Game Fishing Articles: Fishing Tips and Advice

Salmon fishing on the
Fowey in Cornwall

These angling articles, some written specifically for Get Hooked, will help you get the most out of your fly fishing in the Westcountry.

There is advice on tackle, bait and where to fish. Some are specific to particular areas, others more general. Even seasoned local anglers are sure to find some useful information among them. Not all are advice, some are humorous, others intend to inform on ecological and environmental issues. We are sure you will enjoy reading them.

Fowey River Water - A brief fisherman's review

Submitted by admin on December 8, 2008 - 3:57pm

Bill Eliot, Hon Sec. Liskeard & District A.C.

The River Fowey is a prime Cornish spate river giving excellent salmon and seatrout fishing. It is one of only two rivers in the south west of England holding its targets for sustainable salmonid stocks.

Both salmon and seatrout prosper by breeding in the clean waters of the high country which is Bodmin Moor. However the nature of the water in the River Fowey is made complex because the river is used by the water utility company (S.W.W.) as a water conduit. From their reservoirs at Colliford and at Siblyback on Bodmin Moor, water is released according to the needs of the seasonal population of Cornwall to the treatment plant at Restormel just above the tidal limit. This complexity affects the migratory salmon and seatrout using the river to breed and it affects where they lie and how we may fish for them.

The Fowey catchment has five important feeders, all of which start high on Bodmin Moor and tumble down off the moor into the right hand bank or northwestern side of the main river

Get Hooked! - On the Westcountry

Submitted by admin on December 8, 2008 - 3:57pm

Tucked away, in this comparatively small island, are still places, mercifully, where footprints are few. Places where you can, just for a moment, rejoice in wild company and glimpse at a less populous past. Most of these are situated westerly: and a very unfair proportion can be found in the West Country: damn it! I say this, because I am a long way away and I can’t fish the huge variety of waters and diversity of species that this area has to offer, as much as I would like. I guess this makes the experience all the richer. I think too, that taking the West Country, as a whole is just a little misleading. Do we talk about the imperious coast-line and the wolf of the waves: bass? The more languid mullet or wrasse? Do we talk about the brutes of the channel wrecks and deep sea water?

Sexy Trout

Submitted by admin on December 8, 2008 - 3:57pm

Dr. Stewart Owen

You may hear anglers speak of triploid fish, especially at trout fisheries. Triploids are in fact sterile fish, but why do we need them and where do they come from? Read on and fish biologist Dr Stewart Owen will answer these questions and give an insight into a fascinating aspect of fisheries management.

Why do we need sterile fish?

When there is a risk of introducing a new species to a fishery or catchment area, fisheries officers and managers apply the precautionary principle. There must be the 'least risk' of introduced fish affecting those already present. Where a species is non-native such as rainbow trout, fisheries managers do their utmost to prevent a viable population establishing and so reduce the theoretical risk to the natural populations of other species already present. In some cases such as with our native brown trout, the genetic diversity between river systems has recently been realised. Stocking fish of one particular blood-line in a river system containing fish of a different genetic history is now increasingly restricted. To allow some fisheries to function it is necessary to stock with either fish from a particular compatible source (such as those spawned from resident fish) or stock with sterile fish.

In the UK climate rainbow trout spawn in late winter (Jan-March) and as used to be the normal situation before fish were sterilised, the female fish swell with eggs during this period. A female invests all of her energy into producing the best eggs she can. This means that she mobilises her own muscle protein and fat from her body and sends this energy to the eggs. When you catch a fish 'in egg' her flesh quality will be poor compared to when she is not producing eggs. If a triploid fish is not able to produce eggs, then the benefit for the angler is that the flesh quality remains throughout the year.

How do fish become sterile?

There are several methods used to sterilise fish. If the fish already exist then they can be prevented from maturing using chemicals or hormonal treatments. This is effective, but very expensive and time consuming. But a method is commonly used to produce fish that are sterile from birth. This is called triploidy.

Like us, fish are made up from genetic information gained from both parents. Half of the genes come from the father, and half from the mother. Genes are the instructions to a cell of how to build proteins. They are stored in long strings of DNA that are tightly coiled into units called chromosomes. Different species have a different number of chromosomes containing different numbers of genes. A single set of genes from a parent is called a haploid set. At fertilisation, the egg and sperm come together and pair their haploid sets so the resultant baby has two complementary sets of genetic information and is referred to as being Diploid. That is it has two haploid sets. A diploid fish goes on to develop into a normal fish and will mature and reproduce when the time is right.

If the egg is physically shocked shortly after fertilisation occurs, then it is possible to produce a fish with three sets of chromosomes, a triploid fish. The egg does not in fact manufacture an extra set for itself. The extra genetic information actually comes from the female parent and is present before fertilisation. Under normal unshocked fertilisation this information is lost from the egg as it is fertilised. But a shock, such as an increase in temperature, physical shaking or an increase in environmental pressure prevents this information leaving the fertilised cell. There is no genetic modification. Genes have not been changed or manufactured. The number of chromosomes are increased because a set are not lost on fertilisation. The fertilised egg is left with three copies of genetic information rather than two. Two from the mother, and one from the father. Triploid fish grow and develop as normal. After all they have the same information within them as diploid fish. But when it comes to producing eggs for themselves, the three sets of information do not divide conveniently and so no viable eggs are produced by hen fish. Triploid males do not produce viable sperm.

This is actually a simplified account of the process. Many fish naturally have many sets of identical chromosomes. Some species are naturally tetraploid (four sets), hexaploid (six) or even heptaploid (seven). The term given to more than diploid is polyploid. Wild trout are not in fact diploid to start with. Native wild trout swimming in the rivers of Britain are polyploid naturally. So as a trout embryo is made triploid, the fish could actually contain 18 sets of genetic information.

How do fish farmers produce triploids?

To make fish triploid the newly fertilised eggs are physically shocked. In practice this means the eggs are placed in a special pressure vessel and subjected to a very high pressure. The timing after fertilisation and the actual pressure are critical to the process. If the farmer times this wrong then mistakes can be made. The balance is a fine one. Too little and it does not cause triploidy whilst too much pressure kills the eggs. It is difficult to judge the success until the fish can be sampled and examined under the microscope, or mature as adults. The triploid eggs go on to hatch and grow normally into adult fish. However it must be remembered that the process is a biological one and as such triploidisation is rarely 100% effective. Some fish of each batch seem to escape the process and mature as normal fish. We expect our suppliers to provide fry that are normally much better than 90% triploid. That is we generally expect that one fish in ten from a batch of triploids will develop eggs in maturity. It is therefore important that the farmer grades the fish to remove any hen fish before these fish are stocked into critical waters. This is a point often overlooked and a batch of triploids may still contain a small number of fertile fish.

Where do our fish actually come from?

In order to supply trout all year round for the UK markets, eggs are sourced from around the world as different geographic regions provide spawning at different times of the year. Of course some producers spawn fish artificially all year around, but UK fish are typically British, Danish and South African in origin. Eggs also come from America, Canada, Iceland, Faeroes, France, Chile and Australia. This is a tightly regulated industry with government ministry regulation and inspection that insures full trace-ability with veterinary health checks. Once the eggs have passed through the hatcheries they are 'grown-on' at one of the many restocking farms throughout the UK from where they are traded until they reach the anglers hook.

Grayling in the South West

Submitted by admin on December 8, 2008 - 3:57pm

A cool wind was blowing down the River Barle on that March day a quarter of a century ago. Around midday the trout had come to the surface and several good fish had taken my dry fly but by mid afternoon the surface activity had ceased and I was ready to call it a day. Then, as my fly drifted down a smooth run, I saw a shadow move up beneath it and drift back with the current for several feet before delicately taking the fly. My strike met a solid resistance and, as I saw the large upright dorsal fin holding the current, I realised that I was into my first grayling since coming to live in Devon. Two more casts produced two more grayling, both close to a pound, and I was reminded of something that I had learned on many other waters - grayling are shoal fish and like the company of other grayling.

Before moving to Devon some 30 years ago I had fished regularly for grayling on the rivers of the Welsh Marches and the chalk streams of Wessex, so I was pleased to re-establish my acquaintance with this lovely fish on the Barle. Grayling are not indigenous to the south west, but arrived as part of the fashion for extending the range of the species through artificial stocking that started in the late nineteenth century. In Devon and Cornwall the grayling is found in two river systems, the Exe and the Tamar, but its distribution is often patchy and unpredictable so locating the grayling hot spots can depend heavily on luck.

I recall an early spring day on the Ottery in Cornwall when I was fishing for trout on the topmost of the Arundell Arms beats. Conditions looked ideal for trout and fish were soon coming to my dry fly - a size 16 Adams. However, those rising fish were grayling with the trout strangely absent and when I called it a day I had caught 15 grayling and just one solitary trout. Since then I have fished that beat many times but failed to catch another grayling, though I have taken plenty further down the Ottery.

A similar experience occurred on another Arundell Arms beat, this time on the Lew. Once again it was spring and with nothing rising I was steadily catching trout on a weighted Hare's Ear Nymph. As I approached a small pool, I saw a swirl in the shallows at the tail and when my nymph dropped into the steam near the fish it was taken instantly and I had soon netted a lovely grayling of 14 inches. Two more grayling of the same size quickly followed, but I have never taken a grayling from the Lew since that spring day.

My most consistent sport with grayling on the Tamar system has been on the main river itself, especially in the Polson Bridge area. There I have often found shoals of rising grayling and settled down to picking them off with a small dry fly.

My most consistent sport on a Devon river has been on the lower Exe, where the grayling are of good average size and rise well on the right day - and the ideal day is when there is hardly a breath of wind. This is an exposed stretch of river and the surface is easily whipped up by the wind, making it difficult to spot the delicate rises of the grayling. On a calm day, however, you can locate big shoals of grayling sipping on the smooth stretches and enjoy first-rate dry fly fishing.

It is in Wessex, on the River Avon in the Woodford Valley between Amesbury and Salisbury, that I have taken some of my biggest catches of grayling, especially when nymphing in October and November. On a sunny autumn day when it has been possible to spot the fish in the clear water, stalking the grayling can be both productive and exciting. The trick is to locate a shoal against a patch of light-coloured gravel, which makes it possible to spot each fish and see it take your weighted nymph. By starting with the fish at the downstream end of the shoal and pulling each fish quickly downstream as soon as it is hooked, it is possible to take several grayling before the shoal is spooked. Those Avon grayling may not be the biggest, but there are plenty of them.

For big grayling, there are few better places than the Frome below Dorchester, where fish of well over two pounds are common. Permits for the Dorchester Fishing Club are restricted to the trout season but that gives you plenty of opportunity to catch the big grayling on this fishery. I recall fishing a clear pool where a big shoal of grayling up to over three pounds could be seen lying in about four feet of water. A heavily-weighted shrimp pattern was cast well upstream and allowed to drift through the shoal, with spectacular results. The first cast produced a "tiddler" of little more than a pound, but it was quickly followed by two fish of 2¾ pounds each, and another of the same size for my companion. It is in the winter, when club members fish with bait, that some of the really big Frome grayling of well over three pounds are caught.

In the south west, grayling are also present in the Bristol Avon, Tone, Brue and Stour, but I have yet to fish for them on these rivers.

Tackle and techniques for grayling fishing are really the same as those for river trout fishing. When the fish are rising I sometimes use the traditional grayling patterns like a Red Tag, Bradshaw's Fancy or Grayling Witch, with their brightly-coloured tags, but the more imitative flies that are normally used for trout are just as effective. On the chalk streams, where sight fishing with a weighted nymph is very effective, a size 12 or 14 leaded shrimp or a goldhead Hare's Ear Nymph will usually do the trick.

In the past, the grayling has often been loathed by those who manage our more famous trout streams and great efforts made to remove what has been seen as an unwelcome interloper. Fortunately, such efforts were always doomed to fail, as the grayling is a great survivor, and in recent years more and more anglers have come to realise its true value as worthy adversary for the fly fisherman. If you have yet to catch one of these beautiful fish, you have a treat in store.

Grayling in the South West

Submitted by admin on December 8, 2008 - 3:57pm

The grayling, in the past often maligned as vermin on trout rivers, is at last being recognised as a truly sporting and wild fish.

The fact that their season continues after the close of trout fishing, and that they take a fly readily, reinforces their attraction to the thinking, sporting angler.
A surge of interest has taken place in recent years, starting slowly back in the 1970's with the publication of Reg Righyni's classic book `Grayling', and the formation of the Grayling Society, and continues to gather momentum today, as ever more fishermen pursue this most attractive and elegant fish.

Distribution in the South West
The Wessex region is home to some fine grayling, with the Wiltshire/Hampshire Avon system probably having the densest population in Britain. The Frome holds some very large fish, certainly in the 31b class, mostly downstream of Dorchester. I believe there are grayling in the Tone, then moving west into Devon and Cornwall we have two isolated but thriving populations in the Exe and Tamar systems. On the Exe they can be found all the way up from Exeter to the Barle junction and into the lowest pools on the Barle. On the Tamar they are well distributed throughout the main river and most of the tributaries, particularly the Inny, Lyd and Ottery. In was on the upper reaches of the Inny, on a cold, grey day in March 1967, that I saw my very first grayling, and I have been fascinated ever since by "The lady of the stream".

A light, crisp actioned fly rod of around 9 feet, matched with a floating line no heavier than AFTM 5, is perfect for most waters. I prefer a double tapered line, it allows a more
delicate presentation and is more suited to roll casting, often essential on small streams. The reel should be a light nononsense job, well filled with line and backing, not for playing the fish but to minimise line coil and memory. I needle knot a 9ft knotless tapered leader (31b of 5x) and add 3 feet of 21b nylon as a tippett, attached with a three turn water knot. Waders are useful, with chest waders preferred. You will need all the other accessories you would normally carry when trouting, floatant, sinkant etc. Most essential though is a pair of long nosed forceps of similar to facilitate unhooking and returning your fish. Hooks should be barbless, I often catch salmon parr, unseasonable trout and even sea trout whilst fishing for grayling.

First, find your fish! On the clear waters of the Wessex trout streams careful observation with polaroids will soon reveal the fish. Grey shadows on the river bed, ever on the move to intercept a drifting nymph or lumbering caddis. Rising fish are on obvious give away, but are they grayling? or perhaps brown trout or salmon parr. The rise of a grayling can be seen to be slightly different to other game fish, due to the grayling's unique habit of lying hard on the river bed and rising almost vertically to the surface to engulf it's prey, and returning at once to the gravel. This causes the fish to make an oily, kidney shaped whorl on the surface of the water, often accompanied by a bubble as it turns a sort of somersault on it's way back to the river bed. In clear water the fish can often be seen emerging from the depths like a missile a split second before breaking the surface. In the absence of fly hatches and rising fish the only way to find your grayling is to fish all the likely looking areas and, once a fish has been landed, cover the area thoroughly as grayling often shoal. As the trout season ends and the water temperature drops this shoaling behaviour becomes more apparent, with some parts of the river completely devoid of fish, so it pays to know the sort of water the grayling prefer. Local advice and information can be invaluable, but if none is available look for steady, even flowing water of between 18 inches and 6 feet in depth, the colder the water the deeper the fish will be.

Wet and Dry Fly
Small wet trout flies, fished either up or downstream will take grayling in summer and early autumn, but are indiscriminate and far less efficient than dry fly or nymph.
A hatch of naturals, in any month of the year will bring grayling to the surface and provide superlative sport on a dry fly. The grayling is a fussy feeder and any untidy presentation will result in the fly being refused. From it's position on the river bed the grayling has a wide field of view, so the fly should land without disturbing the water and drift for several feet without dragging, in order to deceive her ladyship.

Fly patterns are less important than presentation, though if the insect on the water can be identified and matched by a suitable artificial, so much the better. Grayling will often feed on tiny flies and your box should contain a selection from size 12 down to 18 or 20. Despite taking tiny flies it is not unusual to catch grayling while spinning for salmon with a small Mepps and my biggest grayling, a two pounder, took a large lure at night while I was after sea trout! Many of the traditional grayling flies are still highly successful today. Fancy patterns such as Red Tag, Treacle Parkin and Bradshaw's Fancy are excellent. The modern range of cul-de-canard flies, with their highly imitative properties, are very hard to beat. The flies visibility to the angler is also very important, particularly in the fading light of and October or November afternoon. I like parachute style flies with a highly visible wing post of white calf tail or synthetic wool, the American elk hair caddis is also highly visible and can be very effective, even when caddis flies are absent. Grayling take a fly very quickly and your strike must be equally rapid if you are to hook your fish.

Nymph Fishing
There will, of course, be times when there are no naturals hatching and the surface of the river slides past unbroken by the rings of rising fish. Now is the time for the nymph, without doubt the most effective way of catching grayling. The late Frank Sawyer, river keeper on the officer's club water on the Wiltshire Avon at Netheravon, invented his famous killer bug purely as a way of catching and removing unwanted grayling from a trout fishery. On the chalk streams where the clear water allows fish to be stalked and targeted, cast your weighted nymph upstream of the fish and allow it to drift downstream, keeping an eagle eye on the point where your leader penetrates the surface film. It pays to grease the leader down to the tippet knot and sink the tippet with fullers earth. When the fish takes the knot will twitch or be pulled under and your strike must be instantaneous. If a fish keeps refusing your fly try the `induced take' by lifting the rod just before the nymph reaches the fish. This lifts the nymph enticingly just in front of the fish's nose and few grayling can resist it.

When the fish are not visible I use an indicator on the leader, either a tuft of wool treated with floatant or a pea-sized lump of Float-do or similar material. The position of the indicator determines the depth at which the nymph will fish and, crucially, indicates the take. Obviously a heavy nymph is needed to fish deep water and I am a great fan of the bead headed types. Gold and copper heads work well on most patterns such as hare's ear, pheasant tail and even the original killer bug.

Caution and Conservation
Grayling share their habitat with trout and salmon which spawn during the autumn months. CHECK with the owners of the fishery to see whether fishing for grayling is allowed after the close of the salmon and trout seasons. More importantly, if you can fish, DO NOT WADE anywhere near the pool tails between October and March. Fertile trout and salmon eggs will be buried in the gravel shallows and walking on them will damage our fish stocks for future years.

I would like to close with a word on conservation. At one time grayling were ruthlessly culled from trout streams by any means possible. This has been proven an ineffective as a way of reducing numbers and just reduces the average size of fish. Today most fisheries value the presence of grayling, they are an excellent indication of good water quality and happily co-exist with other game fish. In early autumn, when in their prime, grayling make excellent eating, but only take what you need (they are protected by law through the coarse fish close season, 16 March to 15 June inclusive and other bylaws may apply).

All out truly wild fish stocks are under threat these days and it would be nice to see anglers actively caring for the grayling and the rivers they inhabit.

Game Fishing in the South West

Submitted by admin on December 8, 2008 - 3:57pm

Wild brown trout on the moors, spring salmon in north Devon, sophisticated trout on the chalkstreams, big rainbows on famous reservoirs, night expeditions for sea trout, winter salmon in Cornwall - these are just a few of the pleasures awaiting the game fisherman in south west England.

And it is a long season too. Salmon are in season somewhere in the south west from February to 15 December, leaving a close season of little more than six weeks in the dead of winter. River fishing for trout or sea trout is available from mid March to mid October, and the growth of winter rainbow fisheries means that you can cast a fly to trout every month of the year.


For the visiting angler, the best opportunities for salmon are on the rivers of Devon, west Somerset and, especially late in the season, Cornwall.

In the past few years, the best spring salmon fishing has been on the Taw, which produced around 250 springers in 1996, with the Torridge also offering improved early fishing. Spring is traditionally the time for spinning but the fly-only restriction on these rivers from I May, which has been in place for many years, has given anglers greater confidence in the fly, which is now in increasing use right from opening day on 1 March. North Devon's other salmon river, the East Lyn, is a prolific little fishery and can produce very good fishing immediately after floods at any time in the season, though here all of the salmon fishing is with worm or spinner.

On most salmon rivers in the south west the best of the fishing is in summer and autumn, especially when there is sufficient rain to bring in good runs of grilse. At such times good fishing will be found on the Tamar, Dart, Teign, Taw, Torridge and others. The Exe, in particular, can produce excellent catches of grilse in late summer and a recent survey indicated that angling success rates on this river were the highest for salmon in England and Wales.

Although the Cornish rivers also produce summer salmon fishing, the Camel and Fowey are noted for their autumn and winter fishing, with salmon fishing continuing until 15 December.

In the east of the region, there is also salmon fishing on the Frome and Avon, though here it is less easy for the visiting angler to get a salmon permit.


Night fishing for sea trout is a real south west speciality, and especially on the Devon rivers. Around the end of April the early big sea trout have arrived in sufficient numbers for serious night expeditions by the keener anglers and numbers continue to grow right through to late summer. As the season progresses the average weight drops, especially with the arrival of the summer school peal which are often less than a pound.

If you are looking for a really big sea trout there are few better places than the lower Dart early in the season, where fish in excess of 10lb are caught in most seasons and sea trout of 61b to 81b are relatively common. With the exception of the Ex., the main rivers of the south west all offer plenty of opportunities for a night's sea trout fishing.


The river trout angler can choose between the silky chalk streams of Wessex and the turbulent moorland rivers of the far south west, with many variations between these two extremes. The chalk streams of the West Country may not have the international fame of the Test and Itchen to the east, yet still they provide outstanding dry fly and nymph fishing for high quality browns, and the price of a day's fishing is much more affordable. Look out for fishing on the upper Wiltshire Avon and its tributaries, or fisheries on the Frome and Piddle in Dorset.

If you are looking for wild trout in beautiful surroundings, without size being the main criterion, the bubbling streams of the Dartmoor and Exmoor National Park offer endless opportunities. The trout may be of modest size but they are numerous and often free rising. Rivers like the upper Dart, Teign, East Lyn and Barle all offer plenty of day-ticket waters at reasonable prices.

Elsewhere there are plenty more opportunities for river trouting in the south west. Something similar to chalk stream fishing can be found on the little limestone rivers of the southernmost Cotswolds, and on the meadow streams of east Devon like the Otter. It is also worth searching out little-known streams like the Bray, upper Tone, Thrushell, Ottery, Yeo and many others that can produce surprisingly good trout fishing.

The development of trout fishing on water supply reservoirs in recent decades has been well documented, but it is often overlooked that this movement really got started at Blagdon Lake in Somerset back in 1904, producing browns and rainbows of sizes that most anglers had only dreamed of before. And it was Bristol Waterworks that boosted reservoir trout fishing again with the 1957 opening of Chew Valley Lake, only three miles from Blagdon Lake. Fortunately we can still enjoy the excellent trout fishing on both of these great lakes beneath the Mendip Hills, with the addition of many more trout lakes throughout the region. Shore fishing is available on all of these reservoirs and the larger lakes offer excellent loch-style boat fishing.

More recently the growth of small-purpose-built trout pools has exploded in the south west and there can be few fly fishers who are now more than a few miles from a trout fishery. All of the usual lake techniques and flies can be used on these lakes but it is worth looking out for those which are clear enough to enjoy the exciting sport of stalking big rainbows with a weighted nymph.


For salmon you will need equipment for both spinning and fly fishing, the latter being particularly important on the Taw and Torridge where fly only is the rule for most of the season. A spinning rod of 9ft and medium power is about right on most rivers, and with a fixed-spool reel and 12lb to 14lb line it will also handle worm or prawn fishing where bait is permitted. In spite of its name, few anglers in the south west now use the Devon minnow, most putting more faith in the Flying C, Mepps or Rapala.

Although the more open stretches on the larger rivers are suitable for a doublehanded salmon fly rod, many anglers stick to a powerful single-handed rod of 9ft or 10ft with lines of AFTM 7 to 9 and this could easily double up as a reservoir rod. For sea trout, however, such a rod might be a bit powerful and a 9ft rod and a 6 line would be more suitable. Popular salmon flies include Willy Gunn, Ally's Shrimp and Blue Charm, while sea trout anglers favour Alexander, Silver Stoat and Mallard and Claret.

Trout fly rods are as varied as the West Country rivers. On a small overgrown river where the branches meet over the middle of the stream, a 7ft fly rod and 4 line are ideal, but when you are fishing from the bank on a larger chalk stream a rod of 8+ft or even 9ft with a 5 line will help you to keep control when reaching over bankside vegetation. If you have to compromise with one outfit, try an 8ft rod and 5 line.

Bank fishing on the larger reservoirs will demand a powerful rod of 9ft and an 8 line, but on the smaller pools I often stalk big trout with an 8ft river rod and a 5 line, so there is no easy compromise if you wish to fish all the stillwater options in the south west - even before you consider the specialist needs of loch style fishing from a boat.

Any of the vast range of popular trout flies is worth a try, but on the rivers it is always worth remembering that patterns created long ago in the West Country, like Blue Upright, Pheasant Tail, Half Stone, Tup's Indispensable, Infallible and Devonshire Doctor, still perform very effectively.


Whatever your taste in game fishing there is something for you in the south west - just check the list of places to fish in this guide. The visitor will find a wide range of day permits from hotels, associations and fishery owners, at an equally wide range of prices. The local angler should always consider joining an association, which is often the cheapest way of fishing, especially for salmon. Some of these clubs have open membership while others will have a membership limit and a waiting list, so check with the secretaries for details. But always remember that before you go fishing you need two pieces of paper - the Environment Agency national licence and a permit from the owner of the fishery.

Carp on a Dry Fly

Submitted by admin on December 8, 2008 - 3:57pm

When I started fishing over half a century ago, carp had an almost mythical quality. Carp fisheries were few and far between – and when you found them their inhabitants had a reputation for being almost impossible to catch.

All of that has now changed. Wherever you live, there are likely to be several carp lakes within a short drive. The popularity of carp fishing has encouraged numerous fishery entrepreneurs to dig a lake, stock it with carp and open up for fishing – as this publication readily demonstrates. Check virtually any of the stillwater coarse fisheries in Get Hooked and you will find lakes that are stocked with a variety of carp, including common, mirror, ghost, koi or grass – and the good news is that they will all readily take a dry fly in the right conditions.

And the ideal conditions for catching a carp on a dry fly are just when fly-fishing gets really tough on the rivers.

The River Camel

Submitted by admin on December 8, 2008 - 3:57pm

Jon Evans is Secretary of the Camel Fisheries Association

The River Camel rises on Bodmin Moor and reaches the sea about thirty miles later at Padstow on the North Cornwall coast. The Camel has been fished for salmon and sea trout for centuries and the first royal charter was granted in1199. Records show that in 1750 rights were available on payment of a fee to the Duke of Cornwall to take salmon by use of barbed spears. Needless to say, these rights have now been revoked.

There are four main tributaries, the Allen, the Ruthern, the de Lank and the Stannon and these provide wonderful nursery and spawning water. There are also countless small streams offering safe havens for sea trout and occasionally salmon. The Bodmin Anglers Association has worked extremely hard over the years to ensure that the upper reaches of this beautiful river are largely designated as sanctuary areas which should not be fished.

The Camel has a reputation for good runs of both species but things are not what they were.

Fishing from a Female Point of View

Submitted by admin on December 8, 2008 - 3:57pm

I began fishing when I was six years old after months of persuading my Dad, an angler of over forty years, to take me out with him and I'll never forget my first catch!

It was on my first ever what I call 'proper' day out fishing, as previous to that dad would take my sister and I river fishing with our nets for minnows. We headed up high into the Scottish Borders to visit a newly opened fishery where we were fishing for rainbow and brown trout. We had a chat with the owner who told us about the fishery and the fish in it. He told us about the largest fish - an 8lb rainbow trout and he also told me that I was the first female to fish on the lake. In hindsight it seems almost fate that I was destined to catch the largest fish in the lake, especially because I was the first female angler and when I look back now it seems almost as though my path has been mapped out.

Following the catch my face appeared in all the local newspapers and fishing magazines, advertising both myself and the fishery, it was unbelievable, although as I don't eat fish I sold it in our local fishmonger! However, now fourteen years later I am still fishing and I am now devoting my time to encouraging more people to get into angling, especially more women, children and disabled people. After all, fishing is something anyone can be involved in, no matter what your age, race, gender or ability - anyone can fish!

I have been trying to encourage more people into angling through my website at - As a child growing up with her favourite sport being angling it used to annoy me how few female anglers there were on the bank side and how, more often than not, when dad and I arrived at a fishery ten out of ten times the anglers present were all male. So, aged sixteen years old I decided it was time to do something about this, to change this aspect and show people that you do not have to be that stereotypical old man, sitting on the bank side, rod in hand and smoking a pipe that everyone sees in their minds eye to be a fisherman. Instead I suppose I offered myself as a role model, someone breaking this moulded stereotype and, perhaps, added what some people might call 'glamour'. However, there was a strong and meaningful purpose behind all I did and that was to get a more diverse range of people into angling. In April 2005 I headed over to Ireland to help at the Jack Charlton disabled angling competition in Bantry. The event was fantastic and a real life changer. Not only did these people not worry about what they wore to go angling or what they looked like and they did not care whether they caught fish or not. They were enjoying a day out together in the fresh air, and in my mind this is what fishing is all about - a chance to get outside in the fresh air and to be at one with nature, a sort of therapy.

When I was fifteen I became ill with a virus called M.E. The virus can completely debilitate a person and, in my case, it prevented me from going to school on some days as well as playing sport and going out with friends. During this dark period fishing was very important and I guess now I could say it was my lifeline. Angling allowed me to get out and enjoy myself. I was able to do something without getting tired or feeling fatigued.

So I set up in 2004, dedicated to encouraging more people into angling. In March 2005 I attended a conference - 'how do we get more women and children into angling?' and I appeared as a guest speaker for The Salmon and Trout Association. There were around fifty attendees at the conference and towards the end we split off into groups of five or six to discuss ways in which to get more women and children into angling. It was interesting that many of us came up with similar issues dividing women and children and angling. Issues raised included more role models, such as in sports like running and swimming, more parental encouragement from a young age and, perhaps more importantly from a female point of view, clothing that fits, is practical and comfortable yet stylish too.

This fired my enthusiasm so much that this year I decided to re-launch as a business, including a range of equipment and clothing suitable for women, children and disabled people. Currently the site has a range of rods called Beulah Rods which are absolutely fantastic. These rods are so lightweight it's like holding a feather, and casting with the rod is fantastic as the line just shoots out! What is also great about these rods is that they are suitable for people with disabilities. For example one lady who bought a Beulah from me had a neurological condition which consequently meant she suffered quite severe pains and had casting difficulties. However, having used the Beulah, the lady couldn't believe it, her casting was made a lot easier and her fishing technique became much improved.

We also sell fishing equipment on the web site, including Silver Creek U.K. products, all at very reasonable prices including selections of ten fishing flies for less than £5! In the coming few months we were also be introducing footwear including ladies Hunter wellies, perfect for the winter weather, as well as fishing clothing including vests and waistcoats!

Now I look back on all I have achieved through my involvement in fishing and with the launch of and I cannot believe it all! To think that I am one eighteen year old girl living in a small town in the north of England and I receive hundreds of emails from all over the world every day directed to my website is scary! To know that I have appeared many times on international television, in international newspapers, magazines and radio shows and have met some top fishing people doesn't bear thinking about - I mean, this is what dreams are made of! Like one guy said - I am living the dream! However, I enjoy what I do, I have a great family back up behind me and a solid base keeping my feet flat on the floor. I honestly think fishing is one of the best sports there is out there, nothing else can compete with it and I think that everyone should at least give it a go, you never know - you may just enjoy it!

At the end of the day more and more people are developing fishing products for ladies and I think this can only encourage more women to take up fishing, and in turn their families will try it which will follow into generations to come. I am just proud that I can help encourage more people into angling.

Today is going well and I am enjoying it. Last October I went over to New York City to meet with members of the Juliana Anglers and the International Women's Fly Fishing Association and went fly-fishing on Long Island. Then in February I spent some time in New Zealand for a holiday and of course some fishing too!

Lucy x

[email protected]

The Experience Factor...

Submitted by admin on December 8, 2008 - 3:57pm

The fish rises again, the angler tenses, makes final adjustments to tackle and fires an artful cast upstream towards the unsuspecting Brown Trout. The fly line lands cleanly behind the fish, hardly making an impression on the waters surface as the carefully prepared tapered leader turns over positioning the fly perfectly above the quarry. Now the river current takes over, seconds later the anglers artificial is within the Trout’s window of vision, totally fooled the fish gently sips in the rogue offering. Stunned that this fly has actually bitten back the little spotty takes to the air in a rage tussling all the way to the anglers moistened hand, within moments the barbless hook is gently released and the fish swims back to it’s territory, just a little wiser. Makes your mouth water, doesn’t it?

So what caught that fish? Was it the expensive carbon fibre rod? Well that helped. What about the computer designed and profiled fly line? Again it is certainly important. Ah, then it must have been the loving crafted dry fly. Well, actually no, this fish would probably have taken almost anything that was the right size and colour. No the answer to this question is … experience.

The problem with experience is that it cannot be purchased like a rod or whipped together like our little dry flies, no, this valuable asset has to be earned through many hours of trials and tribulations on the river bank. I suppose that this very fact is what keeps the hooked angler coming back for more; it is the constant learning curve and search for a new challenge that sees millions of us stringing up our rods each week. All very well but many of us have families, work commitments and all the other stresses and strains of modern day life to think about which doesn’t always leave us much time to become piscatorial masters. Enter the Fly Fishing Guide.

This new breed of Ghillie has started to grow in popularity across the U.K. and especially in the West Country. Now for a fee you can hire your own personal tackle box of experience. A Guide can set up beats for you, organise accommodation if required and most importantly be right there to advise you just before you make that important cast. Guides will have an intimate knowledge of their venue, the flies required, which angle to approach the fish from, the best times of day, and indeed most will (and should) posses a casting qualification. So, if you are in a situation where you need to make a single handed Spey cast, perhaps a specialised mend or avoid a variety of obstacles, professional help is right there by your side. Of course many people will immediately shun the idea because they like to fish in solitude, don’t we all! But, hiring a guide at the beginning of a trip can give you that extra edge. Now the casting is in tiptop shape, you have all the local fly patterns in your box and you know exactly how to go about catching that big old Trout under a root. This surely increases the enjoyment factor immensely and after all isn’t that why we go fishing in the first place?

Not convinced that a Guide can help you? Perhaps you fancy trying for a new species on fly? Don’t know where to start? Guides are available to catch not just Trout, Salmon or Sea Trout. Now there are stunning fish such as the Bass on offer, hard fighting Pollack or Mackerel and in some cases even Wrasse. When tackling saltwater species such as this and with such a vast expanse of water to cover a Guide is invaluable. But the list doesn’t end there with Fly Fishing Guides diversifying into Coarse fish such as the awesome Pike or crafty Carp. So how do you go about finding a Guide?

Hiring guides is easy enough, for a start just take a look at “Get Hooked!”. Other places to enquire at are Hotels with fishing rights, local tourist boards and indeed many venues nowadays have a “resident professional” Guidance is most often purchased by the half or full day and no it won’t always be cheap. However with that extra experience under your belt you can return to a venue with an edge, which could have only been achieved by spending many years, fishing it. We Brits do tend to be a bit of a D.I.Y. bunch but just think about it for a moment, hours of frustration trying to find the right fly, or a few extra tenners and a memorable fishing holiday?

So fly anglers seeking that extra bit of help with their fishing are well catered for but what do you do if you have never cast a fly before? Often providing the services detailed above Fly Fishing Instructors go one step further and offer regular courses which teach the skills required to become a proficient fly angler. This interesting experience doe’s not only centre on fly casting but also the whole process of finding fish, choosing the right fly through matching the hatch and finally hooking, playing and landing your prize. Many people say that you can teach yourself but look at it this way, how many golfers purchase a set of clubs and then go hacking their way through the nearest course!? Full time Fly Fishing Instructors are professionals and will have all the gear required to hand, plus suitable venues and often a set of notes which can be referred to at a later date. Most importantly they should also come complete with a qualification such as that set by the Advanced Professional Game Angling Instructors ( APGAI ).

This network of Instructors and Guides has opened Fly Fishing to the masses. No longer is it the preserve of the rich dressed in traditional attire, these days you are more likely to see a Fly Fisher sporting a Baseball Cap and Jeans rather than an old-fashioned tweed number. With this barrier gone it has made way for Fly Fishing to become a multi cultural sport not dominated by males but enjoyed by women and children also. Indeed in my experience as an instructor I often find that women and children listen more intently and learn faster (sorry chaps!) than most men!

This season I urge you to look up a guide or instructor and make use of one of their exciting services, I assure you that the results can be fantastic and even on the more difficult days at least there is someone on hand to sort out those annoying tangles! Yes, a day out with a Fly Fishing Guide can certainly be an experience to remember. I wish you all tightlines, screaming reels and dry waders ….

Fish Taxidermy

Submitted by admin on December 8, 2008 - 3:57pm

The art of taxidermy today remains very much alive, although gone are the days of every town having its own taxidermist. Today's exponents, however, still use the same basic techniques as their forbears.

The oldest existing specimen is said to be a rhinoceros dating from the 16th century, but the collector is highly unlikely to come across anything preserved before 1850. Along with the increased interest in antique fishing tackle, cased and mounted fish are now considered highly collectable and although prices have dropped slightly from the dizzy heights reached a few years ago they are now starting to rise again.

The most sought after cases were produced by John Cooper & Sons of Radnor Street, London. The company was started in the 1830's but most of the `Cooper' cases around now date from the 1870's to 1950. Most of the fish were displayed in bowfront glass cases edged with gold line trim and gilt lettering. Occasionally the details of the fish were written inside instead, presumably when insufficient funds were available for the full works! Even if no details exist it is still possible for an expert to date the case as their style changed throughout the years. Early cases had pale blue backgrounds with an abundance of reeds and groundwork. By the 1950's this had progressed to a green backing with a sparse interior. The fish gradually became more heavily painted with every scale accentuated. The trading label along with their address changed frequently and is another helpful factor in dating them accurately. Age is not a particular concern when it comes to value - more consideration is given to the size of fish for its species, the quality of the mounting and the overall aesthetic appearance. Multiple cases and those with original gold lettering are worth a premium. Fish taxidermy tended to be more specialised than other forms and as Cooper's fame grew fish were sent to them from all over the country and although they appeared to have the monopoly other equally good firms were in business. One of these was W. F. Homer, also of London and although examples of their work may be harder to find the search is usually well rewarded as their cases are most attractive. Malloch of Perth also produced excellent specimens, many of which were finely painted plaster casts of trout and salmon often mounted in unique barrel shaped cases. They also produced many of the carved wood game fish earlier this century.

If you are lucky enough to find an old case of fish, but in a damaged and sorry state - do not despair! More can be done to restore these back to their former glory than any other form of taxidermy and unlike many antiques, good quality restoration will hardly detract from its value.

A number of auction houses now run specialist piscatorial sales. But beware, this can be shaky ground for the uninitiated. Fakes abound and are sometimes hard to distinguish from the genuine article even for the experts. Buying from a reputable dealer will bring you peace of mind and is likely to be cheaper too.
So what if you land your dream fish and decide to have it preserved for posterity? No problem, although these days it is normally only game or sea fish that are mounted. The most important thing to remember is NEVER gut the fish as this will ruin the whole procedure. Wrap your catch in plenty of newspaper, taking care not to damage the fins and place in a freezer as soon as possible. Once frozen it can safely remain there for several months. Mounting your trophy can be a long process (fortunately giving you a breathing space to save up for the high cost!). The recent world record 1331b eel set up by us took around five months to complete. Much of this is drying time, depending on the size and oil content of the fish and speeding up this process will only produce a poor result in the long term. After defrosting, the fish is cut along the lateral line, skinned out and cured with a preserving solution. Meanwhile a false inside (a mannequin) is carved from styrofoam to the exact shape of the original fish. The skin is then placed around this and left to dry with regular checks made to correct any oil seepage, a particular problem with salmon. When completely dry the skin has to be painted as by this time it will have lost all its colour. This is the really skilful part and sorts out the men from the boys
Dulux, in this instance, is not the right medium!) Several washes of colour are applied to make the fish look as realistic as possible. The casing is a matter of personal choice and although the fish may just be mounted on a wooden board it is not generally recommended. A traditional setting in a bow fronted glass case complete with gilt lettering is still the best method and will become an antique of the future, not to mention the pleasure gained of having a permanent record of the big one that didn't get away!

Further information on any aspect of taxidermy available from:

David McKinley,
Heads n' Tails, Wiveliscombe, Somerset.
01984 623097.

The Buzzer Factor

Submitted by admin on December 8, 2008 - 3:57pm

The majority of fly fishers in this country concentrate on fly fishing in stillwaters, whether reservoir, lake or pond. For many this is simply a choice of convenience, with few or no available rivers containing game fish in their area.

Others, such as I, are lucky enough to live in areas where there is an abundance of good river fishing at extremely reasonable prices, as well as many good lakes and reservoirs. You would think that with so many rivers available one would stick to the Trout, Sea Trout and Salmon that run them and stay well clear of the stillwaters. Whilst this may be true of many, I still get enormous enjoyment when fishing a stillwater, essentially with a floating line and particularly with the dry fly or buzzer.

The buzzer is the angler's term for the pupa of the midge, that is the Chironomid midge, not the wee nasty biting thing of the west coast of Scotland. It forms the major part of the diet of all lake trout and as a result SHOULD be a major fishing technique with any stillwater angler. In its natural state the midge can be eaten by the Trout in four different forms - the larva, the pupa, the emerger and the adult. To be a really successful angler you will need to be able to recognise when the fish are feeding on what form and to be able to imitate the natural accurately, both in what it looks like and how it moves.

The larva live in the mud and silt at the bottom of the lake and are usually found in large numbers. They vary in colour and can be olive, brown, green, translucent or, most common, red (known as the bloodworm). Though forming a major part in the trout's diet the natural larvae swim in a very active wriggle which is very difficult to imitate for the angler.

Much more common and easier to fish is the pupa. The naturals start their `hatch' anytime between March and November and leaves their burrows in the mud on the long hazardous journey to the surface. This may take some time depending on the depth and the currents in the water and this will affect your fishing tactics, It is extremely possible to get a major hatch of buzzers being fed on by the Trout eight or even ten feet deep and one should not ignore the use of buzzers on hi speed sinking lines. As the pupae near the surface of the water the rise forms of the trout will give away the depths they are feeding at; a flattening of the ripple indicates the fish are feeding between 8" and 2', the 'head & tail' rise usually indicates the fish feeding on the buzzer in the top 8" and the full blooded swirl is a sure sign that the fish are taking the hatched adults off the surface.

Having discovered the depth the fish are feeding at, you will need to assemble something make all the difference sometimes. A very valid tip when fishing the dries, always degrease your leader and dropper arms heavily so that they sink into the surface film and not sit up as an outline to 'spook' a wary trout.

Unless you know exactly which size and colour of midge the fish are feeding on you will need to fish a variety of sizes and colours until your are successful. Where legal I would suggest using a team of buzzers to start with and usually a size 12 grey buzzer on the top dropper, size 14 black buzzer on the middle dropper and a size 16 olive buzzer on the point when faced with no evidence of what is hatching. This team has been devastating on many trips and I will almost always start with it when the fish are on wet buzzers, again, regardless of the line used, i.e. Hi-D, Wet Cel 2 or floater, A similar set up can be used when the fish are on top - a size 12 black hopper on the top dropper, size 14 olive shipmans buzzer on the middle and a size 16 brown raider for the point. Not only are you fishing different colours and sizes of flies with this set up, but you are also presenting a different silhouette to the fish with each fly, a fact that can make all the difference sometimes. A very valid tip when fishing the dries, always defrease your leader and dropper arms heavily so they sink into the surface film and not sit up as an outline to 'spook' a wary trout.

Finally, if you are not catching fish, though you know you are fishing the right depth, keep changing the colours and sizes of your team - you will get it right eventually!

Thanks Dr Beeching

Submitted by admin on December 8, 2008 - 3:57pm

This article was published in the February 1994 edition of Trout Fisherman under a different title.

So what has Dr. Beeching got to do with fishing? Well, if it wasn't for his infamous massacre of Britain's railways a particular piece of branch line on the Devon-Cornwall border might still be in use.

Instead about 220 yards of a secluded cutting has been nurtured into an idyllic piece of private fishing for Rainbows and Browns. The railway closed in 1963 and I can still recall riding, as did many others from the locality, on the last steam train from our small Cornish town. The piece of line in question remained unused until 1985 when the owner built a dam at one end of the cutting creating 100 yards of water about 30 feet wide and around 9ft. deep. That same year an initial stocking of 40 twelve inch Rainbows and 10 twelve inch Browns was introduced into this virgin water to provide sport for the owner and some fortunate friends.

A few Minnows were also put in at this point and the fact that their numbers have remained low proves they are doing their job in providing food for the larger inhabitants. Also just four Loaches were added and now there's one under every other stone.

The cost? Initially about £1500 but this was not a site designed purely for fishing. The pond and its immediate surroundings were intended as a conservation area and have proved very successful. Ornithological sightings have included Kingfishers, Herons a white Egret and Canada Geese Insect life has also prospered with a stunning population of iridescent Damsels as well as a profusion of Butterflies and Dragonflies.

The first year was not, however, without problems! The predictable one, in a water this size perhaps, was lack of oxygen in high summer. Emergency measures were taken by pumping oxygen into the water to try and persuade the Trout to stop swimming upside down and a long term solution seems to have been found in Potaganta Crispa. This is a curled pond weed and an excellent oxegenator also it is very soft stemmed, the advantages of which you'll read about later!

In 1988 the water was extended further back up the railway line, creating shallows at the 'top' and a heavily weeded area which proves very popular with the Trout. At this time the pond was drained and, having kept a close record of the numbers of fish caught, the owner found himself about 30 short. Picturesque Herons may be, but along with Cormorants they were, no doubt, responsible for the deficit. A change in stocking policy remedied this problem as introducing the Trout at 2.5 to 3 pounds seemed to make them too big for the predators to handle. The Trout are no mean predators themselves as the following account explains.

The owner and his young son Ben were at the waters edge one evening when Ben found a full grown frog in the bankside vegetation. He 'kindly' slipped it back into the water and it started out for the other bank. Both spectators were observing its progress when a dark shape approached the luckless amphibian. The water was barely disturbed as an enormous mouth opened and leisurely closed, engulfing the frog completely. Now there's a challenging imitation for an enterprising fly tier!

A beautiful summers afternoon in June formed the perfect backdrop when I was given the opportunity to fish, allowing the owner a chance to get some photographs at the same time.

I tackled up with an 8'6" rod, level 61b 10ft leader and a single pheasant tail nymph. The physical shape of the water and the wonderfully lush vegetation makes casting a little tricky and it's surprisingly difficult to reach the other bank, a mere 30 feet away. The owner obviously knows the water intimately and suggested a lure with a predominance of yellow would get the best results, but as I prefer using a more natural pattern I stuck with the pheasant tail. I started at the dam end and worked my way along, covering the water 'fan' style and varying the depth as I went.

I had not moved anything by the time we reached the 'top' where the trees open up a little and the weed provides excellent cover and, no doubt, an abundance of food for the residents. So, a yellow lure is it? The ends usually justify the means and just such a fly lurked in the box.

With a bit more room to manoeuvre I could just about manage a steeple cast to the other bank, dropping the fly next to a tree stump and letting it sink a couple feet before starting a steady retrieve. Two casts to the same spot and about 4 steady draws into the retrieve, the fly slowed up in a most leisurely fashion just like being snagged on some soft weed. I eased on a little more pressure and as the line accelerated away I tightened into a fish. Wallop! The Trout cleared the water in a burst of spray and headed off down the pond in a fashion reminiscent of the steam trains that once thundered over this very spot. Within a couple of seconds the entire line and 20 yards of backing followed the fish helplessly into a large weed bed where everything went solid. There's nothing to do in such cases but steadily pump line back and hope the fish is still attached, luckily (aided perhaps by that soft-stemmed pond weed) it was and I now had it under a little more control. She turned in front of me (I could see it was a hen fish) and I felt a pang of guilt as her mate appeared fleetingly beside her then vanished, surely just curious, following an instinct, although it could have seemed, to those with a vivid imagination, a last farewell. The battle was almost over now, a couple of despairing lunges for the nearest cover was all she could manage, the weeds over her snout testament to her efforts. The net slid into the water and the fish was mine.

She was quickly despatched and turned the scales at just over 8lb 8oz, a fish of classic proportions grown on from a couple of pounds and in all probability nearing the end of her natural life. The late afternoon sun provided some beautiful natural light for the photographs and although I could have stayed and fished on I felt spoiled enough. Very rarely does the opportunity present itself to fish in such gloriously unspoilt surroundings. Combine that with the quality of the quarry and it's more than enough for most anglers, certainly for me.

Brown Trout Hot Spots

Submitted by admin on December 8, 2008 - 3:57pm

From the tumbling rivers of the high moors to the silky chalk streams of Wessex, the South West has something for just about every fly fisher who likes to go in search of brown trout in running water. You can drift a tiny dry fly over a rising brownie, work a team of traditional wet flies through a stretch of fast broken water, or explore the depths of a deep pool with a heavily-weighted nymph - the choice is yours. As this Guide clearly demonstrates, plenty of this fishing is available to the visiting angler who buys a permit from an association, hotel or fishery owner, but making the right choice is the key to success. So let's take a look at a selection of trout fisheries that regularly produce good fishing for anyone prepared to take the time to learn their secrets.

The Bass Bug - Saltwater Fly Fishing for Bass

Submitted by admin on December 8, 2008 - 3:57pm

I have been lucky enough to turn fishing into a career. Each week I can be found on river banks, messing around in boats and gazing over wide expanses of lake. Most of the time I’m teaching, but every week I manage a trip of my own. Lately, there have been some changes. Instead of heading for those venues described above I now make for the sea shore armed with neither a Beach Caster or Spinning Kit. My chosen weapon is the fly rod and the quarry are non-other than “Dicentrachus labrax” although I prefer to stick to their common name, Bass. Around two years ago my good friend Simon Gawesworth first introduced me to this exciting new branch of the sport. Having caught so many stocked Trout it was a revelation to catch such a wild, hard fighting fish in unusual surroundings. Abroad Saltwater Fly Fishing is nothing new but believe me over here it does attract the odd puzzled glance! Bass can be found in warm water areas of the British Isles, and are widespread along the South Coast.