And They're Off!

No, not Cheltenham – that was last week – but the new fishing season which is now getting properly under way all around the country. The weather recently has been pretty mixed - and rather light on the more pleasant variety - but warmer Spring days should be just around the corner and when they come there’s no better place to be than at the water’s edge in our wonderful countryside.

New Stock Just Arrived

A large delivery of lovely new flies for the season ahead has just arrived – amongst them are some flies we know that quite a few of you have been waiting for, including Colin Macleod’s latest mullet winner – the stunning new Blue Romy’s Sand Shrimp. If you’re going to be chasing mullet this year you will need a few of these in your box. This fly caught so many fish in its early ‘sea trials’ that Colin wasn’t sure he should release it from the secret list!

The new Blue Romy's, tied - as are all of Colin's patterns - on Kamasan hooks, to his exact dressing using the authentic materials from Hends

For those chasing bonefish and permit on the flats our hugely successful and popular (it doesn’t usually take long for the former to become the latter too!) Spawning ShrimpsAlphlexo Crabs and Strong Arm Merkins are now back on our shelves again.

If you are one of the many believers in the deadly appeal of a Frances for moody salmon – and especially if you saw this very variant featured in Trout & Salmon recently - you’ll be delighted to see that we have added a subtle new Olive version, with a copper conehead, to the existing red and black options.

The growing Frances family. Find them all HERE

The controversial Croston’s Drop Back Bungs have generated a huge amount of interest and not a little frustration because until this week no stock had come in to Fulling Mill (we get ours from them the following day). The good news is that a few have finally arrived and we are at last able to offer the deal that we have had waiting in the wings. The Howard Croston Drop Back Bung Selection contains everything you need to put Howard’s proven approach into practice. As well as the bungs and the specialist flies we’ve even added a pack of the Grippa stops to allow you to quickly and easily vary the depth your flies are fishing at. If you’re not sure how the whole thing works have a look at our Tips and Techniques page – and I will modestly not mention too often the fact that I wrote this a couple of years before Howard introduced it to a wider audience. The only further advice I would offer (and this comes from my own mistakes) is to take a moment to think through the use of the stops before you slide them off the wire – they don’t go back - and wetting the leader helps them slide too).

More of the bungs are due at Fulling Mill any day now. As soon as they do we'll be able to put the individual bungs themselves into stock. They may sell rather quickly so keep checking if you want these.

Move your stillwater fishing up to the next level with this selection.

Everything you need to fish the Howard Croston way.

Lastly on the new flies front, if you or your favourite fishery have gone barbless have a look at these lovely new tadpoles in classic Cut-throat Cat and Black Cat colour combinations. The barbed versions of these flies are top sellers and the introduction of barbless versions was overdue.

If you fish salmon tube flies you will be interested to hear that, in response to growing demand and, in some cases fishery regulations, in the next few days we will be offering the excellent Partridge Nordic Tube Fly Single Hook, in all sizes. These look great on flies and won't let you down when you get stuck into Mr Big! The smallest sizes complement little Hitch tubes perfectly. (Odd isn't it that we will fish a single hook trout fly with all the confidence in the world but take away one of the points on our salmon fly hooks and we feel doomed to failure - I don't think we really are!)

Out and About

Reports of action from around the country have been trickling rather than pouring in - maybe the weather has had something to do with that. However, what we have heard has been very positive, both from the smaller fisheries and the big reservoirs - with bumper catches recently from Draycote and from Farmoor.

My own action this month has been limited to a couple of days chasing pike on the Kennet - with fair success - 7 fish on the ever reliable Clydesdale Gold Perch, nothing huge but all fighting fit! The take of these fish at short range is nothing short of electric, almost alarming - and fully living up to their billing of 'ambush predator'.

Back in February I was lucky enough to make a DIY bonefish trip with eldest son James, exploring the flats on foot and treating ourselves to a couple of days with a guide. We might possibly have caught one or two more fish during the week but we couldn't have had any more fun. Nothing beats fishing with friends and family and to be with James when he caught his first bonefish is a memory I will treasure forever. When I said to our guide how happy James was his reply was 'almost as happy as his father!'

The Wild Trout Trust Auction

The much loved (with good reason) annual WTT Auction is now underway – with some wonderful lots, many of which are simply not available any other way. Whether it’s a piece of art, a one-off experience, a private fishery that has been donated by its owner or an opportunity to be guided by someone who doesn’t normally offer that service there’s something for everyone who loves fly fishing. A few lots that caught our eye include:

Hats off to the WTT for the work they do to make our rivers and lakes better places for trout to live in and to this imaginative and well organised fund-raising initiative. Do support it if you can.

While we’re talking of conservation matters it’s hugely encouraging to see that the plight of our rivers, notably the Wye, has recently become the focus of mainstream TV coverage, with lots of groups, no longer just us fly-fishers, now taking very active interest. Let’s hope that interest is maintained and that it flows through to real action (and soon!) from government, water companies, farmers and more.

The Final Few Feet

We’ve spoken previously about the critical importance of the only part of your gear that the fish sees – your fly and maybe (but hopefully not!) your leader and I have recently noticed new ranges of carp and lure fishing tackle branded ‘The Last Yard’ and ‘The Last Metre’, obviously focussing on exactly this. With a huge range of superb flies and the very best leader material money can buy this ‘last yard’, ‘business end’, or whatever you choose to call it is what Selectafly is all about. So, our advice is by all means to go out and buy the latest and most fabulous rods, waders etc but make sure that by doing so you don’t run out of cash to invest in the bits that matter the most!

If you feel your own fly box might be a bit short on new patterns that others seem to be scoring with, look no further than our Top Performer selections. We put these together, largely on the basis of what's selling fastest, to give you all the very latest and deadliest flies for any situation or hatch - from ubiquitous Buzzers to ever reliable Damsels. Invest in one or two of these packs and put our star patterns to the test.

New Website Coming Soon

Our current website is now nearly ten years old and it’s starting to look a bit vintage. So, in the next few days we should be switching to a brand new and upgraded one that we’ve been working on for some time. Together with our website hosts EKM we will endeavour to keep any disruption to a minimum but there will inevitably be a few hours when we’re offline so apologies in advance if that’s just when you wanted to browse or place an order. As always, we’re here to take your call if you need things urgently. 

Do make the effort and get out there fishing soon. You'll be glad you did.

Tight Lines and very best wishes,

Jessica and Martin