- Published on Friday, 26 April 2013 13:32
- Written by John Symonds
Eighteen months years I was the successful bidder in a GAIA auction for a day’s fishing on Rutland Water and two nights B&B, kindly donated by Malcolm March. After dithering over the date for all of last year I made a determined effort in January this year to make the necessary arrangements with Malcolm, who obligingly agreed to my proposals.
So on Monday 22nd I found my way up to Malcolm’s B&B in Edith Weston, conveniently situated 300 yards from the Fishing Lodge and Tackle Shop on Rutland Water and 50 yards from the Pub which sold Everard’s Tiger Beer (4.2% on the Richter Scale).
After complete fortification from Margaret’s full English, with homemade lemon marmalade, we set off down to the boat jetty and loaded up our fishing gear. The weather was warm and sunny, with a fairly stiff South Easterly wind. Malcolm suggested that I should tackle up with a single hot pink booby on a DI5 with a short leader and afterwards set off towards Green Bank on the South Arm. It took us about ½ an hour to get there! Within ten minutes I had two grown-on rainbows in the bag, thanks to Malcolm’s guidance and fish location skills – he put us straight over the fish on the first drift.
Fortunes changed throughout the day because the rainbows, without any consideration for us anglers, kept changing the depth at which they were feeding. However, despite this Malcolm was able to recommend alternative tactics, which ensured that we were always in touch. Without any surprise buzzers turned out to be menu of the day and this was confirmed when we spooned a fish, which was stuffed with them, including bloodworm.
An eventful and memorable day was concluded with another few pints of Everard’s Tiger and a rack of ribs at the local hostelry. Not only this but my repertoire of fishing tactics had been extended and I was feeling that I had at long last mastered the secrets of successful rainbow trout fishing, only to be completely outfoxed the very next day on Draycote, when the fish were in the top of the water, the sneaky devils. I managed to catch four big ones though.
Rutland is a fantastic fishery with strong, fighting fish, lots of wildlife (we saw oyster catchers), and impressive architecture, like Normanton Church on the side of the water. If you would like a good day out with expert guidance, very comfortable B&B, a superb breakfast, then Malcolm and Margaret certainly tick all the boxes.
- Published on Saturday, 22 December 2012 12:46
- Written by Mark Lloyd
The Angling Trust has welcomed the announcement today from Sport England that it has been successful in securing £1.8 million in funding over the next four years for some specific programmes of work to grow angling participation.
This award represents an increase on the £1.56 million that was paid over the last four years to build an infrastructure of 1,400 coaches, 35 County Angling Action Groups and 91 Club mark-accredited clubs.
While the award is less than the £2.35 million maximum bid submitted by the Angling Trust, most sports have had reductions in their funding due to cuts in the grant to Sport England from the Government.
Sport England has asked the Angling Trust to focus particularly on growing the number of anglers who go fishing once a week, and on older and disabled anglers.
The Angling Trust is also working with the Environment Agency to secure funding to support growing the number of anglers, in particular young children. As part of the National Angling Strategy launched this year – Fishing For Life – the Trust will be working with others to build the case for other funding organisations to support angling participation and to maximise the social and economic benefits of going fishing.
The Angling Trust will use Sport England’s funding to:
- Support angling clubs and fisheries through its Club Fish national development programme to offer participation programmes over the four year period
- Focus on older and disabled anglers through the Let’s Fish group angling programme, delivered by Angling Champions at partner fisheries.
- Establish a club and fishery competition framework at national, regional and county level to reward regular participation across all disciplines, age groups and abilities.
Sport England is also providing £138,000 to support up to 800 talented young anglers at regional and national level across the disciplines of game, coarse and sea angling. This investment will help reinforce the sport’s talent development programme which is still in its infancy.
Sport England’s Director of Sport, Lisa O’Keefe, said: “The Angling Trust has a huge opportunity to increase the number of regular anglers and it is great to see that it has developed its knowledge and insight into their market to get more people fishing more often.
"We are pleased to be working alongside the Environment Agency which supports the sport in getting more people fishing as well as on educational and environmental projects. I’m confident that angling will continue to develop over the next four years with our support.”
The Angling Trust’s Chief Executive Mark Lloyd said: “While we are disappointed not to have secured the maximum amount in our bid, this continued funding is extremely welcome at a time when government funding is extremely tight. This success reflects the fact that the Trust has set a new standard in professionalism and governance, and that our development team have achieved real progress over the past four years.
“There is a huge amount of work to do to grow angling participation, and it needs to be done at a very large scale to have an impact. Sport England have set us some very challenging and specific targets, and we will focus on achieving them as part of an ambitious programme of work to improve angling and the environment on which it depends.”
- Published on Monday, 23 July 2012 11:10
- Written by John Symonds
We all met up at Rome airport - Brian, Chris and I, along with a couple of guys from Spain; Andres and Jorges. The temperature was 30 degrees plus and it was humid, a vast contrast to the wet and cold weather we had left behind at Bristol. Igor, the last guest was coming from Macedonia and his flight wasn’t due for about four hours. So what did we do? – We visited a tackle shop, had a drink or two and talked continuously about fishing. The time flew by and before we knew it we were on the autostrada, South in the direction of Naples. After an hour or so we turned eastwards, towards the Apennines and our final destination of Castel di Sangro. We arrived tired and weary at about 12:30 in the morning but surprisingly we were provided with a hot meal at a Rodeo theme restaurant, complete with a bucking bronco. Unbeknown to us this was going to feature greatly in the events over the next couple of days.
Curiously, our hotel was called the lavatory (but I think that this means rest room in Italian), however it was very comfortable and we were well looked after. The first morning we stepped out into the brilliant sunshine and a glorious mountain vista. The celebrations were held in an old convent, which also houses the SIM (Italian school of fly-fishing) museum as well as other ancient artefacts. And so to work (or so we thought).
After a VIP conducted tour we prepared ourselves for the workshops in the river nearby, putting on our waders and assembling our tackle. Brian was on first with a single-handed demo, followed by my double-handed Spey casts and then Chris’s mends and trick casts. The audience appeared to be very appreciative of our efforts and joined in enthusiastically when they were invited to have-a-go. That was it! The rest of the weekend we were treated to various gastronomic extravaganzas and fishing.
The workshops were followed by an impromptu workshop on the Italian style of fly fishing and, to be honest, at first we were not convinced of its effectiveness. However, after a delicious barbeque, we were taken fishing up in the mountains, where we were guided one-on-one.
The Italian style of fly-fishing was developed for fast flowing water with lots of overhanging bushes where the fish hide away, out of the sunlight. With this technique it is possible to hold the fly in pocket water for exceptionally long times, or under bushes along the water’s edge, even though all around the fly there is a torrent of water rushing past. We were all won over when we witnessed the skills of our Italian, Swiss, Australian and French partners. This is something we would like to learn.
That evening there was a big celebration at the Rodeo theme restaurant, which only the Italians know how to lay on. Various, excellent, local food dishes, music and of course the bucking bronco were all provided. Out of our party only Chris was brave enough to ride the bull. I did get a picture of him falling off but some reason he hasn’t given it to me. We presented a trophy from GAIA to commemorate the event and no doubt this will find its way to the SIM museum.
After a late night, we still managed to get up bright and early the next morning. Down at the convent we held another impromptu workshop on the Italian style of fly-fishing, followed by a gastronomic feast of the best bread, cheeses, salami, wine, olives, pasta and everything else that you can possibly imagine. Once more this was followed by an afternoon’s fishing, in the local river, with our Italian hosts. We fished till dusk and then went back to a restaurant to watch England versus Italy on multiple screens (we all know the outcome of that match!).
And so it was Monday morning and time to return to Rome to catch our planes. Brian had an early flight back to Edinburgh but Chris and I had a few hours to spare so we went into town to look at Coliseum. To say we were spoilt to death would be an understatement. It was a very enjoyable and memorable time for all of us – thank you so much our friends at SIM. Furthermore, we have been enthused by the ability of the Italians to fish under extreme conditions and still get drag-free drift and this is something that we would like to master ourselves.
- Published on Monday, 16 July 2012 11:59
- Written by Bob Carlson
The rivers are running high, the Trout in the lakes are lethargic but we still want to go fly fishing in freshwater. Where can we go ? Let's try fly fishing for Carp.
It had always seemed that this was a difficult fish to catch on the fly but after Rob Doyle gave an excellent presentation on how to do it in the South we thought we would give it a shot in the North. Wow! the fishing was fantastic and they really pull string.
To give it a try first find a commercial Carp lake where the owner will allow you to fly fish. There needs to be a good head of fish not just one or two big ones. These fish are used to being fed and also used to human presence but a stealthy approach is still needed.
Now get the kit together – we find that the Carp we encounter, mainly Common and Mirror but also Koi and Ghost, can be handled on a #7 weight outfit. You may prefer #8 or #9 weights if there are a lot of snags like lily pads or sunken branches or big fish. A floating line is best and for best handling of the bulky flies a short headed line is best but a standard WF line will suffice.
We use 9ft tapered leaders of 8lb breaking-strain and add a short tippet of about 3ft of appropriate copolymer or fluorocarbon depending on the presentation. A box of Pedigree Chum mixer biscuits or other brand of similar biscuits is needed along with deer hair flies (about 10mm) to imitate the biscuits. If you tie your own flies its vital to have strong hooks and there are lots of Carp hooks out there.
Essential kit you may not have includes an unhooking mat, weigh sling, decent scales, catapult, large landing net with long, strong handle (we find the new rubber mesh nets great as they don`t smell badly in the car). Forceps, debarbing pliers, floatant, plenty of paper tissues and a dessicant powder to dry the flies are also needed.
An old towel is useful as the fish sometimes thrash around on the mat and a damp towel placed over the head stops this.
Get everything set out in advance and don't forget the camera. You could catch the fish of a life time and without that piccie no one will believe you!
We have found that you have to attract Carp to your swim so catapult dog biscuits out. If the fish are there they will soon find them and start feeding. Keep putting offerings out until they are taking the biscuits very confidently. You will find that every sea gull, goose, swan etc will home in on the free offerings but soon the Carp will come and then you can get excited. Its time to fish.
Its not long distance casting as you need to see your fly among the free offerings so a cast of 30 - 40ft is ideal. DO NOT retrieve the fly. Be patient and let the Carp find your fly. It can be very frustrating as every biscuit except your fly is taken. Is the fly riding too high, too low, drifting at the wrong speed, is the leader visible?
Get more biscuits out and sooner or later a fish will come to the fly . It may just poke it. They often do but then return and take it. The bite is not like that of a Trout. The Carp opens its mouth and sucks the fly in and may blow it out very quickly. That’s why you need to see exactly what the fish is doing. You will miss plenty of takes but then the magic feeling of being connected to a Carp will happen.
The Carp we catch are usually in the 8 – 10lb class and once hooked they go off onlong , powerful runs. Don’t try and stop this first run. After this you can get some control over the fish and you must not allow the fish to plough through a conventional anglers tackle otherwise you will not be popular!. Know your gear and use plenty of sidestrain including if necessary a bit of “down and dirty”.
Dog biscuit patterns are the best way to hook your first Carp but we have also caught on Klinkhammers, buzzers, damsel nymphs, hares ear etc so be prepared to ring the changes.
Recently the North West region of GAIA held a CPPD day at Stocks Reservoir and we did a brief presentation on fly fishing for Carp and Roger Miles, an excellent all round angler, came up with some great suggestions which we will be trying out this year . With Carp experiment and be prepared to think out of the box.
If you get the Carp feeding confidently then fly fishing is a great way of having fun with powerful fish when Trout are not feeding well. Carp love sunshine (what's that?) and warm water so why not give it a shot. You will be hooked.
There is currently a growing interest in this type of fly fishing and it does no harm to have a basic knowledge of how its done as its always useful for instructors to know in case clients enquire about it or want a guided session.
- Published on Friday, 08 June 2012 15:53
- Written by Roger Miles of http://www.flyfishlondon.co.uk
Saturday 26th May 2012
Arrived at Miami, after being upgraded to club class, so had a really comfortable flight, great food, drink and seats went back to form a bed, so had a good sleep.
Flew through customs, went to baggage collect, and immediately spotted my bag, great start to my trip.
As we got through, driver was there so we on the road within 5 minutes.
Kept us interested along the two hourdrive, stopped for petrol, gave us time to grab a drink and stretch our legs in the warm tropical evening in the Florida Keys.
Having driven from Miami to the Keys many times on fishing trips over the years, it was really nice just being a passenger, as it gave me time to look around during our journey.
Arrived at the venue, beautiful two storey house with the latest mod cons. Dave was there to greet us with a cold beer in each hand.
Discussed the coming week's event in our very comfortable abode which was to be our home for the next 7-8 days.
Great to see our boat was literally only a few yards away, beckoning us, daring us to take it to the horizon.
Agreed to go shopping on Sunday morning to buy what we all individually liked to eat, drink and so on.
Dave said he would do ALL the cooking as long as we washed up and put the stuff away, great arrangement.
Few more beers and off to bed.
Sunday 27th May 2012
Did the shopping, we just chipped in a few bucks each and bought enough food and drink for six people, great as there was only three of us in total.
Got back, Dave did us a full English breakfast, and we then chilled back for a couple of hours, we had already decided to go fishing late in the evening between 5pm - 9pm.
For all you guys and girls out there early morning and late evenings shifts are the best way to fish the Keys.
At 2 pm Dave did a FULL Sunday roast with all the trimmings, including his famous Yorkshire Puddings.
Had a doze, so we were ready to rumble at 4.50 pm.
We jumped a couple of Tarpon, but although we played them we did not manage to get them to the boat for pictures.
Great couple of hours though.
I tell you what I did get to the boat after a 45 minute fight and had pictures of, was an enormous 50lb Permit.
I hooked it as the sun was going down, so the pictures was taken at the onset of the night.
What an un-believable, fantastic start.
Monday 28th May 2012
Started off at 4.30 am hooked a few shark in the dark, you do not want to try to take pictures of these critters in the dark, just let them go.
Got back and Dave did us a great breakfast, so off to bed.
Had Lunch/dinner at 2 pm, a lovely curry and chilled back
Went fishing at 5pm jumped a few Tarpon, but alas they were camera shy, therefore we did not get a chance to hold them for photos.
Please note: It is against the law to bring these fish on board, so photos must be taken alongside the boat or in the shallows(flats).
Got back at 9.30pm went to the Tikki bar to meet the locals and have some refreshment, got back, had the rest of the curry, off to bed.
Tuesday 29th May 2012
Had a toastie as an early bit of grub.
Decided to go out at 7am, the night before night have had something to do with it, but you know, when in Rome etc..
Now we are really cooking, jumped several and landed a couple of Tarpon 1 x 120lb and another 140lb.
Got back, had a great lunch/dinner of prawn pasta, and off to bed ready for the evening session.
Off fishing at 5pm, jumped several more Tarpon and got another to the boat for the piccy, about 145lb
Got back, shower change off to the Tikki bar to meet new friends (you can see a pattern emerging here)
Had the rest of the pasta when we got back and off to bed.
Wednesday 30th May 2012
Off at the crack of 8am (getting later now) due to unsettled weather, the beauty & the beast of the tropics.
Jumped several Tarpon, but none to the boat, tried to outrun the coming rain and just made it back before the downpour.
Dave made up for it by cooking us a enormous lunch/dinner of steak(lots of it) chips, tomatoes, mushrooms, and peas, all washed down with the beer of our choice.
Off fishing again at 5pm, jumped a few Tarpon saw dolphins, turtles and a manatee.
Landed another Tarpon about 140lb and had one on for over an hour saw it and knew it was over 170lb, towed us for over one and a half miles.
A Sherriff's boat was shadowing us and taking pictures, of the fish, so hopefully he will email them to us.
We just got the monster to the boat and the fly popped out.
Stuff to tell grandchildren
Got back, Tikki bar to see more new friends, back to chip butties and off to bed.
Thursday 31st May 2012
Weather really thundery and heavy showers, but manage to get out for an hour or so, but the falling barometer seem to have put the fish down, not easy when you are trying to tempt them with a floating flyline. Changed to a heavy sink tip, so we manage to jump a couple of Tarpon, and also had a few lady fish and other bits and pieces.
As my targeted species was Tarpon & Permit Dave made sure we stayed on track for exactly that.
Got back to another fine breakfast, off to Worldwide Sportsman Retail Outlet, a fantastic place for the saltwater fly angler, every time I go to the Florida Keys I always visit there. Bought a few bits and pieces (be rude not to, wouldn't it?). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoHH_hEbABw
Fantastic lunch/dinner of massive 100% beef burgers with cheese and chips etc.., boy, that Dave can really cook.
Due to the weather we only managed to get out for another hour or so, the Tarpon was not coming up for the fly, so we adjourned to the Tikki bar.
As we had pizza at the Tikki bar we just went to bed wondering what Friday will bring.
Friday 1st June 2012
As you can see from the colour of the date this was, for me, going to be a red letter day.
Great breakfast, and started off around 8.30.am.
Again jumped a few Tarpon, but hooked into a beautiful 150lb Tarpon.
After playing it for 45 minutes we realised it had taken us near the flats.
By the way when you play big fish, you do not need to horse it, it is all about technique.
Let the fish play against the weight of the boat, when it goes left, lean right so the fish has to pull against the boat to straighten it up.
Only then you lift, pump and wind etc.. When it really runs, the skipper runs it down as you retrieve line and keep in contact with the fish at all times. The only time you give slack is when the fish jumps, and they can jump up to ten feet out of the water. We call this "bow to the king".
To try and land these fish when wading only ...well it is a brave man with a strong back that can do this. I do not know of anyone that has done this with a 150lb Tarpon.
We got my Tarpon on to the flats and the pictures tell the rest of the story.
It is not easy to hold and get fully upright 150lb of fish that is over five feet long. Usually someone gives you a hand, but Dave was taking the photos.
But hey, I am not complaining.
Be aware Tarpon is the staple diet of Hammerheads, and I have seen a 100lb plus Tarpon bitten in half whilst being played, by a Hammerhead Shark
Got back had a fantastic lunch/dinner, I am truly on cloud nine.
Went out at 5pm had another one to the boat, about 145lb
Tikki bar again, showed the English lads there my photos, I did not need to buy another drink as they celebrated with me my good fortune, late into the night.
Everyone one of them shared my experience and we all agreed that if you like big Tarpon, it is a dream come true to be able to cradle one of these fine fish in its natural environment.
Off to bed.
Saturday 2nd June 2012
Going home day.
We had to be at Miami Airport late afternoon, so after a good breakfast Dave asked if we wanted to go out for a few hours.
I said that I was so pleased about the events of the previous day, I would give it a miss.
But when I went outside and as I felt the warm air I changed my mind.
We had four hours fishing and boy, was I happy as we landed another THREE tarpon.
Glad I made the decision to go out after all.
We also jumped about another four.
Time to go back and when we got there Dave gave us a wonderful lunch, making us ready for our long trip back to the UK.
So there you have it. Islamorada - Dream maker or Back breaker - You be the judge.
I will add this as a footnote:
I have fished all over the Florida Keys for a lot of years and Dave Plummer is the best guide I have been with, he works in two four hour shifts per day, no one else does that, we were the top boat on all the keys the week I was there.
Tarpon are predominantly sight feeders, so I made sure the week I was there would be moonless nights. Therefore in the morning the fish are very active, and also in the evening, as they will be "feeding up" reading for the moonless night.
My target species for the week was Big Tarpon and Permit.
So do your homework on your guide, and on the moon phases and weather etc.. I did, and it paid off. I do realise though, that in all fishing you have to have a slice of luck, and I had a large slice.
Not a cheap trip, but the memories and photos will always be there long after the cost has been forgotten.
Now where are them damn big bonefish?
See you out there, somewhere.
P.S. Next week I will be trying to catch grayling on the Tenkara method with Louis.