Fly Fishing Blog

Well done Jeremy on your 3lb Rainbow and a second!

Tom with a 4lb rainbow trout

A cracking day out with Jeremy on his first ever fly fishing lesson, he picked the basic casting up fairly quickly and once he started fishing had a take in about 5 minutes but missed the fish.

Not to worry his patience was rewarded by this cracking 3lb Rainbow followed by a stockie shortly after.

Well done!

Well done Ben & Ian for 3 fish each including an 8Lb Rainbow

Improvers novices fly fishing courses

 Ben and Ian booked two days out with me on a Friday and Saturday. The fishing on Friday was hard from the bank, with many people struggling although we did manage to hook a couple of trout. A change of tactics was needed for Saturday so I booked a couple of boats.

I met the guys at 9am and conditions were grim, a strong northerly wind that was freezing and bright sun, but we got started. After an hour or so the fish began to feed and both guys hooked and landed 3 fish each, loosing a few more. The last fish of the day caught by Ben was a cracking 8lb monster, that he played really well. Great day guys!

Well done Brian on catching a  cracking brace of Trout.

Tom with a 4lb rainbow trout

Brian is a Carp fisherman whos lovely wife bought him one of my fly fishing gift vouchers for Christmas, Lucky man! We agreed to meet at 9am at Summerfields but Brian arrived at 8am (keen or what) 

We got to grips with the fly casting and within an hour I tied on a blue flash Damsel and he started to fish for real. 

As I was busy looking through the fly box for the next fly to use I heard a shout and looked over to see Brians rod bent. He landed a nice stockie of about 1lb 10oz, followed later in the day by a cracking 3lb fish! Well done.

Well done Tom on hooking, playing and landing your first Trout.

Tom with a 4lb rainbow trout

Tom and I met on a windy Saturday morning and conditions were far from ideal. He got to grips very quickly with the basic overhead cast so I got him fishing within an hour. As his casting steadily improved I grabbed my own rod and fished next to him, in no time I was into a fish and passed Tom the rod. He played the fish well and when we netted it we were both impressed to see a lovely 4lb Rainbow Trout! the biggest from the fishery that week!

I duly hooked another 2lb trout which Tom landed, and then the pinacle of the day, watching toms line he had just cast I noticed a twitch. "thats a fish I screamed" he struck and landed another 2lb beauty. Well done!

I have been appointed tackle tester for Fishing Republic Plc and Yorkshire Game Angling

tackle tester fishing republic

I have been asked to test fly tackle on behalf of Fishing Republic and Yorkshire Game Angling. Over the next few months I will be posting my tackle reviews on this blog, and they will also appear on the Facebook pages of the tackle suppliers.

I hope to be testing everything from fly lines, rods, reels and flies.

Well done Chris, 3 fish on your first lesson!

two quality rainbow trout

Chris was booked in at 9am with me and we duly met and had a quick chat about the day ahead. The weather was dry but very windy not ideal for a first fly fishing lesson. However he picked up the basics of casting very quickly and after changing position to a more sheltered bay I felt it was time he started to fish for real. I tied on a short leader with a cats whisker and he was casting a respectable 10 - 12 yards. In only about 20 mins I notced a pull on the line and before I could shout strike he had already done it!. Playing the fish well it was duly landed.

Two more fish follwed on what was to be fair a hard day for fishing! well done. He also sent me this lovely email that night.

Hi James,

Just a quick email to say many many thanks for the tuition today at Summerfields. It was an excellent day and I got a lot out of it. Really enjoyed the sport and am definitely going to look at getting some of my own equipment and getting back there as soon as I can to keep the practice fresh in my head and because I enjoyed it so much.

The tuition itself was excellent from yourself and catching those 3 fish on my own, so to speak, was a massive buzz.

Just for one final time, I should of written it down lol, can you remind me what pattern of fly we used today? I know you mentioned other popular patterns, like Damsels, daddies, buzzers and montanas, all of which I am going to remember.
Thanks again James, learned loads and had an awesome day.  Looking forward to continuing with fly fishing



New fly fishing season is here!

After a long cold winter, at last the new fly fishing season is almost here. I cant wait to get out with the rods and new beginners and catch some fish. I am already pretty much booked for a lot of March and have some bookings already for April and May, so if you want to learn to fly fish contact me soon.

I managed to get out yesterday (8th March) with a friend we went to summerfields Trout Fishery, which is a favourite of mine and great for beginners. The weather was not great with frequesnt rain showers and we had the place pretty much to ourselves. The fish came thick and fast and we had 17 between us for the day to 3lb, all returned apart from a couple each for the table.

A happy new year to all my customers, past, present and future.

A very happy 2017 to all my customers past present and future, I hope to help many more of you this year to discover the joy of fly fishing.

Gift vouchers available for birthdays and christmas

fly fishing gift vouchers

Dont forget I offer fly fishing gift vouchers which are ideal gifts for Birthdays and Christmas. You can either buy a voucher that covers the cost of the whole day including fishery day ticket costs for £125, a voucher for just the fly fishing day for £100, or any amount from £10 to put towards a days fly fishing lesson.

Simply contact me for full details or to purchase.

Well Done Tim on landing your first Trout!

tim with his first fly caught rainbow trout

Alan and Tim booked a fly fishing lesson on Saturday and we all met at Summerfields at 9:30am. After running through how trout feed and how we catch them we quickly moved on to the basics of fly casting. The two boys picked up the basic roll cast and overhead cast in no time and we were fishing by lunchtime. Conditions were not great, in fact it was windy and bloody freezing with most other fisherman heading for home by 3pm. Not us though and we had the place to ourselves by mid afternoon. 

A quick change of location (heading up to the point) saw plenty of fish moving. Culminating in Tim landing his first Rainbow of about 2 lbs. Well done.

Pochard Trout fishery review November 2016

Pochard trout fishery

So on Tuesday I met a former customer / pupil at Pochard Trout Fishery, he is a member and had decided to take me fishing as a thank you. Pochard is a small lake no more than two acres, set in a tree lined valley and stocked with Rainbows and Browns. The most notable feature is the brand new lodge, built out of stone and boasting a weighing room, small tackle area, toilets and a restaurant and bar. The finishing is excellent, solid oak tables and a huge hard wood veranda built out over the lake.

We met the bailiff Ray, who discussed tactics and flies with us and off we set, to the dam end which is the deepest and widest point on the lake. With few fish showing and none taking we decided to move up yo the shallow narrow part of the lake as we had seen plenty of trout cruising as we walked to the lodge. The fishery boasts lots of purpose built platforms and whilst some casting can be tricky its pretty accessible. I would not however recommend it for complete beginners as the casting can be challenging in some areas.

After about 20 minutes my fishing partner Scott was into a nice rainbow of about 2lb caught on a cats whisker. Three more Trout quickly followed between us and one perch, so we decided to break for a liquid lunch in the lodge. Very reasonable drinks prices and a good friendly atmosphere.

The afternoon was a bit quieter with only a few pulls, the trout were not really interested, but it was a lovely few hours fishing.

Well Done Scott on landing three Rainbows

Scotts three cracking rainbow trout

This was Scott's second fly fishing lesson with me but his first going after Trout, as the previous one was for Pike. We set off at 7:30am for Draycote Water, got tackled off and jumped in the boat. Conditions were not ideal a strong easterly wind and no fish moving. However after just 10 minutes I was into a Trout and passed the rod to Scott, who promptly lost the fish!. Never Mind, only 30 mins later I heard him shout "fish on" and looked to see his rod bent double. He played it well and after a 4 minute battle the fish was netted. Two more Trout followed as well as another lost fish and a few missed pulls. Well done mate!

A cracking day at Draycote Water

A nice 4lb Draycote Rainbow Trout

So I decided to have some "me time" last week and headed of to Draycote Water near Rugby for a days boat fishing. Conditions were ok, very windy and sunny, but my heart sank a bit when the fishery bailiff told me it was fishing hard with a rod average of only 2 fish.! After getting my ticket and finding my boat I headed up to the north dam to try my luck. Looking at the other boats I could not see any bass bags hanging over the side of their boats, meaning nobody was catching yet. After about 50 minutes and not a single take, I upped anchor and took a slow float down past the dam to see if I could see any fish moving. I spotted some trout feeding on the surface so dropped anchor and began to fish, a nice dry sedge pattern but not a single take.

I then noticed a fish rising just in front of the boat, it was going after a discarded cigarette butt! this is not that unusual as they look like trout pellets. Orange I thought, thats the colour they want, so tying on a little orange hopper I hooked this cracking 4lb rainbow on the second cast. Three more followed fairly quickly and it was grand to be afloat.

September - its Daddy long legs time!

September trout fishing means Daddy long legs. This is a really effective fly for mid to late September. The naturals are blown onto the water especially in a good breeze, and the trout go mad for them. Make sure you have plenty in your fly box as when the trout get on them they sometimes wont take anything else. The daddy can be fished on the surface, giving a good pull every few seconds to mimic a fly in distress. Or it can be fished as a "drowned daddy" just under the surface. Check out this great you tube video for everything you need to know about the daddy long legs and how to fish it.

Tips for beginners to improve your casting and catching

Fly fishing tactics

Anyone with some tuition, perseverance and dedication can become an average fly fisherman, but if you want to catch more than the fisherman next door you need an edge. So what separates the average angler from the guy or girl who seems to catch more fish? Preparation and an eye for detail Thats what.

Look after those fly lines: So many people buy a fly line, attach it to the reel and fish for years with it, with ever decreasing casting distance. A fly line is like a finely tuned engine and needs looking after. It should be cleaned after every forth or fifth visit to the fishery in a mild soapy solution (strip all the line off onto your lawn, and using a clean cloth dipped in the solution run it over the entire lime) Then use a fly dressing to lubricate the line. This will get you a few extra yards on each cast and ultimately a few extra fish. I even clean every ring / eye of my rod and wipe them through with a silicone wipe (used for cleaning car dashboards) a few extra feet can make all the difference.

Check for wind knots : Wind knots happen to every fly fisherman, when the leader loops over itself on the cast. They are hard to see, the best way to detect them is to run your fingers over the leader from braided loop to fly and you will feel them. SO WHAT? Well a wind knot can reduce the breaking stain of the leader by 50% making a 6lb breaking strain leader into a 3lb and loosing a fish.

The leader gets shorter: As a rule our fly leader is the length of the rod, say 10 feet. Every time we change a fly we loose about 6 inches of leader, change a fly a few times and we have reduced its length by a few feet. Always take time to tie on a new leader, 2 minutes doing this can be the difference between catching and not.

De-grease the leader: The leader will tend to float and make a wake and this can put Trout of taking, especially when the water is flat calm. It is therefore a great idea to de-grease the leader, but dont go buying expensive leader degreaser the best thing to use is washing up liquid! and it works out a lot cheaper. Have some with you in a small bottle, put a little between your fingers and run the leader through from braided loop up to the fly.

A great recipe for fly caught trout

Fly caught trout with watercress sauce

Here is a great recipe for your Trout, Trout with watercress sauce.


A 2lb – 3lb Trout, preferably caught by you!

500ml of Creme Fraiche

A teaspoon of Capers.

Zest of 1 lemon plus juice

Big bunch of watercress

Salt and pepper.

Oven cook the trout (season with some salt on pepper inside the body and slash the skin 3 times on each side to prevent curling) at about 180c for 22 mins or until cooked. Alternatively fillet the fish and pan fry skin side down for about 7 – 9 mins.

In the meantime make your easy sauce.
In a bowl combine all the ingredients, use a blender to pulse into a smooth sauce, season to taste. Serve with new potatoes tossed in butter, Asparagus (grilled or boiled) or Samphire pan fried in a little butter for 2 mins)

Easy but really delicious.!

How to clean (gut) a trout

how to gut a trout

If your planning to freeze your Trout its better to freeze it with the guts in. This stops it drying out in the freezer. However the fish must be fresh, so if its been sitting on the bank all day in 33c heat before you freeze it, you may wish to re-consider. We keep out catch fresh by using a bass bag, this is a cloth bag that you can hang over the side of the boat or in the bank shallows.

Gutting a fish is a lot easier than you think and its not stinky or stomach churning.

Right to gut or clean your fish. You will need, a very sharp knife, some newspaper, a teaspoon and an empty sink.

Take your knife and make a cut the length of the trout's body (underneath) from just below the head to just before the tail.

Pull out the guts by hand, they should come out fairly easily and in one.

Running along the spine you will see a black colour, this is just coagulated blood, run a knife the length of it and then using the teaspoon, scrape it out.

Run the fish under a tap using your hand to clean the cavity.

Its up to you whether you lop the head and tail off

A memorable summer thanks to Mick

Elinor trout fishery

As mentioned in the about me page, I started fly fishing in the highlands of Scotland for wild brown trout, even though I was lucky enough to be able to go north 3 times a year I still missed fishing when I was back in Northamptonshire. I had no idea at that time that there were local stillwaters stocked with Rainbow trout very near to where I lived. I stumbled upon this revelation when I picked up a leaflet in my local tackle shop for Elinor trout fishery, which was only 10 miles away.

At this point I was still not a very good fly fisherman, I had nobody to teach me and struggled along. I asked my mum to drop me at Elinor for a days fishing and was so excited. I remember having the place to myself for most of the day. I could see trout rising and jumping but I could not hook one. My leader was getting shorter and shorter as I tried new flies (I had no idea that the leader should be changed regularly to make sure it was always about 10 feet long)

As mid to late afternoon came more fisherman arrived, they were all catching and I wasn't, it was very frustrating. Then the moment that changed my fishing forever happened, the Bailiff Mick, came down to see how I was getting on, he was surprised I had not caught any fish until he saw my leader and set up. Now Mick was a real character, he could easily be mistaken for a grumpy, angry bloke, but actually he was a nice guy and one of the best fisherman I have ever met. He snatched the rod from me, tied on a new leader, put on a muddler minnow and in three casts he hooked a trout!. Wow, my rod and line had actually hooked a decent fish albeit with me not at the end of it, but I saw it could be done. At least I went home with a fish and in those 5 minutes spent with Mick I had probably learnt more than I had in many years.

The following week I went back to Elinor, I fished all day without a take, then towards the end of the day, it happened, a fish took my fly. I will never forget that feeling. The fish was only on for about 1 minute and I lost it. It was a mix of excitement and disappointment. I had actually hooked a fish but lost it. I told my mum about it and no doubt she felt for me. Oh well I thought maybe I will get back to Elinor in 2 weeks or so as I went to bed.

The next morning my mum burst into my bedroom and said “if you get up now your dad says he will drop you at Elinor on his way to the office” I was up like a shot, she packed me a lunch and I was duly dropped at the fishery. I had a new confidence I knew I could do it as I started to fish. Within 20 minutes of fishing I hooked and landed my first decent fish, then another and then another. By lunchtime I had three fish on the bank and lost a beauty in the afternoon ( I did not know how to play a decent fish and it snapped me up) After that day I never looked back, and spent many happy years fishing what is still today my favourite stillwater. Thanks Mick!