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!


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.

smashing brownies

4 03 2012

Trout season started on the 3rd of march wich landed  on the same date as the Welsh fly fare I needed a load of new materials for tying so I could not miss the fly fair so decided my trout season would start on the 4th of march. And what a start it was. My mate Terry Bromwell was out on the river somewhere so decided to give the eager beaver a ring lol. we met up on the river Taff to give these brownies a bash the fishing was slow not having much luck in the known spots were there’s alway’s fish holding up. The river was slightly mercy due to the rain through the evening. We carried on fishing up  stream chucking the bugs in some nice pools we were both using the french leader method with jig nymphs I just started to fish this run with fast flowing water to the far bank with slack water just in front of me on the second sweep through the pool I concentrated on the slack water just in front of me.  With that the indicator on the leader slightly twitched so I struck and  was into a nice wild brown trout maybe about 2lb or more?.

A nice brown to start the new season off what more could a fisherman want. It wasnt long before terry hooked into an even better wild brownie “jammy b*****d” I couldn’t believe it he had to go one better lol nice 1 mate it was a cracker of a fish the fight was going on and on the fish must have been over 3lb and terry was only using 2lb leader.  After losing a big brown whilst fishing for grayling back a couple of weeks ago he was extra carefull with this one. you can see why, a cracking wild brown he will also be doing a blog post so visit is blog at
well done mate that is a stunning wild brown trout what a start to the trout season hope it continues on like this.


18 02 2012

Over the last couple of days I have been out fishing for the lady’s trying to find the bigger one’s. The fishing as been a little slow over the last couple of weeks to say the least these grayling must be getting smart. U normally can’t fail to catch a load of small lady’s  on the taff but I must say its been hard. I was out in the week using the french leader method and using small nymphs trying pools that as produced good size fish for me in the past as I fished through the pool I hooked a nice brown trout but that’s not what im after where are these big grayling?!!. On my second cast in the same spot the indicator on the leader slightly twitched. I struck and  was into another fish it was a bit bigger due to the fact it hugged the bottom so at this point I didn’t now what it was. After playing the fish for about 2 minutes it came to the surface it was a grayling not a big one but a better fish than the others ive been having.

here’s the pic

Like I said not big but it put up a good fight I kept trying the same spot changing nymphs but no joy I was happy enough so  decided to call it a day. The weekend was approaching and a few of the lads were planning on fishing other rivers we decided we were going to fish the river wye so on friday one of the lads phoned and said he couldn’t make saturday to fish the wye and the weather forecast wasnt looking good so I decided to stay local on the taff. I was up nice and early so me and my mate Kevin ward fished the taff we were both using the newzealand method or comanlly known as klink and dink. kev was first to catch with this nice brown trout.

Nice fish mate  it wasnt long before I was into a trout both fish were safely released but it was time to find these grayling so we kept on fishing in the rain but the fishing was slow. We were fishing a pool that holds a lot of small grayling and back a few weeks ago u could almost catch a grayling every cast but they were very small but good fun but lately they have seamed to have disappeared things have defenatly changed. So we fished for a while with little success then I was in I shouted down to kev ” im in mate it’s a tidy one” the fish was hugging the bottom I knew it was a tidy size fish.The take was light and due to the fact it was hugging the bottom I had a good feeling it was a big grayling but kev said no it’s another trout “no I said its a big fat lady” and it was finally a big grayling.

It was typical that I had left my tidy camara in the house all these photos were taken on an iphone there not the best pics but never mind im just glad of  the phone camara I would have loved to weigh her but no scales or measuring tape typical if I had all the tools I probably wouldn’t have hooked it. The reason for the pic of her on the rocks next to the rod was for me to measure it later when I got home I was extremely carefull with her though. she measured 18 and half inches obviously I couldn’t be bang on with the measurement but I do now it was over 18 inches my personal best what a fish she swam back strong im so glad I stayed local.

River Rhymney

4 01 2012

I managed to get out to wet the line on Monday with a mate of mine Edd. The weather had been bad all the previous week so we didn’t now how high the River Taff was. When we got to the river it was flowing very fast so we decided not to fish. I rang my mate Alun Rees to see if he was fishing or if he was going to another river. Alun was on the River Rhymney so I imagined that it was fishable so me and Edd headed of to fish the Rhymney.

As we arrived Alun was tackling up with two other anglers,  Sean Jones and Rob Evans. Since they were just setting up as we arrived, it didn’t take me and Edd long to set up either! Soon as we arrived at the first pool Sean was first to cast a line and with that he was straight into a small Grayling. A lot more fish followed along with some nice trout.

With four of us fishing this pool space was very much limited so Rob headed off down to the tail of the pool. At the start of this pool there are rapids, then it drops off into a nice long deep run. This would be the type of pool where big fish hold up. I was fishing close into the bank picking up the small grayling and then gradually casting further into the pool where hopefully the big one’s were laying. We were all fishing away when Rob shouts up to us “I’m in to a big un!! ” So we all went down to see what he’d hooked into? At first this fish would not come off the bottom; we all knew that it was something big. I heard Sean say ‘Salmon?’ Then someone else said it could well be a big grayling? As the fish came to the surface it was clear to say we were all shocked!! It was a barbel and a nice one too.

Check out the bend in that rod!

As you can tell Rob was one happy man. Well done mate!!

We fished on through the day trying different areas of the river and we were catching small grayling and trout but the weather was getting bad with heavy showers . These showers had definitely made the river rise a little and there was a slight brown tinge to the water but we battled on with the fishing.

What a cracking start to the year on the River Rhymney! No doubt I’ll be visiting again sometime soon……well if it stops raining!

Czech Nymphing for the lady’s

10 12 2011

When out today to try more of the flies that i have been tying this week . I have been tying some czeck nymphs to try in the shallow fast flowing  parts of the river. This is  extremely short range fishing, fish will be close to your rod tip Use a flicking action to throw the nymphs upstream at an angle of about 30 degrees. Done correctly, the ‘flick cast’ will extend the leader so that the nymphs lie in a straight line upstream. They will immediately start to sink rapidly as the current brings the flies back down towards you. To stay in touch with the flies, don’t retrieve any line, just track round with the rod, raising & lowering the tip as appropriate. Watch your indicator very closely! Any hesitation, draw, stutter, check – strike it immediately.  Because of the fast nature of the water grayling and trout will have little chance to closely examine the fly and hit quickly.I was fishing through a run that is a good holding pool for grayling i just flicked my line upstream into my second sweep of the pool my indicator twitched then in a split second i was into a brown trout it was a cracker i had it on for about a minute then it came off. It wasnt long before i was catching plenty of small grayling using the czeck nymph method here’s some of the czeck nymphs that i was using

I will be out for the grayling again in the morning trying a variety of techniques including french leader klink and dink and back on the czech nymphing hopefully ill have some bigger fish tomorow.

Here’s more photos from the next day.

%d bloggers like this: