Tuesday, 31 January 2017

And So it Begins!

Welcome to the 2017 Season with Border Game Angling
Happy New Year to one and all and a very warm welcome to a brand new season here on the river Eden in Cumbria. Here's hoping 2017 produces the goods!

The few times I have been out for Grayling this year have resulted in about a 50% success rate with a bit of searching to do along the way before locating them, but with a little will power and plenty of persistence, we did stumble across a few from time to time.

On another note, this reasonable weather we've been having has certainly brought out those of you wishing to improve your casting skills and it has to be said that we have already had some very pleasant sessions in the sunshine. Yes I admit we've had a few cold days here and there too, as well as a little bit of unwelcome extra water now and then, but apart from that the first month of the year hasn't been bad at all here in the North West.

Anyway, on to the job in hand. For the first blog of the season I thought I would do something a little different and focus on some of the flies you may wish to bring along with you if you are coming to fish the Eden with me this year, in particular those flies that were consistently successful in 2016. Here are some suggestions you may find useful:

A selection of Grayling temptations
Grayling can be fickle at times, to say the least, especially winter Grayling, but believe me, when they are on they are on! The general rule is to fish deep when it is really cold (in which case very heavy nymphs and bugs, to represent the aquatic stages of a variety of flies, can be a real bonus) and then to fish higher in the water as the temperatures improve. However, over the years I have come to realise that the phrase "general rule", is just that, and I, like many other anglers I am sure, have been caught out in the past by following that "general rule". Yes this can be a good guide for most of the time, but do not be afraid, or too lazy, to change your offerings to something like North Country Spiders for example, regardless of whether or not you are fishing in a hard frost with low temperatures, you may still see the very odd winter upwing on the surface with no apparent interest shown in it from the fish, do not dismiss these observations as changing to this method in these circumstances can sometimes save the day I can assure you!

Brown Trout:
Dry Adams (with posts)
I could go on forever about the flies to use for brown trout and at some point most of them will work too, that said, the idea here is to give you a small selection that works on the Eden without having to go out and buy a multitude of flies to experiment with, so as a suggestion for a small selection that work very well on the Eden my list would be as follows: Spiders (yet again) can often be a very good early season offering, although they will usually work all year round too. A good selection of spiders to have in your box would be: Snipe and Purple, Orange Partridge (Partridge and Orange) Partridge and Yellow and Waterhen Bloa. Dries are a mine field, but if you have Greenwells Glory, Adams, (Adams with a post can be a very useful visual aid) and Klinkhammers, you will not be far off the mark. The Klink and Dink can be a lethal cocktail at times, often referred to as the Duo method of fishing, which is why it is essential to carry a few goldheads with you too, and for this requirement you won't go far wrong by having a few GRHE's and PTN's in your collection, and finally the f fly (CDC) can also be a useful addition to your fly box. As I said, I could go on forever, and all of the above will work on many rivers, but the important thing here is that these flies have all proved themselves here on the river Eden.

Sea Trout:
As I am sure many of you will already know, Sea Trout can be caught on all of the above, especially throughout the day, although usually when we are not expecting to, i.e. whilst targetting Brown Trout and Grayling. This is fact as we have experienced this many times over the years here on the Eden. However, most of our Sea Trout sessions are scheduled for the evenings and into darkness, therefore we need a few specific flies for this approach, we also need to be armed with both floating lines and more often than not, sinking tips. The suggestion I would make here for the Eden is a selection of small to medium sized doubles, and both small and large singles. e.g. doubles of sizes 10 and 8 and singles of size 10 and 6. The smaller flies will mainly be used in the first half of the evening up to about midnight, (approximate time) and my arrangement for these flies on the leader would be, double size 10 on the point and single size 10 on the dropper (sizes can vary depending upon temperature). Then after midnight, as the temperature (usually) drops a little more, the larger double on the point (size 8) and the larger single on the dropper, (size 6) or alternatively, two large size 6 singles on both point and dropper often does the job. Choice of flies to bring for the smaller singles would be the traditional Peter Ross and Mallard and Claret, any black doubles you fancy, and a selection of Sewinmeisters for the larger singles, although again the traditional Teal Blue and Silver also works well.

Cascade Double
As with the Sea Trout, I could tell a story or two of Salmon we've had on dries and Goldheads in previous years whilst fishing for trout on 5 and 6 weight rods, in fact some of you reading this will remember enjoying this experience whilst out with me on the river. That said, the last thing on your mind as you decide upon which Salmon flies to bring with you to the Eden will be goldheads or dries, "You wouldn't take a tea spoon to an all you can eat competition would you", so we want something fit for purpose. 

Most Salmon flies will register an interest from the silver tourist from time to time, but there does seem to be a small selection of these flies that excel on many rivers, and several that are often river specific, or so it seems, so based on these considerations, and 45 years experience of fishing the Eden, here are just a few I would suggest to bring with you: 

Cascades and Ally's Shrimps, (both good all rounders) Willie Gunn, Silver Stoat and last but not least a black and yellow tube fly, (plastic tube) however, all of these flies can be dressed on either doubles or tubes. Obviously we have caught Salmon on a wider range of flies than this over the years, but this small selection has been very effective here in previous years and are all worth considering. It is also worth mentioning that many of our successful forays have been when using smaller versions of these flies, (given the right water conditions) i.e. 10's and 12's for instance, certainly no bigger that 8's, which can often (in my opinion) be too big, unless we have high and coloured water conditions that is, in which case there is an argument for this larger offering.

A selection of spiders
I do appreciate that flies are not cheap these days and not everyone can afford such a selection all in one go, so don't despair, because what you don't have with you I probably will, but if you are looking for a more affordable condensed selection to cover the above scenarios as best you can, my choices would be as follows: For the Trout and Grayling angler, a selection of Spiders, two or three Goldheads e.g. Gold Ribbed Hares Ear and Pheasant Tailed Nymph, a few heavy Nymphs and Bugs, some Dry Adams, (with post) and some small CDC's, (f flies can be good). For the Sea Trout angler, a couple of small and medium sized black doubles of your choice (Silver Stoats will work for both Sea Trout and Salmon, thus saving some money) and some small and large singles as discussed above. Finally, for the Salmon angler, bearing in mind you will have some Silver Stoats to fall back on, a Cascade would be a great choice. 

With several bookings already in place for the 2017 season I look forward to seeing many of you on the river again this year and I hope the above information goes some way to making your trip a successful one. See you soon and "Tight Lines" to all.