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September 2017

Is this the best part of the season?

September is traditionally the month when the main targets of us fly-fishers move out of their summer doldrums into a rather more urgent phase, before it starts to get properly cold. And this year, rather than any sort of Indian summer the cooler wind and rain seems to have arrived early to freshen things up. So let’s get out there and make the most of it! Don’t wait until it’s over and then lament the fact that you didn’t quite get round to it - again.
Orange Straggle Palmer

This what we’re talking about! A cracking brownie caught on Sunday, on a Selectafly Orange Straggle Palmer

Fly Recommendations

In order to help you make the most of this late season bounty we’ve put together a Super September Selection of the flies that catch the most - and often the biggest - fish at this time of year (incidentally, they work pretty well at other times of the year too) Take advantage of the discount against buying the flies individually, order online to avoid P & P and hold on tight when Mr Big hits!
Super September Selection. 12 great patterns to tempt a late season lunker - amazing value at £10.00!
Something for the salmon fishers too - moving on from the small, subtle summer stuff to the bigger flies and bolder colours that dominate the later months of the season! And another big discount to buying these top selling flies individually.
These will get a response! The Salmon Super September Selection - 6 top Autumn flies for £15.00, saving more than £4.00!

Both selections include some of the flies I wouldn’t leave home without over the next few weeks - flies such as....

Trout:  Minkies in all shapes and sizes - the Minkie J/C is a favourite, Daddies likewise - try the Daddyhog, something black & green like the Black Eyed Pea.

Salmon: RS Squid Allys Shrimp, Calvin’s Shrimp and the ever faithful - and lethal! - Conehead Frances.


(please! - even if you think ‘that doesn’t affect me too much so I don’t need to bother’)

There are currently two important consultations underway, with important implications for fly fishers in England, Wales and parts of Scotland. I know it’s rather tedious making the effort to respond to these things but the people who make the decisions do take notice of what voters say and if we can’t find 5 minutes to try to protect what we love it won’t be too surprising if they are swayed by pressure from others who are more vociferous.

The first concerns the ‘Exploitation of Salmon’ by commercial and recreational fishing. It ends on 9th October - and more information, including how to respond - can be found on the Angling Trust’s website HERE. Last year the declared catch from English nets was 20,000 salmon.

The other consultation concerns a move to create a free for all for canoeists in Wales, with no clear regard for the environment or other river users. Again, the canoe lobby is strong and noisy whilst we, although probably greater in number, are rather silent and passive. Find out more - and again how to respond HERE.

A First - and probably Last!

Two weeks ago I decided to do something I’d often thought about but never got round to - to walk all the way round Grafham Water, fishing as I went. The circular track is about 9 miles - how hard could it be!? Well, the circular track doesn’t incorporate a vast, dense, breathable wader eating field of prize winning thistles which must be conquered in order to reach some of the most inaccessible (and therefore interesting) bank. Nor do most walkers complete a large percentage of their stroll by wading through 3-4 feet of water. One highlight of the expedition was - almost literally - bumping into Andrew Flitcroft, the editor of Trout & Salmon magazine, who was boat fishing in shallow water. He congratulated me on my sense of adventure (stupidity) and kindly gave me a huge chunk of the most delicious pork pie! Thank you Andrew. I would only recommend this walk to people rather younger and fitter than me.

Fly Tying History

Sorting out flies etc. recently I came across a couple of the originals of the well known and super effective ‘Bob’s Bits’ stillwater dry fly. Most of today’s versions have now strayed some way from these. Both flies were tied for me by the man himself - Bob Worts - one of the nicest people I have ever shared a competition boat with. The body of the olive version uses the authentic wool plucked from Bob’s old fishing sweater as he tied! The slimness of the body is striking, as is the sparseness of the hackle and the fact that it is clipped away beneath the hook shank - for that ‘in the surface’ presentation rather than on top of it. I’m going to closely copy these originals to see if I can up the conversion rate of lookers into takers!

Bob’s originals on the left, Fulling Mill current pattern on the right.

Tips and Techniques

Staying with the dry fly theme for a moment - one of the most common reasons for a fish refusing our dry flies is the fact that the leader next to the fly is floating, so do remember to degrease this part regularly. Good old  Ledasink and Fulling Mill’s Mud do the job perfectly. And most ‘dry fly experts’ use nylon/copolymer rather than fluorocarbon. The reason for this is that the heavier fluorocarbon just sinks a bit too much and one thing that really spooks the fish is the whoosh of a dry fly being ripped back underwater when re-casting.
One more tip, especially relevant at this time of year when there’s every chance of contacting a big fish PLUS there’s often weed about, is to dispense with the droppers and fish a single fly. Your chances of hooking up are not dramatically reduced - indeed the single fly approach can produce more interest - but the chances of getting snagged are way less. (Another hazard - as has happened to me many times and not always with ‘stockies’ - is a second fish taking one of the other flies. And has ANYONE ever lost the smaller and caught the bigger fish? It just doesn’t happen that way!)

UK Saltwater Fly Fishing Festival

Next week I’ll be heading down to St Mawes in Cornwall for the third  Saltwater Fly Fishing Festival . The Selectafly Pro Team will be well represented with both Colin Macleod and Marina Gibson also attending. The tides are good and hopefully the fishing will be too, although the ever growing number of participants seem to have a good time whatever conditions they find. Selectafly is a sponsor of this event, providing everyone with a great selection of flies picked specially for the target fish and locations. Last year David Wolstencroft-Dodds caught a 7 ½ bass on one of our Hi Vis Sandeels! (Sadly for him this was outside the competition part of the weekend, meaning he didn’t win the Marryat rod plus matching Orvis reel and flyline!) Full report on the event in our next newsletter.

An offer

I’m rather hoping that during October/November the quality of the bank fishing for the shrimp feeders at Grafham will match the last few years. If so I will certainly be there more than once to enjoy the superb sport with plenty of strong fish in mint condition. If anyone is interested in joining me on one of my visits please call on 01753 883366 or drop me an email at and we’ll see what we can organise. (We will NOT be walking all the way round!)
In the meantime here’s a final shot from my first trip to beautiful Iceland. As you can see from the photo some of the fish had been in the river for a week or two but the whole fishing experience was very special - and the setting was wonderful.
A stunning backdrop for salmon fishing!

Get fishing soon and Tight Lines from us both when you do!

Martin and Jessica

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