A Privileged Happening.

On a recent trip to Westlow Mere, I looked down and noticed what I thought were two Damsel Nymphs on the top of my bag. On closer inspection, I realised that one was the shuck and the other was actually the nymph. I kept putting my rod down, returning to see the progress of the nymph as it was going through the transition of growing the wings slowly out of the wing buds. I have read about this many times, but never actually witnessed it for real and I felt quite privileged. Below are a series of shots I took with my phone…..

Mike Warburton - Aug '16

 Some more tips from one of our members.

O.K.  So we are idle, we buy in our ‘hand stripped quills’ from Venyards or some other commercial source.  How many times have you been faced with one of these splitting or snapping just before you use it to make a ‘segmented’ body, and then having to back up about 2 or 3 processes, or scrap the whole thing and restart the fly from square one?  Has anyone told you that these little things benefit from being stored in a solution of 75% water and 25% hair conditioner, or soaked in plain water before use – no, I thought not. Me neither.  That is until I read it up in a chapter pertaining to just this subject in the “The Fly Tiers Bench Side Reference” by T. Leeson and J. Schollmeyer, not a cheap addition to your library I must admit, but if you take your fly tying seriously one I strongly recommend.

Now here is one I have to thank Louis Noble for, the use of a head cement called Fly Rite, it is extremely thin and requires at least two to three applications, and because of this it:
1. Soaks in quite quickly.
2. Requires a little patience.
But what you end up with is a fairly resilient head which has been well soaked and will last a few “attacks” from the teeth of that hungry trout.

Next is a thank you for Wendy Gibson.  Knowing I had arthritis she pointed out the fact that as we get older the thumb and forefinger no longer ‘pinch’ together the same.  Let me try to explain – in our ‘youth’ our thumb and fore finger pinches together with the finger nails more or less in the same plane, as you get older you have to pinch on progressive fingers to maintain the same situation.  At 75 years old and with the arthritis creeping into my knuckles, to do a “pinch and loop” I am using my thumb and the finger next to my little finger (my ring finger), using my thumb and index finger results in my thumb nail being at right angles to my index finger nail leading to a natural tendency to put a twist into the wings.

For those of you who are new to the ‘game’ you will find several things are true concerning this pastime.
1. It can become obsessive
2. You will end up with far more tools than you will ever need (you only have two hands).
3. Eventually you will also find you have more capes, wings, feathers and materials in general than you have space for (and the missus will be the first to say “what is that smell”)?
Don’t get down hearted, you are not alone we are all in the same boat.  My gear and reference books have taken over the whole of what used to be called the “box room”, it even has a tying bench stretching the length of the room made up of a piece of kitchen work top 3 Metres long, sat on top of 4 four drawer kitchen units.

Finally, a piece of advice, come along to your local Fly Dressers Guild meeting, you will find that there are people like yourselves, maybe not wanting to get into fly dressing any further than to tie their own flies and believe me there is no more satisfaction to be gained than that of catching on a fly that you have tried yourself.

Take care, and tight lines to you all
Ni the Fly

Ni Rogers - Aug '16

A Trip To Brenig.

The top tip for this month is to get to Brenig before the 1st of August. The team there have been having back problems, as new stock (average weight 11/2lbs) are due on the above date. Trouble is their old stock has got too big! Minimum stock size until then is 3lb and so causing some weightlifting problems. I visited the venue on Tuesday 5th July and did make the odd mistake. Firstly, I turned up on motorcycle. Next, I came with all the bits to fish boat with, such as a boat net, a drogue, several reels but only one travel rod and a lot of flies!

Not a problem, as long as you do not catch a lot of larger fish – it’s a room issue on a bike. I had a rucksack for most bits, but due to not booking a boat in advance, I needed to pack waders and several layers of clothes. The saddle bags catered for all these things with just enough room for a few fish.
The bag limit is six fish. I did take several thick plastic bags, just in case, so I could put a few fish in these, then in the saddle bags. Unfortunately, I did not plan for the odd large fish or even several big fish. I kept the 3 smallest fish of 7 fish caught (2 x 3lb and 1 x 4lb) I had to release the others up to 6lb+!
This was my first visit to Brenig in over 10 years, so had it changed? No not really, the fish still were in the same places, just bigger. Was I just lucky? No, as I returned to the “Centre” two bank angles were just packing up at 14:30hrs. They had both “bagged up” with 6 fish weighing 22lb in total each. When setting up and waiting for “Boat” time to start, I met up with a chap I used to shoot with and he and his boat partner were on their first visit to the venue. About 11am we met up on the lake, where I explained that I was having to return fish. At that point they were not doing well and had not managed to land a fish. I showed them what I was using - a slime line with one white lure fished 2’ – 4’ down. They accepted a few flies and moved to the next bay. 30 minutes later they called back to thank me as they had both caught several fish including a best of 6lb+.
When packing up I spoke to the guy in charge of stocking, who was happy to see the larger fish coming out. He explained that it was always difficult to please all, but the odd thing is, by accident I had stumbled on a successful way to catch these fish. In August when the new stock is put in, most will be caught on the top with dries or “damp” patterns, whereas these larger fish tend to feed lower in the water.

       Pictures of the stocking boat, the fish are fed in down a tube as the boat moves along, so they don't shoal up.

Why did I start with the slime line? As I was in a boat by myself and there was a good wind blowing it can be difficult to cast a dry line out and keep in contact, without stopping a large bow forming. I could have put out a drogue, but then again it can cause more problems for a single occupant, getting up and down.

       The centre, by 14:30, with a bit of a wave plus the end of the “Arm” – no white horses, but still, a bit bumpy

Will I return? too right. I just need a day off from chauffeuring duties before the 1st August!

Eddie Wilkinson - July '16.


The 'Z-Knot' is probably the strongest fly fishing knot.

This knot is the strongest one we know to attach a fly to the tippet. We have tested it over 5 years on Stroft tippets ABR and GTM and its strength is almost 100%!!! (most often the tippet breaks far away from the hook eye rather than at the knoe).
In addition, it is fast to tie (once you get used to it) as there is no threading of the tag end through any loops - rather thumb and index finger are used to grab the tag end to pull it through. This means also that this knot is easier to tie also in poor light or for people with impaired eyesight.

Instructions step by step

For more information, go to: - Jan Siman | |

Chris Watson - July '16.


Some tips from one of our members.

I have been using the Davy knot for a few weeks and found it a good knot, easy to tie. I found this method of tying the Davy Knot and thought our members might be interested in the knot and the tying method using a ‘hackle clip’.

I use a line tray and find it very useful for the following reasons: -

  • It can hold the line off the floor keeping the line clean
  • Fly boxes, butties can be held in the tray when in use.
  • It reduces the chance of tripping over the line and an early bath.
  • When fishing gets slow and you take out you phone to browse, contact family and induce the fish to take while you are  not watching the line. You can drop the phone into the line tray.

Finally, I use a cat litter tray to carry my walking boots and my plastic bag of fish in the car boot, this prevents any dirt on the boot floor. This litter tray was £1.50 from ASDA.


Casting for Recovery at Coniston Hotel anf Country Estate.

On April 17th 2016 Bernie Ratcliffe and Mike Warburton, as part of GAIA, were both honoured to have been invited to take part in a special day for the charity, ‘Casting for Recovery’.
An amazing venue and amazing cause. A large group of ladies, all recovering from Breast Cancer, were entertained for a two-day event at the Coniston Hotel by GAIA and C.f.R.
On the second day each lady was paired up with a chap from the GAIA group. Quite a surprise for the ladies, as they had not been told about this arrangement. They were all kitted out with the correct gear, compliments of Orvis, and were quite excited about the prospect of spending the day with a personal mentor, fishing and having fun.

The day went fabulously well and everybody had a great time. Lunch was provided, followed later by a superb buffet for all. Speeches and presentations were made, with a certificate for every person who took part in the day.

Coniston Hall did a superb job of the entertaining and even supplied a glass of pink Champagne to welcome everybody to the buffet.
What a day! So rewarding for everybody involved and the venue…wow, stunning to say the least. Not many fish were caught, due to extremely hot weather and high pressure and …….

The event was run and organised by Vee & Bob Carlson, two lovely dedicated people, who put in an immense amount of work to make it happen.

Mike W.

A Day Trip to Blithfield Fishery, Staffs.

Following up a flyer found in the now defunct Stockport Fly Fishing shop, I arranged a day’s boat fishing with my son during late March.  It takes about an hour from Stockport to get there and we were very lucky to hit on the one dry day of the week.  Blue skies, with a cold bite in the wind.  Not bad for March.  The reservoir is a shallow natural bowl, with an excellent fleet of boats, all with motors, anchors and well maintained.

Blithfield 1Blithfield 2

There are reputed to be good buzzer hatches and stocking is a mixture of rainbow and browns. Due to the early season, cold wind etc.  most locals opted to fish from the bank, whereas we had booked a boat for the day.  Oh well!  We fished the windward shore as close in as we could without interfering with the bank anglers, who seemed to be getting on much better than us with a variety of sinking lines.  Unsurprisingly, given the cold wind, there was no sign of rising fish. Eventually we headed for the downwind shore and located a few fish in some of the quiet bays. 

Blithfield 3Blithfield 4

The club house is excellent with free galley facilities for the use of anglers, comfortable sofas, and a very impressive display of trophy fish from the reservoir. 
This would make a very good venue for a club day out later in the season.

Link to Blithfield web site:

Donald Couper - April '16