Saturday, 31 May 2014

Fly Fishing Knot Tip for the Chalk Streams

Fishing gin clear water that is moving towards you and has the odd bit of weed etc drifting in it requires a careful choice of leader.  My friends in the USA tend to construct their own tapered leaders by blood knotting lines of descending diameters together till they add on the appropriate tippet.  I prefer to use a manufactured tapered leader because even the neatest blood knot can attach and snare a piece of flotsam.  For less subtle types of fly fishing when joining the business end of the fly line to the butt end of the leader I usually use a mesh tubed leader loop but when chalk stream fly fishing I prefer something less bulky.
I was reminded of this when one of the guys (I can call him that because he's from the States) showed me a loaded reel sent him by his fly fishing son in law. Joining the leader to the fly line was the the neatest needle knot I have ever seen.  The blood knots making the tapered leader were of the same standard.  So I decided to put new leaders onto my chalk stream reels and see if I could match the high standard set on the other side of the "pond".
Having pushed a fine needle up the end and out of the side of the fly line I struggled to feed the thicker end of the leader up the hole.  In the past I have heated the needle but I remember finding that it was too easy to over heat the needle with dire results!
It then occurred to me (and I expect the whole world already knows this) that if I reversed the needle and pushed it in the side of the fly line and out the end I could (wait for it) use the needle to thread the thin end through the hole!  Having done that I could then carefully pull the leader right through (or almost right through) the end of the fly line and then do the whipping knot that secures everything.  I still found the whipping a bit challenging due to the size of my fingers and only managed three or four turns so I added a drop of superglue.
Here is a picture of the join thanks to Gary Borger
Now lets see if I catch more trout!
When I can make time I plan to see if just super gluing the leader in the fly line hole provides enough strength!

Friday, 23 May 2014

Back on the chalk streams with the Salisbury and District Angling Club

My brother Chris finally on the water

Finally my brother and I got on the water on the 19th May. The weather was kind and I showed him the club beats at West Amesbury. There was plenty of water and it was a bit coloured so I took him down the club office (interestingly called "The Cart Shed") and as it was windy we picked beats 18 and 19 as the trees provide some shelter there.  The water seemed clearer and it was just great being back on the chalk.  He managed one BT and I managed three all on klinkhammers. The fish were small but beautifully coloured. We then tried beats 8 and 10 and met up with the bailiff who was fishing 9.  We all blanked (including the bailiff, so no shame).  There was the occasional mayfly showing.
The next day I fished the Wylye for a couple of hours on my own and had 3 BTs and 2 grayling.  The water was clearer here but the wind made casting a bit tricky.

I cannot wait to get back and enjoy some more of these lovely fish.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014


There are literally thousands of trout in Bewl Water.  However, because of its size sometimes it can be a bit of a challenge to find the fish.  Normally, one would ask Janet or Coral at the Lodge or speak to one of the fishery team on the jetty.  They want to help you because they want you to catch (happy fishers come back!).  You can also help yourself by watching other boats (binoculars can be useful) and trying the locations that regularly hold fish, like Rosemary's Lane, Canoe Club Corner, The Nose, the top of Hook Straight, Monty's Seat, etc.  Now the fish tend to go where there is food so a northerly wind blowing over the top of the main dam pushes the surface water away from the dam and that draws up water and potentially food from the depths.
If the wind has been blowing in the same direction for several days really experienced Bewl fishers can usually predict where the fish will be.  Usually they fish on the drift (loch style) with a drogue (underwater parachute) out to slow the drift down and keep the boat at right angles to the wind.  This means you are always covering fresh water.  If I can I like to start my drift from a known point like a buoy.  This is so that if I find I am travelling over fish and hopefully catching them when the drift is exhausted or I stop catching I can motor back and repeat a similar drift.  If you see another boat on the drift catching then you can motor in behind them (allowing plenty of space) and follow their drift. What you must not do is sneak in front of them as that is regarded as poor form and will probably get a verbal response!

After my last session at Bewl where I actually saw the fish being stocked, Vince Brooks who works at the fishery and fishes for England, kindly stopped and gave me the following advice on how to speed up the process of finding the fish especially when it is windy:-
  • Use a sinking line
  • Tie on a large lure
  • Don't use the drogue
  • Cast and retrieve like crazy!
Doing this you drift fast and cover a lot of water but it speeds up the process of finding the fish. Having found them you may want to try a more subtle approach.  I am looking forward to trying Vince's approach on my next visit!
However, now I am being tempted by the chalk streams and the mayfly.  My next post will be about that.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

Bewl Water: Stocking in progress and the latest fishing report

Last Monday Malcolm and I were struggling to connect with fish in the strong variable winds and then we spotted Vince and Howard in the stocking boat. We had a brief chat with them as they were seeding Rosemary's Lane with 250 blues.  I was impressed that they were actually counting the fish in as they released them.  Needless to say I managed to hook up to a couple in that area after they had settled down. They gave me the arm wrenching response as they took a cats.
As we were leaving Vince kindly stopped for a chat and gave me some advice on how to find the fish in Bewl when the wind is up and swinging from all quarters!
I will put that in another post as soon as I find time.  Meanwhile here is the latest Bewl Fishing report from Janet.

Strong winds and heavy rain deterred most anglers at the end of last week and the weekend. Those who did brave the elements were rewarded with some good fishing. Rod average for the week was 2.7 and the fish have started to go deeper in the water and have been 4-5 feet down.

1000 blue trout were stocked on Monday and all trout are spread out across the water. Best areas for boats have been Hook Straight, The Nose , Hatheralls and Rosemary Lane.

Best areas for bank fishing are been Ferry Point, Seven Pound Creek, Dunsters and the Oak Trees.

Successful flies haven't changed much again - Cormorants, Boobies, Damsels and green and black flies such as Vivas and Montanas.


With weekends very busy, we need all the life jackets we have. 40 have gone missing already this season which has added a further £2,500 to the fishery's running costs. Removal of Bewl Water
property from the site should be treated as theft, however we accept that many of these may have been removed accidently and so would ask that you check cars, sheds etc and return any found immediately to the Fishing Lodge as they must be checked before they go back into use.

Water temp. 13.5c water level

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Fly Fisherman has other interests too!

When the weather is too bad (and I mean really bad) for fishing I have been trying to develop my artistic side. Whilst my wife and I have been doing voluntary work at the London Temple near East Grinstead this was the view out of our bedroom window of the old Manor House in the Temple grounds. I could not resist the opportunity to get my water colours out and have a go at painting it. 

Copies of the picture have proved so popular (especially with Temple workers who have resided in the Manor House) that I now ask people for a voluntary contribution of £5 towards the Church's Perpetual Education Fund.  This fund helps people in undeveloped countries get educated. It is perpetual in that when they qualify and are earning, they pay back the money they received so it can help someone else. So far contributions have exceeded £150. If you would like a copy send me an e mail ( and put Manor House painting in the title. The picture is printed on card and is A4 in size.