A pleasure day on Chew Valley Lake

31 05 2015

Last week Welsh International Chris Jones and I made the journey over the seven bridge to Chew Valley Lake, after speaking to some friends who had fished Chew just days before reporting the fishing had been tricky and they were struggling to get a few fish to the boat Chris and I were expecting a tough days fishing. We arrived at the fishery and saw there was a barely a ripple on the lake, a mild feel in the air and overcast skies, perfect conditions in my book! Being a puller at heart I set up a Airflo Sixth Sense Fast Glass fly line with around 22ft of 8lb Fulling Mill World Class Fluorocarbon with 3 flies attached to the leader spaced 10ft, 6ft and another 6ft to the point. On the top dropper I had one of my good friend’s Kieron Jenkins new blobs called the Merlot Blob, this gives a great silhouette in the water and is not bight and flashy so it does not put many fish off, in the middle again one of Kieron’s patterns but this time one of his cormorant patterns, his mirage cormorant pattern to be precise and one of my own cutthroat cat booby on the point, Chris also had a similar set up. Once we got on to the water we pulled about 20 feet off the jetty and just let the boat drift down the middle of the lake, Chris was in nearly straight away on his 3rd cast his line went tight on the hang a lovely little chew rainbow came to the net.

chris playing a fish on chew

We both took fish through the middle of the lake and decided we would try something different so we switched to the nymphs and looked for the better fish, so I set up a 3ft Airflo Super Dri Midge tip with 18ft of 7lb Fulling Mill World Class Fluorocarbon and 4 flies spaced 6ft from the fly line then 4ft,4ft and another 4ft to the point, the flies were a Black holographic Diawl Bach in the middle and then 2 more plain diawl bachs and one of Kieron’s abortion cormorant boobies on the point to hold the Diawls up in the water column, within a few casts the line shot out of my hand and I was in to one of Chew’s resident rainbows, after a few hard and powerful runs I was able to pull the fish’s head up and skim it across the top and in to the net another bonus of the Fulling Mill Fluorocarbon is the strength of it is unbelievable as a competition angler I can bully the fish in with complete trust in my leader.

me playing a fish on chewchew rainbow on nymphs

As the day got on we swapped between nymphing and pulling and we landed around 50 fish to the boat including a stonking perch well in excess of 2lb and probably closer to 3 and a brownie on the nymphs was a nice surprise too.

chew perchchew brown

I hope chew continues to fish as well throughout the rest of the season, I would highly recommend that you go and fish Chew, even if you’re a novice the rangers are always willing to point you in the right direction and you always get a warm welcome at Chew.

If you are still unsure about going afloat for the first time I would advise that you book a day’s fishing with England international John Horsey, you will have a tremendous day with John and will be hooked on boat fishing, contact John via email john@johnhorsey.co.uk

Tight Lines


Garnffrwd in May

30 05 2015

Now we are coming in to the end of spring and in to early summer there is an abundance of fly life on the water, on the surface and below with olives hatching, caenis and the damsels climbing up the reeds ready to hatch and of course the buzzers, I have been lucky enough to catch these hatches spot on and the fishing has been tremendous. For the last couple of weekends I have been fishing my favorite small still water fishery Garnffrwd and catching as many as 15 to 20 fish has been a doddle as long as you scale down your leader and fly size, I have been fishing 18ft 5lb Airflo G3 and size 16 olive shuttlecocks as shown below.


I found that the key to success is not just to cast at any rising fish it’s to watch one fish, watch how it rise’s whether it’s taking flies on the surface or if it’s taking emergers just under the surface , watch what path the fish takes, is it swimming around in circles or is it swimming up the wind, all this is crucial when fishing dries as you need to make sure you fly is in the right zone that the fish can see it and will want to eat your fly. Another important tip when fishing dries is to always degrease your leader, I use density mud from troutwatch and it’s by far the best mud I’ve ever used it has tungsten particles mixed in the mud and it really pulls your leader under the surface’s tension and out of site of the trout.

here is just one of the fish I’ve caught from Garnffrwd this month

big browny

This fish came to a damsel pattern fished tight to the reeds on the close bank on a fast glass line and 8lb fulling mill world class fluorocarbon. Fishing damsel patterns in April and May tight to the banks can be awesome as that’s where the fish will spend a lot of their time feeding, fish unwighted damsel patterns on intermediate lines with short sharp pulls your you’ll be in for a great days fishing.

keep an eye out for my next couple of blogs, some exciting fishing from a recent trip to Chew Valley Lake and a day with the Welsh Youth Fly Fishing team at Clywedog and a blog that’s going to be a tribute to my hero and great friend who passed away earlier this week Moc Morgan

Tight lines



3 03 2015

Now the lakes and big reservoirs are opening such as Chew Valley Lake, Blagdon water , Grafham and Rutland water and Llandegfedd this only means one thing to me, it’s time to get the boat seat out and the midge tip with a couple of buzzers. Buzzer fishing is one of my favorite ways to spend a day on the water, not only is it very relaxing but you can have some fantastic sport and some incredible fish. Here are a few buzzer patterns I would not be without.010 054 069 005 006 004 009

The Fly Tidy

1 02 2015

fly tidy Recently I have invested in buying a fly-tidy, the fly-tidy is a tray designed for the fly tier made out of a special material. What’s so great about this “special material” well if you’re like me I tend to be a little clumsy when tying and I often use super glue, U.V resins and varnishes and if you have had an experience like me before when you have accidently knocked over a bottle of super glue or varnish over on a brand new wooden dining table then this is where the fly-tidy comes in handy , the special material that it’s made out of does not let these liquids set on it so its jest a case of wiping the liquids off with a damp cloth and there’s nothing stuck to your fly-tidy and your desk or table has no damage to it what so ever.  As many of you also know I’m a completion angler and I have to do a great deal of traveling from one end of the country to another, when I’m fishing in these competitions I practice for 2-3 days on the water before the match and my most successful flies go in to a box and I have to make sure I have plenty of these flies in my box, which means I have to often do quite a lot of tying in the hotel room, as some of you may know that you don’t always have a great tying table in a hotel room sometimes the lip of the table can be too small so you can’t get your G clamp on the edge of the table so with your fly tidy you just place it on the on the table and you’re ready to start tying.

Don’t start to think the fly tidy is just for tying away from home though because I use my fly tidy every time I tie a fly in the house now too and I can move all my tools and vice on the fly tidy from one room to another. This is possibly the best piece of equipment I have bought for fly tying in a couple of years.

The size of the fly tidy is 45 x  27,5 x 2,5 cm (or 17 3/4 x 10,8 x 1 inches) The workspace recess, tool and accessory holes are 2 cm deep (0,8 inch).The easily accessible tools stay where they’re put and materials don’t roll out of the workspace.

The price of the Fly Tidy is £45 and can be ordered from the Designer and owner of the Fly Tidy Lee James either on Facebook or email : leejames133@talktalk.net  or can also be purchased from AMC fly tying, contact AMC fly tying on Facebook for enquires.


Fly Fishing in Wales – The Group

18 07 2014

A sad thing in fly fishing is that you often find little groups of people who keep themselves to themselves, you find this whether you fishing a river or the still waters where a group of say 4-5 people will share information between each other of what area of the lake or river is fishing well and holding fish ,  what fly and method there catching on,  this sometimes can be very childish even when there’s no competition on this still happens. There is a limit where this is acceptable as you don’t want your favourite spot on the river being poached or on the lakes during competitions often teams put weeks of practice and countless amounts of money being spent you don’t really want everyone having that information before the match for free. Now you can easily avoid all of the above by joining the group on Facebook Fly Fishing in Wales. This Group has now have over 400 members, the Group is made up of very experienced anglers and beginners and everyone in-between. The great thing about the group is there are no ego’s and everyone is willing to help no matter what the question, there are fly tying experts to help such as Matthew Pate a Fly box Signature fly tier and Deer Creek pro team members Christopher Rawle and Dai Jones. There are also many outstanding and experienced anglers such as Kieron Jenkins , Jonathon Jones, Sean Jones , Terry Bromwell , Chris Jones , Elliot Penn , Hugh Weir and many more. The group have competitions and days out quite often at fisheries spread over Wales. These Photos are of the last two competitions held at Garnffrwd Trout fishery one day comp and the other an evening comp

fly fishing in wales day comp

fly fishing in wales night comp

I Highly recommend you join this group , its a well run and maintained group with no keyboard warriors or egos.

tight lines


Fishing at Garnffrwd

15 07 2014

I’m very lucky to live only 10 minutes away to possible the UK’s premier small still water fishery Of course I’m talking about Garnffrwd trout fishery . Garnffrwd has some amazing fishing to be had all year round in its gin clear water, amazing hatches of many different flies. The only problem with this is that attracts anglers from all over the country and sometimes it can be hard to get a spot to fish so it’s best to book first before you visit to avoid disappointment.

The fish in Garnffrwd get fished for every day so they see a different flies all the time. This means that the fishing can be very tricky on days but here are some tips that can help you make most of your day on the bank.

The biggest mistake people do this time of year is rush to the platforms rip as much line off the reel as they can (normally a sinking line) with a big lure attached to the end and try and cast to the opposite bank!! This is a big no no! This can produce a fish or two in the morning but then you will struggle for another take! If you are going to take the lure approach the way to do it is to set up a clear intermediate fly line a long leader 18ft of 7lb fluorocarbon my choice would be troutwatch optimum fluorocarbon and on the business end a small size 10 or 12 damsel. Once you approach the platform keep low and quite, first of just cast out your leader and jiggle to rod back towards the bank , you will often be surprised by the amount of fish swimming around close to the platforms. Them cast out around 10 yards of line , and figure of 8 the line back , try this for 5 minutes them gradually pull more and more line of the reel casing 15 yards then 20 and if you can 30 yards , vary the retrieve from just keeping in touch of the line to rolly polying the line back, keep changing areas and repeat the process and you will find and catch fish.

The next tactic I would use is the dreaded bung! Or strike indicator , as much as some hate the bung it’s a very successful method , Garnffrwd regular Andy Griffin consistently has large numbers of fish, fishing the bung the reason why I think is because the fish get annoyed with chasing and the often prefer to eat something more natural or something that’s static. Flies to fish under the bung are buzzers , diawl bachs , egg flies and egg laying blobs, the leader I use is 5lb Airflo Sightfree G3.

The 3rd method to fish at Garnffrwd for me is the dry fly such a shuttlecocks such as this one

20140715-033138.jpg . The way to fish this fly is on a long leader of again 18ft of fluorocarbon , yes fluorocarbon not copolymer ! The reason why I’d fish fluorocarbon in Garnffrwd is because the water is normally very calm and the lake is well sheltered there is never a big wave like you get on the big lakes , as it’s very calm there is a lot of surface tension and the leader finds it hard to cut through the surface , and if your leader is floating you may as well just go home! The fish will look at your fly and swirl at the fly but will not eat it . I will give the leader a coating of troutwatch density mud to help pull the leader under , this mud is no normal mud it has plenty of tungsten particles in it and really does pull all your leader under the surface quickly.

Well there we go folks , you now have my best advice for Garnffrwd , I hope it helps you put more fish in the net
Tight lines

What’s been going on !

12 07 2014

It’s been too long since I’ve had time to sit down and let you folks know what I’ve been up to and where has been fishing well. The season kicked off for me at Draycote water near Rugby , I fished with Chris Jones a good friend and team mate , after a quick chat with staff at the fishery we were told where to go and how to catch the fish but at that time of year it’s just a case of getting the depth and area , flies aren’t important as you will be fishing for the fresh stocked fish. We started fishing in the bay on the far bank around the conner from toft. My set up for the day was a Hanak 10ft 7# with a Di3 sixth sense fly line on the business end was 25ft of troutwatch optimum 9.5lb fluorocarbon with 2 blobs , a viva blob on the top dropper and a biscuit blob on the point. Chris’s set up was very similar with a di3 sweep instead of the straight Di3, the results were clear that the 3 sweep was out fishing the straight 3 as by 12pm Chris was beating me 11-4 – bad angling Rumble !! We came in for some breakfast as the cafe did not open until 10.30Am , on return to the boat I tied on a 3 sweep with one of my tutti frutti blobs on the point , by 3pm we were on 25 each , unbelievable fishing with fish up to 6lb and some cracking overwintered rainbows and some browns thrown in too.




I retuned to Draycote 2 weeks later and it was not the same , all the hot spots were take up with anglers fishing the anchor! This really frustrates me , if your going to fish from a boat please do so properly and drift , if you don’t want to move , fish the bank – simples ! After finding some fish me and good pal and team captain Mike Roberts took a few nice fish on mikes olive blob on a di5 sweep and 40+ , once again I was lucky enough to take a nice brown trout


After Draycote it was on Chew Valley lake , it’s coach and fishing buddy Mark Thomas , me and Mark had a great day on chew bashing the stockies with hot head damsels and blobs on di5 and di7 40+ lines in the middle of the lake again the brown trout were playing ball


After a few trips to chew with the team and a few bits and bobs here and there it was time to get competing , the first comp of the year was the Welsh Youth Team qualifiers , the 1st qualifier was on llyn trawsfynedd I managed 2nd place with 9 fish and 1st place was my younger brother Elliot with 11 fish , who became welsh champion this weekend at llyn Brenig , he’s had a flyer of a season beating me on numerous occasions. This season has not gone my way at all so far this season. The highlight so far is qualifying for the Lexus team final with the snatchers at chew a few weeks back. This weather was cruel , with temperatures hitting the high 20s everyday on the practice days and match day , the method was fishing 4 heavy super glue buzzers as deep as you can and fishing them static , we qualified at 4th place and Iain Barr’s team came 1st good angling ! So it’s time to start thinking about trips to Rutland to practice for the final

First is the youth international match held at England’s Grafham water near Huntington in just 3 weeks time , the team has been on the water a few times all ready this season and we are going to work extremely hard in these next few weeks hopefully to pull a result out of the bag !!

I hope you have enjoyed reading this little round up of what’s been happening , hopefully I’ll be able to keep you all updated more regularly from now on !
Tight lines

Trip to Ellerdine lakes

2 03 2014

This weekend I visited Ellerdine trout fishery which is sat in the picturesque Shropshire countryside. I arrived at the fishery around 8.30AM after staying up in a near hotel at Telford. When I arrived at the fishery there was an angler already in to fish on meadow which is the largest of the 4 lakes on site. After paying for my catch and release ticket £15 for the day which includes all 4 lakes!! I set up 2 HANAK 10ft 7wts one with a floating line with a couple of nymphs set up on 7lb optimum fluorocarbon and the other rod with a fast glass with 9.5lb optimum fluorocarbon with an unwighted cat minky. I started on Marsh lake behind meadow with one follow on the cat and a few little takes on the nymphs but nothing to keep me on the lake. I moved to meadow lake in front of the lodge where I met up with a friend Stuart Smitham after having a quick chat with Stu he suggested that I moved a few pegs down the lake to a piece of water which had a channel running through it so I took Stu’s advice and moved, 2 casts later and my fast glass locked up while doing a rolly polly with the un-weighted cat minky on after a good fight and a few splashes a fully finned rainbow came to the net Rainbow 1

After a few more casts I landed another beautifully marked fully fined little rainbow again on the cat. Having about a dozen more casts I thought I would go a check how Stuart was getting on and have a little move back to marsh as I knew there were fish feeding in there as I could see a few moving just under the surface. I opted for the fast glass set up again and 1st cast the line locked up tearing around 10-15 yards out of my hand and off my reel! After getting the fish under control and trying to pull the fish away from reeds and other features such as a bridge where the fish tried to go under twice 5 minutes later the fish finally tired and was scoped up in the net , another fish around the 2lb mark
fish from marsh

After this I took about 4-5 more fish from marsh and then I called it time for a cup of tea and a chat with the owner Ed Upton who is a very nice man and full of useful tips and advice. I met up with Stuart at the lodge once again and he also had around 5 fish from Marsh on a di 3 and a hot head cat’s whisker. I took about 10 minutes of the day to watch Ed stock the lakes with some cracking fully finned rainbows just like this one
ed stocking

The day went on taking many more fish on all 4 lakes on a mixture of methods from straight line nymphing to rolly pollying a cat minky on a fast glass which did most damage. I finally came on the lakemoor which is the smallest of the 4 lakes , after seeing an angler walking off the lake with a large fish in his hand I was hoping for something similar, first cast with the minky the line once again locked up with large swirl on the surface tearing line off the reel I thought that this most of been one of the large resident fish which swim in lakemoor but it was only around the 3lb mark after a good scrap and getting it to the net

I took many more fish from lakemoor but none of great size so moved a few pegs down the lake in to some deeper water and cast out and letting the fly line sink for 5 seconds I started to slowly rolly polly and a large bow wave started to appear behind the fly so I stopped and the line shot out of my hand and the line was disappearing up the lake so I had to move a few pegs up to try and get the fish under control for what seemed an age which was actually around 5 minutes the fish stayed around 20 yards out and was trying to dig its head in some weed I could feel the heavy head shaking through the rod eventually the fish swam towards me and tried its luck to try and get in the reeds In the bank so I just had to try and put as much as pressure on the fish as possible and finally I got its head up and put the net under it and lifted , it was mineneting fish 1

I weighed the fish in the net and released it to fight another day. 7lb 3oz of pure muscle , over the moon to say the least. big bow
The day finally came to a close finishing with 17 rainbows which all fought well about their weight , what a day to say the least , I thoroughly enjoyed my day at the fishery and will be returning again very shortly for another visit
Thank you Ed for a cracking day
Ellerdine is an amazing fishery with some monster fish, it’s really worth a visit and being such as wonderful fishery you can imagine that it gets quite busy at times to don’t forget to book your place to save any disappointment phone the fishery on 07860 299342 or visit the website on this link Ellerdine lakesTight lines

HANAK Stilwater III rod review

1 03 2014

Recently I’ve been using a Hanak Stillwater III 10ft #7 rod. This is the kind of rod I’ve been looking for, for quite some time. The HANAK is a great all round rod with a great middle to tip action, the rod is a 3 piece rod which is supplied with a lovely rod tube and cloth. What amazes me the most about this rod is the price at just £105.00 from troutwatch which is a bargain. My most recent trip was to Ellerdine lakes in the heart of the Shropshire countryside which I will report about in the next blog but I set up two HANAK’s and the main aim of this was to try and put the rods to their limits which feel I did and the rods came out on top, with challenging in the face winds and strong winds from left to right it was a little tricky to put a line out to say the least but the HANAK coped with no problems. I threaded many lines through the rods and gave them a cast from a floater down to the fast sinking Di lines and again the HANAK coped with no problems.  Through the day I fished many different methods from straight line nymphing on a floater to rolly pollying a couple of lures on a sinker and the HANAK was sensitive enough to cope with the nymphing and absorb the solid takes and had the back bone needed to casting a long line in to the wind with a sinker with a few large lures and bullying some very strong rainbows! You really do get a lot of rod for your money with the HANAK and in my opinion it’s up there with some of the best brands with large prices.

You can find the HANAK for sale at Troutwatch just click on the link to get to the rod HANAK Stillwater III 10ft #7 rod

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Product Review: G.loomis GLX Distance 10ft 7#

20 10 2013

I’ve owned a loomis GLX Distance since April and I am very impressed with rod, it is simply outstanding. The power of the rod  amazes me every time I use it. It has a very stylish look about it and its 3 sections so it fits in to any car boot, I’m comes with a very nice rod tube too, with a screw on lid. But why do I like this rod so much ? This rod enables me to fish every method in the book from fishing drys to chucking DI8 shooting heads, it has a very powerful blank but is sensitive enough to fish dry flies with. Here are a few fish I’ve caught with the loomis



Being a competition angler the G.loomis gives me an edge over other anglers especially during the first few months of the season where the fish are lying deep in the water and you have to cast fast sinking lines to get down to them, if I can outcast the person next to me in the boat then I’m fishing deeper than he is and covering more fish, simple. Another advantage with the loomis is when a fish takes your fly along distance away from you normally you have to strike fairly hard to try and lift all that fly line out of the water to set the hook, with the loomis you just lift the rod and your in direct contact with that fish. If your after a rod that’s going to last you a life time check out the G.Loomis GLX Distance

Dean Connor Fly Fishing

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