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The Best is Yet to Come!

If, as seems likely, 2019 follows the pattern of recent years then the best fly fishing of the season is still ahead of us, with the heat of the summer now over and the cooler air, and water, of September and early October creating the most productive few weeks of the year for many of us.


So, what's in prospect?


For the river fishermen and women trout are feeding hard to pack on as much weight as possible before winter and grayling fishing is now beginning to get in to full swing. I had a wonderful day on the Kennet last week and, without much surface action, had expected to catch fish on patterns like that stalwart of the chalkstream scene, the Herl (aka Robjents) Daddy. The reality was that fish (all brownies and not recently stocked) would look at this fly but not eat it - they'd probably seen quite a few of them over the season! However, a change to something a little more subtle in the shape of a size 16 Klinkhamer Adams had the desired effect for some of them at least. Others needed more work - for example my best fish of 4lbs+ wouldn't come up to a dry but succumbed to the charms of an Anato May nymph. In the evening a good sized G & H Sedge produced most of the action but another big fish (which irritatingly fell off after ploughing 30 yards upstream!) refused this and several others before finally sipping down a tiny IOBO - a fly which has a great track record with difficult fish.   


That's what we're after!


My learnings from this challenging and rewarding day were to never stop thinking and ringing the changes - especially when faced with fish that have seen it all before. My fishing partner that day was singing the praises of the 0.14mm Stroft which he said was not only super reliable when a fish is hooked but also managed to pull flies out of hungry trees when he had felt that breakage was inevitable! For those looking to tempt a  grayling or two our 'Top Performer' selection provides an excellent range of flies which are all proven in action when targeting these enigmatic and beautiful fish.


For the stillwater fly fishers now is the time to be turning to Daddy Long Legs and Hopper patterns in all their variations. Shoals of coarse fish fry are also on the trout's menu at this time of year and flies like the Floating Fry, Minkies and our deadly Snakelets stand a good chance of producing the best fish of the season (or simply pick up our Fry Bashers selection). Sales of all the above have suddenly shot up over the past few days. Look for places where these little fish are sheltering such as boat harbours and weed beds, and don't fish too light a leader!


Salmon fishers should now be thinking of red, orange and purple flies - patterns like the Calvins Shrimp, the Lapdancer and that great tempter of fish which have shown no interest in a more conventional approach - a briskly retrieved Red Frances.


Turning to the coast, bass are still very much in the picture - at the end of this week I will be down in Cornwall trying to help those attending the UK Saltwater Fly Festival, now sponsored by Orvis, to improve their chances of success with these lovely fish - or maybe catch their first. It may still be possible to join us, if you're quick.


The weekend forecast is for rather better weather than on my recent trip to Wales!


And the mullet are still around - on Saturday I joined Colin Macleod for a day chasing them and, in rather difficult conditions with a cool northerly breeze, he still managed to catch this magnificent thick-lip on a Romy's Red Tagged Sand Shrimp.   


A fitting reward for Colin's pioneering work on catching mullet on the fly 


All the flies you need for both these species can be found in our Bass and Mullet selections.



Selectaflies at Grafham


Selectafly is really a retail only business and we don't normally sell to other retailers. However, I (Martin) have a very long and happy association with Grafham Water and when we were asked by the management team to put together a smallish selection of our flies for sale in the lodge we agreed. (I think they wanted their visitors to have easy access to the patterns that I seem to do quite well with when fishing there - flattery will get you everywhere!)


Easily located!


So, if you're fishing at the reservoir in future, do look out for the carefully chosen Selectafly patterns. They're not hard to find - the display case with our logo is right in front of the door as you go in. I am told that the Killer Shrimps, the Mini Blobs and the old faithful Diawl Bachs have been very popular. Here's a cracking perch of nearly 3lbs  that fell for a Mini Tequila Blob in the harbour.


Mr Crabtree would be proud!


Advice Section


This month's advice comes in the form of an approach which has delivered exceptional results on stillwaters at this time of year in recent seasons. Christened the 'each way bet' this consists of a long leader with an unweighted lure, normally a Snakelet, on the point and nymphs such as Diawl Bachs, Crunchers, Hare's Ears etc on the two droppers. The line will normally be either a full floater or a midge tip and the retrieve is slow - which is why it's important that the lure is unweighted. Many fish have been taken on flies, including the lure, which are more or less static, maybe just swinging round very gently with the wind. A prime reason for using expensive mink on flies is its fantastic movement in the water, even at slow speeds. Of course there will be times when the fish want to chase faster flies, so do always vary your retrieve speed to find out what's working on the day - and if that's the case it might be worth swapping the top nymph for a Blob, perhaps one of our new, small versions. Finally, if, as is quite often the case, they want the flies right up on the surface then go for a booby version of the Snakelet or other lure.


Top Tips


Two suggestions here, both triggered by the advice above.

Firstly, sometimes the only way the fish want the flies is static, not a very slow retrieve - none at all! Being a bit short on the patience/waiting for things to happen front I find this rather hard and more than once the penny has only dropped when a fish takes whilst I've got the rod jammed under my arm looking through a fly box for inspiration, or (I'm ashamed to say) when the line is still only because I'm on the phone!

Secondly, for whatever reason, the fish can sometimes be reluctant to take the fly immediately and confidently - instead we get a series of nips which sometimes result in a solid hook up, sometimes not. A tactic we often adopt in such circumstances is a slow roly-poly retrieve. When you feel a tap just keep retrieving exactly as before and don't stop until the rod hoops over! Sometimes it's worth speeding up a little after a touch, sometimes not but it is surprising how consistent the pattern of behaviour is on each day once you've worked it out.



Plan a day's fishing now - don't let the rest of us have all the fun!
Tight Lines and very best wishes from us both,
Martin and Jessica

Selectafly, 9 Dukes Ride, Gerrards Cross, Bucks SL9 7LD United Kingdom

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