2017 - The Year of the Big Fish!
Well, it might be!
and since confidence plays such a huge part in successful fly fishing let's start as we mean to carry on, utterly convinced that the next cast will be the one that brings Mr Big up from the depths! Of course I can only speak for myself but when conditions are good I spend far more time being surprised that I'm NOT catching a fish every cast, than surprised when I do.
Jessica and I are busy right now trying to make sure that we'll have plenty of your favourite killer flies available in good time as the fishing year gathers momentum and the new season goes through its wonderful spectrum of fishing opportunities. On which point, why not make 2017 the year when you try something new in your fly fishing?
Maybe a winter grayling, or - later in the year - a bass from the beach? or perhaps treat yourself to a special day via the Atlantic Salmon Trust auction? - it's underway right now. The Wild Trout Trust auction, where I picked up two wonderful days last year - comes along in March. I'm also just about to book a couple of days on a legendary beat of the Wye through the Wye and Usk Foundation. The beat boasts several pools made famous by Robert Pashley, the 'wizard of the Wye' - that I've always dreamed of fishing and I thought 'stop dreaming - get acting!' Between 1906 and 1951 Mr Pashley caught over 10,000 salmon, with 29 over 40lbs and a best year of 678 fish!
Flies for the season ahead
As well as tried and tested old favourites we have innovative new patterns in all our own ranges as well as from Fulling Mill. Many of the latter have yet to reach the UK but will do so in the next few weeks so keep an eye on the 'New Flies' section under each range - as soon as stock arrives we'll update our records so you can place your order. Always remember that for Fulling Mill flies we get stock the day after it reaches them, so no major delay there!
Notably successful flies from the 2016 introductions include our Pro Range Snakelet (we've never sold out of anything as fast as that before! - and we should have more in the next 2-3 weeks. It really is utterly lethal), the Fulling Mill Unsinkable Dry, the whole range of T15 Translucent Blobs - both barbless and regular barbed, Colin Macleod's new Romy's Sand Shrimp mullet fly, the stunning Anato May nymphs and not forgetting the notorious Mop Fly, which hit the national headlines towards the end of the year!
Here's a victim of the Mop
And what its captor had to say: - "Fair chuffed with the Mop Fly Caught this one at Lochter today. Over 14lbs(need to get bigger scales)!"
The Christmas Quiz
The winner of the Selectafly Christmas Quiz - whose name was drawn from a hat by an independent 3rd party! - was Vera Carlson, who, together with husband Bob, offers fly fishing and casting instruction in Kendal. Vera is clearly highly knowledgeable so, if you're looking for help in that part of the country give her a call. Congratulations Vera, commiserations to others who got all the questions right and thank you to everyone who took part. The question that stumped many of you was the weight of tungsten compared to brass - it's actually way more than twice as heavy, and - rather surprisingly perhaps - nearly 75% heavier than lead!
Hooks - some technical stuff!
We've had a couple of questions recently about hook sizes and there's no doubt this is one of the less logical aspects of fly fishing
As an example, have a look at the hooks in the photo below - all these (except the coarse fishing hook shown, for interest, at the bottom) are hooks which we now use to tie our Original Range flies. Every hook is a size 10, except the B160, which, although we call it a 10 because that seems to make more sense, is actually a manufacturer's size 8!
Confused? - you won't be if you follow this link, which explains our approach. We're sure this will be 'more information than I need...' for some, but others may appreciate the detail. We are proud of the fact that we have recently upgraded to the highly regarded and ultra reliable Kamasan range of hooks throughout our Original Range and we take great care to match the right hook style to each pattern. Questions and comments are always welcome.
Start of the Year Special Offer
As most of you know by now the Selectafly philosophy is to offer quality flies at great prices throughout the year rather than lots of sales and big discount deals. (We'd like to think that there's some reliability and decent customer service in there too!)
However, we don't want our customers to miss out on all the fun - so, from now until Valentine's Day (well, we do love our customers!) every order of £30 or more will receive a selection of 5 Salmon flies, or 10 Stillwater trout flies or 10 River trout flies ABSOLUTELY FREE! (2 selections for £60 etc.) The lovely - and deadly - flies you will receive are shown below - to get the ones you want simply state SALMON, STILLWATER TROUT or RIVER TROUT in the notes on your order. Take advantage of this great offer and stock up NOW for the season ahead!
And, if that's not enough, order anything from the range of 'Trout Fisherman' Magazine selections and we'll throw in a selection of our Original Range Mini Fritz Goldheads too. Order two or more of these selections and we'll add an extra Original range selection (of our choosing - based on your order) for each one.
Super leader material
Don't forget that we offer a limited range of products other than flies. The most significant of these are leader materials where we stock a small range of great options - all highly regarded and some independent test/review winners too. Find further details on our website.
From Fulling Mill:
World Class Fluorocarbon - well priced, highly reliable and widely loved
Xtra Copolymer - an excellent non fluorocarbon option
Others, chosen by us for their high performance:
Stroft ABR monofilament - amazing strength to diameter. First choice of many top river competitors. We love it for nymphing, dry flies and for salmon leaders.
Seaguar Fluorocarbon - first choice for many serious saltwater and salmon fishers
Grand Max Soft Plus Fluorocarbon - simply the very best available. We use nothing else for sub surface stillwater work. Sadly not cheap - the best rarely is!
One thought to share is that the appropriate leader material is perhaps best chosen by diameter rather than breaking strain. As an example, our own default choice for a reservoir leader is 10.4. lbs breaking strain Soft Plus, which may sound heavy but its diameter of 0.218mm is similar to many 6-7 lb B.S. products.
Thicker and thinner leader materials each have their own advantages and disadvantages, with individual choices fiercely defended, often quite emotionally. We think 'You pays your money......!'
So make your choice and we'll get it on its way to you.
Talking of leaders leads us naturally on to the Knots section. This 'slot' probably won't run for too much longer now - not because we've run out of knots - but because we're focussed on the important ones and you really don't need THAT many to fish effectively. But we're not quite at the end yet and this time it's the turn of the Turle knot, a favourite amongst salmon fishermen for a nice, clean, straight presentation of a double hooked fly - or indeed a single. Click here for a great demonstration of how to tie this knot by one of its devotees - none other than the vastly experienced and knowledgeable Simon Gawesworth.
Do hope you're managing to steer clear of all the flu and cold bugs around. A day in the fresh air (with fly rod in hand of course) is bound to help!
With very best wishes from us both for the season ahead,
Martin and Jessica