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Blog Filter By David Southall

400 species of Chironomid. What to use? Winter Fly Fishing & Midges

It always amazes me how few fly fishers fish with tiny Midge imitations, particularly in winter when Midges are generally the only flies to hatch. There is not a single day in the year that some Midges do not hatch on our lakes & rivers.

Fly Fishing in Montana, my Nirvana...

On the spring creeks, tributaries of the Yellowstone River at Livingston, (Armstrong & De Puys) we encountered hot, sunny weather with a brisk wind during the middle of the day. Surface activity was mainly confined to the mornings & late evenings with massive hatches of tiny chironomid midges plus a few very small Blue Winged Olive duns & spinners.

My Fly Fishing & People

My Fly Fishing & People

Fly fishing for David Southall is about people. Fly Fishing is less about the catching and it is, for David, about who he meets. Fly fishing in the UK especially has a special meaning for people.

Close range fishing

Close range fishing

Tenkara fishing with its short, fixed line has taught me a lot about the advantages of fishing at close range. Even before my introductory forays into Tenkara I was aware of many of the advantages of fishing a short line but often tended to fish at too great a distance due to my fear of scaring the fish that I was targeting.

Coping with Drought & Heat

Coping with Drought & Heat

To effectively fish tiny flies to spooky fish in low, clear, slow-flowing water requires extreme stealth both in the angler’s approach & his or her presentation of the fly, plus, of course, in most cases a drag-free drift & super accurate casting.

F Flies, Simple & Very Effective (If Well Presented)

With all my CdC dry flies I use Roman Moser Miracle Float, a brilliant floatant recommended to me by Stuart Wardle & available from him at the Durham Fly Fishing Company. When my fly has become drowned & covered with fish slime I use the following procedure to rejuvenate it:

Review of ZERO 10'6

The design of the rod is radical, being based on Quiver Tip technology taken from coarse fishing ledger rods. It comes in 6 pieces (4 lower hollow sections & 2 solid carbon tips that slot into the top of the hollow part). The aim of this rod was to fill the gap between Tenkara with it fixed-line limitations & conventional ‘Western’ fly rod & reel.

The Induced Take & Dry Flies

The Induced Take & Dry Flies

We all know about the ‘induced take’ when fishing with nymphs thanks to Frank Sawyer & Oliver Kite. It is also obvious that streamers must have movement applied in order to imitate small fish. However, many fly fishers seem to either be unaware of or to ignore the application of movement to dry flies in order to induce the fish to take. 

Heavy Metal Nymphs & Buzzers

Heavy Metal Nymphs & Buzzers

Whilst I much prefer the visual appeal of dry fly, it is sometimes necessary to get a fly down deep, particularly when winter grayling fishing or early season trouting. Also when sight fishing,

Hyper Light & Super Sensitive Setups for Fussy Small Still Water Trout

Presentation is the main problem when fishing imitations of these micro-flies. If fishing ‘on the drop’ the flies must sink vertically (not swing in an arc, tethered by a tensioned tippet): to achieve this dump casts are essential to provide enough slack in the tippet. 

Catching Highly Pressured Fish

Catching Highly Pressured Fish

Over my nearly 60 years of fishing I’ve come across many situations where the fish have been very challenging to catch because they have become highly educated by heavy fishing pressure & frequent recapture. 

My Winter Grayling Setup

My Winter Grayling Setup

Although I prefer the dry fly there are many times, particularly in the depth of winter, when the only logical option is to fish with subsurface flies.

How to handle the fish you catch

How to handle fish properly. Thanks to advances in techniques including Euro nymphing/Czech nymphing & Micro Thin lines, plus the resurgence of the ancient technique of Tenkara, we are catching more fish.

Barbel on Streamers

Barbel on Streamers

I must confess to be a dry fly addict, generally only turning to subsurface tactics as a last resort. I am also a light-line, delicate presentation addict so rarely fish with lines over 3 weight...

Willow Grubbers in New Zealand

Willow Grubbers in New Zealand

"One very hot, frustrating, day I noticed a couple of good fish sipping deep under some overhanging willow trees. Crawling behind cover to within a few feet of them I could clearly see they were feeding on tiny yellow Sawfly caterpillars (Willow Grubs.)"

Ants, my favourite patterns

Ants, my favourite patterns

When fishing the dry fly most of my fish come to 4 very basic patterns; a variant of Jack Tucker’s CdC IOBO Humpy, a simple CdC Shuttlecock, Marjan Fratnick’s F Fly & a basic Elk Hair Caddis tied with no hackle.

Gammarus / Shrimps

Gammarus / Shrimps

Gammarus imitations will catch fish throughout the year. However, I much prefer to fish the dry fly, but particularly when winter grayling fishing a shrimp pattern is often on my cast.

Driffield Beck - A piece of fly fishing history.

Driffield Beck and its smaller sister, Foston or Kelk Beck are the most northerly chalk streams of any significant size in the UK. The fishing on the Beck is famous worldwide.

Fishing Micro-Brooks

Fishing Micro-Brooks

I love fishing tiny brooks, so small & often so overgrown that virtually nobody else considers them to be worth fishing.

Italian Casting, Jungle Fishing, Wind & Spooky Trout

Let’s start by looking at the basic principles of the Italian Casting Style as taught by Massimo Magliocco, one of Italy’s top casters. 

Beetles

Beetles

It’s summer & ‘Beetle Time’! It was in the late 1960s that I first came across a beetle imitation being used for trout.

Agapetus Pupae - The Stuart Crofts Imitation

Don’t think it is just small fish that get focused on Agapetus pupae: the biggest fish in the river will come out for this feast. 

Addicted to light line fly fishing

Why fish light fly fishing tackle? David Southall digs deeper into the reasons.

Changes I’ve Seen in Over 50 Years of Fly Fishing

David Southall takes us through innovations & changes in fly fishing over 50 years. From fly fishing in Canada to the Italian style of casting & Tenkara.

Camouflage & Stealth

Camouflage & Stealth

A stealthy approach is vital when fishing for wild fish, particularly those in waters that are not heavily fished. David Southall 

Late season grayling

Late season grayling

David Southall discusses late season tactics for grayling fishing in the UK.

My Favourite Winter Grayling Flies

David Southall takes us through his favourite grayling patterns for Winter fishing. From squirmy worms to micro nymphs, some are imitative, some are suggestive.

Tackling Alpine Pocket Water with Big Dry Flies by David Southall

The first time my fishing buddy Steve & I visited the high alpine streams of Austria, in July of 2007, we were overawed by the speed & turbulence of the flows. How does one fish a maelstrom of white water?

An Innovative Fly Line & Dry Fly Presentation

An article originally published by the grayling society. David Southall switches from regular dt lines to wf micro thin fly lines to get the presentation he needs to target spooky wild grayling and trout.

Hunting Big Fish Can Be Frustrating

Trout fishing in the UK, especially on chalk streams, doesn't get any better when you're stalking big, wild brown trout. David Southall fishes Driftfield Beck.

The IOBO Humpy

The IOBO Humpy

The CdC IOBO Humpy must be one of the world’s greatest dry flies. It is incredibly simple to tie yet unbelievably effective since in various sizes it imitates/suggests a host of insects (Midges, Aphids, fluttering Stoneflies, Fluttering Caddis Flies, emerging Olives, Olive Duns, Black Gnats & others).

Sight Fishing for Grayling

Sight Fishing for Grayling

I prefer a micro-nymph line to a traditional mono French leader because it is far easier to handle as it has far less memory even when taken straight off the reel: particularly on cold winter days this can be very important.

Micro flies

Micro flies

David Southall talks us through his love of and use of tiny flies for trout and grayling fishing.

Micro thin fly lines. Chironomids, Squirmies & Rain

UK Tenkara and ultra light fly angler David Southall describes early season trout and grayling fishing on his favourite water, Driftfield Beck in Yorkshire, UK.

Mayfly Time

Mayfly Time

David Southall talks about fly fishing with the UK’s two most common big Mayflies, Ephemera danica and Ephemera vulgata?

Early season trouting

Early season trouting

David Southall discusses his tactics for early season trout fishing on UK rivers.