Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Goodbye Blogger!

It's been great fun having this blog, so much so that it has expanded into a whole website crammed with posts, media and other fun stuff. Thanks to everyone who followed this blog, all posts will now be hosted on: http://www.universityangler.com so head on over to check it out!

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Back Where I Belong.

 As a university student there are obvious activities I must partake in, such as late night library sessions, and even later nights on the beers… But when I set off to start university 2 years ago, I was determined to not loose touch in my fly fishing. Admittedly, Exeter University’s Falmouth campus has many more opportunities for those wishing to pursue the outdoor lifestyle than the more urban universities, and although I have experienced some fantastic fishing in even better surroundings, something was missing. I quickly found myself longing for my home streams of Devon and Somerset, full of free rising and wild Brown Trout. I felt like I had lost my sense of adventure, and although I have explored the Falmouth area extensively I still felt a sense of cabin fever, trapped on the coast but dreaming of rising browns. After a year I was lucky enough to meet David, a fellow fly fanatic, and with his help we planned ourselves an adventure to chase the Brown trout we were craving.

No, this isn’t Montana, or New Zealand, but Bodmin. For the fee of a £6 return train ticket we could get ourselves to the river Fowey, and fish a free beat for wild brownies, and that’s exactly what we did. Leaving the squalor of my University house, creeping out at an hour of the morning my house mates haven’t seen for years, I was full of excitement. Fish or no fish, I was off on an adventure to new water and new prospects. A train journey of a little over an hour gave plenty of time for the imagination to run wild, not only was I excited for the fishing, but also the change of scenery and the chance to get back into waders and small river tactics.

Nymphing on the Fowey, in beautiful surroundings.

The river Fowey is a beautiful piece of water. Unbelievably clear water across clean gravel beds, which give way to deep pools and riffles. There is also a good run of Salmon and Sea Trout on the Fowey, which I will explore at a later date. Descending in to the valley and slowly becoming consumed by the woods I felt a million miles away from the frustrating saltwater fishing I had been sucked into on the coast. As we reached the first pool, a classic game of rock paper scissors saw David getting first chuck. Rising to the pressure he hooks up instantly to a pristine brownie of a few inches. As he worked a nymph through the deep water, I scanned our surroundings for rises as I had taken on the dry fly side of things, opting for a parachute Adams. I tempted a few to the dry, but the reality was that dries were not the golden ticket for today, and as David’s best fish of the day (of around 12 inches) slipped over the net, I swiftly changed to the nymph. We fished all day, scanning every inch of the Fowey, we went upstream, downstream and back again. The valley was beautiful, and I couldn’t stop smiling all day. By the end of the day we had caught countless brownies, some more memorable than others. Working the river with a partner and discussing tactics is a great way to fish, helping each other out and taking turns to fish pools.

A stunning Brown Trout, expertly out-whitted by David.

I never wanted this piece to be about the fish, the numbers or the sizes. The intension behind this story runs deeper, the inspiration to find new water and to smash the cabin fever. It always takes planning to fish a new area, be it in the travel, the access or even the watercraft. But I urge you to go out there and find these places. Never be scared of not catching, after all, I’d rather get my ass kicked by a new water than sit on it all day instead of fishing!

Gin clear water produces some very healthy fish on the

Friday, 29 May 2015

A Quick Check In

Sorry it’s been quiet for a while! I have been finishing up my exams and have been further delayed by the inevitable alcohol consumption that comes with the territory of being a University student! All good fun though, and now that I have five minutes between the cliff jumping, spear fishing, drinking and fishing sessions I thought it would be nice to drop a line on here.

This post won’t be anything special, I’m working on some much more exciting projects! Lots of plans this summer to say the least. But to drop a few hints I’ve found myself a few lovely trout waters here, which I am in the progress of exploring and also working really hard on the media/photography side of this blog, as well as chasing the dream of Sea Bass on the fly.

So here are a couple of videos for you, which resulted in me spending a lot of time daydreaming about fishing instead of revising. But hey, it was worth it.

Introducing… Bucknasty Browns! I great film from the guys at Montana Wild, I’ve always loved their stuff, and when I saw the trailer for this I was very excited, and was even more excited to see it had been released for free (despite it featuring in the Fly Fishing Film Tour). Without further delay, enjoy!

BUCKNASTY BROWNS // Full Film from Montana Wild on Vimeo.

Next up, a bit of Tarpon action, something that is way up my bucket list, but this one is extra special. Take a look at some of the action shots they got in!

Sorry this hasn’t been a very in-depth post. As I said, you can expect more from me in the coming weeks, but hopefully this will tie you over if you’re desperate for another University Angler post!

Friday, 3 April 2015

The Lecture Hall – Fly tying with the V and the X technique.

I’ve always struggled to achieve that perfect baitfish profile when tying predator and saltwater flies. It seemed no matter how great the material was, I could never harness its full potential as the shape would always come out wrong and the actual tie was messy and un-even. I recently found a video by Flies With Attitude’s Norbert Renaud on Vimeo, exhibiting this technique of tying in another one of his fantastic tying videos. The X and V techniques have solved my problem, so lets crack on!

The fly I will take you through is a DNA baitfish pattern that I have developed recently, its nothing new or special, but it’s a tried and tested pattern tied with excellent materials, and I feel it has my own little touch as I improvised some aspects. This is a very satisfying aspect of tying, you can see your own progression and when it all comes together, it feels great! This isn’t going to be another post trying to get people to tie – All I'll say is it isn’t as hard and scary as you think, and it’s a really great way of getting a fishy fix when you don’t have time to get on the water, so I do urge you to try it yourself.

This is the first time I’ve done this, but here’s my attempt of a step by step guide to tying! Enjoy!

Begin with your ingredients; lay it all out in front of you ready to go. For this pattern we will use:
-       DNA frosty fish fiber – In both White and Olive
-       DNA holo fusion – White
-       Mustad Big Gun – Size 4 (You can use any hook you like, just scale the whole pattern down, including the eyes).
-       Orvis 3D oval pupil adhesive eyes – Red and black, ¼”
-       White thread – Here I’m using an Orvis thread, but I tend to use UTC 140 for my streamers.
     Plus your choice of finish (Bug bond, head cement, no more nails... - I use bug bond).

Now lay down your thread, and take it to the curve of the hook, don’t worry about this being neat.

Take a full length of the white frosty fish fibre and taperise. Taperising simply means pulling on the fibers lightly in order to avoid a straight cut, it helps achieve the baitfish profile.

Next, tie in the length you have just cut, right at the midpoint. This will become the V.

Stroke the fibers back so all the material is facing backwards, and secure with a few wraps.

Repeat the last two steps with the holo fusion, remembering your taperising and V.

Advance the thread forward a few wraps, and begin the X by taking another length of taperised white frosty fish fiber, and tie in at a 45 degree angle on the underside of the fly.

Repeat with the olive, at apposing 45 degrees.

Take the fibers back, make sure the white material passes on the far side of the thread. The thread should be between you and the fiber, not the fiber between you and the thread. Secure with a few wraps, the first X is complete!

Now create another X, as you did before. This time add some Holo fusion on the top of the fly, before you add the olive. Take the fibers back and secure.

One more X, this time without Holo fusion. To check in, you should’ve produced 3 X’s now, first with white and olive, second with white, holo fusion and then olive, and thirdly white an olive. 

Now we will go back to the V technique, to build a head on the fly. Take a length of white, securing at the midpoint on the underside. Also take a length of Olive, again securing at the midpoint but this time on top of the fly. Remember to taper both of these lengths before tying in.

Repeat the previous step, so you should complete two sets of the V technique at the front of the fly. Whip finish, bug bond, and you’re almost done!

Next is the fun part, bringing your creation to life! Trim the body to shape, remember to go little by little, you cant add material once you’ve cut it off..

Now add the eyes, ensure that they are symmetrical both vertically and horizontally.

You’ll notice it doesn’t look all that fish shaped at the moment... go wet the fly, witness the magic of DNA fibres!

I hope my first fly tying tutorial was useful, I’ve enjoyed sharing what I’ve learnt! I haven’t tested these patterns yet, but I recon the Bass will hoover them up. Try different colours and come up with your own patterns!

Monday, 16 March 2015

A new season, a fresh start.

As I’ve said before, last ‘season’ wasn’t exactly great for me in terms of numbers of fish caught, but in many ways it was one of the best summers I’ve ever had – from a fishing perspective. I landed the best job I could ever hope for as a teen, got out on lots of new water, and learnt so much! In the words of the GEOBASS guys, last year I ‘got my ass handed to me’ by the fish. So many blanks, I got well and truly humbled, but it made me appreciate the other aspects of a day on the water. From the wildlife to the fresh air, every day was a pleasure, fish or no fish.

Never fear though, I’m here to share what I did wrong and what I’ve learnt, so you wont do the same!

First things first, wading. One of my biggest mistakes when approaching yet another beautiful slice of west country premium Brown Trout water was going crashing into the river with my great big clumpy boots. You all know how sensitive fish are to movement, vibrations and sound, well try being a fish when six foot of wader covered and boot wearing human jumps into your home! Metal studs on the wading boots adding even more disturbance. I do love getting in the water though, it helps you connect more to nature and gets the senses going. So, the answer to this issue? Wade only when essential, resist temptation to get in the water! To stop you wading you can leave the waders at home, if appropriate. On small streams I often wear walking boots instead, but if you have to cross the river or something then you’re best staying dry and just resisting getting in the water when you find the fish!

Next up, dry flies, presentation is key to dry fly fishing, fish are not stupid! This will break down into two parts - Leaders and the use of leader sink, as I have comments on both. Starting with leaders, do you ever add extra tippet material to your tapered leaders? I may sound completely mental, but I never used to. However, as soon as I did, next drift I found myself saying ‘He ate it!’ almost instantly! So I settled on using a 9ft tapered leader with 2 or 3 ft (dependent of the amount of wind and the size of the river, as well as how picky the fish are) added, that’s for my 8ft 3wt twig by the way, alter this according to rod size. So many ignored flies, so easily avoided, all for a little extra tippet! Leader sink now, ever used it? I’ll admit I hadn’t until late this season. I saw a lot more fish rising to my fly once I started using it though! The theory behind leader sink is that when a leader is trapped in the surface film it creates a silhouette and is easily spotted by the fish. Adding leader sink from around a foot before the fly will encourage the leader to sit a few inches under the surface, consequently becoming less visible to a rising fish.

I love my entomology, and I learnt so much about insects (especially the aquatic ones) last summer. It has sparked an interest that will never leave me, and it has proven so valuable to my fishing. So this Trout season, I want you to engage more with your surroundings when fishing. Don’t get so caught up on catching the ‘big one’ because that’s not what its all about. Connect with nature, communicate with your surroundings, allow yourself to be consumed by all the things that make a great day out on the water, and learn something new as well!

There you have it, just a short one from me today, I hope sharing a few of my mistakes will help you see where you are going wrong (that’s if you are going wrong, if not then smash on as you are!) The wild trout season is already underway here in the UK, so I hope this season you have a cracker, I know I will!