstrating their fishing abilities at Chatsworth next month. The four, aged 15 to 18, were trained under PC Mick Watson’s award-winning ‘Get Hooked on Fishing’ scheme, started originally as part of his police work to help reduce crime and anti-social behaviour. In its first two years, 65 of the 200-odd young people enrolled in the scheme had been classed by various official bodies as being at risk of falling into crime. Mr Watson has confirmed that, since taking up angling, not one of those 65 has got into trouble."

Fishing News 15th April

Rutland Water has continued to provide excellent sport with an exceptional number of over-wintered fish. Season ticket holder Ron Oldroyd of Empingham caught and returned a superb conditioned 6lb brown while boat fishing off Normanton Church. While Rutland tackle shop assistant Phil Brown recorded five over wintered rainbows, out of an eight fish limit, weighing 19lb 4oz, the best just under 4lb. Phil tackled the dam off fantasy island, with a floating line and black buzzer.

Ron Edwards and Martin Gill from Herne Bay in Kent enjoyed a tremendous three day holiday boat package. They spent all three days fishing the south arm and amassed 47 fish. Most were over wintered up to 4lbs. Their successful method was lures fished deep in 30 feet of open water.

With the settled weather of last week most areas and methods on the reservoir were productive. Better fish are falling to nymphs with black buzzers proving most effective.

This week another 4,600 fish were stocked, including 1600 browns. Rules for browns are as usual this season, ie. two per limit and catch and release is possible. Anglers are reminded that catch and release is not allowed for rainbows.

best bank areas Sykes Lane, Normanton, Green Bank, the Dam, Old Hall

best boat areas Sykes Lane, Normanton, Old Hall, Manton Bay

best methods Bank anglers are using floating lines with weighted lures (black and green, dawsons olive) black buzzer diawl bach. Boat anglers are using similar methods but include sinking lines depending on weather conditions

best rainbow 4lb 8oz taken by R Shuter of Leicester

best brown 6lb 4oz taken by Ron Oldroyd of Empingham

mid week boat winner Mr Tibbert of Hambleton, Oakham

fish stocked 4600

Competition News

The Bob Church Open, fished for the Frank Cutler Memorial Trophy, held on Sunday, was a great success. First place went to Simon Kidd from Grafham, with Pablo Mullins from London taking second place. Simon won by more than a 1lb margin.

1st Simon Kidd 8 fish for 20lb 4½oz

2nd Pablo Mullins 8 fish for 19lb 3oz

3rd Mark Haycock 8 fish for 17lb 7½oz

4th Andrew Scott 8 fish for 17lb 1½oz

5th Darren Pond 8 fish for 16lb 7oz

6th Richard Hearth 8 fish for 16lb 6oz

7th Paul McLinden 8 fish for 16lb 3½oz

8th John Calvert 8 fish for 16lb 3½oz

9th John Seaton 8 fish for 15lb 14oz

10th Johny Lunden 8 fish for 15lb 13½oz

Best areas on the day were Browns Island, Manton Bay, Normanton, Fantasy Island and Sykes Lane. Black buzzers caught most of the over wintered fish, on a floating line with a long leader.

Speaking after the event Bob Church said “this has been a great day’s fishing with anglers travelling from all over the country. Everyone had such a superb day and raised funds for Northampton Town Football Club”

Forthcoming Events Sat 19 and Sun 27 April Beginners course places still available

Ravensthorpe Reservoir Clear water, buzzers and hungry trout have ensured magnificent sport at Ravensthorpe this week. Best fish of the week went to Peter Martin of Great Oxendon. Peter took a 9lb 3oz beauty on a cats whisker and a Di3 line. Tim Polito, from Medbourne near Market Harborough brought 97 fish to the boat over two days. Tim fished buzzer on floating line from the Coton End.

John Anderson of Mansfield returned 73 rainbows to 5lb, fishing buzzers from a boat anchored off the island bank. Season ticket holders John Caldwell and Graden Smith weighed in with 67 fish to their boat on Saturday.

Both bank and boat anglers have enjoyed excellent sport as fish have moved into the warmer shallow areas of the reservoir to feed predominantly on hatches of black, olive and ginger buzzer. PTN, glass buzzers, Diawl Bach and GH hares ears on floating lines fished slow at varying depths are taking most fish.

The extensive bank improvement work at Ravensthorpe is now complete with the installation of 13 new fishing platforms around the reservoir.

best boat areas Coton End

best bank areas all areas

best rainbow 9lb 3oz taken by Peter Martin on a cats whisker on a Di3 from a boat.

best brown 5lb 4oz taken by J Anderson of Mansfield

mid week boat winner Paul Polito of Medbourne

Grafham Water is fishing exceptionally well . With the weather improving all the time the fish are feeding more and more on the masses of buzzers from all around the lake especially the natural banks. The over wintered fish are starting to show up in increasing numbers along the natural north bank with plenty of fish in the 3 to 4 lb category with these fish falling mainly to small black or olive buzzer patterns.

Competition News

The first GWFFA bank match was held on Saturday with the anglers well spread all over the lake. Most of the anglers were opting for the more natural approach with floaters and buzzers or nymphs. The best fish of the day was taken by season ticket John McCullum from Perry off the Seat. John took this beautiful over wintered rainbow of 6lb 5oz on a size 16 black buzzer after stalking the fish in margins for over ten minutes. The match was won by Bill Knight from Oakley, Beds.

1st Bill Knight 8 fish for 17lb 15oz

2nd John McCullum 7 fish for 17lb 3oz

3rd Andy Linwood 8 fish for 15lb 4oz

best bank areas Hill Farm, G bank, Bowl of the Dam, The Seat and the Harbour arms

best boat areas Hill Farm, Hedge End, G Marker, Bowl of the Dam, and the lodge frontage

best methods Floating lines with long leaders with black or olive buzzers. Intermediate lines, montanas, cats whiskers, buzzers and gold head damsels. Fast sink lines, black and green boobies.

mid week boat winner Des Barker of Stevenage

Forthcoming events

Sun 18 May Beginners course places still available

Pitsford Water Best fish of the week was a superb 6lb 8oz rainbow caught by season ticket holder Dave Easton from Northampton.

Higham Ferrers and District FFA held a successful match on Saturday with the top anglers taking limits.


1st M Peat 6 fish for 13lb 7oz

2nd R Smith 6 fish for 12lb 8oz

3rd R Kirk 6 fish for 12lb 7oz

On Sunday the Mid Northants Trout Fishers Association held a litter pick organised by Kevin Rowley. 16 members took part and collected 20 bags of rubbish from around the reservoir. The morning ended with a barbeque and drinks. Kevin commented that the event had been a great success. Nathan Clayton thanked everyone for their help and congratulated the club on the excellent turnout.

best bank areas Gorse Cliffs, small half

best boat areas Gorse Cliffs, small half

best methods damsels and small lures on sinking lines or buzzers under the bung.

mid week boat winner A Douglas of Northamtpon

fish stocked 500

Forthcoming Events Trout Masters Fish Off (bank) Saturday 26 April

Coarse fishing

Taverham Mill Anglers have enjoyed an excellent weekend’s fishing with most catching quality tench to 5½lb. Martin Blowers from Leiston in Suffolk banked the biggest carp of the week with a 24lb Mirror from Taverham Lake. There are reports of another 28lb pike from Costessey No3.

Simon Wrigglesworth will represent Taverham Mill at the Carpmasters semi final at Drayton Reservoir, Daventry, which will be held on 22 and 23 April.

Welsh welcome Anglian Water – Fulling Mill International

The first heat of the new Anglian Water – Fulling Mill International fly fishing championship was a great success in spite of a bitterly cold day in South Wales.

Fifty four anglers fished for nine teams on Llanddefydd reservoir and enjoyed a good day’s sport which led to 5 teams qualifying for the Welsh Final at Llyn Brenig in August

The skill of the competitors was proved by their averaging 2.4 per rod on a day more like January than April .

1. Nymph -A-Maniacs 20 fish 38lb-9oz qualify for final

2. Team Tightlines 20 fish 35lb-12oz qualify for final

3. The Welsh Wizards 17 fish 31lb-6oz qualify for final

4. Llandegfedd Fly Fishers 16 fish 29lb-11oz qualify for final

5. Hereford Fly Fishers 14 fish 26lb-14oz qualify for final

6. Margam FFC 14 fish 21lb-6oz

7. Thornes 12 fish 19lb-15oz

8. Tawe Angling B 9 fish 15lb-6oz

9. Tawe Angling A 5 fish 10lb-9oz

The top rod was Paul Tappin of Nymph-a-maniacs and the best fish, a superb 3lbs for Andrew Banner of Llandegfedd both of whom received prize rods from sponsors Fulling Mill in addition to the tackle prizes for the winning team.

Anglian Water’s fishery manager Jon Marshall who organised the event praised the competitors and the Llandegfedd rangers for making it an enjoyable day and a great start to the competition


Sharks on a 12 weight Fly Rod 14th April

Dinosaur's, Mammoth’s and Dodo have all disappeared from the planet, But there are still some of the great creatures from the past who continues to survive. Despite the destruction and changes to the environment, Pollution of the oceans, over fishing which has seen a massive decrease in fish stocks to the extent that many species are now in danger of disappearing all this has been caused by the Homo Sapien species.

We are now seeing the cruel barbaric practice by evil wicked men who use nets for taking sharks, they then cut off the fins and chuck the fish back into the ocean to die a slow cruel death. I am told the Orientals are prepared to pay a high price for these shark fins.

Not only do the Oriental’s encourage the killing of sharks, they also target Bears bladders, Rhino horn Herring roe etc. All are being killed we are told in the name of aphrodisiacs. All I can say is if they need this rubbish there must be something wrong with there mental state. My aphrodisiac is a good looking woman. I would suggest you stop buying goods from China and Japan two of the nations who encourage these practices

Then we have massive amounts of rubbish being dumped in the oceans of the world from ammunitions, acid rains, PCB’s to atomic waste, Out of sight out of mind seems to be the motto. Then we have ocean going ships illegally washing out there tanks causing even more pollution, The list is endless, The destruction of the worlds habitat continues.

Despite all the horrific treatment of sharks, There food source being depleted through over fishing and pollution. The planets perfect predator is still around.

Mention sharks to most people and there thoughts go back to that badly made film "Jaws". Immediately in many people minds the shark become a killer. It must be remembered that the percentage of shark attacks on humans is minimal. The shark is a fine sporting fish, That will pull your string and bend the stick far better than most other species. Even a small shark on the flats weighing perhaps twenty pounds will give you some good fun.

Twenty thirty years ago most people who hunted the sharks did so with heavy broom handle type rods, hundred pound lines hooks that would have done justice to a butcher’s shop. When landed the fish was killed taken to port and hung up with the proud capture standing alongside sporting a big grin as if to say what a clever person I am. Then the corps was dumped to rot away. How barbaric.

Thankfully today its a different story as we have become more educated also become a more sporting angler. Today we fish with more sporting tackle, practice catch and release and respect the shark for what it is. A fine sporting fish. I don’t know of any angler today who kills sharks. I have had many sharks using bait fishing techniques but my first days fly fishing for sharks was a day I want forget in a hurry.

I had come out to San Diego in California to do some Radio shows, speaking engagements and go fishing. The trip had been on the cards since I met up with Jon Wurtmann of Wurtmann Advertising who gave probably the best seminar during the Denver fly tackle dealers show in September. El Nino decided otherwise as regards the fishing. The most important part of the trip.

The Week long storms had left the San Diego beaches closed, Rubbish was dumped everywhere. Power lines were down, sewer pipes had burst, roads closed. On the coast some houses were dumped in the ocean. Inland other homes had slid into flood swollen rivers. You couldn’t help but feel sorrow for these unfortunate people. There was even more disaster over the border in Tijuana Mexico a few miles south from San Diego 13 people were drowned one night. El Nino had lived up to its advanced publicity for thirteen days I was shore bound.

A heavy bang on the bedroom door awakened me from a disturbed sleep. I had one of those nights when the body wouldn’t rest. I tossed and turned drifting in and out of sleep. "Time to get up and go fishing" shouted Jon. It was Friday the 13th what a day to be out on the ocean I thought to myself. After a shower and a mug of tea I was ready to go.

The early morning sky was a leadened grey colour which seemed to touch the roof tops, a light rain was falling probably more like heavy drizzle.. This was more like Manchester than sunny California, "What a day to go after the shark one of the most powerful predatory fish in the ocean" I thought. I. zipped up my jacket for extra warmth and protection from the elements then hurried to the car.

Thirty minutes later Jon and I arrived at Mission Bay boat park where we met up with 31 year old Conway Bowman who was captain of the "La Mosco" a Parker 18` with a 130 hp Yamaha engine. Conway was an experienced blue water angler and skipper. I looked out through the harbour entrance to the Pacific ocean, I could see the waves crashing on shore.

It was going to be a rough trip out to the fishing ground some 12 too 15 miles off shore over the "Nine Mile Bank" Which runs North too South for nine miles and is some 90 fathoms deep It’s a natural upwelling of the ocean floor, possible volcanic, or perhaps a geological fault. The surrounding water is 600 fathoms This bank creates a lot of water movement and bait consolidate in the area, which draws the sharks.

After stowing tackle bags and cameras in a Montana Guides waterproof bag it was on with waterproof clothing and life jackets. The trip was going to be rough, tough and wet my old body was in for a painful session. Who cared I was going sharking. Its interesting to note that up until two days previous all boats were confined to port. I was told by Conway that any boat leaving Mission Bay harbour for the ocean until authorized was liable to a $30,000-00 fine.

Conway had a last check around the boat then turned the ignition key, The 130 horse power Yamaha engine came to life, Jon removed and stowed the mooring rope, as we moved off to the bait barge to pick up fresh sardines for chunks, frozen chum for the rubby dubby bag. Pelicans, sea lions, cormorants and herons competed for fish that spilled from the net as the bait boxes were filled with live sardines.

A few days earlier on a trip to the bait barge, I had grabbed a pelican which had line wrapped around its wing. After a tough struggle I removed several feet of 40 -50lb nylon line and a size 4/0 hook embedded in the pelicans wing. After being released he drifted away. Every now and again he tried exercising his wing. Thirty minutes later he made a couple of short flights. Then realizing he was able to fly he flew off to join his friends. One lucky pelican thanks to a caring Brit.

A five mile speed limit is enforced in the harbor, But as we hit the ocean waves Conway opened up the throttle, the motor roared into life. As we hit the first big swell we become airborne then crashed down. Time and time again this happened, salt spray stung the eyes, water trickled down my neck. I clung on to the safety bar as if my life depended on it. I was cold, my hands and legs were painful there were times when I thought "What was I doing out in these inhospitable conditions". Encouragement from Conway and Jon kept me going.

1 Some ten miles out we passed the Los Coronados Islands off Mexico, Conway throttled back the motor this was better I thought, as we rolled about on the ocean. Around the Islands we could see American Marines exercising. Helicopter gun ships flew overhead, flares could be seen arcing down from the helicopters, gunfire was heard. We even had a submarine as company for a while. Meanwhile Conway and Jon were busy with the rubby dubby.

After getting the rubby dubby boxes sorted Conway put the motor in gear and we slowly made our way to the Nine Mile Bank where we expected to find mako and blue sharks. As we cruised we created a nice slick for the sharks but it was the Sea lions who first picked up the scent and homed in. Meanwhile I tackle up with two rods both 4 piece saltwater fly rods for ten and twelve weight lines

A few days before this trip I purchased an Aaron saltwater fly reel which I attached to the 12 weight it had 250 yards of 30lb backing and a weight forward 12 weight floating line. My 10 weight was fitted with a Stratos reel 250 yards of 30lb backing and a weight forward slow sinking tarpon line.

With the use of a Bimini twist and the Albright knots, Jon attached the leader material to the fly lines. This was three feet of fifty pound Mason hard nylon and a wire trace of fifty pounds single strand on the 12 weight. The 10 weight was fitted with a 40lb nylon coated multi strand stainless trace. Jon tied on a chunk fly. Which was lots of red, white and blue hair with a small amount of black tied on a 5/0 to represent the chunks of sardines that Conway was feeding, Its called matching the hatch. l was ready to go.

On the Nine Mile Bank the water had changed from big swells to short waves with the occasional white horses. I could see the current breaks and the odd sea lion. Conway cut the motor then attached a drogue to slow our drift. I sat waiting for the sharks to show and Jon told me about other sharking trips, while Conway worked the chum slick and looked for the perfect predator.

Perhaps fifty minutes later I heard Conway shout "Blue shark about sixty pounds get ready Martin" It was a nervous James who stood in the bows ready to shoot a 12 weight line to his first shark on a fly rod. I peered intently into the water looking for a sign of life then some 20 feet from the boat I spotted a blue shark. As directed I cast the fly some three feet in front of the fish and let it drift slowly down. The shark engulfed what it thought was an easy food item.

I let the fish turn and struck hard, with three or four powerful strip strikes I set the hook. All hell was let loose as the fish dived, Loose line some how had wrapped itself around the rod tip. Jon was quick off the mark grabbing the line as it angled down into the ocean. He quickly freed the twisted line from the rod tip. I thought the 4 piece rod was going to be a ten piece. The reel screamed as yards of line and backing disappeared. This is what I had come for to get my string pulled and stick bent. Some ten minutes later the line went slack I was gutted. The fifty pound leader had been chaffed away by the shark twisting and turning its body on the leader.

A new trace and fly was fitted, I was ready to chuck that fly to the next shark. Ten minutes later I cast to another fish. The fly was grabbed I struck and the fish dived and kept going taking the backing line at a fast rate of knots. I kept a steady pressure on the fish waiting to see what would happen next. After a few minutes I decided to cramp on the pressure. Jon grabbed the back of my jacket to help steady me in the rolling boat as I shouted, "I've got yea, You old bugger your mine" Then piled on the pressure.

Fifteen minutes later I started to get line back on the reel then the fly line appeared I was winning the fight, Suddenly there was a huge boil on the surface as a big fish thrashed the water to a foam. Then it dived but it was his last, I stopped him in his tracks. Its surprising what a 12 weight fly rod will do. I pumped him back to the boat. Jon released the hold on me to shoot some pictures. Conway leaned over the port side grabbed the trace then with some long nosed pliers unhooked a blue shark that was estimated at 70 to 75lbs. I watched it swim away I wanted more of this adrenaline pumping and string pulling action for now it was time for lunch.

As we sat eating, drinking and chatting a big mako shark appeared, Eagle eyed Conway had spotted it finning some 50 yards away.. Lunch was forgotten as Conway started to feed chunks of fresh sardines. It was a big fish with a ragged dorsal fin. I was ready to shoot line and did when requested by Conway, A blue of about 80 pounds wanted my fly. Conway screamed "Don’t let that blue take your fly Martin" It was hard to pull ones fly away from an 80lb plus fish but did as I was told. I was told if I hooked the blue it might spook the mako.

Minutes later the mako was alongside the boat but it wouldn’t take any chunks not even a live sardine that was thrown its way. Conway said "That mako’s only interested in driving the blue sharks away". A blue then appeared, "Get ready Martin" Jon shouted from the stern. "Its a big one". I aerolised some line then cast the fly some three feet from the blue, it turned engulfed the fly then I struck hard setting a 5/0 hook into a very angry fish which powered away fast. After some forty yards of staying near the surface, the fish then dived and dived deep very deep. I could feel at once this was a special fish.

It was going to be a long, tough scrap. Halfway through the fight the fish seemed to double its weight. I relayed the information to Conway who said "Perhaps it’s a sea lion or the mako that has grabbed your blue" It was a battle of give and take but slowly I started to win. Down in the depths of the Pacific ocean Jon spotted the fish and as I pumped it closer to the surface I too was able to see some nine or ten feet of swirling twisting heaving angry shark. Then the fish spotted daylight and dived, Yards of the hard fought for line disappeared from the reel as this powerful predator dived in its bid for freedom.

I had to start all over again. Probably some thirty minutes later but what seemed an hour I had the fish coming to the boat. Soon Conway was able to grab the leader. The fish was mine, A few pictures were taken by Jon. Then the fish estimated at over 100lbs was released from the barbless hook. I fell back into the bows of the boat shattered. But it was a wonderful feeling.

The day was one I shall not forget in a hurry. It was full of incidents and action I had seven hook ups, landed five of them all blue sharks over sixty pounds. The twelve and ten weight rods performed for what they were designed and built for. That's playing and landing tough hard fighting blue water fish. If your in San Diego on holiday and want some excitement give Conway Bowman a call on 001-619-697-4997 or write 8863 Lemon Avenue La Mesa California 91941. E-mail Don't worry about tackle Conway can supply it and your pretty certain to get your string pulled and stick bent in a serious way. If you would like to join me on one of my many fly fishing trips E-mail me Next month I am off to the Bahamas chasing bonefish and sharks on the flats if you want to try some of this exciting action just E-mail me

River Trouting with Dry Flies 14th April

There is nothing difficult in catching trout from rivers provided you follow two simple rules, Don’t spook your fish by letting them know you are there. Then cast a pattern of dry fly that looks like the insect the trout is eating, then make sure it lands on the water like thistle down. Get it right and your trout is usually hooked. The trout has an IQ of around six. Its not an intelligent animal. What we must do is treat it as a wild animal. In the introduction to his book Fishing the Dry Fly that great angler and gentleman Dermot Wilson writes Dry-fly fishing takes less time to learn than most other sports, Trout - let us whisper it softly - are very foolish creatures. After all, what do you actually do when you catch a trout on a dry fly from a chalk stream? First you find a feeding fish - who gives away his presence by making rings on the surface of the water as he takes floating flies.

Then, taking care not to frighten your trout you throw over him a bunch of feathers tied onto a hook, which he engulfs in mistake for another fly. He does this with complete innocent although sometimes your bunch of feathers looks very little like a fly at all. Finally you drag a protesting trout into the net and feel very proud of him. Over-simplification? Perhaps it is. But a good many trout are caught almost as simply as this. Where, then, is all the mystery? And where all the art? - This just about sums up river trouting with dry flies and its a very true statement. one of the most honest bits of writing on dry flies and trout I have ever had the pleasure to read. Its a book that all dry fly fishers on rivers and still waters should read. The other book is written by Malcolm Greenhalgh’s Titled Trout Fishing in Rivers

Trout fishing is cheap in the North

The river fly fisher in the north of England and Wales has some of the finest brown trout fly fishing in the country . In fact its also probably the best value trout fishing with the cost of a season permit in many cases just £30-00 or £40-00. Bradford City AA and Bradford Number 1 AA have some excellent river trout fishing open to everyone. Prince Albert AA probably have the best value membership card in the country for less than £70-00 where you have many miles of delightful river and stream fishing in the North of England, North and West Wales. Your club card will also give you the chance to fish for salmon and sea trout. Another excellent value for money card is the Llandysul Angling Association, Take a look at The secretary is Artie Jones Glas-y-Dorlan, Llyn-y-Fran Road, Llandysul,Wales SA 44 4JW. There are many miles of fishing on the river Teifi and you have a realistic chance of catching a double figure sea trout. Penrith AA Day tickets cost £10 weekly £40, £140 country membership, Local (within twenty mile radius) £90, 50% Discount for senior citizens and £5 Juniors.

Day tickets can be purchased from Sykes sport shop Penrith, Punch bowl Inn Askham, Post office Pooley bridge and post office Langwathby.

I feel the month of May is the most delightful time to be out and about on the river. ‘Drop everything get out and fish a dry fly’. Providing you keep quiet and act like a hunter you will see so much as you move slowly up the river bank or stream side. I well remember a day last season making my way up one of my favourite rivers a Green woodpecker flew overhead with its laughing call Kew-Kew-Kew-Kew, Now that’s quite a rare bird in my part of the world, But there are lots of Great spotted woodpeckers in fact they often visit my garden. A few yards further on two mallard ducks jumped from a clump of riverside.reeds, I then spotted a Grey wagtail scooting here and there looking for insects no doubt its mate was sitting on eggs in its nest alongside the small stone bridge. Greys wagtails have that delightful yellow breast like the yellow wagtail but is easily identified by the black throat. Dippers seemed to be about in profusion. You have probably gathered when I mentioned Dippers that I am on a north country river.

Pushing through the waist high grass I made my way slowly upstream to a bend in the river where a good size trout was taking hawthorn flies with regularity. It was a delightful day to be at the waters edge, A warm breeze ruffled the water which also helped deposit the hawthorn flies from the bankside bushes into the river. I stopped to watch a dipper grab a mouthful of flies then heard the loud shrill whistle as a kingfisher in a blur of blue zipped upstream close to the water, quickly followed by another one. What magnificent birds they are.

Moving on upstream I came across a small water filled pool full of tadpoles and frogs, moving slowly around the edge of the pond on the field side so as not to spook the feeding trout I came out onto a gravel promontory some ten yards downstream of where the trout was feeding. I couldn't be in a better position to cast my Hawthorn fly to this trout. In the next ten minutes or so I watched three or four flies get taken from the surface and watched the ever increasing circles drift out over the river.

I could clearly see my quarry, A nice fish of about two pounds. I watched it occasionally moved an inch or so across the current then rise up and suck down another hawthorn fly. It was time to make my cast, Conditions were perfect with a light wind off my right shoulder. I checked my hook point then pulled off some line, With one false cast I dropped the fly some two feet ahead of the trout made a small upstream mend then watched the fly drift down stream and picking up a few inches of slack line. The trout spotted its next food item moved slightly to the left up to the surface where it sucked in my fly.

I lifted the rod tip then set the hook. Saying to no one in particular " Got Yerr", For half a second the fish didn’t move it seemed surprised that someone had fed him an artificial fly with a hook, In a swirl the fish dived and headed down stream pulling the rod tip downwards to the water surface. A good fish was on and I was in seventh heaven. No doubt your like me Every time you hook a fish you get that great feeling of happiness as the adrenaline courses through the body. Young or old its a feeling that only an angler can understand. A few yards downstream the fish buried its head in some ranunculuse weed. Treading carefully I waded out and downstream, Once I was below the fish I applied side strain and bullied the fish into open water After a brief struggle I was able to pull it over the waiting net. "Yes" I said to no one in particular then bending down I extracted the size 14 hawthorn fly and released the fish untouched by hand.

Making my way back to the bank I spooked a good sea trout which shot off downstream, I studied the river bed where the fish had been then noticed a quite a deep channel making a mental note for future reference. I continued my way back to the river bank to dry off the fly, have a drink then continue my way slowly upstream looking for another feeding fish. As I sat on the bank in the warm sunshine feeling at peace with the world. A soft spoken voice said "Hello Martin that was a nice fish you just had well done" Looking up I could see it was Roger the local Environment Agency fishery officer and said "Yes I enjoyed deceiving that fish, a good brown trout in excellent condition about one and half pounds that’s a big fish for this water" Roger then said "Can I see your rod licence" as he proffered his warrant card . "Yes, No problem its nice to see you about have you seen anything of interest" "Yes, upstream of the feeder beck there's a good trout, In that deep pool by the big oak there are half a dozen good sea trout laying up in the shadows. which is a good sight this early in the season. We shared a coffee chatted for twenty minutes or so then Roger went off down stream while I continued up towards the beck where Roger had seen the trout feeding.

When I am on the river bank or at the stream side I always feel very contented, The naturalist in me takes over. River trouting isn’t all about catching lots of big fish. It just doesn’t happen. Unless you fish some of these southern chalk streams that have been artificially stocked with rainbow trout. How hideous I feel its completely wrong to stock rainbows in our rivers. Lets leave these fish in the artificial man made still waters . The average river brown trout I catch is probably 12 or 13 inches. On the streams its probably eight inches sometimes even smaller. Though I do occasionally catch a big one.

I remember fishing the river Cyche in West Wales. The Cyche in most places is just a few feet wide I had decided on an early morning before breakfast session, Making my way upstream I came across a big bit of river probably six foot wide and two feet deep. I pitched a pheasant tail nymph upstream under the bank side bushes then watched the tip the line, Hawk like. Wishing it to move. Three casts later it did suddenly dipping, I struck a good fish was hooked and soon I had a good trout in my hand. Realising it was a big fish I made a mark of its length on the rod then quickly unhooked the fish then released it back to the water. It was a jubilant Martin who made his way back to Pat O’Reilly’s house whose fishing it was. I measured the length of the fish at 13 inches .A magnificent wild brown trout.

River trouting with a dry fly is all about slowly making ones way upstream often creeping and crawling into position. Its all about watching for rising fish and identifying the insects which are hatching off in the river or being blown onto the river from the fields or bankside trees, bushes and other vegetation. This is where you need a good book I recommend Matching the Hatch written by Pat O’Reilly’s published by Swan Hill Press. The photographs by Melvin Grey are quite stunning. I have this book with me on most of my river trouting trips. Its an excellent book for the newcomer or more experienced angler.

Some tackle ideas for river trouting with dry flies.

When fishing the rivers or streams you want a light seven foot too nine foot rod that has a nice progressive action. In my opinion cane fly rods are excellent for river trouting . Unlike still water trouting where your often making dozens and dozens of casts in a day. Its a different story on the river where you might only make seven or eight casts to rising fish during a session. The weight of a 7 foot 4 weight bamboo rod shouldn’t cause any problems. I am using at present the Thomas & Thomas Light Presentation Series of rods. I use the three piece nine foot four and five weight rods in this series. For the smaller streams I use a seven foot six inch four weight

In the States many of my trout fishing friends are using two and three weight rods with great success. I plan to follow their example in the near future. Most of our river trout are weighing around the pound mark so there is no sense these days in using heavy rods and lines that have been designed in most cases for still water rainbow trout fishing. Having tried out these light line rods I must say I was most impressed with the delicate presentation of the fly upon the water.

If you keep your eyes open and look around some of the better class second hand shops you should be able to pick up a nice seven to eight foot bamboo rod for about seventy pounds. I wouldn't be prepared to pay much more. Unless it was made in the past few years by a reputable rod builder. Your not looking for a rod to hang on the wall, but one to be used as a fishing tool built to cast a fly line and play your quarry to the net. Make sure the ferrules are tight fitting, the cane isn’t soft, droopy or bent like the hind leg of a donkey. Make sure the rod guides are not grooved as they will quickly damage your fly line. I cannot repeat it often enough, Be careful because there is a lot of rubbish about when it comes to bamboo fly fishing rods. Some people when trying to sell such an item talk a lot of rubbish when trying to off load such a rod. If you have no experience of bamboo rods take some with you who does have that knowledge.

Choosing a fly line these days is very easy, Forget weight forward fly lines for river and stream fishing, Pick a double taper floating fly line which will also help greatly with roll casting which is often needed on heavily wooded rivers and streams. Also pay top money for it. Don’t be penny pinching when choosing this most important item of tackle because you will regret it. If you choose a Masterline or Cortland manufactured fly line you shouldn’t experience any problems. If you do return it, I am sure it will be exchange straight away without question. Recently I was chatting with Leon Chandler who was at one time head of the Cortland line Corporation and his knowledge of fishing, The tackle especially fly lines was immense and has given me a lot of confidence in the companies products when I know people like Leon Chandler have been involved.

When it come to river trouting with dry flies there is only one leader in my book, That’s a knot less tapered leader between nine and twelve feet in length often tapered down to a one pound breaking strain tippet when using size 20 hooks and smaller. Many anglers in the States use size 30 hooks when dry fly fishing. Andy Renzetti from Titusville Florida designed his rotary fly tying vice because he was having problems tying in the hackles on size 30 and 32 Royal Coachman

The reason for not using knotted tapered leaders when fishing with very small flies is you will often get fish hitting the knots in mistake for a tiny insect. Having written I don’t use knotted tapered leaders, There are occasions when I do sometime tie in a tippet using some two feet of fluorocarbon line. But should I find fish hitting the knot then its off with that leader and on with a knot less leader. These days I wouldn’t fish without using fluorocarbon material its certainly worth the extra cost.

Trying to give you a selection of flies to cover all the country is virtually impossible, I can only give you some ideas of fly patterns to have in your fly box. The following are a general selection of flies that will work on most waters at one time or another. One fly pattern I would always want where ever I am fishing is the Black & Peacock spider in sizes 14’s and 16’s. There have been many times when this pattern has helped me catch a fish when nothing else does the trick. Its a perfect pattern to try when nothing is hatching.

How many times have you arrived at the river to find conditions looking good but no sign of insects coming off the water. Occasionally a good fish will swirl on the surface. But what has it taken you ask yourself. That's the time to try the Black & Peacock spider pattern. Be warned you might get some funny looks from your mates as its not a fashionable fly pattern. I feel it imitates any type of insect falling on the water. Another patter in your fly box should be a Greenwell’s Glory in sizes 14’s 18’s this fly is designed to imitate the olives. The Blue Winged Olive Dun in sizes 14’s to 20’s It’s a pattern of fly that imitates the olives and is often used when fish are not taking Greenwell’s Glory that’s what I have been told by those who feel they are more experienced. I have my doubts.

Other patterns are the Black Gnat in sizes 12’s to 20’s and Elk Hair Caddis in sizes 12 through to 18’s This latter pattern is a most useful one to have during the months of June July and August especially when fishing at dusk. I have caught all through the day with this pattern on occasion’s. When the Hawthorn fly are hatching then you need this pattern in sizes 12’s and 14’s fish will often ignore anything else you chuck at them and your only hope if you don’t have any hawthorns is the old fashioned B & P spider. Finally fly that I used all last season under all conditions what ever was hatching was the Paythorn Nymph in various sizes designed by Alan Bithell Give him a call on 0161-284-2825. This fly caught me a lot of fish, it seemed as ifall the trout wanted to eat it.

Apart from these few flies you will no doubt have a selection of known fly patterns for your chosen water. When your on holiday in a new place visit the local tackle shop. .

Bits and Pieces

I believe that was the title of a song by the "Dave Clark Five" many years ago. Our bits and pieces are those small items we should have when we are at the waterside. Probably the most important is some floatant to make the flies float, There are many brands on the market I have found Masterline dry fly gel or Gink to be as good as any. When using this or any other floatant, don't put it directly on the fly or your fingers. Put a dab of it on the back of your hand then gently rub your fly into the stuff. Doing it this way and you want get any floatant on your leader. It was an idea I got from Alan Bithell when fishing with him on a northern river.

You will want some leader sink to ensure the first few inches of the leader will sink. Again the Massterline leader sink will do the job. Polaroid glasses are a must, I am using a pair with my reading lenses fitted from Optilabs Ltd E-mail Tony Kerr - You will see so much more in the water, You will be able to watch trout as they come to the surface to take your fly. Without a good pair of Polaroid sunglasses you will miss a lot of fish and the enjoyment at the waterside. Don’t pay £10 to £20-00. You need to pay £50-00 or more. You might think that’s a lot of money but its money well spent. A small landing net is an item of equipment you should have. Finally remember trout are not intelligent creatures, You don’t need to be a rocket scientist or brain surgeon to catch them. Just make sure you don’t spook them, Present a fly that looks like the ones they are eating and you should have some fun.


Independent market research commissioned by the Environment Agency has shown most anglers to be in favour of keeping the coarse fish close season on rivers. The Agency's Regional Fisheries, Ecology & Recreation Advisory Committees (RFERACs) will be discussing the survey results at their meetings this month. Fifty-five per cent of anglers who had fished for coarse fish on rivers last year wanted the close season to be kept.

Seventy-eight per cent of the anglers quizzed had fished for coarse fish in 2002; 56 per cent had been coarse fishing on a river; and 53 per cent had more than 20 years' experience in the sport. Reasons given for backing the close season were that it gives fish time to rest and breed, and that it allows time for the riverbank environment to recover. Of those in favour of ending the close season, 36 per cent simply felt that there was no need for one, while 34 per cent said they would value more fishing time.

Dave Clarke, the Agency's Head of Fisheries, said: "This wasn't a large survey - 400 anglers were polled - but those questioned were an accurate representation of the fishing public and they gave us an insight into feelings on the riverbank.
"The survey results certainly don't give us a mandate for proposing changes to the close season on rivers. Any change would need considerable further research and in these circumstances it would be difficult to justify spending scarce funds on this.

"Before removing the close season from canals, we commissioned scientific research to assess the evidence for impacts to these fisheries. It was based on a comparison between those canals that didn't have a close season with those that did, and the research cost us £50,000.
"Similar research on rivers would be more difficult and substantially more expensive. Such research would severely limit or preclude other fisheries research work."
The RFERACs will now examine the survey results before deciding whether to advise the Agency to commission a major research project on the effects of removing the close season.


The net is closing in on rod licence evaders this Easter, as Environment Agency fisheries staff target waterways during the bank holiday.

All anglers aged 12 and over need a valid licence, and those who fish without one can face prosecution and a fine of up to £2,500.

The Environment Agency has identified a number of licence evasion blackspots in the North West, and will be targeting them throughout the Easter bank holiday weekend.

Cameron Durie, the Environment Agency's regional Fisheries Technical Specialist said: "Rod licences are value for money and couldn't be easier to buy. Cheats who fish without them deprive honest anglers of money that can be spent improving habitats for the benefit of anglers and wildlife."

Licences cost just £22 for a full non-migratory trout and coarse fish licence and £61 for salmon and sea trout. Concessions and one and eight day licences are also available.

They are available from any Post Office, from the Environment Agency's telephone sales line on 08701 662 662, or on the internet at

Fisheries Reports 8th April

Rutland Water has had an outstanding start to the season with a rod average for the first week of 6.64. Over 99% of this week’s anglers recorded fish. The Rutland Independence Trophy was won by Melton Mowbray season ticket holder, Vic Stubbs, who caught an impressive 8lb 3oz brown from Whitwell Creek. This won Vic £80 in gift vouchers. Plenty of limits and double limits have been taken from all areas of the reservoir. Rutland Water Flyfishers member Mike Burnside, of Darlington and Ricki Richardson weighed in 16 fish for 40lb 1½oz, seven of which weighed over 3lb, all overwintered bar one and in superb condition. The pair fished the south arm on Di7 lines and lures.

Richard Bingham from Barrow, near Cottesmore, Rutland attended the one day Beginner course with David Doherty instructing on Sunday. Richard caught his first ever rainbow weighing 1½lb.Please note that boats are in big demand at the weekends. The Bob Church Northampton Town Football Club Charity match is a sell out. Give the Lodge a call on 01780 686441 to avoid disappointment. best bank areas Old Hall, Whitwell, Sykes Lane, Barnsdale, Cardiac Hill, Normanton, Stockie Bay, Yellowstone best boat areas Old Hall, Barnsdale, Normanton, Sykes Lane, Dickensons, New Zealand Point, Yellowstone

best methods Black and green lures, also orange, olive gold heads. Nymphs, black buzzer, diawl bach and hares ear lines floating to fast sinkers. Fish are feeding well on mainly small green and black buzzers, daphnia, with one or two fry in the over wintered fish.

best rainbow 7lb 8oz best brown 8lb 3oz taken by Vic Stubbs of Melton Mowbray

mid week boat winner Paul Sturge of Margate

fish stocked 4,000

Ravensthorpe is verging on re-writing the record books, with a week of numerous large fish and big bags. Loads of anglers recorded notable catches. The best rainbow of the week weighed 15lb 8oz and fell to local angler Eric Kyte from Brixworth. Eric fished the dam using an orange tin head. This is Jamie Blaney’s first year as a season ticket holder and he took a superb 14lb 8oz rainbow (which he returned) from the first new platform on a small tin head. Jamie, from Northampton, had a further 15 fish to 6lb 12oz.

Bank on buzzers at Ravensthorpe for big catches and big fish. Boat angler Gary Setchell used buzzers to take 15 fish, including two doubles. Gary returned all of his fish safely to the water. Graham Wiseman also had a couple of doubles, the best weighed 11lb 8oz, his fish were taken on black buzzers from the platforms. Mark Bradbury was also in double action taking another fish weighing 11lb 8oz.

Season ticket holder Dick Haynes, from East Haddon, fished both Saturday and Sunday, returning over 120 fish over the two days. George Richmond had a 10lb 11oz fish in his catch of 12. Digby Lewis took a brace for 10lb 8oz in his 17 fish catch, whilst Nick Simons of Norfolk had a 22 fish catch with one rainbow of exactly 10lb.Fish are full of buzzers. There doesn’t seem to be a ‘cold’ spot on the reservoir with all areas fishing well for both bank and boat anglers. Buzzers are best fished static, black and olive seem to be the best colours. best areas both bank and boat areas fishing well best rainbow 15lb 8oz taken by Eric Kyte of Brixworth
mid week boat winner Mr B Ward of Wheathampstead.

Grafham Water fish for week 620(season 1622) returns 150(358) rod average 4.13 (4.53)

Grafham Water continues to fish exceptionally well. With the weather improving all the time the fish are feeding more and more on the masses of buzzers from all around the lake, especially the natural banks. The anglers fishing the more imitative patterns, particularly black or olive buzzers, are getting the better quality fish with most of the beautiful over wintered fish falling to the buzzer on either the floater or intermediate.

This Saturday saw the annual Trout Masters fish off , with the winner going forward to the Trout Masters Final on 19 May at Grafham. The pressure was on Micaheal Dixon as his father won the final last year and his younger brother Phil the year before. The top three places were only 2 ounces apart with Michael the first to weigh in, he was in the lead for a while. After a nail biting weigh in Michael was pipped to first place by one ounce with Pablo Mullins winning and going forward to represent Grafham at this prestigious event. 1st Pablo Mullins 8 fish for 15lb 12oz 2nd Michael Dixon 8 fish for 15lb 11oz 3rd Iain Barr 8 fish for 15lb 10oz best bank areas Hill Farm, G bank, bowl of the dam, the seat and the Harbour Arms best boat areas Hill Farm, Hedge End, G Marker, Bowl of the Dam and the lodge frontage best methods Intermediate lines, montanas, cat’s whiskers, buzzers and gold head damsels. Fast sink lines black and green boobies. mid week boat winner Arthur Sexton of Cambridge

Pitsford Water Pitsford hosted the annual MNTA bank match this week. Eleven anglers fished with a rod average of 2.9 being achieved. Local season ticket holder Mike Philpott was overall winner with 6 fish for 13lb 2oz. Mike also took best fish of 3lb 7oz. Most fish were caught in Brixworth Bay or on the Sailing Club bank. The majority were taken on intermediate lines and lures, and some on floating lines and lures.

1st Mike Philpott 6 fish for 13lb 2oz
2nd Richard Slater 6 fish for 10lb 9oz
3rd Pip Jeffa 5 fish for 10lb 4th Pete Searle 6 fish for 9lb 8oz.

Boat anglers have reported good catches on sinking lines and small lures both drifting and anchoring.Fish are still feeding on daphnia (green) and buzzers.

Pitsford Senior Warden, Nathan Clayton’s top tip is “Remember Daphnia reacts to sunlight, so in sunny conditions it will be deep and so will the trout.”

best bank areas Gorse, Brixworth Bay, Sailing Club bank

best boat areas Small Half, dam corner Sailing Club

best methods Bank anglers are using buzzers on floating lien and small lures. Like gold head, black and green tadpoles and gold head damsel.
Boat anglers are using similar methods with best catches coming from either drifting or anchored boats.

Coarse Fishing

Ardleigh Reservoir There is now a steady flow of bream from the reservoir particularly around the shallower water regions of the A12 end and along the Wick Lane stretch. Season permit holder Clive Baldwin also managed to find some early season tench as well as several good bream. David Baksh from East Bergholt reports catching a fine 5 lb tench; so prospects for the coming season look very good. Medium range feeder fishing is proving to be the best method with red maggot or worm as hookbait. The Butterfly Pond continues to provide popular sport for a variety of species with local angler Andrew Mitchum enjoying a good bag of roach, perch and gudgeon.

Barnsfold Water Chipping Lancashire

This two lakes fishery of 22 acres is fishing well despite the cold easterly wind. Buzzer fishing has accounted for many double figure bags of trout. The best fish of the week has been a rainbow of 7lbs caught by Harry Speight on a small lure. If the wind should swing to a south west or southerly direction then I feel the buzzer fishing really could be excellent. Further details Tel 0995-61583

Man Convicted of Illegal Salmon Fishing 4th April

Its another victory for the Environment Agency fishery staff, when a Flookborough man was convicted yesterday (Thursday) at Carlisle Crown Court of illegally taking salmon and sea trout with an outlawed fishing net. Derek Butler was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £500 in costs to the Environment Agency. He was jointly charged with Ian McClure, also of Flookburgh, who was found not guilty by the jury after a four-day trial.

Daniel Frieze, prosecuting for the Agency, told the court how on 10 August 2001, an Environment Agency Fisheries Officer saw a boat on the River Kent near Allithwaite, which was then loaded on to a trailer behind one of two tractors parked on the bank.
The officer saw McClure take a sack, from which the tail of a salmon was protruding, and put it into a fish box in the back of Butler's tractor. When the officer approached the men and looked in the fish box he found several salmon with marks on them suggesting that they had been caught in a mono-filament gill net.

Fishing for salmon with gill nets is tightly controlled by legislation, as putting a net in a river or an estuary traps fish that may be migrating to or from spawning grounds. Mono-filament gill nets are totally prohibited for the use of catching salmon as they are extremely harmful to fish, causing them serious injuries. Once a fish is enmeshed in a gill net it becomes trapped and is highly unlikely to escape.

The two men told the officer that the fish had been caught in a lave net - a small hand-held triangular net used to scoop fish out of the water - which they were both licensed by the Agency to use. However, fish caught in a lave net would not usually be marked like the ones found in the fish box. The officer was sure the injuries present on the fish - ten salmon and one sea trout - had not been caused by a lave net, and also found a large quantity of gill netting in Butler's boat. The fish and the nets were taken by the Environment Agency for examination by an Agency ecologist who confirmed that most of the fish had marks on them caused by a gill net. Scales found in the gill netting were also examined, and were revealed to come mainly from fish of the salmon family.


Anglers hooked on fishing can get their hands on a new bumper guide packed full of information about the sport.
The North of England Angling Guide 2003/2004 has been published by the Environment Agency.

The 84-page full colour guide is the best yet, and features still waters, rivers and canals in the north east and north west - that's more than 800 fisheries from the Scottish borders down to Chesterfield and Congleton.

The booklet reveals the type of fishery, where to find it, plus contact numbers and an indication of what restrictions may apply. Agency Fisheries Officer Steve Chambers said: "This essential guide has been completely revised and is published in a handy A5 size, so anglers can carry it around with them while they are enjoying their sport.

"The north of England offers such a wide variety of excellent fishing and spectacular scenery. Many rivers, such as the Aire and the Mersey are recovering from a long history of pollution and now play host to thriving fish stocks of many different species."

The guide is broken down into easy-to-use geographical areas and also has sections on: Disabled angling, including wheely boats and where to find them
· Byelaws for the Agency's North West and North East Regions Rod licence information and where to buy them
· Angling good practice, including water safety tips
· Useful angling phone numbers and websites

To get your free copy of the booklet, call the Agency's General Enquiry Line on 0845 933 3111.

Martin James Fishing