NEWS, VIEWS & REVIEWS FROM FLY FISHING SNOWDONIA
There are many arguments within the angling community about otters. Love them or hate them they are here to stay and we need to live with them.
Cards on table, I love the little critters. In my opinion they have a greater right than I to catch fish, I do it for sport they do it to live.
On Saturday I had the pleasure to watch one feeding for several minutes unbothered by my presence. A few minutes later I entered the river and was rewarded with a large grayling. The Welsh Dee is a very productive river and there's room for anglers and the resident otters.
Please contact me if you want the whole video.
Well the 2018 - 19 got off to a great start. Whilst it was a wet day it was most definitely not a damp squib. The river levels are still low but the water temperature has dropped bringing the fish out of their stupor. In amongst the profusion of salmon parr and small brownies were some large 'ladies of the stream' with a hunger that needed to be satisfied.
Kieran contacted me as he was keen to try his hand at fly fishing. We met on a bright but cold morning and spent a few hours on the river Dee. Quickly picking up the principles of fly casting and fishing Kieran was delighted to catch his first grayling.
Well done Kieran, a great result and an excellent morning, thanks for your company.
Snowdonia, a great place to fish for grayling. No special tackle is needed, if you fly fish for trout you probably have all you need to fish for grayling. If you've never done it give it a try, it's addictive!
A beautifully marked winter grayling caught on the river Dove. The weather was dry with a cooling wind and the water though very clear was bitter cold. The fishing was tough going and served as a reminder that summer grayling fishing is a whole lot more enjoyable!
Fly fishing for grayling can produce great results. This wonderful fish was caught on a size 20 dry fly.
I've been tying a few dry flies that I've found to be exceptionally good for grayling, but also wild brown trout. I don't know if this fly has a name, I call it the NG (Nifty Gnat), apologies if anyone out there has already put a name to this pattern. If you have let me know and I'll credit you.
It's dead easy to tie and and very effective, it's a variant of a Shipman's buzzer and Griffith's gnat all rolled into one:
Hook size: I tie them on sizes 16 down to 20
Thread: Claret with diameter to suit hook size
Breathers: Poly yarn (I've also used foam)
Hackle: Purple (or grizzle) cape top
I love fishing the Dee, I use the river a lot when guiding with clients, but always enjoy it when I'm on the business end of the rod!
I was out yesterday with a friend; the weather was perfect, cool, sunny and very little wind. There were some serious hatches of very small flies but few fish were rising. Fishing with spider patterns returned poor results so I switched to a small dry fly.
The pattern is one of my own making and is proving to be highly effective. I'm not aware of this fly having a name so I call it the Nifty Gnat (see post above for details).
Well I exaggerate not, the fly was awesome, having tried a couple of others that proved lacklustre I tied on a single 'Nifty Gnat' and the takes came fast and furious. My friend, fishing a black parachute pattern with little success, was looking decidedly sick at my change of future. When we moved to a different beat I handed him my rod (I built this on an Epic fibreglass blank and fish with little else on the river) complete with fly and low and behold he too started catching on it.
Well, the weather today was cooler, very windy, but bright and sunny.
I caught a bucket load of salmon parr, it's great to see so many in the river, and in between their splashy little rises to the sporadic hatches and wind blow terrestrials there were bigger fish gently sipping flies from the surface. It amazes me how fish see bugs in among the masses of dead and dying leaves that are blanketing the surface.
I cast a dry fly across one of these rises and a fish takes it, a big fish, it's a grayling and after a tussle it sheds the hook. I carry on down stream and continue to catch parr and smaller grayling. At the bottom of the beat I walk back upstream and gently enter the water again. I wait, and see the big fella is back on station and feeding again. Not wanting to spook it I tie on a small emerger and after a couple of casts it takes it and this time I bring it to the net, and it's a cracking fish!
Out fishing with Deepak last week and he so wanted to catch a grayling. Well we did better than that. His final tally was 5, with a couple of sizable fish, and a few that got away.
He was so excited on catching his first ever grayling he insisted on taking me to the local pub for lunch to celebrate!
So just to be clear mono, copolymer and fluoro are all monofilament, in that it is all a single extrusion. However we anglers usually like to define them separately so for the purposes of this post that's what I'll do.
Mono & copolymer: Basically the same stuff. A relatively inexpensive tippet material that has good stretching properties, now whilst this makes for good shock absorption and less risk of breaking it can reduce sensitivity and bite detection. It tends to be supple and not to have memory problems and lies straight. Diameter to strength can be excellent with better brands having surprisingly fine diameters for their breaking strain and good abrasion resistance. Mono and copolymer are not UV resistant and will eventually break down in sunlight.
Fluoro: I've got to say there are some claims made of fluoro that I don't believe and that do not stand up to scrutiny.
Take a length of each material of the same diameter and fluoro will be heavier than mono, however the claims that it sinks and so is better for sub surface fishing is a load of eyewash! If it doesn't break the surface tension of the water fluoro floats just like mono. If it breaks the surface tension fluoro and mono sinks, however fluoro does sink more quickly but if fishing a wet fly or nymph it doesn't help to sink the fly quicker.
I've read how fluoro is near invisible underwater due to its refractive index, mmmm, right!! Try this little experiment for yourself - Take a length of each material of the same diameter and place them in a glass of water, both are clearly visible. Now drop the same pieces on to the water, both will stick in the surface tension, finally poke them under the water and both will sink!
Fluoro is generally stiffer and less stretchy, this is good for bite detection but bad for snapping and memory retention. Some claim knot strength is not so good, but as long as appropriate knots are well tied I don't think there is a problem, but because it is stiffer and less flexible it may contribute to knot breaks.
Finally fluoro is UV resistant so does not break down in sunlight, this one fact is why I will not consider using it. If this stuff is left lying around it's there forever, it will not degrade!
Fluoro is a good deal more expensive than mono so you have to decide if it's worth the premium.
So to conclude: there are good and bad points with both materials, it's up to you to decide which is best for you. Personally I use and recommend good quality mono or copolymer.
I had a good day out on the Dee with Willem, from Belgium. He'd not fished the river before but soon got into catching grayling on a dry fly, his final total was in excess of 10 caught and as many misses.
I've promised him a day on a remote mountain lake chasing wild brownies the next time he's over.
Kai, from Germany, was visiting Snowdonia and had never been fly fishing before so thought he'd have a go. After catching a few smaller fish, and missing a few move, he successfully brought a cracking grayling to the net. Kai tells me he's definitely taking up fly fishing when he returns home.