Fly fishing report

The weather today – early September 2020

I set out on a little venture yesterday afternoon on the Wye in the rain, it was oddly therapeutic. There were a surprising number of cars in the car park and I saw a distant figure moving upstream. Having a good and stealthy look at the first bend was worth while, and some splashy little rises and one or two serious movements gave some encouragement.
A little bit of dip netting produced several shrimp, some Caddis cases, a considerable glutinous mass of eggs from something or other and a ferocious bullhead, and a few Sedge around and a scattering of the small Pale Watery flies we seem to get at this time of year.
It was a fair guess the odd rising fish were Grayling, and they were nipping the hatching flies every now and again.
When faced with seemingly random rises, it’s possible to get into a bit of a tizz with it all. Some rises right at the bottom of the run/pool and others coming up much close and square across but on the far edge of some fast water. The delicate stun or drop cast to try and tempt the lower fish is greeted with indifference and the nearer fish pops up while we are doing so, and is pretty safe because there is too much line out to control.
To cut a long story short, I remembered that old trick about timing.
Especially with Grayling, they can have a rhythm, and simply counting the time between rises can give us a clue when we should be making a nice drag free drift, in the gloom and pouring rain, or to be just still with a coiled line, counting and waiting…..
It worked for me, like a little magic trick, and I was very pleased with myself, not quite so happy at missing them, but that’s fishing for you.
It was getting dark when I got home, and the garden lamps switching on soon after.
As the man said, “ It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting that way”


British Fly Fair International February 2020

Please call in and say hello to us at the BFFI on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th February. We will have our usual array of items to assist your fly fishing endeavours.
Staffordshire County Showground ST18 0BD, 9.30am – 4.30pm.
Over 80 individual exhibitors this year including quality tackle, fishing holidays, organisations, bring and buy tackle stand and the largest selection of fly tying materials at any UK show.
The famous International Fly Tying Rows with over 50 demonstrators from across the globe.
Fly Tying in Focus Theatre with live demos on the big screen
Fly Fair Forum Theatre with thought provoking presentations
Fly Tying Clinic for all fly tying queries
A great start to the new fly fishing season with a chance to meet up with old friends and talk to the experts .

September 2019

In the latest episode of The Country Gent Podcast, our guest is Peter Arfield of Bakewell Fly Fishing Shop. We discuss his life in angling, the wild rainbows of the Derbyshire Wye and also a bit about the history of The Peacock Fly Fishing Club.

Also in this episode we taste the Penderyn Distillery Peated and Alan brings you some more British history.

Listen now using the links below.




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Or alternatively, listen via the website:

August 2019

I posted a little thought about needing a drop of rain, and it seems to have done little else.. and some wet stuff forecast for tomorrow.
I was due to take winner’s of the CFR auction out but we have decided agin it. I am a bit respectful of the lightening possibilities, having had two moderately close calls.
Anyway, an hour’s staff training was called for late this afternoon, and a chance to look at the river after the less formal caravan club members have moved on.
There aren’t many of the red and white chain link fences to be seen… can’t imagine where they have gone.
The river is on the high side, with some colour to it, but not too much. It actually looks pretty damn good!
You would not expect to see much surface activity twixt 4.30 and 5.30 in August, whether high water or low, but a bit of stealth and a beetle or similar fished or almost capped behind a bit of structure produced three offers, one of which stayed on long enough for me to unship the net before leaping off.
They are well leapy, these Wye fish.
The Lathkill is fishing exceptionally well, but of course, members only, so non members with have to roll around, bewailing there personal circumstances.
Some nice fish in Press Manor, little dry fly worth a shot, which is good going at this time of year.
And the news from Barlow is that the potential sale is still not resolved, and the lakes have been restocked.
Our sympathy for the frustration felt by anglers on the Gout, that delightful little river. Hope things settle down for you.
Beware undercut banks folks..everywhere..

Chin chin!

July 2019

There were some very dark clouds last night, the odd shower and rumble of thunder.

I had to make a little virtuous trip back to the shop, bit of sadly neglected admin and a tiny bit of a clean, and closing the gates after my last stuffing a lump of cardboard into the back of the car, I kind of just sat for a moment or two on the quiet road.

On the way over the road down and through Ashford was like a small fast river on its own account, lots of debris from the field entrances, and a bit of extra care need across the biggish puddles formed on the bottom of the hills.

The rain had been so heavy, a kind of mist still hung in the air , and felt almost autumnal.

 The Thursday evening bells were in full practice, as they have been for these many years. Whatever ones own beliefs may be, these old bells give a sense of continued practice, and maybe of a common humanity over the centuries.

 I knew I had to get back home before about ten, medications, and grown up stuff to attend to, but when the Wye was one named day my day had always been Thursday, if only for the bells on a summer evening.

I set up on the familiar lane overlooking the meadows, knowing the call of the river was upon me, and until a couple of weeks ago my river mojo was noticeably absent.

 My stillwater fishing, and my guiding has been pretty sharp, but my personal fishing has been a bit…well Eric Morecombe ish.

Tonight I just knew I was going to catch , but also knew I really needed a few minutes to myself, catch or not.

There were some movement on the big swirling back eddy , positive little rise forms on a spot or two where a fairly long but also fancy cast was required, lots of slack, and mending in the air sort of thing.

 Using a few reeds to hide behind I made a couple of casts to test my luck and my skill, and just knew the leader was not quite long enough and the little general purpose fly I had one was not going to cut it tonight. These fish were on something…and as if on cue a small rise …

June 2019

We have had some proper rain overnight, and more to come.

Difficult for the Dry Fly only , finding fish with nymphs where permitted best bet.

Don’t stand with your back fully upstream on a rising river folks. I recall being struck a glancing blow by the body of a drowned sheep when on the Derwent.

If cabin fever is upon you we have good stillwater fishing in the area. All of which can fish well to the light lines often fished on rivers.

Ladybower, Barlow, and Press all fishing well recently.

Chin chin!

March 2019

Well, the spell of recent mild weather has got the season of to a bit of a decent start on the stillwater fisheries. The Ladybower is off to a good start, and our other local waters, Press Manor and Barlow are open as usual. Floating lines, and on windy days an intermediate with a bit of a lure/attraction pattern is a good starting point.
On mild days I have some good sport with tiny midge patterns on light tackle, but a reel with a smooth drag is useful, and fine but strong tippet material.
Try using a trace of lip balm as a lube for the knots.
We have the pleasure of seeing some familiar
Faces in the shop at this time of year, and some new ones too.
“The angler emerges from the gravel shoals of winter”
Chin chin!

February 2019
The local rivers are showing a bit of a rise over the last day or so. Nothing dramatic, but what the gauge does not show is that the lift in water height is largely with the snow melt.
Grue, I think is the word… and I suspect anyone venturing out with rod and line over the next day or so may well find it gruelling to catch, wherever method.
Last couple of weeks has seen me venture out with a trotting rod for Grayling (under close supervision) and I found it exhilarating to be out in a bit of sunshine and actually getting the stick bent.
The Derwent has oodles of fish, they don’t always feed, and not all at the same time, but have a line in the water from about twelve to around three pm and the chances are pretty good of a catch, maybe a multitude of fish!
If fishing bait( I know, I know) try not to over feed, or fish too shallow, lest only trout fall into thy rod.
Press Manor and Barlow are good local waters to support, further from us but handy for the other side is Danebridge and Marton heath, please check before venturing out.

January 2019

We are going to the BFFI in February, and taking the Limestone Rods, Silk lines, Otter Butter, and a product which the world has been waiting for…. Ferrule Wax!
The wax will be supplied discreetly, and can be used as the need arises, but usually in the privacy of one’s own home.

There was a good turnout last night for the Grayling fisher’s meeting. We were fascinated by the amazing shots (and observations) made by Don Staziker.
It has been said before, but it is the usual suspects who come to these talks, some very skilled anglers, several at least semi pro, but it’s the folks who are the less successful who should be attending. It has always been the way of it I guess.
For the keen angler, Barlow and Press are open, but call ahead for conditions, and the die hard Grayling angler will already know where fishing is available. If unsure, contact the shop/look at the website.
Chin chin!

December 2018

The Wye is still stained with colour, but dropping clearing and looks fishable today. A fair number of small grey midges around, plus some very tiny ones indeed, more like motes of dust, with wings.

A solitary up winged fly, pale grey in general impression, fluttering in a small eddy right under the bankside vegetation, seemed to be swimming round in small circles, inches away from a trailing twig, possibly stuck in its own shuck. I have felt a bit like that myself, on odd occasions.

There’s lots I don’t know about insects, and fishing too and you can soon get into the unknown unknowns thing if not careful. I do know a couple of proper experts however, and they are very modest and indeed hesitant about insect ID, they need to capture one and examine its privy parts to be sure, so if you are just dipping a toe in the water with fly fishing, please don’t be put of by the technicalities of it all.

If you can make a reasonable presentation with a reasonable fly, then you are in with a chance about 70% of the time, maybe more.

I sometimes tell my clients, If “Og” the cave person saw a fish taking little black flies, Og probably tied a little black fly to the line. Its Latin species description would not be a necessity.

Casting skills to get a drag free presentation are worth learning however, and are relatively easy to acquire. It only takes a decade or so!

If you or someone you know would like to learn a bit more about casting etc, them we do a fair amount of tuition and practical fishy experiences, and Gift tokens are available.

November 2018

Our local still waters have been very good this mild Autumn, Press Manor, Barlow and Ladybower all fished well, dry fly especially doing well although nymphs may be sorting the better fish.

Not always easy! One day on Barlow the water and surrounding grassland were alive with (I think) a type of reed smut , and far from easy to match them.  The late season mystery hatch on Ladybower a couple of days later may have been the same thing. Surrounded by rising fish… and so difficult to deceive…

The cooler weather may make the Grayling shoal up, they have been scattered all over the pools, and again not easy to catch. Anglers who tie their own flies have been using tiny greenfly and some traditional flies have caught though. A friend had a 2 lb fish on a trad dry.

More anglers are fishing for Grayling now, and modern nymphing techniques certainly catch good fish, and in some numbers.

French leaders, Euro nymphing, call it what you will, there some good anglers out there.

Maybe I could ask for restraint to be used though…. hammering a shoal does not make for a lasting relationship with the river spirit.

Enough rambling, my casting clients (especially pleased with today’s) and my fishy client