New Season Approaching!

The sun is shining as I write, early spring flowers are emerging and the new season is just around the corner! OK there are ways of keeping fly fishing all year round and lots of us take them BUT there is still something magical about ‘Opening Day’ and – for me – even more exciting than that is seeing, feeling and hearing the days getting longer, the breeze turning warmer, birds singing louder and green returning to the hedgerows. And below the surface fish are turning their attention to the increasing supply of food – and hopefully – our flies!

With very few gaps in our stocks of patterns across all four of our ranges, plus lots of fresh new leader material, fly boxes, Gink, tippet rings and more we’re well prepared for the year ahead and ready and waiting to help you ensure that you are too. Don’t put it off and arrive at the water with a fly box the way you left it months ago. Refresh stocks of your banker patterns and treat yourself to a selection of hot new flies – the process of improvement and evolution never stops and we’re super confident you won’t be disappointed when you give them a swim. As we’ve said many times before - if funds aren’t limitless it makes sense to focus your investment in the part of your gear that the fish actually sees.

Maybe one day I ought to try spending a day on a reservoir using just the flies we used to fish in 'the good old days' - perhaps a Muddler Minnow or a Soldier Palmer on the top dropper, a little Silver Invicta in the middle and a Dunkeld on the point. Unless out on a Scottish loch these flies would rarely be first choices these days. Would they still hold their own? I am doubtful - but who knows!?

New Flies for 2024

Staying on the new flies theme - as always all our latest arrivals can quickly and easily be found in one place on our website

Highlights from this year’s crop include:

A great range of Shimmer Buggers from Fulling Mill. Just as described above, flies are continuously evolving and these are Woolly Buggers brought bang up to date with sparkling new materials and colours. They look great – lots of you must think the same because we’re sending plenty of them out!

More Bung Bugs. Howard Croston’s Drop Back Bung approach and the specialist flies that are part of it took off in a big way last year – we’ve even been shipping quite a few of our selections to the USA! In response to the huge success this style of fishing is delivering Fulling Mill have added nearly 30 new patterns – worms, buzzers and blobs - all carefully weighted to keep the set up perfectly balanced. By the way - the guide to which colour dots on beads match which bung can be found right HERE on our website (this may prove quicker than working it out for yourself by trial and error!). On many days this indicator style of fishing can totally transform your success rate – making it a nigh on essential part of the small stillwater fly fisher’s approach (coincidentally confirmed by a call from a regular customer on Thursday who needed to stock up on bungs and bugs having missed out recently when his club mates fishing around him were using them to great effect!) Why not grab one of our Top Performer selections and find out for yourself! To find out more about setting up and fishing the bung, including the use of Grippa Stops to facilitate depth adjustment visit the Tips and Techniques part of our website.

New Tactical Jig and Perdigon patterns – important features of a versatile river fisher’s approach. We especially like the fact that these are available in small and VERY small sizes – between 18 and 24! There are occasions, especially on popular stretches, when success with grayling depends on small flies like this. Don’t be caught out if you’re faced with one of them.

There are also some great new Mayfly patterns for the Irish lough fishers amongst you – including a Mayfly/Dabbler/Booby hybrid! And, hot off the pages of a recent magazine feature by the legendary Ally Gowans, we now have the Ally’s Nymph available for you. Working this tungsten heavyweight around the neck of a pool might just mean the difference between success and failure on a difficult day later in the season!

Some of this year's crop of New Flies. In the middle: Bung Worm Blood and Shammy Worm Yellow (can be made red - which FM have no stock of yet - rather well with a Sharpie!) From the top, clockwise: Ally's NymphShimmer Bugger Thin MintBung Blob Raspberry Split, Roza's Neon Orange, Purple BulletMicro Red Tag PinkyShuggy Bugger SilverUFO UV FABSuperman BuzzerJiggy Fat Minnow

End of Line Flies

Don’t forget that new flies coming in means that others are being discontinued – and that means new additions to our End of Line section – where flies are normally just half the regular price. Bargains to be had! This is also where you can find ‘slight seconds’ or variations on dressings – if our tyers produce something that doesn’t quite match our precise requirements but we believe is still a perfectly good fly then we often agree a discount with them and put the flies in here. 

Just a few examples of the quality and variety of flies to be found in our End Of Line section

Out and About

For a combination of reasons I haven’t been out yet this year myself but have made amends by planning rather a lot of fishing for the months ahead. I do love making plans – from the research that goes into choosing where and when, to the anticipation and preparation of gear etc that can begin once the decision is made. Like lots of others I’m sure, my plans are a wonderful blend of returns to old favourite haunts and exciting new waters to explore. I can thoroughly recommend the whole process – so much to look forward to in the not too distant future! If you don’t have any plans yet why not get started right now? On which subject – the Wild Trout Trust annual auction begins on the 15th March and I expect that, as in previous years, there will be plenty of tempting lots, many of them simply not available in any other way.

Last minute, spur of the moment outings wonderful too and, even as I start to think about it, I can just see that indicator dip as I trundle a couple of weighted nymphs down a grayling run or the lightning bolt of a pike breaking cover to hit my fly - showing why they’re described as ambush predators. They say that the tug is the drug and I'm missing it - must get on the water soon!

Sad News

Like many others I was both shocked and saddened to hear that Ifor Jones died last month. Ifor ran Draycote and Eyebrook reservoirs and provided superb fishing at both of them. By investing time in really listening, he gained a deep understanding of what his customers wanted and consistently delivered great fishing for us all. I always very much enjoyed talking with him and, like very many others, will miss him a great deal. Our thoughts go out to his family and good wishes and good luck to those, like Tom Bird at Draycote, who plan to continue and build on his good work.

Stop Press!

At the BFFI on Sunday I heard news - and was shown a short video - of a magnificent 31lb spring fish being returned to the Junction Pool on the Tweed. One fish like that would make your season - or rather longer!

Fly Recommendations for the month ahead

Grayling: High/coloured water – Roza’s Coloured Water Fly, Jenkins Dirty Water Jig, Hot Rib Duracell Jig. Lower, clearer water – Disco Shrimp, Micro Orange Tag, Perdigon Hollow Point Jig

Pike: Clydesdale Silver Perch, Black ‘n' Gold Streamer, Dougie’s Yellow Perch

Stillwater Trout: Ally McCoist, Mini Shimmer Bugger Thin Mint, Bung Worm Blood, Mini Weighted Snake Cat, Bung Blob Mojito

Salmon: Conehead Dee Monkey, Willie Gunn Gold, Franc ‘n' Snaelda Cascade

You'll find all of these flies and quite a few more in the Shortlists (month by month) section of our website. For whichever time of year, location or fish species they're focused on these shortlists are made up of flies you might want to consider when you're planning a day's fishing.

We hope you're looking forward to the season ahead as much as we are. We'll be on hand throughout to keep you stocked up on all the flies you need to succeed wherever you're fishing and whatever fish you're targeting.

Tight Lines and very best wishes to you all. Go fishing soon!

Jessica and Martin

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