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Autumn Opportunities - and a Great Offer!


Firstly, some sad news from South Wales - Jean Williams has finally decided to call it a day at the legendary Sweets Fishing Tackle in Usk.

For myself and many others the memories of this magical place will last forever. There will never be shops like this again, where fishing treasures could be found in every corner, shelf and drawer. I can still remember my excitement when, at the age of 7, Molly Sweet sold me my first 'proper' fly rod - The Master, made by AE Rudge of Redditch. I still have it. My father's diary entry 3 days later notes that 'Martin casts much better with the new rod.' This is hardly surprising since its predecessor was a ten foot float rod made of whole cane with a lancewood tip, coupled with a rather nasty level silk line (but I did catch wild Shropshire trout with it!)



the best smile in Wales! 

Thank you for the memories Lionel, Molly and especially Jean - the jewel in the crown of this Aladdin's Cave on the banks of the Usk.


100 Years Ago



Another legendary lady from the fly fishing world


On 7th October 1922 Miss Georgina Ballantyne caught THAT salmon, 64lbs, on a trailed artificial dace, from the top of the Boat Pool, near the Bargie Stone, at Glendelvine on the mighty river Tay. Will we ever see a fish like that again?


Tip for the Month

 If, like me, you have an old pair of breathable waders which have become too leaky for their original purpose you might want to think of redeploying them as I have done. With monsoon conditions forecast for a day’s shooting what I did was to simply chop the neoprene booties off and use the waders as sort of super-leggings over my wellies. Waders that can no longer keep water out when totally submerged are still pretty effective when rain is just running down them!


It’s not over yet

With weed dying away and the fish much happier in the cooler water, autumn days can produce excellent sport on smaller stillwaters the length and breadth of the country. Flies such as the ones in this Stillwater Mini Heroes selection can work wonders at this time of year. Many of these fisheries remain open all year round and they tend to fish better in the colder months of the year (they can become very difficult, and indeed many close, in the dog days of summer). Get out there now and enjoy the half decent weather and those stunning autumn colours!


And there are plenty more places to wet a line….

 such as the big reservoirs – many of these are now holding bigger than usual stocks of fish because they just didn’t get caught in the challenging conditions this summer. Recent cooler weather has reminded them that winter is coming and they are feeding hard while they can. In recent years this ‘late season bonus’ from October into December has delivered what I believe to be some of the best fishing of the season - for superbly conditioned fish. The winning flies can vary so do check the latest advice but, for me a couple of nymphs such as this Diawl Bach and this Hare’s Ear on the droppers with a Mini Minkie or a Snakelet on the point, figure of eighted back on a floating line is a good starting option - in the past week we've suddenly started sending out big numbers of the latter - always a sign that a fly is working rather well right now! If things get tough a single larger snake on a slow intermediate can often deliver the breakthrough. 

Stop Press – I joined 5 friends on the Grafham bank last Thursday where, in spite of sun and flat calm we caught 35 fighting fit fish to 4 1/2 pounds between us on floating lines, with Snakelets once again doing the bulk of the damage. A thoroughly good time was had by all and we’ll be back to do it again soon!



I was fishing nearby and netted this fish for great friend Simon. As it headed for the far side he shouted ' He's taken 50 yards of my backing now - I can't even see my fly line any more!'

Incidentally, Simon makes a very poor model for any fish photo - he's a big bloke with huge hands, making a 4 1/2 pounder look small!



For many, the cream of the fishing is just beginning, as evidenced by recent sales of barbless jig hook nymphs and our ever popular and reliable Grayling Top Performer selection. These highly effective flies from river experts such as Howard Croston and Lubos Roza (they both have their own section on our website) really can make a difference to the outcome of your day so if you haven’t already got some of these in your fly box you might want to think about investing now. Yes, we’ve all got lots of flies but quantity counts for nothing if you don’t have the only one they want!

It’s Pike time

Pike grow big – even in some quite modest ponds and rivers, they take specialist flies readily and we can fish for them when some other fly fishing options aren’t available to us. It’s hardly surprising that this branch of fly fishing is one of the fastest growing areas of our sport. You can find a fine range of pike flies on our website and once again we have put together a selection of the best them, plus a wire trace to ensure you’re well prepared. If you haven’t previously considered ‘fluff chucking’ for pike why not try a walk along the bank, rod in hand, working a big, flashy fly through a few likely looking holes. You can often see the fish take and the sight and feel of one of these ambush predators hitting your fly is something you won’t forget in a hurry!

Plenty here for a pike to like - 6 top patterns for these toothy predators, plus a wire trace


It’s still warm in Mexico!

Friend, regular customer and saltwater fishing trip host David King is just back from his latest visit to Ascension Bay on the Yucatan Peninsula. The group enjoyed a great week, catching a total of 240 fish including permit, snook, tarpon, barracuda and plenty of bonefish. David reports that ‘As for flies, your spawning shrimp accounted for 90% of the bonefish caught , they simply love this fly. Permit success was with your Avalon fly proving to be the fly of choice this year. I would certainly not leave home without either. Leader set up for the latter prize took the form of 10ft of tapered mono with the addition of two or three feet of Seaguar Ace Hard.’ If you might be interested in a trip like this just call or email us and we’ll put you in touch (or just find him on Facebook!)


The Avalon Shrimp strikes again!



Another bonefish swims away a little wiser after engulfing a Spawning Shrimp.


Re-stock your fly box


Here are three good reasons to fill the gaps in your fly box – or maybe fill a new one! – right now


1.  You can still remember the flies that worked so well for you this year – but maybe got lost or beaten up in the process!

2.  Our prices will sadly but inevitably have to go up again soon. Last week we were advised of a 15% across the board increase from one of our major tyers.

3.  From now until the end of October we’re offering a ‘Buy Three, Get One FREE!’ deal. Simply order 3 of the same fly, same size and we’ll send you 4. Order 6 get 8 and so on.


Remember the old adage about needing 3 of each fly 'one to use, one to lose and one to give away' - well now you can buy those three with a FREE additional 'insurance' fly!


Coming soon

From Colin Macleod.......

It's his latest mullet tempter, called the Blue Romy’s - read all about it in Fly Fishing and Fly Tying magazine soon. The exact materials specified in Colin's 'recipe' have now been ordered from Hends in the Czech Republic and we’ll have the new flies tied up in the next few weeks!


Tight Lines and very best wishes,

 Jessica and Martin