It's August, no school, prime holiday time and the days are long and warm. The perfect time to be by the water - but the fishing can sometimes be challenging. So, what can we do to avoid dry nets and frustration at the end of a long and unproductive day? Well, at Selectafly we're here to help as always and here are our top 10 tips to enhance your summer sport:
Summertime Blues - and How to Avoid them!
- Adapt your approach to match the conditions. That short, heavy leader - which worked fine earlier in the season when the water was less clear and the fish were less cautious - probably needs swapping for something longer and lighter.
- Pick your day. Whenever possible keep an eye on the weather forecast and avoid the periods of unbroken sunshine and soaring temperatures...or a cold, howling wind and torrential rain - it is summer after all!
- Target other species. Carp keep on feeding happily on the surface long after water temperatures have put trout off their food. Warm water and calm seas allow shoals of bait to gather in sheltered bays and wherever the baitfish are concentrated the mackerel and bass won't be far away.
- Keep ringing the changes. For example, the salmon fisher should complement the standard 'small, swinging fly' approach with other options such as the hitched fly, a small Frances fished deep or a fast moving Sunray Shadow. Whatever you're fishing for, to simply keep on doing something that isn't working makes no sense at all.
- Find the right spot. On stillwaters it may be a deep hole, weed beds, a water inlet or the 'boils'(aerators). On rivers (indeed on any type of water) fish love the cover provided by overhanging trees.
- Keep looking, keep thinking. On a recent (difficult) day at Grafham we significantly boosted our catch by finding wind lanes in which the odd fish was working. Each provided only one or maybe two fish before it was time to move on.
- Do your research. It used to be said that the most important piece of fishing tackle was the telephone. Now I guess we can add Google. Fishery owners are usually pretty honest about prospects. They want their visitors to catch fish not to leave vowing never to go back there again! This also applies on the day itself - staff and other anglers are valuable sources of information.
- Work as a team. If I'm sharing a boat with friend we will rarely both start with the same approach - maybe one of us will try nymphs whilst the other pulls mini lures on a sinker until we find out what's working on the day. And a boat isn't essential for this approach!
- Concentrate on great presentation. The best rods, reels, waders etc. are nice to own and use but the only thing that the fish sees is the fly. Don't make false economies, be too lazy to change something that's not quite right, or think 'that'll do', make sure it's the best* - and fish it on the best leader material you can afford too. We've got lots of both!
- Focus your fishing effort. August days are often perfect for a long, lazy fishing lunch - because the middle of the day is usually the worst time for fishing! Early starts, late finishes and concentrated activity whenever that window of opportunity presents itself during the day are the way to go.
*I can honestly say that I have lost count of the number of times that a tiny point of detail on a fly, or leader set up, has made a fundamental difference to catch rates. Not every time - often the fish don't care - but sometimes they do.... a lot! With apologies if it sounds big headed (and I am sure there are lots of times when it's been the other way round - but I have conveniently forgotten them!) here's an example - years ago I was fishing in a competition at Bewl Bridge and catching fish on a Cat's Whisker - but it was my own variation with one strand of crystal hair each side of the wing and jungle cock cheeks (I know, I know! - but I love tweaking and creating flies - and they used to work very well!) I offered my boat partner one of my flies but he refused on the basis that 'there's nothing wrong with my flies', relenting only as I snipped it off after completing my limit, whilst he was still fishless. He tied it on and yes, literally, first cast! The tiny details on many of our flies are there for a reason, not for show.
News from the riverbankI was lucky enough to be invited to fish a top beat of the legendary river Itchen last week and was reminded once again that the fishing learning process never ends. Although very few fish were rising regularly, following the sound advice of my host, I persuaded a fair percentage of the ones that were not absolutely glued to the bottom to come up for a tasty terrestrial, a category of flies which I had rarely used previously. Another useful option for future outings and, following this lesson, a gap in our range of selections which has now been filled.
This chunky grayling somehow engulfed a big Stimulator just before darkness fell! That fly always delivers for me.
GrafhamAND to celebrate summer and make sure you've got plenty of deadly new flies in your pocket as you head for the water we've got the following super selections on Special Offer for you right now. They are all perfect for an August outing and for this month only all of them get two extra flies absolutely FREE!
- Crafty Carp on the Fly
- Colin Macleod's Masterclass Mullet Flies (+ Colin's invaluable notes on how and when to use them)
- Bass Bankers
- Tempting Terrestrials - including those 2 extra terrestrials! (sorry, couldn't help myself)
- Summer Salmon & Sea Trout Specials (limited numbers only)
Tempting Terrestrials £10.00
Summer Salmon & Sea Trout Specials
Maybe our best ever deal at just £20.00
N.B. Selection photos exclude August bonus flies except for the Salmon & Sea Trout Specials
Scierra Pairs newsI promised to let you know how Philip and I got on in our Scierra Pairs heat and the answer is 'not too badly' - we came second and qualified for the final, which sadly we can't do because we're both fishing in Iceland that weekend (message to self - pay more attention to the details next time!) However, we both enjoyed the 'pairs' concept so much that we've entered Mark Haycock's Summer Pairs match on 13th August (very few boats left for this so ring Mark quickly on 07876 778869 if you want to join us) - and we'll have another go at the Scierra next year.
FinallyFollowing a shipment last week our lethal Snakelets are back in stock for now (they tend to disappear rather quickly!) as - at last - are the long awaited Voodoo Cats. We also have a super effective new foam headed Black Hopper - low maintenance on the flotation front and proven in action - with some big fish too.
Our super new Hi-Float Hopper
Pack a few beers, a tasty picnic and head for the water soon!
Tight Lines from us both when you do,
Martin and Jessica
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