Chris McCully

Fishing Diary

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And the winner (Stillwater trout) is....

Sunday, 10 December 2017 at 21:27

Cove PTN After ranking flies for flowing water (see below) I then ranked my records for stillwater trout. I didn't include everything: trout under 10 inches were discounted. It was also difficult classifying the patterns: the category 'midge pupae' for example included underwater pupae, hatching pupae (i.e. flies fished in the surface film) and dry midges. I didn't generally list for particular colours of natural pupa or sedge. Midge representations of various kinds were far and away the most successful patterns. The dry Daddy, the G&H Sedge and various Hoppers (fished dry) also scored well. The Pitsford Pea was the most highly-scoring lure, followed by the Viva. Of the traditional wets, Dabblers (especially the peerless Pearly Dabbler) did well, as did the Zulu, (Silver) Invicta and the Black Pennell. Yet by a fairly narrow margin, the outright winner was...the Cove PTN, a stylisation of any dark-bodied midge pupa.

And the winner (Flowing Water trout) is....

Sunday, 10 December 2017 at 16:52

Leaded Shrimp Because the weather's been dreadful I finally got round to working out totals for the most successful flies in the fly-boxes. The totals were extracted from angling diary records going back to 1968 - nearly fifty years. Provisionally I sorted the records into categories - Flowing Water (browns and rainbows), Stillwater (browns and rainbows), Sea trout, and Grayling. So far I've looked at totals just for Flowing Water. The result surprised me: strongly represented were general patterns like the Funneldun (the most successful dry pattern) and the Black Gnat; for nymph-suggesting patterns the PTN and the GRHE scored well; the Waterhen Bloa was the most successful traditional wet-fly. Honourable mentions ought to go to the KlinkhÄmer, the John Storey and the Grey Duster. As the totals mounted, for a while it was neck-and-neck between the star of the show and another weighted pattern, the Leaded Caddis, but ultimately there was only one winner: the Leaded Shrimp.

Fly-tying weather

Sunday, 10 December 2017 at 11:17


More fly-tying weather

Sunday, 10 December 2017 at 10:10

Silver birch

The Grafham flies: Big Red

Wednesday, 6 December 2017 at 09:08

Big Red Fishing's been at a standstill for five weeks - a combination of work and domestic circumstances which has left me chained to the desk or in a worrying relationship with the A1, a road I'm getting to know rather too well. Still, I've done a bit of fly-tying and last weekend was reviewing the patterns that seem to have worked well at Grafham over the past season. (I rarely fish Grafham for trout in the winter, though the lake is open till the end of January and there are those who swear that the winter months offer some of the best of Grafham's bank fishing.) Though I caught fish on buzzers, Daddies, Snakes, Hare's Ears and even the odd Blob I usually used more or less representative patterns and of them, have here selected a dry pattern, a pupa, a floating fry and the Pitsford Pea, which last is a sort of mini-lure.

The Big Red (size 12) is a great dry-fly and one I used (and will use) gladly throughout the summer and early autumn. It's slightly more vulnerable then the other patterns listed here - the parachute hackle tends to get mangled in trout teeth - so I tie and carry plenty.

The Grafham flies: Pitsford Pea

Wednesday, 6 December 2017 at 09:02

Pitsford Pea This simple little pattern, in sizes 8-12, was rarely off the leader in the first part of the season - late March and April. I don't know quite what it is about the fly that works so well: that combination of black and fluorescent green, so easily visible to feeding trout? The attractively wavy marabou tail? Whatever the attraction, the pattern seemed to work wonderfully well. I usually fished it fairly slowly on a DI3 line or a slow intermediate.

The standard Pea is tied with sparkle chenille at the head of the fly. I tend to use fluorescent lime-green fur and dub it. As the fly gets knocked about by caught and released rainbows it seems to become more effective as the green fibres get messy.

The Grafham flies: Cove PTN

Wednesday, 6 December 2017 at 08:56

Cove PTN If ever I need a pattern to represent almost any buzzer pupa I reach first for the Cove PTN, designed over four decades ago by Arthur Cove. I remember that in the 1970s Arthur Cove recommended that the pattern be dressed on a longshank size 8 hook - a giant stylisation of a natural pupa - but these days I think we tend to tie the pattern on normal size 10-14 hooks. It's hugely simple to tie - just pheasant tail closely ribbed with fine gold wire, and a thorax of rabbit fur. These days I spruce up the front end of the fly by working some sparkle fibres into the thorax. (You can glimpse those variants at the bottom of the image.)

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