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Ants, my favourite patterns

August 21, 2017 2 min lesen.

I am a great believer in keeping things simple when fly fishing & 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.

Austrian Brook Trout taken on a Foam Ant

However there are some situations where these flies are not the ideal choice so I do have some more specialised flies in my box. On some New Zealand rivers during midsummer a size 18 or 20 Willow Grub can be an essential addition to the fly box. I wouldn’t be without some big Chernobyl Ants or Foam Beetles when fishing the high alpine streams of Austria & Italy. In late April/early May I wouldn’t be without a specific Hawthorn Fly pattern.

Then there is the occasional day in late summer, in the UK & elsewhere, when flying Ants emerge on mass. Also, on my local North Yorkshire Moors streams Wood Ants are prolific in the forests that border the upper reaches of many of the streams & on breezy days they frequently fall from the overhanging branches. Trout & grayling love Ants. Maybe it is the sour taste of formic acid that they love, but what ever it is the fish can become preoccupied with them when there is a good fall of Ants.

I have 2 favourite patterns. The first is Stuart Crofts’ F Ant, an F Fly variant that has a submerged body that helps to ‘anchor’ the fly into the surface helping to resist micro-drag whilst also making it appear vulnerable to the fish.

 Stuart Crofts’ F Ant

Stuart Crofts’ F Ant

Hook: size 20 to 16 Grub

Thread: Black 8/0

Body: Bug Bonded thread with a waist of red holographic tinsel

Wing & head: Natural Mallard CdC

My second pattern is a simple Foam Ant of my own devising.

Foam Ant 

Foam Ant

Hook: Size 24 to 20 Short Shank (Tiemco 2488)

Thread: Brown

Body: Brown 2mm thick sealed cell foam (trimmed to shape)

Hackle: Rusty Grizzle (trimmed top & bottom)

Wing: White Tiemco Aerowing or similar

Euro Nymphing. Tackle, methods and flies.

Euro Nymphing. Tackle, methods and flies.

Oktober 25, 2023 5 min lesen.

     My favourite methods of fly fishing are dry-fly or sight-fished nymphs/bugs, but particularly during the winter, when fishing on spate rivers, the grayling are usually loath to rise to a dry fly and the water is too coloured, or the light too poor, to see the fish for sight-fishing. It is then that I resort to a range of nymphing techniques. Of which Euronymphing is my most used technique
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Movement in your fly when fishing dry fly. Give it a twitch!

Movement in your fly when fishing dry fly. Give it a twitch!

Juni 22, 2023 3 min lesen.

Frank Sawyer and Oliver Kite showed nymph-fishers the value of the induced take when nymph-fishing and stillwater fly-fishers are aware of the importance of applying movement to lures. However, many of the dry fly anglers that I see appear to rarely apply movement to their surface offerings, believing that ‘dead drift’ is the most effective way of presenting surface flies. 
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Carbon, Cane & Fibreglass Fly Rods. Let's talk about it.

Carbon, Cane & Fibreglass Fly Rods. Let's talk about it.

Februar 15, 2023 5 min lesen.

In the early 1960s when I first started fishing split cane was still the most popular rod-making material and fiber glass was just starting to become popular. However my first ever coarse fishing rod was made of ash butt & middle sections with a greenheart wood tip. My first fly rod, bought in the early 1960s, was a second hand 9’ cane rod built by E. Kerry of Lockton, a small village near Pickering.
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My favourite flies for Grayling fishing in Winter

My favourite flies for Grayling fishing in Winter

Dezember 08, 2022 6 min lesen.

 Presentation is another critical factor in achieving success & grayling are just as unpredictable with respect to this. Sometimes they want a fly ‘on the drop’ & often they will travel quite a distance to take a fly as it slowly sinks. So there are times that it doesn’t pay to fish a fast-sinking, heavily weighted fly.
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