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Thursday, 16 May 2019

Tying the Teal & Black Clyde Style Wet Fly with Davie McPhail

A Clyde-style fly is distinct from all other Trout flies. Designed to the exact anatomical proportions of the natural insect, it is slender in outline with delicate body markings and very slim wings set at an unusual angle. Patterns like this Teal & Black are equally successful on stream, river or lake for Trout and Grayling.

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 Teal & Black Clyde Style Wet Fly, with the guidance of Davie McPhail.

Materials Used:
Hook: Fulling Mill All-Purpose size 14 Thread: Uni-8/0 Black Rib: Fine Silver Wire Body: Black Thread Wing: Small Teal Feather Hackle: Dyed Black Hen

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!

Speaking of Clyde Style Wet Flies, Davie McPhail also brings to light a superb little handbook by Robert C. Sharp, called "Let's Fish the Clyde". This book has inspired Davie Mcphail to reproduce some of the iconic flies mentioned in this book. Below is a small showreel of the flies that Davie has tied himself and they are simply brilliant:

Lure Fishing For Bass

Lure fishing for bass can quickly turn any self-respecting shore angler into a bass enthusiast. Why? The thrill of the smash-and-grab is second to none, as the bass rush out from their cover to attack a lure without warning.

Bass are such incredible creatures that deserve the ultimate respect. Their hunting prowess and fighting capabilities are just mind blowing, with many anglers reporting the bass rod almost being yanked out their hands.

Spinning For Bass
Regarding location, bass inhabit localised pockets early in the season. This all points towards the notion that if you can find where they are holding up, or feeding on a tide, then you have an excellent chance of experiencing that unmistakable smack on the rod.

Tide is the key to the best bass fishing, with the early tide generally the top time to avoid large expanses of beach and the headlands in the early season as the bass will be thin on the ground. Alternatively, look to target specific features such as large underwater rock pools, scours in the seabed carved into flat(ish) reef systems, patches of sand among rocks and gullies between large rocky outcrops. It is these areas where crustaceans and other prey items feel safest from predators, but where bass love to hunt.

Bass Love Boulders, Holes And Gullies
Weather and sea conditions permitting, start your session over the first two hours of the flood within a quiet, sheltered bay, before moving to fish the mid-tide period from the rocky extremity, adjacent to a beach, or even an estuary. You’ll have an increased chance of locating bass that are moving with the tide and using the rougher ground to navigate the coastline.

Soft Plastic Lures Work Well for Bass Too
Lure Fishing For Bass
'Plugging' is a method that is very popular as it allows you to 'grab and go' and suits the roaming angler. It permits bass to show their fighting capabilities, and it can be heart stopping to feel the take as a fish slams into your bass plug. Working surface poppers over the top of some rough ground popping just behind the incoming breakers can get superb results - it is super fun to see bass thrashing the water as they attack the plug.

Soft Plastic Lures for Bass
Savage Gear Saltwater Sandeel
Kiddy Sidewinder Holographic Sandeels

Sidewinder Crusader Shads 4in 23g
Fiish Black Minnow 90 Combo
Use a leader when using surface lures. This helps prevent overzealous actions, which regularly cause the front treble to tangle, damaging your braid or mainline. Simply tie around 12 inches of leader material to the braid, then tie a fast link to the leader to facilitate quick and easy lure changes.

Bass will also take sub-surface lures such as sandeel patterns, pencil lures, and dexter wedges. If using deeper diving or suspending lures you can also go through various different depth levels. The easiest way to do this is to count down until you hit the bottom and work back up from there. For instance, a 10-second countdown and work the lure back, then perhaps an 8-seconds fall and retrieve and so forth. Do not be shy of fishing shallow water, and also casting back along the shoreline among gullies and reef structure.

Top Water Lures
HTO Canine Surface Lure

Savage Gear Panic Prey V2
Rapala Skitter Pop Top Water Lure
One of the most popular techniques to use when using bass lures is 'Walking the Dog' where you change retrieve speeds. A very slow retrieve interspersed with lots of motionlessness and ‘dying’ twitches is very effective. You are mimicking a wounded fish, and if the bass are lazy, then they are more likely to hit a slow, erratic lure.

Diving Lures

Yo-Zuri Duel Hardcore Minnow
Savage Gear MAG Sandeel Jerk Minnow

HTO Abyss 15.6g
Bass tend to have defined times when they appear over certain marks and like ghosts, often disappearing almost as soon as they arrive. Some areas may experience as short as a 10-minute window of frantic bass activity before the fish have moved on. For this reason, it is essential to be mobile and try and keep an alert eye for a ‘sign’ that indicates moving bass. It could be boulders some 50 metres to the left have drawn the fish, or some other feature or naturally occurring giveaway. Ultimately though, when lure fishing for bass, time-served local knowledge and experience play a big part in any good bass angler’s ability to track their quarry across a particular mark or beat.

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

Thursday, 9 May 2019

Tying a Dunkeld Sparkler Wet Fly with Davie McPhail

The Dunkeld Wet Fly is one of the top all-rounder flies when it comes to targeting Brown Trout and Rainbow Trout. Davie McPhail's variant of this classic fly features a lot more flashy material which is bound to attract a hungry Brown Trout or Rainbow. The Classic pattern for Salmon is adapted for Trout as an attractor pattern that swims just below the surface of the water and this is where it's success sprouts from.

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 Dunkeld Sparkler Wet Fly, with the guidance of Davie McPhail.

Materials Used:
Hook: Fulling Mill Competition Heavy Weight size 10 Thread: Uni-8/0 Fire Orange Tail: Glo-Brite No.10 Floss Flu-Yellow Rib: Small Gold Wire Body: Gold Tinsel/Mylar Body Hackle: Dyed Hot Orange Hen or Cock Throat: Blue Jay Fibres or Guinea Fowl dyed Blue Under-Wing: Gold Freckle and Pearl Flash Wing: Bronze Mallard Eyes: Jungle Cock

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, 2 May 2019

Tying a Rollover CDC Mayfly (Dry/Wet Fly) with Davie McPhail

Probably one of the most exciting times for any fly angler is when the Mayflies start to hatch. When the hatch begins, Trout aggressively feed on the larvae, winged and spent state of mayflies. There are in fact 46 different species of Mayfly in the UK and 2,500 in the world, but fly anglers need only know 2, the Large Yellow or Brown Mayfly. Davie McPhail's version of the Mayfly involves the use of CDC material which allows this fly to float, however, if the Trout are feeding just below the surface, the profile of this fly allows it to sink and become a wet fly.

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 Rollover CDC Mayfly, with the guidance of Davie McPhail.

Materials Used:
Hook: Fulling Mill All-purpose Medium size 12 Thread: Uni-8/0 Rusty Brown Tail: Cock Pheasant dyed Yellow Rib: Small Oval Gold Tinsel or Fine Gold Wire Body: Red and Golden Olive Seals Fur or SLF Dubbing Body: Golden Olive Cock Wing: CDC dyed Olive Hackle: French Partridge dyed Brown Olive

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!

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Injecting Life Into Your Sea Rig

Beach fishing is all about efficiency. For every single second that your sea bait is in the water, you want it to work to its maximum potential. Realistically, to be as efficient as possible, you would need to put a bait right on the nose of a fish time after time, but even if the fish were giving away their position you would be hard pressed to do it.

Let Your Rig Search The Sea Bed
So, you must be wondering, how do you maximise your time spent with a bait in the water? Well, by using the forces of nature, and by tweaking your sea rigs and equipment you can get your rigs working to their full potential.
Imax FR Competition Beach Shelter
One of the most important things while fishing is to search out every single nook and cranny of your peg – there may be a fish-filled hole just waiting to be found. This is made a whole lot easier with a bit of tide movement. But if there is no tide don’t worry. By twitching your rig back every minute or so you will find yourself covering far more ground than simply leaving your rig stationary, hopefully helping it to bump into more fish.

Fisheagle Hold Fast 1.8m Beach Tripod 
If there is some tide movement, you can simply let it do all the work for you. Cast your lead out into the tide and let it roll around. Casting uptide of your peg will allow you more fishing time before your lead weight has swung too far around.

It is crucial to find the right balance of weight to the strength of the tide. With a light, 2oz weight in a strong tide your rig may roll by far too quickly, yet a heavy lead weight in a weak tide probably won’t move at all.

There are no set rules about how much weight to use, it’s up to you to work it out for yourself, and you’ll know when you’ve got it right.

Penn Spinfisher VI Long Cast Reel
To cover more ground, it is recommended using plain leads, preferably torpedo or ball-shaped versions, due to the fact they don’t grip the sea bed.

Another hands-free way of moving your baits is by utilising the wave's action. By fishing a slightly slack line (not so slack that it bows on to the beach but not so tight that it’s like piano wire), you will be able to pick up this movement and transfer it to your rig.

Tronixpro Beach Seat Box
The constant crashing motion of the waves hitting your line will help dance your baits around, making them look extra enticing for the fish. Bites may be a bit hard to spot while doing this, though it’s normally noticeable once you’ve got used to the rhythm of the waves moving your rod tip.

Daiwa Crossflow 2pc Floatation Suit
Just when you thought you couldn’t get any more movement into your rig without physically shaking it up and down, guess what? You can. And shaking it up and down is exactly what you do.

Tronixpro Rig Float
The Tronixpro rig floats at the top of your rig are very effective for this purpose. They catch any passing wave movement and help you fish your rig at a slightly different angle in the water column. These floats can be absolutely deadly in the summer months.
Tronixpro Aphex Continental GT Rods
A weighted float at the top of your rig can have a very similar effect. This method is very good on shallower surf beaches where waves are constantly rolling the float around.
Live Ragworm
With the float being weighted, it also reduces the need for weight on the end of the rig.

There are loads more ways to get the most out of your rig while fishing, like extra-long snoods, or different diameter fishing lines… just far too many to mention in one article. These are some of the favoured ways to get your rigs working in the water but it’s always worth experimenting and trying new ideas, no matter how daft they may seem.

Top 5 Tips
  • Search all of the seabed.
  • Always use the tide to your advantage
  • Cast uptide and let the lead weight swing round
  • Use the right size sinker
  • Plain leads work best
  • Make sure you are using fresh bait at regular intervals 

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

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Tying the Shipmans Claret Hopper Dry Fly by Davie McPhail

The Shipmans Hopper is a great Stillwater fly, inspired by the classic Shipmans Buzzer, which was invented by Dave Shipman for both Brown Trout and for Rainbow Trout. These flies are very effective during the season, especially when they are fished on a floating line, on a long leader. If you ever find yourself in flat, calm conditions where the Trout are rising, seeking out emergers, tie a Shipman's Hopper on and you'll probably be landing one very soon.

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 Shipmans Claret Hopper Dry Fly, with the guidance of Davie McPhail.

Materials Used:
Hook: Fulling Mill All-Purpose Medium size 12 Thread: Uni-8/0 Black or Claret Tail and Head: Veniards Plastazote White Foam cut to size Rib: Pearl Mylar Body: Claret Seals Fur or Sub Lets: Pre-knotted Pheasant Tail Fibres Hackle: Brown Cock

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!

Trout Fishing With An Indicator

As the temperature starts to rise and we head into May, this is a wonderful time for fly anglers to take advantage of the fishing opportunities available. Buzzers are perhaps the main hatching insect, and for this reason, it's worth trying a two fly cast with a couple of buzzers in tow.

Buzzers fished static on a slow retrieve or fished naturally with the current is a fantastic method and will result in some powerful pulls, however, using an indicator can significantly increase your catch rate.

Fish Pimp Strike Indicators
The indicator is a fantastic method for presenting buzzer/bloodworm patterns to trout as it fishes your flies at the right depth, and keeping them there - much like the real thing. If trout are cruising at, let's say 6 feet, then a buzzer suspended at that depth has a higher chance of being seen by just about any fish.

Buzzer and Apps Bloodworm on the Indicator
Love it or hate it, using an indicator is deadly and although some might say "it's float fishing," well at least it's not with bait but with an artificial fly. The hardest job is deciding what depth to set the indicator so that the fly combo is working at the right levels. This can be done by assessing the rise forms, or lack of, to make a judgement about the correct depth.

Using two flies under the indicator is an excellent method of covering different depths. If you pick up fish from the dropper, then you can swap over the patterns to see if it is simply the depth or maybe the colour/size of fly that's the deciding factor.

Adjust The Depth
On some fisheries with well-bushed banks or sudden drop-offs, you can get an indicator Buzzer set-up to present the flies really tight up against any structure, and it's a brilliant method to entice a fish to sneak out from cover. Something dropped in close and retrieved away is often unlikely to get a response but keep the patterns 'in their face' and there's a much higher likelihood of a take.

Stillwater Assorted Buzzers
Top Tips for Fishing the Indicator
Trout may not show themselves in the most obvious places and if you see some activity, it’s better to fish there as you know you’re in with a chance.

Have a range of lures in different sizes, shapes and colours plus Buzzers, Bloodworms and Diawl Bachs. You’ll gather a whole load of flies so get a good batch from the word go.

Fulling Mill Diawl Bach
Check weather forecasts, noting late frosts, depressions and changes in wind direction – all affect the fish. Cloudless days and bright sun will drive fish deeper than you might expect.

Be prepared to change tactics to either search deeper in the water column or, conversely, reduce the depth if the fish suddenly begin to rise freely as a hatch kicks off.

Dragon Hothead Squirmy Worms
In coloured water, mono or nylon fishing line will be effective, however, if the water is clear then it is more advantageous to use fluorocarbon. Fluorocarbon can bring distinct advantages if you fish for wild-bred fish or at catch and release fisheries because it offers lower visibility and it has a low refractive index and is nearly invisible in the water.  It is also heavier than mono and gets your flies into the target feeding zone.

Fulling Mill Masterclass Fluorocarbon
Retrieves - Indicator
It’s hard to do nothing; your instinct is to chase after fish and cover rises.  But the best thing you can do is to be patient, keep your slack line to a minimum, and concentrate on your indicator. It can be far better to choose just where you want to have the flies fish rather than haphazardly casting all the time. Try to fish where you can see activity or where you think the fish may be lying. Areas like over old weed beds, up against banks or structure or where you know there’s a drop-off into deeper water. It’s better to change the depth at which you have set the indicator than to be pulling the flies back!
Veniard Strike Indicator Patches
You might be tempted to wait until the indicator has submerged, however, be aware that fish can have a nosey and you will see the indicator getting 'knocked.' If you observe it getting knocks, and there is no slack in your fly line on the water, give the rod a positive, and confident lift - you don't need to strike so hard that your whole rig ends up in field or bushes behind you! There is a chance that you will hook into a fish. Or, if the indicator dives, a confident and positive lift will hook the fish.

Yes the indicator method is frowned upon by many 'purists' but the important thing is to get people out fishing and supporting the local fisheries and stillwaters.  It's great fun, and it does not require constant casting and retrieving.  Love it or hate it, fishing the indicator is very popular and it's gaining popularity.

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

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Tying a Rough Olive Comparadun by Davie McPhail

The Rough Olive Compara Dun is a great early season Trout and Sea Trout fly. This dry fly features a very simple and durable design as it only requires 3 different materials to create. The materials used, however, allow the fly to float effortlessly on the water. It shares a similar footprint to that of a Mayfly, but with a few differences, such as the 180 degrees spanned wing which gives it an easy-to-see profile, allowing any hungry Trout to spot it and go for a strike.

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 Rough Olive Compara Dun Fly, with the guidance of Davie McPhail.

Materials Used:
Hook: Fulling Mill Ultimate Dry Fly size 16 Thread: Uni-8/0 Yellow Tail: Coq de Leon Light Specked Fibres Bod and Thorax: Hare's Lug Dubbing dyed Yellow Wing: Dark Coloured Roe Deer Hair

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!

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Sealskinz At Fishingmegastore

With our ever-fluctuating weather patterns, there is a greater need for clothing that not only performs but also defies the cold and wet. This has been Sealskinz' mission for over thirty years: to make clothing that's suitable for all weathers.

They have worked in partnership with some of the world's greatest athletes including mountaineers, explorers, cyclists, skiers, runners, sailors, horse riders, ultra event teams and anglers to ensure their products deliver the very best in comfort and performance. This enables you, the enthusiast, to defy the great outdoors.

Sealskinz Waterproof Cap
17 years ago they launched the world's first waterproof sock, and have gone on to develop new technologies and fabrics that have been incorporated into their hat and glove ranges. This has propelled them into a world leading brand and one of the most advanced in outdoor clothing and protection.

Sealskinz products are made from the most advanced technical materials to ensure high quality and protection in any situation. These include:

Merino Wool
Merino is finer than traditional wool and is a wicking fibre that can absorb and release 10 times more moisture than synthetics to keep you feeling warm and dry.

Coolmax® is proven to have the fastest drying rate, the quickest and most efficient movement of moisture away from the skin and the best breathability.

Even when forced into the Primaloft® core, water is repelled and not absorbed by the patented microfibre structure, so Primaloft® keeps you warm, even in the wet.

Advanced technology from DuPont™, Kevlar® is five times stronger than steel on an equal weight basis yet at the same time, it is lightweight, flexible and comfortable.

AX Suede
Engineered to provide superior abrasion properties, while reducing water uptake, AX Suede can withstand the constant friction of a multitude of activities.

Downtek™ Water Repellent Down. Down clusters are designed to trap pockets of air, these pockets are what insulate, keeping you warm and comfortable. With standard down, moisture comes along and deflates the pockets of air, eliminating down's ability to insulate. DownTek™ shields those insulating-air-trapping-clusters from all wet things, allowing the down to retain its ability to loft and insulate even when wet.
Sealskinz Stretch Lite Gloves
On top of all the state-of-the-art materials and fabrics found in Sealskinz products, they also allow you to move and function regardless of the environment. For example, they offer 100% waterproof protection while being incredibly breathable and dexterous; feature anti-slip lining to improve dexterity and feel, and have integrated heated elements into the shell fabric to increase thermal protection when you are exposed to extreme temperatures.

Sealskinz Ankle Sock 
Sealskinz also feature Hydrostop technology to eliminate water ingress, enabling you to say out for longer, and water repellent technology provides a surface layer of protection against immersion or saturation.

So if you are contemplating going out when the weather is inclement, you can be confident that Sealskinz will create an impenetrable barrier between you and the wet/cold. In fact, you will actually look forward to going out and defying the great outdoors.

You can enter our Spring 2019 Sealskinz Competition here for your chance win a fantastic bundle including a pair of Ultra Grip Gloves, Waterproof Cap, and a pair of Socks from the Spring 2019 Range.   Click here to enter.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Know Your Signs When Salmon Fishing

When salmon fishing, you can't help but be drawn to the sights and sounds, scenery and surroundings. As we connect with nature, it has a relaxing and calming effect. However, the mind can wander, so when we are chasing a bar of silver, how much attention should focus on the water?
Mackenzie NX1 Double Hand Salmon Rod
For every salmon that takes your fly with confidence, there will be others that just pluck at it, or take a look without touching it. Experience shows that these tentative takers will, if treated appropriately, frequently rise a second and sometimes three or more times, and finally be hooked. This may involve giving the fish a short rest, perhaps changing the angle of presentation, wading a few steps back upstream to come down to it again, and/or changing the size and pattern of fly.

Loop SDS Shooting Head Kit
Of course, if you fail to notice that the salmon has moved to your fly, you’ll simply move downstream, make another cast, and your chance of catching that fish will be gone.

So what you are looking for is some sign of a fish. If you are fishing a floating line, with or without a tip, you might see the tip stab forward or down. Or you might see the quick wink of a silver flank ahead of the line tip – where the fly is swimming – though it will look golden in peaty water. Or, where the fly is fishing, the surface of the water may suddenly bulge. You might even see the salmon’s back and dorsal fin.

Fly Box with 20 Salmon Flies
Any of these signs suggest you should try one or more of the tactics discussed to get the fish to come a second, and hopefully more productive, time.

Therefore, it's inevitable that you will be drawn to the beauty that surrounds you. However, to be successful, you need to pay attention to these subtleties and observe what the line, rod tip, and swinging fly is doing. If you are paying attention, you will make the necessary adjustments to your positioning, casting angle, and speed of the fly to entice a fish to take. You can still appreciate what's going on around you in the periphery AND still catch a fish.

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

Friday, 12 April 2019

5 Fly Fishing Lure Set-Ups For April

April can be a month of distinct differences. One week you get settled, warm weather with the temperatures in the mid-teens, the next it’s high winds, rain and the temperatures back into single figures. From an angling perspective, this can make things challenging, and the weather conditions will undoubtedly dictate the methods and patterns to use.

If there have been moderate-to-high winds, rain and low temperatures, then the chances are there will be minimal, if any, flies hatching. The fish will be lethargic and will be reluctant to chase lures fished mid-water. There’s also a very good chance (especially if water levels are low at some reservoirs) that the water has coloured up and visibility is between four and eight feet.

In these circumstances, a lot of competition fly anglers always opt for a lure-based approach when fishing from the bank or boat. Suitable patterns include those that create a large silhouette, movement and cause a disturbance to induce the take. The fish will not be wary of flies as the conditions, and water clarity will mask any errors in presentation.

Below are 5 fly combos for April to try which have proven very effective when fishing reservoirs and stillwaters.

Set-Up 1 - Single Booby Snake
The absolute banker of a fly is a Mini Black & Green Booby Snake - especially when fished as a single fly on a six to eight-foot leader of 8 or 10lb fluorocarbon on a Di-5 or Di-7 line. It has everything and will attract both residents and stocked fish. By using a single fly, presentation is not compromised, you are also creating competition for a single food source so takes are often harder and unmissable.

Set-Up 2 - Single Weighted Snake
If Boobies aren’t your thing, then given the conditions, you still need to present your fly in the bottom third of the water column to be successful. A weighted fly such as a Mini Black & Green Snake again fished as a single fly on a 12 to 14-foot leader on a mini-tip or intermediate line from the bank (or a Di-3 or Di-5 from the boat) is very effective.
Fulling Mill Hot Head Damsel

Fulling Mill Black & Green Snake

After the initial cast is made, count the fly down anywhere from 15 to 45 seconds before commencing your retrieve.  Use a steady figure-of-eight (to hold the fly deep) with the odd 12-inch sharp pull to induce any following fish into the take.

Set-Up 3 - Snake and Dropper
A slight variation would be to fish a 14-foot leader of 8lb fluorocarbon with a single dropper at nine foot (so the dropper fly also fishes at least in the bottom half of the water). On the dropper, use a natural unweighted pattern such as a Mckay, Damsel or Cormorant while keeping the larger Snake on the point. This set-up will allow you to fish two different layers of water, increasing your chances of success.

Natural Approach
If you are fortunate enough to get a period of settled weather, light winds and warm temperatures then you can change your approach dramatically. The water should hopefully not be coloured and churned up, instead, it may be ‘gin clear’. If this is the case, then a more natural approach will work well, especially if the fish have received a lot of angling pressure. Often the fish will follow the larger lures in clear water tending to not commit to the take and shy away at the last minute.
Fulling Mill Orange Cruncher
Set-Up 4 - Damsel & Cormorant
A floating or a mini-tip line with a 13 to a 15-foot leader of 6 to 8lb with a single dropper at nine foot will often be the ‘go to’ set-up from the bank, with a Red Holographic Cruncher or Black Two-tone Buzzer on the dropper and a Goldhead Bloodworm or Goldhead Damsel on the point. After the initial cast is made, again, wait 15 to 45 seconds to let the cast settle and the flies achieve their required depth.
Fulling Mill Two Tone Buzzer

Fulling Mill KJ Mirage Cormorant

Fulling Mill Flexi Bloodworm
A slow figure-of-eight will then be all that’s needed to put some fish in the bag. Often this method will result in an over-wintered fish or two. The thinner fluorocarbon is essential in difficult conditions, even at the start of the season.

Set-Up 5 - Blobs & Cormorant
Again a slight variation (if the fish have not received too much angling pressure) would be to fish a weighted Mini Blob (Ham & Cheese or Sunburst) on the point. In clear water with light winds, the smaller Blobs produce better takes and ultimately more fish.

The above patterns and set-ups will always work provided you get the depth right. They have been tried and tested on the competition scene and elite anglers have complete confidence in them. Obviously each reservoir and stillwater is different in terms of depth, size, fly life, and the amount of fishing pressure applied.  Therefore, experiment with your own 'go-to' patterns in combination with the recommended patterns above. When things are slow, rather than start changing and trying different things, simply move and cover different areas of water.  Just because you have not caught anything doesn't mean the fish are not interested in your flies.  You might be in the wrong area because at this time of year, the fish will not come to you so you must find them. It is also advisable to have your droppers between eight and 10 inches long, and you will only ever need to change fly once or twice per day.

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

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