river international’s 2013

4 08 2013

Hi everyone! Apologies for the lack of posts over the last couple of months. Life has been really hectic! What with the run up, practice and fly tying for the 2013 Rivers International on the River Taff at Merthyr Tydfil, I’ve also moved house, been on a training course and started a new job! So I really haven’t had time to sit down and do a blog post. I was all booked up to fish the River Usk today to fish for salmon but at the sound of the alarm clock, I took a quick peek out of the window only to discover it raining heavily. Back to bed for a little while I thought. So, because I haven’t gone fishing I decided to finally do a blog post and let you know about my experience at the recent 2013 Rivers International. FINALLY!!!!!! I hear you say….at last more like!

The run up to the 2013 River Internationals got the team together to get some practice in ready for the big day. Fishing with the team members was a pleasure.  It was just nice relaxed practice sessions and the fishing was good. We all knew that could change on the day of the International and the pressure the River was put under with all the other teams practicing on it would make fishing a bit harder.  The  summer low conditions would make it hard to approach fish. Below is one of the fish taken on a small dry fly on one of the practice days.



With all the practicing out of the way it was time to pack my bags and head to the hotel and relax; well try to relax anyway, and meet up with the other team members. With all the excitement and nerves, it being my first International Competition it was pretty hard to relax, but the lads in the team sorted that out. They made it all sound good and also talked me through what to expect on the day. So the first day at the Internationals we were all at the bar with the meals ordered and the drinks flowing and plenty of banter. Some of the team members had drinks flowing a bit too quick and I soon saw one of the team members heading off to bed to get his head down! Well done mate! I told him to have something to eat but he wouldn’t listen.  Anyway they say eating is cheating so you did well there.

With the drinks flowing and good banter the team manager Paul Jenkins and team Captain Allen Hughes went to a meeting to get the draw which would tell us all what beats we were to fish on the day of the International. So after a little while Paul and Allen returned with the results and the chatting commenced about who had what beats and then the tactics started to flow and so did the drinks. The next morning we were all feeling a little worse for wear; I  don’t now what the lads were thinking but I was definitely thinking to myself ‘ Why the hell I did I drink so much!’ The same morning, we all had a team photos and then set off to walk the beats to work out strategies ready for the big day.

welsh iternational team 2013-001

On the morning of the Internationals we were all up nice and early.  Well,  I can’t remember having any sleep to be honest with you! I was in the shower around 5.30 in the morning and at breakfast around 6.00 am. It wasn’t as if I ate anything with the nerves and all that but the lads were supportive especially the team members that have done this before and knew what to expect.  My Team Captain,  Allen Hughes was really supportive. Thanks mate; it really did me  a world of good. After breakfast,  the waders were on and off to my beat I went.  We were all at our pegs about an hour before the International started so I had plenty of time to tackle up and think about my approach to the beat I had been drawn on.

The time came and the International started. Fishing started slowly for me with no fish to measure. I don’t think the nerves helped at all but I battled on working through my water. Then I had a take and landed my first fish!  It was only a tiddler and didn’t measure.  The fish had to be 20cm to count and I think my first fish was around the  eighteen and half centimetre mark. I was gutted!  All I wanted was one fish to measure and then I probably would have relaxed a bit. I fished through my first beat pretty quickly trying to pick up fish in the likely places they would be but nothing. So my plan was to work through the water that I was allocated; it  wasn’t my favourite stretch. I needed to get to a stretch were I have had a lot of success in the past. I got to that water just before the second session so my first session was a wash out with fish being caught but no measures. A blank went down for my fist session.

The second session started a little better with more fish being caught but yet again all fish were under size! I thought to my self this can’t be happening to me! I then  finally landed a fish that measured! I’m not religious but I thought ‘Thank God for that!’ After that I went on to catch another and lost two more which were better fish. The two I caught were enough for me to win my session and I also went on to win all my session’s after that.

I  took 3rd place overall, with Wales taking the gold medal!  A big congratulations to my mucker Terry Bromwell who won the Top Rod and also won the biggest fish trophy. Well done mate! You deserve it. Finally, a big congratulations to the Welsh team for winning gold and making it an experience that I will never forget, thanks lads! You are a bunch top guys.


Below you can see from left to right, Terry Bromwell (Individual 1st, top rod and winner of the best fish), Kieron Jenkins 2nd, Lewis Hendrie (England) 4th and me, 3rd.


The gold medal


The experience I had that day was like no other.  The nerves, then the excitement of coming third and being in  a team that took gold is just indescribable. More so, I really enjoyed the presentation in the night and also met up with some cracking people, made new friends and finished with really good memories that will last a life time; an experience that I will never forget. Thanks lads for sharing it and being there!

Irish shrimp step by step

21 03 2013

Thought I would do a step by step on one of my favorite irish shrimp pattern this pattern has been tried and tested and I have a lot of confidence when fishing this on my local river for salmon.


.Hook:   size 10 Edmonds Drury

.Thread:  ultra thread white

. Tail:     golden pheasant breast feather

.Body:   gold tag/ red floss/ fine gold wire/ pink glister dubbing

Hackles:   red/ pink/orange chinese Cock capes

Head:      jungle cock/ black uni thread 8/0


Step 1,    start by tying your thread in, when tying my thread in I go as far down the shank till im inline with the hook point


Step 2,   Then I tie in some  gold uni-mylar as a tag, again keeping inline with the hook point and taking 2 turns up the hook shank,


Step 3,      now tie in your golden pheasant breast feather, tie the tip of the feather in then gently pull back the fibers in the oposit direction of the grain then u will get this effect,  then gently take about 3 turns around the hook shank each time correcting the fibers to form the tail.SONY DSC

Step 4,     here your golden pheasant breast feather tail is formed and secure.


Step 5,   now u can tie in your fine gold rib and red thread/ floss, take as many turns as needed with the red thread/ floss to reach the centre of the hook shank.


Step 6,        you have now tied in your red thread/ floss whatever you want to use then take three turns  using your gold rib up the body of the fly untill you reach the half way point on the hook shank then take two turn of the thread and secure the gold rib.


Step 7,    at the half way point tie in your red hackle


Step 8, so you have tied your hackle in and its secure then get some pink glister dubbing and dub it onto your thread and take three turn’s up the   hook shank towards the eye and leave sufficient space for your two remaining hackles and J C


Step 9,   tie in your pink hackle and take three turns then tie in your orange hackle then take another 2/3 turns untill your happy with the finished hackles, here ive tied my hackles in separate I find it easy that way but that’s my opinion other tiers might place the two hackles together and tie them in at the same time, It’s entirely up to you


Step 10,   all that’s left is the J C “jungle cock” using J C is another option of your self it don’t need to be added and a lot of salmon flies don’t have it, I could not tell you that it makes a difference to catching fish but it certanly gives the fly a good look, that’s my opinion and I really do like using it, in this step I used a split eye off my J C cape to form 2 parts so doing this gets good use out of lower graded capes as u all probably know   J C capes are not cheap especially grade A capes.


When the  J C is tied in and secure apply a whipped finish then there is two options to finish the head, you could use your choice of pen’s too colour the head or use diffrent coloured thread, I used black on this fly then varnish. So there’s the finished irish shrimp fly hope you like it and hope this step by step helped, I will certainly be using this pattern this salmon season


Trout season at last!!!!!

3 03 2013

So finally all this waiting as ended and the 2013 trout season as began, at last!, I must say the winter as really been a long 1, well it felt that way. But on that note the winter as provided me with valuable fly tying time, time well spent to say the least, so finally march  is here and its time to pull them brownies out of the Welsh rivers and streams and it gotta be said I love it!.

So out I went today with a good friend Daniel Popp for a spot of fishing hopeing that I could encounter a few brown trout to start the season off on a good note, all my kit was ready a brand new box of freshly tied flys, my mind fresh and thinking about these Welsh bars of gold and I nearly forgot to mention a flask of coffee so I could warm up a little on the bank, it’s still rather cold in the morning’s but it soon warmed up towards the afternoon.


Dan took me to a few of his hot spots in the morning to try to get some results from the off but the fish wasnt having non of it, It was still pretty chilly this morning and there was sunshine forecast for the afternoon so we struggled at first but as soon as it started to warm up on came a  hatch of  large dark olives and it wasnt long before dan took his first fish, And along came another straight after



With dan doing well catching fish, he finally decided to let me in on the action lol,  fair play to him he put me on some nice fish on his local river and it wasnt long I was into a nice fish and the rest just followed.



hope u like the pictures and I hope there will be more to come”hopfully” so the season as started and it’s not a bad start at all, I really enjoyed being out today the sun was shining and the company was good, and there will definitly be more days like this to come roll on summer that’s all I can say.

Put it to the Test

22 10 2012

A couple of weeks back I had a phone call from a friend, Neil Ashman, inviting me to fish the River Test in Hampshire. It didn’t take long for me to accept his offer! I’ve never fished a chalk stream so this was going to be a new experience. Besides,  I love fishing new places. With the date approaching fast I couldn’t wait to go! Neil picked me up around 5.30am, up nice and early for a long drive to Hampshire. There were about 9 other anglers on the minibus when we got picked up at Cardiff,  all talking about their previous visits to the River Test and how they loved fishing it, so off we set on our journey to fish the TEST.

We finally arrived at our destination. I was finally there! The journey was a rough one for me with feeling a little bit unwell due to a touch of travel sickness, but that wasn’t gonna stop me. Neil was quick off the mark to show me his favorite spot that holds a load of good grayling, it was off the main river in what they called a carrier stream that feed’s into the main river. Clear or what! It was like gin! I thought to myself, there can’t be fish in there? I could see everything in the pool except the fish. But Neil is an experienced angler, and a good angler to say the least, so there had to be fish in there. I tackled up with the french leader first, with two small nymphs I was first to fish and straight away I was into a small grayling “Excellent!” A good start to the day.

Neil with another grayling

We shared the first pool by taking it in turns to catch these small lady’s and having a lot of fun fair play.  I said to Neil that I was off to try the main river out  and try to target the bigger grayling. I got to the main river and there were other anglers they’re using the duo method. Also known as klink and dink, this is when you use a dry fly as a fishing fly and as an indicator with a nymph tied on below at whatever depth you need to fish at. It’s a great method for grayling and works very well for me. So I changed from the french leader to the duo. The other anglers were catching fish almost every cast taking them on the dry flies and the nymphs. They were catching some nice brown trout and rainbow trout and also grayling that were feeding amongst the trout. I found a spot where there were some nice fish rising and started to fish, it wasnt long before I had landed a nice size brown trout around the 2lb mark a cracking looking fish too. I went on to take more trout in the same spot all on the dry, some fabulous fishing I must say.

After fishing the main river and having a load of fun I decided to try to target grayling in the carrier streams. Again, I was fishing the duo standing well back from the water so as not to spook the fish. The carriers are not very wide and the water clarity is very clear. Straight away  I was into a grayling although only a small one yet again! On the next cast I hooked into a nice rainbow trout that fought like mad fair play! It ran down the stream taking my line under the opposite bank. At this point I thought I would lose it but I managed to keep it on. After the rainbow I went on to hook a brown trout around the same size, and another good fight from him too, I was really enjoying myself but wondered where these fish were coming from due to the fact u could see right through the water but I couldn’t spot these fish I’d just hooked?!

Fishing chalk streams is totally different to what I’m used to fishing but I had a lot of fun and a good haul of fish for the day so I wasn’t complaining! And also a big thank you to Neil and all the lad’s for letting me join them on this trip.

my take on a ally’s cascade step by step

19 08 2012


hook: size 8 esmond drury

thread:8/0 uni thread black

tail: orange and yellow buck tail

body :holographic silver and black floss thread with medium gold wire

wing: black squirrel tail with orange died golden pheasant tippet

hackle:yellow and orange chinese cock cape

cheek: jungle cock

First u combine the yellow and orange buck tail together to form the colours for the tail, the length of the tail should be twice the length of the body with the colours mixed evenly once the tail is in place. U could also add a little flash in with the tail the flash that is used in this pattern is orange micro flash. Once the length of the tail is determined then u can trim back the excess waste on the body as shown in the picture bellow.

Once the tail is in place and the body is formed now u can tie in your holographic silver and also tie in your gold medium wire.

now u need to tie in your body take a few turns up the body till u get to the middle, then turn in your holographic silver till u reach the middle of the body then tie it  in so it’s secure then cut the waste off. Then tie in black floss for the rest of the body, after the holographic silver and black are tied in and succoured the take four  or five equal turns up the body with the gold wire and the secure.

So the body is formed now on to the wing using black squirrel tie it in at the head off the fly, to determine the length of the wing just hold it in place till it covers the back of the hook about 10mm and secure in place with two turns of the thread.

At this point ive added some orange micro flash and 2 strands of flashabou mirage  (optional)

Now get some orange dyed golden pheasant tippet and tie it in on top off the black squirrel the length of th golden pheasant tippet should come in from the tip of the black squirrel tail about another 10mm once in place another 2 turns to secure in place.

On to the hackles, i tie my hackles in separately starting with the yellow and then tie in the orange u could tie the both in together by aligning the feathers together and tieing them both in then turn in the hackles. I find it easier to do it sepretly.

Here’s the finished fly without the jungle cock

Here’s the fly with the jungle cock it entirely up to your self if u add the jungle cock.

Here’s a couple off pics of the cascade and the finished box with various ally’s shrimp patterns and irish shrimp patterns

this is my first attempt of a step by step hope u like

finally some sewin

15 06 2012

Hi all its been a while since I last posted on here due to the time Ive been putting in fishing for the sea-trout and tying different patterns and testing them during the night. One of the first nights out I fished a pool on the river neath after a local lad following him through the pool leaving a lot of space for each other to fish. We fished this pool through about four times each with no success the local lad headed off to a different stretch of the river so I sat on the bank and changed my flies ready for another go through the pool. After about an hour I had three hard pull’s on my line and the fish sprung out of the water then got off with it being very dark I didn’t get to see the fish but it felt a good 1. That was it for me then I spent nearly every night trying to hook and land one of these sewin most nights I drew a blank with no sea-trout on the bank, frustrating is not the word. A lot of things were going through my head are my flies working right? was their fish in the pools I fished? was I chosing the right line for the job . I fished a number of different rivers chasing these fabulous sewin with little success my confidence was at an all time low.

After spending night after night fishing for sea trout I thought it’s about time a gave it a break and get on my local river the taff after the brown trout just to feel what its like to have a fish on and that’s just what I needed.
The taff always seems to revive me after a long spell fishing all the different rivers fishing for salmon and sea trout and blanking almost every visit lol. Anyway I had my short break off the sea trout its about time to give them another bash so me and a good freind of mine Jonathan Roberts headed of to the river tiefi. It was round the middle of may and the weather was absolutely stunning so I decided to target the trout using dry flies and nymphs through the evening till dark then give the sea trout a go and yes u have guessed it’ it was another blank for both of us with johnny loosing 1 tidy fish ill say tidy because it sounded a lumpa when it jumped out of the water.
here’s a couple of pictures from the tiefi.

Over the last couple of weeks me and johnny have been out on the river towy and also the river neath with most night’s producing no fish so we decided to concentrate on the river neath and only sticking to pools were johnny as had sea trout in the past. So we fished a pool wich produced a 18lb sewin for jon last year. We arrived at the river about 9.30 pm and set up and weighted till dark not long after we started to fish, jon hooked and lost a tidy sewin almost straight away u should have seen him perform on the bank lol. I thought he was going to jump in at one point he was gutted lol we carryed on fishing and all was quite. Then jon shouts “fish on” and he was into a nice sewin and he finally landed this one, it was a cracker I would say it was round the 9-10 lb mark you should have seen his face, he was shaking my hand like a mad man  I had to tell him to leave go lol a well deserved fish well done mate.
I blanked once again but I didn’t mind after seeing that stunning bar of silver so off we went with jon having a skip in his step. We left the fishing for the next night and hit the pool last night for another go the rain was crazy, we were mad being out in this weather. The rain finally eased up and I hit into a sewin Around the 5lb mark I couldn’t believe it all the nights Ive been fishing for theses and bang! there it was a  bar of silver not a monster of a fish but a well deserved fish to say the least now I can finally relax a bit.

hers a couple of pics of john’s fish

here’s my well deserved sea trout about time I gotta say!!!!

sorry about the picture quality it was taken on my mobile.

here’s the tube fly tha done the damage for me

salmon and sea trout flies

7 03 2012

The salmon and sea trout season is nearly upon us and there’s nothing like having a load of new flies to try. The last few months has been pretty hectic to say the least with all the winter fishing that I’ve done and constantly tying flies for trout and grayling to make up for the flies I’ve lost. That’s now behind me and with a bit more time on my hands I decided to start tying all new flies for salmon and sea trout and give the grayling and trout flies a break. Here are the salmon patterns I will be using through the season.

I’m particularly fond of the Irish Shrimp style of flies and after speaking with some friends, I decided to settle on a small selection that includes one or two of the more well known patterns like the Silver Wilkinson and a variety that I have made up from others I’ve seen. I chose the Silver Wilkinson because one stretch of River I’ll be fishing is tidal and as it’s got a reputation for taking fresh run grilse, I’m hoping it’ll do the business so to speak. I’ve got one or two other standard patterns like Allys’ Cascade just to fall back on but, here’s hoping. All the patterns ahve been tied on size 8, 10, 12 partridge trebles and doubles in gold silver and black. At the backend of last season, I had the opportunity to fish and had a grilse of 6lb. Initially I fished a dark fly because the water was slightly coloured but that brought me no luck. A quick change to a Red Ally’s brought me almost instant success. Like I’ve said, I like the Irish Shrimp style and obviously like the colour red! With that in mind, I decided to tie up the fly I caught the fish on Irish Shrimp style:

The Red One!

I’ve got high hopes for it!

Seatrout and seatrout flies are another relatively new avenue for me. Although I’ve fished for them previously, I’ve never quite cracked it. One or two fish here and there are always a bonus but unravelling the mystery of these fish and how to catch them has seemed like torture on times. So once again, I decide to start with a clean slate and make a box from scratch.

Most of them are simple flies that only have one or two materials in them. The Silver Stoat or ‘black ‘n silver as it’s called in Wales is one of the top flies here in Wales; the Peter Ross is another. These flies are timeless and haven’t lost any of their catching abilitiy and so are as effective now as they were all those years ago. I’m looking forward to what the new season brings and hopefully I’ll be armed well enough to tackle the fish and conditions I meet. That said, I won’t know until I go fishing and give them a swim! I’ll keep you updated. In the meantime, here’s a slide show of both the salmon and sea trout patterns. I just can’t wait to get them in the river and I hope they bring me some big fish. Tightlines!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

%d bloggers like this: