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Thursday, 15 August 2019

Tying a Snake Fly with Davie McPhail

Snake flies are large fly patterns made from a long length of rabbit zonker strip. They're not to be confused with the snake flies fished by sea trout anglers, which are very different. Snakes first became popular in the Midland reservoirs during fry bashing season, several years ago. They quickly caught on elsewhere, as they proved effective for targeting larger fish - Browns and Rainbows - but it's said they were initially one of those secret patterns that competition anglers tried to keep under wraps to prevent them losing their effectiveness. Traditional Snake Flies are tied with silver bead eyes, but as Davie McPhail explains, you are free to use any colour bead eye you want.

All of the materials needed to tie this fly are available from Glasgow Angling Centre as listed below, but as always, if you need any help finding materials or substitutes then we'll be happy to help. Time to tie the CDC Chocolate Drop/Brown Caddis, with the guidance of Davie McPhail.

Materials Used:
Line: 20lb Braid Hooks: Size 8 Thread: Black Uni-8/0 Body: Black Rabbit Dubbing Wing: Black Rabbit Zonker Strip, Silver and Gold Flash Eyes: Silver or Chartreuse Chain Bead Eyes Head: Black Glister Dubbing

Additional materials: Additionally, Davie made use of Varnish, which he applied to the thread after completing the fly.

Davie's preferred type of whip finish tool can be found HERE!

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Which Is The Right Type Of Fly Line To Use

As fly anglers, we face a wide variety of waters to fish. From deep reservoirs and lochs to small rivers and stillwaters. The question is, when should you use different fly lines like floaters, intermediates and sinkers, and how do you find out which line works best?

Ultimately, there is no 'best' line, only the line that's most suitable for the method on any given day. This will be based on your style of fishing and the depth the fish are holding at.

Generally speaking, a standard floating line is the most versatile in your box. With a floating line, you can fish on top of the water or in the surface film. You can also fish depths of 20 feet by using a long leader, and a weighted fly provided you employ a slow retrieve and wait for the fly to get down.

Airflo Superflo
When deciding on which line to use, try and gauge how deep the water is that you will be fishing, and what method you will be using. For example, when fishing from the bank at any water (large or small) an excellent first choice would always be a floating line. This is because your fly will very rarely be in water deeper than 20 feet. By changing your speed of retrieve and the weight of the fly, you can control the depth you are fishing. A floater allows you to explore the depths.

Cortland Competition Medium Sinking Line
The exception would be when fishing Boobies early season when you would need a fast sinking line such as a Di-5 or Di-7 to pull the fly down and hold it there.
Airflo 2019 Di5 - Di7
If you can imagine that fish are holding at approximately eight feet deep, but want a lure pulled quite quickly, then you should opt for an intermediate or a medium sinking line. A moderate to fast retrieve on a floating line would pull your fly up on the retrieve. It will also pull the fly up and out of the 'holding zone'. By fishing an intermediate or medium sinking line, you would retrieve on a level plane, keeping your fly at the correct depth for the length of the retrieve. This gives you more opportunities to induce the take.
Cortland Competition Fo-Tech Intermediate
When boat fishing, the 'go-to' line for many anglers is a Di-3 or a Di-5 Sweep because the water you are fishing is generally deeper - between 15 and 35 feet. These medium sinking lines allow you to fish the greatest range of waters and methods without continually changing lines. If you were to chose just three fly lines in a session, a great choice would be a floater, a fast intermediate and a Di-5 Sweep.

Equipped with a range of weighted, unweighted and buoyant flies, you could then cover just about every scenario on every water with these lines, allowing you always to catch a few fish.

This article was brought to you in association with Trout Fisherman Magazine.

Friday, 9 August 2019

Shore Fishing Over Rough Ground

It's an age-old problem that every shore angler has experienced at some point. That is the loss of sea fishing terminal tackle over rough ground. So what adjustments do you need to make when fishing over rough or weedy ground to minimise tackle loss?

Firstly, try using a stronger mainline, say 30lb. You can add a rubbing leader for extra strength and it will give you some abrasion resistance when casting harder, but if you are just lobbing lead weights, you can use this straight through. Much of the time it's the sea fishing hooks that are becoming trapped in kelp or rocks, so using a hook that can bend a little, may help too.

Rotten Bottom Rig
A rotten bottom link is also a good idea. This is used to dump the lead weight by using a weaker line when the sinker is snagged, allowing the sea rig to be retrieved.

Rotten Bottom Example 2.
Rotten Bottom Clips
Another tactic to consider using a spiked sinker where the spikes prevent the weight from becoming lodged in the cracks and crevices.

Gemini Casting Weight
Finally, a pulley rig works well because when you retrieve, the sinker rises in high water, avoiding any potential traps on the seabed.
Pulley Pennel Rig
With these minor adjustments, you will decrease the chances of losing your gear, and prolonging the time you spend fishing; and less time making rigs.

This article was brought to you in association with Sea Angler Magazine.

Thursday, 8 August 2019

Tying the Pot Scrubber Nymph with Davie McPhail

Originally tied by Dick Wigram, this is a nymph in the classic looks like everything and nothing style. The Wigram Brown Nymph, commonly known as the "Pot Scrubber" for the Pot Scrubber Copper wire used in the pattern, is probably Tasmania's most famous nymph pattern where it was used as an imitation of Red Spinner Mayflies but it has been successful all across the world in various colours and guises with its slim natural streamlined silhouette.

All of the materials needed to tie this fly are available from Glasgow Angling Centre as listed below, but as always, if you need any help finding materials or substitutes then we'll be happy to help. Time to tie the CDC Chocolate Drop/Brown Caddis, with the guidance of Davie McPhail.

Materials Used:
Hook: Fulling Mill All-Purpose Medium size 12 Thread: Uni-8/0 Dk.Brown Tail: Brown Cock Fibres Rib: Copper Tinsel from a Copper Scrubbing Pad Body: Brown Wool and Brown Seals Fur Mixed Together Thorax Cover: Brown Raffia Thorax: Brown Wool and Brown Seals Fur Mixed Together

Additional materials: Additionally, Davie made use of Varnish, which he applied to the thread after completing the fly.

Davie's preferred type of whip finish tool can be found HERE!

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Tying a CDC Chocolate Drop/Brown Caddis with Davie McPhail

A CDC Caddis, although quite simplistic in its appearance, is a proven fish-catching fly. These flies imitate an emerging adult insect which makes them perfect for just about any venue when the Trout are on the rise. The CDC Caddis is quite adaptable and can be tied in a variety of different patterns; one of which is this Chocolate Drop/Brown from Davie McPhail. Not only is the pattern a great option for a caddis imitation, but it also doubles up as a great-searching pattern in between other fly hatches.
All of the materials needed to tie this fly are available from Glasgow Angling Centre as listed below, but as always, if you need any help finding materials or substitutes then we'll be happy to help. Time to tie the CDC Chocolate Drop/Brown Caddis, with the guidance of Davie McPhail.

Materials Used:
Hook: Fulling Mill Medium All-Rounder size 12 Thread: Uni-8/0 Dk.Brown Tag/Egg Sack: Yellow Seals Fur or Sub Body: Dark Brown Seals Fur or Sub Underwing: Brown Deer Hair Wing: Brown CDC Feathers or Natural Hackle: Whiting Hebert Minor Brown Dry Fly Hackle

Additional materials: Additionally, Davie made use of Varnish, which he applied to the thread after completing the fly.

Davie's preferred type of whip finish tool can be found HERE!

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Transform Your Method Feeder Fishing

The Method Feeder is an amazingly successful tactic, used by many anglers. However, believe it or not, there are many ways to transform it from a great technique to an incredible one.

The Method is so effective at putting fish on the bank that some anglers would be happy to use it 365 days a year. Apart from fishing the long pole to the shallow margins of an island, few other approaches place the loosefeed and hookbait with such precision.

Preston Elasticated Flat Method Feeders
The Method also provides the angler with the best chance of a bite because it always offers a perfect presentation. It never tangles, and it covers the feeder and end tackle when the payload breaks down. It is also child’s play to set up and fish. What could be better?

There are many different ways to approach a session, and all are very good on their day, but you have to go a long way to beat the Method. It will help you to catch fish from all waters in all conditions with the minimum of fuss.

Method Feeder Rig
The positive aspect of feeder fishing is also its simplicity. There are no complicated shotting patterns to consider, and everything is pinned down, so there is little to spook the fish. Of course, there are still a few tips and wheezes you can adopt to turn something great into something incredible.

The following five points are things that some of the most successful anglers in the country have developed over the years.

Match Your Payload To Your Target Species
Groundbait or pellets? It’s a question as old as the Method itself when it comes to which bait you should load the feeder with and something that causes a lot of confusion.

Keep things simple. If you are specifically targeting silver fish and F1s, use groundbait. If the target is carp over 6lb, then these big boys need feeding, so use 100 per cent moistened micro pellets. For every other scenario, it is an 80:20 combination of ground bait and micro pellets. The groundbait creates a cloud in the water, which attracts the fish and encourages them to feed with confidence. The pellets then leave them something to eat and hold them in the swim for longer.

Swim Stim F1 Sweet
For example, you could use a mixture of Dynamite Baits’ Swim Stim F1 Sweet. Don’t let the name fool you. It is a range designed for F1s, but all fish, mainly carp and skimmers, love it. F1 Sweet is packed with all the same tastes, flavours, and attractors as the rest of the Swim Stim range, but with the addition of a sweet palatant. To increase the flavour, you could also add a glug of Sweet Tiger CSL Liquid to both the groundbait mixing water as well as the pellets.

Dip The Feeder
Once the feeder is loaded, dip it into a little more of the Sweet Tiger Liquid. Fish feed more confidently in a cloud, even in the highly-coloured water of commercial summer pools. The cloud also puts loads of smell and attraction into the water, which drives the fish wild, looking for something to eat - that something is your hook bait!

Dip The Method Feeder
Stop Baits Sticking To The Mould
With the development of moulds, Method feeder fishing has never been so easy. But you still need to prepare your groundbait and pellets correctly to prevent them from sticking in the Mould after you have loaded the feeder with either.
Method Mould
An easy way to stop this from happening is to cut a length of heavy-duty plastic, lay it across the Mould’s pan and then tape it around the base of the feeder. This means that the payload will never get stuck in the Mould and you’ll get a perfectly-loaded feeder every time. Regarding the plastic, use a strip from a big food bag because it is thick and will last longer, but any plastic will suffice.

Try Different Hookbaits During The Session
When it comes to hookbaits, always load up with a wide selection including dead maggots, corn, Dynamite’s Durables and their Slow Sinking Nuggets. The reason is simply that every day is different. Some days the fish want a small, light bait. Other days it’s a high-viz one or even a hookbait that matches the hatch. But, by carrying a range of alternative hookbaits, it is easy to chop and change to discover what is working best on the day. On some days you might decide to use dead maggots, but you can even change these from using a single one to two or three on the hook.

Dynamite Durables
Slow Sinking Nuggets
Also, it is even possible to change the same hookbait, and it is something that can make a massive difference at times. Dead maggots are really good because they are almost weightless, so the hookbait goes into the mouth of a fish without them even realising. The bites, therefore, always tend to be very positive.

Loosfeed Corn For Bigger Carp
When it comes to Method feeder fishing, most anglers fish a single line – either into open water or to a feature. This is great, and you will catch a lot of fish. To catch even more, fish a couple of extra lines to target the larger fish.

Using Double Maggot
On many waters, the Method seems to catch more of the ‘stockies’ as opposed to the bigger carp. To this end, you can use loosefeed corn either just over the marginal shelf or in the margins. These are both classic big-carp areas and places where they only ever encounter pole and waggler rigs, never the Method. By fishing a payload of pellets or pellets and groundbait, with a yellow Slow Sinking Nugget on the hair rig, you can get through to the larger fish in the lake because the particle-only approach made them bully the little ones out of the way.

Although there is nothing here that is radically different or mind-blowing, adopting these few little tips and tweaks will improve your Method feeder fishing immeasurably.

This article was brought to you in association with Improve Your Coarse Fishing.

Friday, 26 July 2019

Summer Sedge Fun

For many fly anglers at this time in the season, the evening gloom is eclipsed by the sound of hungry trout splashing - quite spectacularly in some case. The target? Sedges, skittering across the top of the water provoking aggressive takes from trout in hot pursuit.
Cinnamon Sedge

Red Sedge

The scientific name for the sedges is Trichoptera, which translates as 'hairy wings' and it's easy to see why. There are 198 species of Sedge in Britain including the great red Sedge, cinnamon sedge, grousewings and silverhorns, to name just a few.

Cased Caddis
From a fly fishing point of view, the evening sedge sport brings welcome relief during high summer. Anglers often don't even bother fishing until dusk arrives, because of the difficulty of daytime sport, especially on stillwaters, as the water warms and trout sulk due to lack of oxygen in the water.

However, come dusk, all hell breaks loose, and those anglers choosing to remain at home are missing out on some spectacular sport.

Goddard Amber Sedge
Sedges are at home on a river or lake, and it's one of the few times that poor fly presentation doesn't matter. A sedge creates a wake - or drag - across the water surface due to the fly line pulling against the current or the wind blowing your floating line. Trout see this as a sedge acting naturally, so be prepared for savage takes and proper hook-ups.

Peeping Caddis
It's not just the adult sedges that concern anglers. The juicy nymph and pupae are well and truly on the menu too. After mating, females deposit eggs into the water and after hatching, the nymphs – often referred to as caddis – create a protective case (mobile or static) made from glued-together debris from the bed. Anglers call these the 'cased caddis' and have many imitations. It's just as well really because the fish love them.

Dark Olive Hatching Sedge

Then there are the sedge pupae, which, before emerging into adulthood, betray their presence by bulging the water as they swim just sub-surface. Again, anglers have developed suitable patterns.

Fish the nymph or pupa with long or short draws on the fly-line as opposed to a continuous figure-of-eight. If you see a follow, stop the retrieve and then strike. The chances are that you'll find yourself hooked into a fish.  A positive lift of the rod is all you need.

World Class Fluorocarbon
But during summer it's the adults that interest fly anglers the most. Fish a floating line, long leader and a single fly. Sedges can be seen swarming close to the shore or in the sheltered side of boats. These are males trying to attract females. Occasionally, you'll see a pair break off from the swarm and disappear into a bush to mate. Then, you might see a female dipping her eggs into the water or crawling down a plant stem to deposit the eggs.

Fly Floatant
No season is complete without catching a trout on the Sedge. Armed with some knowledge about the Sedge's lifecycle, when they emerge, a basic understanding of how to fish the Sedge, and a handful of patterns, you will be surprised at how much fun you can have, and how explosive the takes can be.

This article was brought to you in association with Trout Fisherman Magazine.
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