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A dream come true!
Firstly and most importantly, as the UK remains very significantly affected by the virus, Jessica and I very much hope that you and all your families have been fit and well and stay that way.
Next, apologies if this latest newsletter is a little delayed but I've been rather busy fishing! Here's why:
Dreams that come true are pretty rare but for many years I have imagined what the fishing would be like on the big reservoirs if the fish were stocked and then left in peace for a few months to acclimatise, get into great shape and pack on weight as they exploit the rich food sources available. Well, it's an ill wind as they say - and Covid 19 has meant that this is exactly what has happened this year. So, many recent days have been spent at Farmoor, Draycote and Grafham - and the fishing has been simply 'off the scale' as they say, with lots of big, strong, fantastic looking fish - 90% of them caught on a floating line and nymphs! As some of the more senior fly-fishers would put it 'proper fishing for proper fish'!
To show you what I'm talking about here's a brace caught by William - a great fishing friend - from the Grafham dam last weekend - rainbows don't get much better than this. 
4-0 and 4-4 lbs. Look at those tails!
If you haven't yet been to one of these places but have plans to do so soon then do check that you have a fair bit of backing and that it's well connected. Many of these fish will simply take off when hooked. A late evening Draycote fish which at one stage was wallowing on the surface almost a hundred yards away left me shaking when, having worked him back until I could almost see what I was attached to, the hook simply came away.
The flies that have been working have included buzzers especially the good old Smokey Copper Wire Buzzer and bigger ones like the Big Fish Buzzer, Mini Minkies in all their formats - regular, diver and booby (this last one is the fly that took the two fish in the photo), the weighted Mini Olive Snake and, probably my top fly for the year so far, the Marabou Tailed Diawl Bach. Top selections for this time of the season include 'Diawl Bachs & Crunchers' and the 'Washing Line'. 
Washing Line Selection - £18.95
Though the fishing is undoubtedly a little more difficult now than in the first few days after the waters were re-opened it is still exceptional so do get out there if you can.
The rivers have also been providing excellent sport. By way of example here is an absolute monster of a brownie caught by my brother on the Itchen yesterday. 
Stunning - and huge! - chalkstream brownie
Having come up to look at - but then refused - a big Herl Daddy, the fish was eventually tempted by a smaller and more subtle Parachute Adams. The fish was estimated at between 8 and 9 pounds, Jonathan reporting (unsurprisingly) that 'it was more like playing a salmon than a trout' - and extremely difficult to get into the net! This was, and - having sportingly been returned - actually still is, a truly exceptional fish for that beat.
With the mayfly hatch now over the smaller upwing flies will now be on the menu so do make sure that you are well stocked with flies like F Flies, Klinkhamers and the ever faithful Parachute Adams - or combine the two with this Adams Klink. Sedges will also become more important now and it is these flies that bring the big fish out to play as the light fades. Favourite patterns include Elk Hair Sedges, the G & H Sedge, the Richard Walker sedge, the Balloon Caddis range and the ever reliable Stimulator. Finally, the tiny but deadly IOBO has often been the key to tempting a fish that has refused the usual offerings.
Although the main saltwater fly fishing season has only just begun in earnest we have sold more mullet and bass flies - often in the shape of the Bass, Mullet Masters or Saltwater Starter Selections - than ever before. Why not pick up a few flies and head for the coast to find out what all the fuss is about? That's what long-standing friend of Selectafly, Jamie Sandford, did - and he is been having a ball!
Here's a photo of one of many recent captures. 
This one took a Non Tangle Clouser but Jamie also reports great success on Oz's Euro Bass Clouser
Keep the fish and the photos coming Jamie!
Incidentally, if this saltwater fly fishing thing is all a bit of a mystery to you, please note that you can find lots of advice in the 'How To and Where To' section on our website. Also, the Bass and Mullet selections come with notes on how to fish the flies included and notes for the Saltwater Starter selection should have been added by the time you read this.
As you probably know we never stop introducing important new patterns so look out soon for flies 'in the pipeline' now - these include Colin Macleod's latest mullet creation, the 'Simply Red', the Midas stillwater dry fly and, for the overseas saltwater brigade, the Alphlexo Crab - much beloved by triggerfish, big bonefish and permit etc
Finally, this early summer period often sees the best salmon and sea trout fishing of the season with numbers of fresh fish entering the rivers building steadily. For the salmon - if conditions are good, as well as the old faithfuls like the Willie Gunn and the Ally's Shrimp, try a Blue Flash Cascade or the Durris Shrimp. If things are more difficult, perhaps low water and too much sun, don't neglect the Sunray Shadow, the Red or Black Frances or something really small like a tiny Silver Stoat. Sea trout favourites include tubes such as the Sewin Stoat as well as something big like Steffan Jones Yellow Peril. The Surface Lure, devised by the great High Falkus, can provide great excitement and will often show you where the fish are even if they look at it without taking!
For our many new customers, for whom this is the first Selectafly newsletter that you have seen, we hope you enjoy it and please do let us know if you have any comments or suggestions. I will try to get the next one out a bit more promptly.
Do get out fishing, taking sensible precautions to avoid virus risk, - and we'd love to hear of your success on the water.
Stay safe and very best wishes from us both,
Jessica and Martin