Truly Madly deeply – The Art of Dredging with Saltwater Flies or at least trying too
Jul21

Truly Madly deeply – The Art of Dredging with Saltwater Flies or at least trying too

Fly fishing in deep water is not easy . It requires patience and heaps of practice but the rewards are out there if you can master this discipline . I have a few techniques and observations I can share within this blog . I hope it all makes sense and gets you motivated to get down on it !  Fly fishing in 50 to 60 foot of water with 1.5 knots of tide , wind over tide is an art form and something that I have been trying to perfect for some time now . Its requires a great deal of patience , intuition and a sixth sense to figure just where your fly may be  in the water column at any given time  . I still have a long way to go to be able to say that I have nailed it . The problem with being the skipper all the time is its hard for me to spend a great deal of time with a fly rod in my hand. I can fish a lure rod quite effectively while controlling the boat around the rocks , the fly rod is long and time consuming and the fly line catches every conceivable snag around the consul. .Sometimes if I don’t actually get on the bow and have a cast and watch the way that the wind and tide are working and the angle and decent of the fly line . I just don’t know what I need to do with the boat and how best to set up the drifts for a client. Lure fishing transformed my catches   7 years ago and even more so the mighty Fiiish Minnow .The ability to hold a lure down in the tide and control its depth via a mixture of density , tide , wind and retrieve opened my fishery and my results bloomed , at last I was catching those bigger Bass that I had only ever bumped into once or twice a year at best when I fished the fly rod  . It was an piffany so to speak  A Paddle tail shad catches big fish with almost zero input from the angler at times , when my clients over work the lures despite my advice I have been known to use shock tactics to get the message to’ mellow it out’ by proclaiming that’ if i put a rod in the rod holder and let the lure flutter away out there  it will catch more fish than everyone else on the boat combined ‘ That tends to get the message across . The ability of these minnows to scour the depths and cover so much new water also brought...

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5 Nautilus years on Zen2
Jul10

5 Nautilus years on Zen2

Over the years I have had plenty of clients ask me about how well my fly reels have performed and it seems that over the last few trips everyone has been asking me . So I decided it certainly deserves a mention on my blog . Over the last 12 years I have used and abused so many reels in the saltwater . Vosslers are dead and drags seized , greys rotted out , Abels are solid workhorses but rather heavy and too expensive  . The original Nautilus CCF reels had drag issues , I have trashed my hatch reels with salt build ups and sticky drags . I have a Tibor Pacific that sounds like a tractor . I dread to think how much money I have blown away over the years through a mixture of hard fishing and periods of neglect ?   The Nautilus FWX reels are by no means at the top of the range . Actually the drags were never designed to stop a GT but they do us fine here in the Uk , well thats mostly true , a big Pollock has astonishing power when it takes a dive back down and if and when I hook into double figure Pollock on the fly I do have to palm the FWX , that said I actually quite enjoy that feeling of loss of control , it adds to the excitement in a way . The maintenance schedule on my nautilus reels has been non existent , they will often get a hose over when I get home but thats it . I cringe when I think of how many rods and reels I have worn through , broken ,even lost overboard ( That leads into a good story to tell later ) So 5 years later I find myself considering an upgrade to the latest equivalent , the X frame , but if I am honest it would just be a flight of fancy all the while my reels are working 100 % and my bank balance remains somewhat sticky . So that concludes my 5 year review of the Nautilus reels on Zen2 10 out 0f 10 . I wish I could say the same for so many other bits of kit that just could not take the constant abuse .   Fly rod overboard  One day a few  years ago I shared the boat with a client , we were both fly fishing . I decided to give the fly rod a rest . so I wound all the line and some of the leader into the rings . I just had 3 foot of leader dangling outside the rod tip ....

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Saltwater Fly Fishing Festival 2015 ( THE SALT)
Jul06

Saltwater Fly Fishing Festival 2015 ( THE SALT)

Help !! This crazy lady with a crazy idea just wont leave me alone !! Let me explain.   September is prime season for Fly fishing for Bass in the UK and as result I am on the water day after day. The ansaphone machine bleeps and flashes at me in an attempt to get my attention   , the emails start to pile up . I should take a day off but I don’t. I have a terrible fishing addiction and equally terrible bank balance  so I just keep fishing away , day after day . Its the storm before the winter calm for me . I am a hamster and my cheeks are full of nuts this time of year !!! Last September a lady from St Mawes on Roseland Peninsular called me . This rather well spoken lady who I didn’t know caught me off guard , tired and rather unreceptive . My tired hamster brain just could not accommodate anything that she had to say. She wanted to organise a Saltwater Fly fishing Festival and wanted all the help I could afford her . What did I do ? Im afraid I coped out I sent her in the direction of another person ” Fly fishing guide ”  that I thought might be better equipped to help via his esteemed list of fishing dignitaries .  Its amazing that Amellia is still determined to make this happen as she has had nothing but time wasting and demands for money to deal with . Amelia Whittacker knows very little about fishing , yet alone Saltwater Fly fishing . She runs a successful Bed and Breakfast in St Mawes . This well spoken , determined lady is obviously one of life’s organisers and she does run other ” Festivals ” . Something about saltwater fly fishing scene has captured her imagination , she is hell bent on getting a festival going . Its time for me to make up for my lack of input at the early stages and get involved and also look for other guys I know or respect to help out . It’s a good thing and it could be great fun . 100 Quid , Bloody 100 Quid !! Every time I bring up the subject of the festival I get hit with the same reply . At first I was somewhat in agreement  as I just couldn’t get my head around ” THE SALT ” . I recently met up with Amelia and her partner Tim . By the time we were finished I realised that £ 100 for a 4 day  event with various BBQ , Live music , drinks...

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Macro River Macro Trout Macro lens
Apr04

Macro River Macro Trout Macro lens

Photography wise today was a disaster , but if your brave enough to take an old battered  400 D and a Canon 50 mm fixed  F2.8 down the river then high wastage is forgivable  But non the less a canon F 2.8 will always throw out something a bit special if you just keep clicking away. Talking of rivers my 10 year old  son fell in the river this evening, fully clothed , fell off a rope swing face down in front of all his buddies. He thought it was hilarious. 20 mins later he was shivering and his lips were blue. Oh the trials of life eh !! He started to wimpier . That was time to finish our pints in the beer tent and take the boy home for a hot shower !     The best thing about today ( other than Oli face planting in the river ) was fishing with Dave Sharples on my local stream . He moved to Australia a few years ago and I just assumed I would never  see him again , well just like me he realised that it is hard to shake off your Englishness and Australia is not quite the pot of gold you expected it to be . Its been 5 years or so since I last saw him. A couple of weeks ago I found myself in a conversation about suitable rods for stream fishing . The Reddington Butterstick came up. Its a fiberglass , super soft floppy (Retro ??)  fly rod . I ended up ordering 3 of them from the guys at Guide Fly fishing . Today Dave and I met up and took out our  comedy fly rods down to the stream . I must say that at first I was horrified ! In modern terms the phrase would have been WTF !! Two hours later I realised that all this hype around fiberglass rods was completely justified once you learn to slow everything down and let the rod do the talking . Dave has the 7.6 / 3 wt andI have the 6 foot 2 Weight , both are  great to fish with . On my patch the 6 foot 2 weight wins , they are a tad soft for flicking out tungsten nymphs but for dry fly  or light nyphing we both thought the slower softer feel of the rod was be perfect , actually after 2 0r 4 hours clink and dink fishing tight streams  with floppy glass there was no going back. Fly fishing is all feel or at least it should be . Tiny streams streams deliver that in abundance . The fishing was the worst...

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First Decade
Feb18

First Decade

It has only this week suddenly dawned on me that I have managed to pull this off for 10 years ! I have just had a quick scroll back through some images from various chapters within the last decade , some of which seem like 20 years ago. I guess that means I have been keeping busy . Ten years ago I launched uksaltwaterflies.com from the spare bedroom at our old house overlooking Porthleven harbour . I had run out of options in Cornwall as every other avenue had back fired on me so I decided to follow my heart  . In the early days Cally went to work and I looked after our baby boy 3 days a week . (He’s not a baby now , he’s talking too his mate on his mobile phone !!) It was hard work juggling a website and a baby . The business grew 2 fold year on year from 2005 to 2009 it was an exciting chapter and I worked my nuts off .  Then the recession found its way to my door. The fishing trips seemed to balance on a knife edge as more and more people put a stop to the exotic holidays in the salt. I had a great run of luck but I knew that that chapter was drawing to a close. 6 or 8 weeks a year out of the country was starting take a toll on my heart. I just seemed to miss my family more with each new trip. . 7 years of fishing 2 – 3 weeks on Cape Cod was starting to wear thin too. Ive landed every Striped Bass I ever need too . I had a deal with the landlady of my base camp on the Cape. It was simple . I said the day she solicted  my customers was the day it ended , she let me down  , it broke my heart to be let down by someone I had come to treat as family.  Cape Cod was over . I said goodbye to that lady knowing I would never return .     I think the greatest pinnacle of my travels was the second trip to St Josephs Atol in the Seychelles, Everything about that trip was epic. We had great bone fishing in the flats , we fished for GT’s with Popping gear, we drank ice cold beers at lunchtime . I slept out on deck under the stars and listened to music on my first generation i Pod staring up into space every night .Cally was heavily pregnant with our  daughter and holding the fort at home .  It was the great company...

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July speed blog
Jul30

July speed blog

Speed blogging time of the year for me , lets see if I can ”bang one out ” in 10 mins , theres so much happening and so many stories to tell and yet I have just no spare time whatsoever .  .  Not that the world is hanging on my every word and desperately awaiting the next exciting installment but I have met so many people recently that do read my blog i guess i should try to do something. Ok Im wasting time ! No mackerel ? No Basking Sharks ? The month has been a little hit and miss . I don’t think we had any Bass blanks but Ive certainly had to work for the fish , theres so little bait around that the fish just wont stay put in any one spot. They are searching and we are hunting too. Where are the mackerel ? Where are the Basking Sharks ? This must stem from a shift in the food pyramid this year . I think those intense winter storms are still affecting the balance of the sea in our part of the world.  Oz lands a Hog !  This fish was the hardest tussling Bass I have ever encountered in UK water. Most big bass are so often pre occupied with shaking the hook from their mouths they don’t realise they are slowly being dragged to the landing net. This one hit me like a freight train and tussled me good and hard for what seems like 10 minuites  but was probably more like 5 or 6  !! I fished with Martin and his son, it transpires they had never cast a rod before , just mackereling I taught them both too cast (luckily they picked it up pretty fast ) We headed off to a mark where I connected a Bass virgin to an 8 pounder the day before. I could clearly make out the big blobs on the sounder in the exact same spot at the same stage of the colossal spring tide . After an hour Martin had a big fish on the Fiiish Minnow 140 / 40 g Blue.  Not a bad start to a bass fishing trip . An hour went by and we must have drifted over the Pod of Bass 30 times. They had lock jaw.   Nick Collins had told me of the success he has with big Bass on the larger Fiiish Minnows. I switched to the 30 g / 160 mm dirty Blue. I wanted to experiment with this lure so grabbed a spare rod from the rack . (My first attempt at...

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Someone flicked the switch  !
Jul08

Someone flicked the switch !

June can be a sketchy month down here . The large Spring Bass have been and gone , where do they go ? I just don’t know  . Once we go into Summer mode I would regard any bass over 7 Lb as exceptional . I also believe the Bass will become far more ” house trained” and will stick to their favourite spots provided the larder stays stocked and they don’t get harassed by seals or humans . These resident fish form the basis of  a days summer fishing for me , if i find happy ”slob bass” then that makes my job far easier .  September and October can provide me with big fish . Soon after  Christmas lights of Mousehole harbour are switched on and miles of  monofilamnet gilnets  are deployed on the Western reefs . Cornwall will attract vast numbers of 1- 2  KG fish  prior to spawning The glut of fish on the market sends the price tumbling . Steve Cullen and I fished together one day last week , all hopes of a shark on the bait or Fly were dashed by a stiff  Southerly breeze , we slogged it out for 2 hours before opting for plan B and heading inshore to Fly fish for Bass . Steve is a Demon caster , a rare commodity  these days , as more and more Salt water fly fishermen go to the dark side and pick up the lure rod in preference to the Fly . If you want to catch on the Fly you need to have patience , skill and self discipline . You cant catch a Bass on the Fly with a lure rod in your hand !!    June 2014 was a tough month and certainly not the first one I have experienced . Well the good news is it July . Its as if someone just flicked the switch , vast shoals of whitebait are now in Falmouth Bay. Mackerel and Bass are hitting these shoals hard , a few quiet shore marks I visit have resident shoals of Bass and these fellas are very friendly indeed. I am now booked solid for the next fews weeks , if the weather  remains stable I think that we are going to have a lot of fun ! The brains fried already . It becomes hard to remember who with ,  where or when I  fished as the days start to almost overlap. I finished late on Monday and early today. I slept in my van last night . Im not knocking it but it is pretty demanding, my clients go home...

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Wild Trout fishing West  Cornwall
Apr05

Wild Trout fishing West Cornwall

Once you hit 5 degrees West on the map the finger of land between North and South coast starts to narrow and with it the streams . This is the end of the road for Trout Fishing in the UK. Its amazing once you start to research and try to unlock the secrets of river fly fishing in West Cornwall from the comfort of your I pad just how little information there is out there , its bloody amazing in this day and age. . No grace and favour or credit cards needed down here , no season or day tickets required , just the willingness to go out there and root around on your own , make a few mistakes , drive down the wrong tracks , get moaned at by grumpy old spinsters that smell of wet dogs like I did the other day. Every spring the cabin fever gets the better of me and I start to look for ways to entertain and stimulate myself prior to the arrival of decent numbers of Bass. I may fly fish for Pike on Porth and Argl Resevior,( Theres something wrong with West Cornish Pike they have the aggression and fight of a wet tea cloth ??) I may travel up to Chew and go Pike Fly fishing (Now they fight !! ) , go to Waterville Ireland and fish for Bass , last year it was Gilthead Bream in the Helford river . The reality is that just around the time I start to get everything sorted out and make discoveries ,the weather changes , the diary starts to fill with Bass fishing charters and everything goes on hold again. This year feels different. I don’t just feel that I am killing time I feel something very strong within. My obsessive gene has really found a new focal point. Fly fishing fast flowing water for Brown Trout , its all happening very fast , all I can do is go with the flow and see where this takes me. All I know is I am lost in it right now , Its like realising you have been ignoring birdsong for years Its currently deafening to my ears, likewise the simple sound of water flowing fast over stones has me completely hypnotised. Suddenly I get it after all these years . My trips to the River Cober have been very productive so far, Its all upstream nymph fishing this early in the season , Fly fishing narrow streams under the canopy of trees can be quite tough going. Casting needs to be pretty tidy at times. Bow and Arrow...

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2013 In a nutshell
Dec09

2013 In a nutshell

2013 Has been an amazing year and in a way I don’t want this year to end.  I cant complain about the bookings on Zen2 or the weather . It was a massive learning curve and the number of new waypoints on my GPS has exploded around the county. We started the season on the Eddystone launching from Plymouth . We fished Falmouth Bay and Lizard, Roseland ,  Porthleven and Mounts Bay, St Ives 7 Stones, Padstow and Newquay . One area of Cornwall I wont name  has been bugging me for years, well were now fishing there and the results have been spectacular . This opens up a whole new chapter and I think that I will be headed that way a great deal more in 2014. I have 200 miles of coastline to keep me wondering what’s around the next corner. Couches Bream on Fiiish Minnow 7 LB Wrasse when filming with Sky Bass soup Spring Fishing with Ben Ben on Zen Spring Bass Last Pollack of the day Brian this spring Nice fish on the fly Clints first shark Another Couches Dawn on the Stone Steve R getiing Stoned Awesome Even more awesome Steve was the man this day First ever Bass ! Nice Then Edward Then another This was an epic end to the day Fiiish for a change My mates Graham started with this And ended with this Graham again Hes a nutter ! Sams the man Sams chuffed Slow jigging Matts pollack Gilt 1 Gilt 2 Alex Pollack James is on fire ! Freezing cold day wrasse Another Couches on lure James (again) James Pollack Roseland James Blue Shark No stopping this guy Joel Mark lets the skipper have some Miguels Bass takes Patchinko at dawn 100 % comitment Dawn July Mikes snub nosed bass Andrews 8 My go New winter grounds are working Cod on Fiiish while Bassing Nice Wrasse Great fun I love these fish Last Cast of the day Micro Blue on fly Waiting for the first shark of the day Great start to July Simons becoming a regular ! Mike Pollack Mike bass Filming conservation piece for Sky TV Thats my boy Worth the journey west Toms 2 nd trip of 2013 Tyson Jackson hits a 6 UGLY ! Ivans 8 (what a morning that was 0 Alex – Heartyrise BC Another Couches Brean on FM More Couches Zen2 does Plymouth Marks Pollack on fly Moody November New Logo for Zen Salmon and trout charity day All this love and attention to Zen2 does come with a price tag. Its been very hard to keep the retail side flowing smoothly. I have...

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Zen2 2013 ” The movie ”
Nov13

Zen2 2013 ” The movie ”

What a great year it has been , so many great days  aboard Zen2 . So many great fish !  Long days they are. I would say the average day works out at around 13 hours start to finish.  Most days the alarm goes off around 4 am . I have to take every booking that comes my way . The winter is a quiet time for bookings. Were loaded with Bass but Joe public just won’t make his way down the A 30. So Winter is the time to look back and reflect upon those sunrises and sunsets and Bass in the shallows .   Enjoy !...

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