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June 2017

Raindance Successful!

I always knew I was a lovely mover (in his dreams, says Jessica)

I suppose that with the one day cricket underway and Wimbledon not far away there was always a chance that the weather would take a turn for the worse - or is that better?! As they say, it's an ill wind.... and rising river levels could be just the tonic salmon fishers need after a prolonged spell of dry weather. For the trout angler, wind, rain and cooler conditions could also liven things up nicely - although I'm glad I'm not out in boat today! As always we have all the flies you need to put fish in the net - whatever the conditions.

News from the Pro Team

Globetrotters Matt Harris and Marina Gibson have been busy - and successful! - in far flung and fantastic fishing destinations. Although much of their time is spent hosting their groups they do manage to squeeze in just a little fishing of their own.
Marina picked up a few air miles by visiting Christmas Island (aka Kiritimati, rather than the other, Australian, Christmas Island) This one is the largest coral atoll in the world and lies 1,300 miles south of Honolulu in the Pacific Ocean. With the International Date Line not being a straight one it is the world's farthest forward time zone, 14 hours ahead of GMT (so if you're ever there on New Year's Eve you will be one of the first to celebrate!) Here's Marina's report:


It has been known for a long time that Christmas Island is one of the most prolific bonefish fisheries on the planet with many world championship competitions taking place on the island since the early 90's. What we experienced was large numbers of good sized bonefish on all the flats we waded - they were not in large schools but singles to small schools (4/5 fish). We did not specifically target them as we were so focused on other species which we had not previously encountered!

Giant Trevally (GT)

Christmas Island is definitely most famous for its GT fishing. It is perhaps the second best easily accessible GT destination in the world (behind Cosmoledo & Farquhar Atoll in the Indian Ocean). You walk along the edge of the flats looking for them moving across or onto the flats to attack schools of baitfish. The fight, for which they are renowned, is absolutely brutal! We really only focused on the GTs during our last 2 ½  days, when the tides were big enough to bring these bruisers on to the flats but in that time managed to land 10 - ranging from 10 - 40lbs. The most successful fly by far was the GT Mullet

Trigger Fish

Christmas Island has also become famous for its trigger fishing. These fish are found on nearly all of the flats and you can expect to have a number of shots at them. They are notoriously hard to catch - we must have cast at well over 50, without actually landing one. Marina hooked and lost 2 during the week - they took full advantage of the sharp coral! Visitors can try for the Trigger Fish Grand Slam - of three different species of Trigger in one day.


For some time milkfish have been high on our hit list of fish to catch. We had 3 mornings chasing them in the open blue water outside the lodge. They were tailing in the current and feeding with Manta Rays in the first hours of light. They are a fantastic target on the fly rod - they have no lactic acid build up, so they don't tire in the fight. You catch them on weed imitation flies (Wayne's Milky Magic, developed in Alphonse by Wayne Haselau). Note, rods need to be 9 or 10 weight - Edd snapped an 8wt rod playing one! The sizes averaged about 15lbs up to 30lbs + and we managed to bring 4 of them to the boat during the week.
With plenty more fly rod targets like this stunning Bluefin Trevally Marina enjoyed the week so much that, in spite of the distance, she is heading back there again next year.


Matt sent this over just before the rugby began this morning.


Here's your newsletter report!!!

Our annual trip to Jardinas de la Reina provided lots of fun and games as always. We caught plenty of tarpon, and drank even more Mojitos, but the highlight was seeing my old friend Chris Dayer Smith catching his second Grand Slam in two years. I also managed my eleventh Grand Slam with young guide Tonito, who was thrilled. I'm proud to say that I have now managed at least one slam every year since 2009. The Selectafly Avalon Shrimp was again responsible for both permit, and I am confident that it is the most important fly in the box when targeting these elusive fish.


Three of our group went on to Casa Vieja in Guatemala, where we all caught sailfish on fly. The most exciting moments were seeing two 300lb+ marlin come to the teasers, one of which came right to the back of the boat before refusing the fly at the last moment.

Now gearing up for salmon-fishing in Russia and Norway, but have been sneaking in a few trips to Draycote Water, which has provided some really excellent nymph and dry-fly fishing. Best dry flies have been the Shipmans and Crippled Claret Midge, but when they are not showing, a Hover line and a washing line of buzzers and crunchers has been catching lots of fish. The Biscuit FAB has been deadly on the point, but a new discovery has been the Booby Damsel. There are a lot of adult damsels showing at Draycote now, and the Selectafly small eyed Booby Damsel is perfect for holding up a washing line set-up. After a slow day in hot sun last week, the fish came alive in the evening, and the booby damsel caught 13 out of my 22 fish for the day.

The fish have been of a really excellent quality, with many big, grown-on fish of 4 and even 5lbs, and even the stockies have been in really excellent condition. My good friend John Bresnihan caught this beautiful overwintered 5lb brownie drifting across Toft.
All the staff at Draycote are always hugely helpful and extremely friendly - I drive past a lot of good water to fish Draycote, but I think that the fishing this year has been exceptional, and recommend it very highly. One warning - watch out for the new speed cameras!!!

If, like Matt, you're one of the lucky few headed for the northern rivers of the Kola Peninsula don't forget that we have some great flies like the Kola Golden Gunn (aka the famous Bobby Clarkson Special) and the Super Snaelda designed specifically for these rivers, plus some seriously heavy Seaguar - 35 and even 44lbs B.S. needed to deal with big fish, big water and big rocks!

New patterns

As many of you know we are continuously introducing innovative new flies to give our customers the edge. Thanks to our own research and our brilliant Pro Team we are rather proud of our recent track record, which includes - to name just a few - the Gamechanger, Colin Macleod's mullet flies, Squirmy Wormies, T15 Translucent (Jelly) Blobs, Anato May nymphs, the Mop fly, the lethal Snakelet and the whole new Barbless Range.... The list goes on. We've had lots of lovely emails telling us about exceptional success with flies like the Voodoo Cat, the Rainbow Dancer, Mops, Snakelets and more. (sorry if some of these are sold out - they really have been very popular - more are on their way) Customers have also given us very valuable advice about how to make some of these new flies even better. We really do appreciate this feedback on flies which don't have the years of evolution of long established patterns. We always respond to comments and do take action as appropriate so please keep it coming!
Right now, have a look at the new Eggstasy flies, tied with the latest hot new material from our friends at Flybox, where we source much of our synthetic material and - coming soon - look out for a hugely versatile and productive hopper pattern, incorporating just enough cleverly shaped foam to keep it in the surface film and - for the 'destination fishing' brigade - a couple of saltwater patterns, including a deadly Spawning Shrimp pattern that bonefish and other flats fish can't resist! When out on 'research and development' work at Farmoor 1 recently the hopper accounted for several superb fish, two of which ran so far that I was checking how much backing I had left on the reel!

Prospects for June

Salmon - the prolonged spell of dry weather had left many fish in estuaries waiting for fresh water. The rain of the past day or two has been just what they needed - maybe rather more in some cases! - but river systems will now be topped up again and things will soon settle down. June is a big month for numbers of fish entering many rivers and - in short - prospects could be fantastic! Sea trout too! We have all the flies you need for both high and low water and even - that rare event - perfect conditions, so stock up now and plan your trip. Do call on 01753 883366 if you need any help putting a selection of flies together. We do have a good understanding of what's likely to be needed, wherever you're heading. Here's a few gauges to keep an eye on - Spey, Tyne and Wye.
Trout - on both rivers and stillwaters the recent rain and cooler conditions should liven things up a bit and the fishing can be great. Some people are put off by wind and rain - and it can certainly make for an uncomfortable day if you're not properly kitted out - but I rather like it when things get stirred up and believe that these can be the days for a big fish!
If and when the weather turns warm and bright again do make the most of the early morning and evening periods as well as exploring deep water options, maybe with a weighted Apps Bloodworm or an Oily Worm, and the surface, perhaps with a Yellow Owl Shuttlecock, a Hopper, or at the end of the day, a Stimulator sedge pattern.
Bass and Mullet - this is the time of year when the UK saltwater scene really gets underway and we're starting to sell these flies again now. The Mullet Top 10 selection of Colin Macleod's great flies has been very popular and is currently sold out but new stock will arrive next week so not too long to wait. If you're targeting bass, why not pick up a few of my own favourites, which have accounted for - literally - hundreds of fish, the Hi Viz Sandeel and the Los Roques Minnow (a long way from its name I know - but it works!)


As my Swedish friends say 'even a blind pig finds an acorn occasionally'. Here's a fish from a recent flying visit to the Highlands, taken on a Red Frances conehead.


My fishing gear, including wet waders and boots are expected to be delivered by Parcelforce today after 11 days in transit, and many worried phonecalls. Unpacking that lot should be interesting!

Don't miss out on the action - get fishing soon!

Tight Lines from us both when you do!

Martin and Jessica

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