Time to get Ship-shape!Although there are plenty of ways in which we can fly fish all through the year there's always something magical about the cycle of the traditional fishing season. And although it's still early in the year there are already signs that the new one is just around the corner - longer days, birds singing rather more enthusiastically and gardens starting to wake up. Here at Selectafly levels of orders are picking up - so it looks like you've been noticing subtle seasonal change signs too!
Now is the perfect time to get all your gear in order before putting it into action once again. There's nothing worse - on a day that you've been looking forward to for so long - than 'remembering' as you take it from your bag that you'd meant to replace that cracked floating line over the winter, that you're down to the last of your favourite Damsel nymphs or you'd wanted to pick up a few of those new patterns that other people did so well with last year.
We're here to help! With new patterns across all our own ranges and also from Fulling Mill - plus generally good levels of stock at the moment - order today and start replenishing and tidying those dishevelled fly boxes (I somehow doubt that it's only me who allows that to happen!) Don't forget that the bonus offers of free flies with every order of over £30 AND also with every selection from our 'Trout Fisherman' range run until Valentines Day (maybe a useful reminder there for some of you too!)
As well as your old favourites we keep bang up to date with 'hot and new' flies you may have heard of or read about. Our big challenge is always to work out which ones are going to work and stand the test of time and which are just a flash in the pan.
Have a look at the new pattern pages for Fulling Mill and our own Original, Pro and Barbless Ranges and see if you think we're on the right track. Your feedback is always helpful and much appreciated. One of these flies - Matt's Hatching Buzzer - dreamed up by Pro Team member Matt Harris, is featured in the current edition of Fieldsports magazine. On page 141 he tells how he used this pattern last year to tempt 10 Icelandic brownies with a collective weight of 82lbs!
Incidentally, the expression 'ship shape and Bristol fashion' appears to originate from the days when the city was a major port. Visiting ships were prone to settle on to the mud at the low point of the huge tidal range and, if and when the ship tilted, cargo that wasn't properly secured was likely to end up in a mess (a bit like my fishing bag).
Pro Team NewsMatt Harris has been in Chile for the past three weeks hosting groups targeting the monster King (Chinook) salmon of Patagonia. From the photos he sent me from the airport as he begins the journey home he managed to sneak in just a little fishing for himself - with some success! This is hard core fishing with heavy Skagit lines and T17 tungsten tips but if you're tempted (and these are stunning fresh run fish) or if you just want to see more of Matt's stunning photos - find them (and Matt's contact details) here.
A Chilean King (the fish, not Matt!)
Testing PikeMeanwhile, slightly less exotically, Marina Gibson and I have been out testing pike flies on the River Test at Kimbridge. On a dreary, murky day in the middle of a cold spell the pike were a little less than frisky but we both managed to put one in the net and elicit varying degrees of interest from several others, some significantly bigger. I was particularly pleased with the movement in the water of the prototype of the new version of the Gamechanger articulated fly (more importantly, the pike liked them too!) These have now been sent to our tyers in Sri Lanka and we look forward to getting them into stock soon.
OK Matt, yours was bigger!
The BFFI (British Fly Fair International)The BFFI is taking place this weekend 11th and 12th Feb at the Staffordshire County Showground - and we'll be there! This is now THE major fly fishing show of the year and this year will be the biggest and best yet. I spoke with the organiser, Steve Cooper of Cookshill Fly Tying this morning and he tells me that he's already sold out of advance tickets - something that's never happened before! The fair is a cornucopia of interest and goodies for fly fishers and fly tyers, with plenty of bargains, especially at the Selectafly stand. If you're able to get there we're sure you won't be disappointed - and we'd love to see you.
London Fly FairAnother big event that's coming up soon is the London Fly Fair, to be held at the Business Design Centre, Islington on the 10th and 11th March. This is a new venture aiming to put fly fishing on the map in the capital. There is lots to see and do, plus a chance to meet Marina and many other fishing 'faces'.
Fishing ProspectsIt's obviously rather too early for the full scale start of the season but there's still lots going on. Whether it's chasing pike or grayling or maybe something more exotic in the warmer waters of the Caribbean or even further afield. Here at home, on the game fishing front, the early Scottish salmon rivers are already in action with fish reported from the Tay, the Dee and others. These very early fish rarely come easily but it's worth all the effort when they do. A sea-liced spring fish is a beautiful creature which will live long in the memory. For the trout fishermen and women the early months on smaller stillwaters often provide some of the best fishing of the season with the problems of warm water and weed growth still far away. Pick up a pack of our Tasty Tadpoles or Winter Weighted Lures and head for the water! These are both part of a range of fly selections we put together with Trout Fisherman magazine - in simple terms they are the top performing, top selling patterns for each style of flies or each fishing situation, and they come at a solid discount to the individual flies!
These should get their attention! On the left 15 Tasty Tadpoles at £12.95, on the right Winter Weighted Lures at £10.95. For those who prefer something a little less colourful we also do a Deadly Dozen Buzzers selection (we also sell sunglasses!)
Many of us wouldn't feel that mullet are a target species in January but Irish bass guide David Norman might beg to differ. He recently invested in some of our Colin Macleod Special mullet patterns and immediately put them to good use - as can be seen from the picture of a cracking thin lip below.
To see some of the superb bass caught by David and his clients click here to visit his blogspot. Staying briefly on the subject of bass there was a problem with a hyperlink in my previous email. If you were looking for our advice on catching bass around the coast of the British Isles and were frustrated by my technical shortcomings try again here!
With very best wishes from us both, hope to see you at the BFFI!
Martin and Jessica
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