Category Archives: Fly Fishing UK

Saltwater Fly Fishing | Norfolk, UK

Saltwater Fly Fishing Trip – 15th September – There’s So Much More To It Than Just Fishing!

The early morning drive across north Norfolk is always an absolute pleasure: the mist in the hollows and the light as dawn breaks over the sea on the horizon is a sight that never fails to fill you with awe and wonder.

Update Feb 26, 2014 :   2014  Salt Water Fly Fishing Trips Now Confirmed – Check availability and book your place here!!

Saltwater-Fly-Fishing-Norfolk-1

As you motor through the villages, where the day has yet to start for most of the inhabitants, down the narrow roads leading to the coast, the wildlife simply abounds:

the rabbits on the verges pay little attention to you and the pheasants and partridges barely bat an eyelid as your noisy car roars by. It’s not uncommon either to spot an impressive Marsh Harrier gliding over the fields in search of some suitable morsel to feed her hungry young.

So what has all this got to do with saltwater fly fishing you may well ask? Well actually a great deal!  You see fishing is not all about catching fish; that’s just part of it. Indeed, the memories of the day are far more than that.

It’s all about the journey we take from traveling to the chosen spot in the early morning  right through to the glass of ale in the pub with your fellow anglers at the end of a great day’s fishing on the open sea, don’t you agree?

Saltwater-Fly-Fishing-2

The Right Fishing Gear For The Job

I was on my way to Morston quay to meet my students for a long awaited saltwater fishing experience. The conditions for fishing sea bass, our main quarry for the day, were excellent. The wind that had been blowing onto the shore for almost a week but had dropped overnight and the weather forecast was talking of a bright day with just light onshore breezes. Great! Just what we wanted.

I always like to get there early and set up the rods ready for the party. Most fisherman bring their own saltwater fly rods, but for those who hadn’t I put up the Hardy Zane and the Greys Platinum XD 9 weight rods complete with cold saltwater intermediate lines and Zane reels.

Yes you can use cheaper fishing gear but in my experience you need gear you can rely on. When a large sea bass is hooked it tends to want to sprint off to Holland! In fact, I have lost both sea bass and sea trout on lighter equipment, so I now tend to play safe with the top end fishing gear.

I made a quick call to our boat skipper, James, to make sure all was well and we arranged to leave the quay at 8.30 AM to catch the tide.

Saltwater-Fly-Fishing-Norfolk-UK

The Fishermen Arrive

At 8 AM Nick and Ben arrived and started putting on their chest waders and getting their rods and gear out ready for the fray. They were closely followed by Vic and Laurence.

The usual flurries of questions followed: “Which line shall I use?” “Which flies are best?” “Shall we take our spinning rod as well?”

“How many will we catch today,” came the final question. “None,” I replied, “But the prospects look very good!” Well it was better not to raise their hopes too much, just in case; sea bass can be quite fickle when it comes to taking the fly!

Once all the questions had been settled we made for the boat to catch the tide. “Hang on a minute! Dave and his companion haven’t arrived,” I thought to myself.  However, as tide and time waits for no man I got the guys on the boat with James so that he could take them out to Blakney Point to start fishing.

Meanwhile Dave rang to say they were on their way. When we finally met up we had a brisk 25 minute walk along the coastal path to Stiffkey; all good exercise!

We then crossed the Stiffkey river and walked out across the marsh to meet (skipper) James, who had come to pick us up. He had left the others on the point fishing from a sandbank.

Saltwater-Fly-Fishing-UK

The First Catch Of The Day

As we approached the point, we could see there was great excitement from the shore as Nick was clearly playing a fish. Indeed, he’d already hooked himself a fine 3lb sea bass.

The tide was now going out fast, so we started fishing from the exposed sandbanks, which are always great spots to fish from. The channels between these sandbanks are just the right place to find bass as they feed on sand eels and small crabs.

We spread out along the channels covering all the likely places to catch something. The flow is quite fast there and this is when an intermediate line is at its most deadly; but it is important you get the lure right down to the fish.

“I have got  one!” cried Nick, AGAIN, “It’s heading for Holland!” he shouted. Sure enough, this fish was hauling the line out to sea, but Nick managed to hang on to the slippery little fighter and eventually the fish was landed; a whopping 6lb sea bass! After the photos had been taken, it was returned to the sea to fight another day.

Nick's-6lb-Sea-Bass
Nick's-6lb-Sea-Bass-2

Moving On – More Fishing At Cley Next The Sea

By now, the tide was falling very quickly so we moved further out to the Blakney Point following the fish. There, several fish followed the fly but sadly failed to connect, so it was time to make for the shore.

We intended to beach the boat at the mouth of the Stiffkey river but we had run out of time and had to leave the boat further out to be picked up later. We took a long walk back across the Marsh to the coastal path at Stiffkey and then back to the car park at Morston.

After a sojourn at the Anchor pub in the village for some light refreshment, all the gear was piled in the cars and we moved on down the coast to Cley Next The Sea to fish the incoming tide.

Cley beach is a great spot for sea bass at this time of year. The bass were all about there and well within casting distance. Moreover, the Terns (diving birds) were taking the baitfish about 25yds out, which is always a good sign.

At this particular part of the beach you must follow the tide and work your way towards Blakney Point, casting at 30/45 degrees to the shore and working the lines in until they are level with you.

Saltwater-Fly-Fishing-Norfolk-03

A Perfect End To A Great Day’s Saltwater Fly Fishing

We fished here for another couple of hours before retiring to the George at Cley for a well earned supper and a glass or two of local ale or was it something stronger?

A truly memorable day was had by all, but the honors of the day really must go to Nick for his fantastic catch –  it really was a perfect day.

If you like the sound of this day, feel free to contact me about forthcoming salt water fly fishing trips – I’d be  more than happy to accommodate you and your friends.

Also, I welcome your comments below; feel free to tell  me about your saltwater fishing experiences either in the UK or elsewhere in the world.

Update Feb 25, 2014 :   2014  Salt Water Fly Fishing Trips Now Confirmed – Check availability and book your place here!!

Saltwater-Fly-Fishing-Norfolk-UK-04

Spring Fly Fishing Trip On The River Teviot In The Borders Of Scotland

Contact Us Now About This Trip And All Other Fly Fishing in Scotland

Norfolk Fly Fishing  is very pleased to announce that we are offering another fabulous fly fishing in Scotland guided trip.
The guided fly fishing trip will be on the River Teviot in the Scottish Borders and as usual I will be on hand to ensure you have a terrific fishing experience and show you great casting techniques with both single and double handed rods – whatever your ability!

The Fishing
There are 4 rods available for the week (6 days) or on a half week basis (3 days Monday to Wednesday or Thursday to Saturday).
Single or group bookings are welcome.
The River Teviot is a major tributary of the famous River Tweed and joins the Tweed just at Kelso. The beat we will be fishing is some 6 miles upstream of the junction and has excellent holding pools for salmon and sea trout; there is also a good head of wild brown trout.
Whatever the conditions, you have a choice of fishing. The access to the beat is good with a single track to the fishing hut, which is situated in the middle of the beat.  Wading is good in most pools and we recommend you bring your chest waders.
Where You Will Be Staying
We will be staying in Kelso or Jedburgh, both a short drive from the fishing. The Scottish Borders at this time of year are at their most attractive and there are many interesting places to visit for any non-fishers to enjoy. Kelso holds a major fly fishing show on the 29th &  30th May, giving you an opportunity to see some of the new innovations from the tackle manufacturers and maybe treat your self.
How To Get There
From the south, take the A1 north to Newcastle then the A696 to Otterburn then the A68 to Jedburgh.  From Edinburgh airport, take the ring road A702 and the A68 south to Jedburgh.  Complete instructions will be available on receipt of a confirmed booking.
What Fishing Gear To Bring?
Bring with you: 9’ to 10’ trout rods 13’/14’ double handed rods, floating and sink tip lines or shooting heads if you have them. Also bring, your net, wading staff, waders and your usual fishing gear. If you do not have a suitable rod or outfit, I have a selection from the Hardy & Greys ranges available for hire at a nominal price (details available on request).
More Fly Fishing In Scotland With Tim Gaunt-Baker

I look forward to some great fishing in Scotland with you soon.

Until next time 😀

Fly Fishing Equipment – Pre Season Checkup

I find it is a good idea to check through all your fly fishing equipment in the month or two before the fishing season starts.

There’s nothing worse than turning up for your first day’s fishing to find that something is missing, or the floating line is sinking, or the flies are mixed up or the wrong size, or the reel has jammed up; need I go on.

I am sure these and many more problems have happened to us all at some time or another so let’s see what we can do to make to our fishing go smoothly throughout the coming year.

The list I set out below could be set up on XL spreadsheet so you can tick off the items as you have done them.

Fly Fishing Equipment Pre Season Check List

RODS

  • Check the joints for cracks and re-whip if necessary, or if you are not happy with the section, send it back to the manufacturer for a replacement (that’s if you have a lifetime guarantee) as the spigot joints might need a dressing.
  • When dressing, I use a mixture of deer fat and candle grease, particularly on salmon rods. This works well and you don’t have the same problems as when you use candle wax alone.
  • Clean the rings and check for damage. Replace if necessary.
REELS

  • Clean the cage and remove any grit or dirt
  • Check the mechanisms and oil only as advised by the manufacturer
  • Check springs and pawls
LINES

  • Wind the lines and backing off the reel onto a line winder. The winders are available from Sportfish or Carrilon UK for a small sum and are well worth the investment.
  • Once you have the line and the backing, you can re-wind, checking the backing for rot or damage as you go.
  • Now check the connection to the line. I use an improved Albright Knot – if in doubt re-do the connection.
  • Before you start to wind the line onto the reel clean the line; a soft cloth, soap and water is all you need. Please use ordinary soap! Do not use detergents like washing up liquid as these tend to damage the line. Run the line through the soft, soapy cloth to the end and rinse through the cloth in clean water by winding it back again.
  • Treat your floating line with silicone to improve its performance.
  • Check the braided leader loop for wear and check that the line has not cracked where it joins it. If in doubt, replace the loop.  I prefer to make my own loops at the end of the line either by welding a loop in the line or by needle knotting a short piece of 20lb nylon to the line ending in a perfection loop on the end.
  • Check your shooting head lines for wear where it joins the running line.
LEADERS

  • Replace all the leaders with new ones. I like to use tapered leaders and add tippets to suit the length I want to fish.
  • Check out your leader wallet and re- stock with new leaders.
FLY BOXES

  • Tidy flies
  • Remove used and rusty flies
  • Tie up flies or buy in replacements
FISHING BAG

  • Empty out and check tools, priest, temperature gauge, marrow spoon, scales, de-barb pliers and any other bits and pieces you take with you.
FISHING VEST

  • Empty all pockets and remove dross
  • Check:  zingers, nippers, scissors and knot tying tools if you have them
  • Replace flies in fly boxes
  • Check sunglasses for damage and clean
LANDING NET

  • Check for holes and repair or replace
  • Check the net release if you use one
WADERS & BOOTS

  • Check for waders for leaks and repair or replace as necessary
  • Clean waders
  • Check boot soles and heels are not loose – replace if necessary
  • Clean boots
WET WEATHER GEAR

  • Make sure it is waterproof and check for holes or tears – repair or replace if necessary.
WADING STAFF
  • Check the lanyard attachment and the rubber shoe at the base.
BOAT SEAT

  • Check fastenings and swivel.

FISHING LICENSE

……* Buy online or visit your nearest Post Office in England & Wales.

.

.

.

______________________________________________________________________

If there is anything I’ve left out, be my guest and leave a comment below; this is a resource for everyone to use and I’d be more than happy to revise the list with your suggestions. Until next time, happy fishing! 😀

.

.


Fly Fishing Women

I have just read an excellent article in the Express.co.uk about fly fishing women. I’ll put a link at the bottom of this post, but in a nutshell the article talks about three British women’s journey into the wonderful world of fly fishing. The lovely ladies in question are: Martha Thomson, Lucy Bowden and Carol-Anne Armstrong.

I have to say that as a game angling instructor I have found that over the many years I have been instructing, there has been a significant and welcome increase in women taking up the sport either individually or with their partners.

Fly-Fishing-Women

(Pictured above: Anne Champion and Sue Macniven, both APPGAI Advanced Instructors)

This of course covers both game fishing and coarse fishing. The reason for this I believe is that it is an activity that does not demand brute strength, rather, it requires a lightness of touch as well as  excellent timing and technique, skills that can be attributed to both men and women in equal measures.

I must say fly fishing appears to be more attractive to women in many cases than coarse fishing as the bait (flies) used is made up from silks and feathers to represent insects, as opposed to coarse fishing, where maggots and worms and other such less appealing bait is used. In some cases, handling this type of bait is not an attractive proposition, dare I say, particularly for women.

A Brief History Of Women’s Fly Fishing

Women have been involved in angling in one way or another for many centuries. Dame Juliana Verna wrote a book called “Treatise on the Angle” published in 1497.

From the mid 19th to the mid 20th century the well to do would take their autumn holidays on their estates in Scotland, Wales and Ireland to stalk deer, shoot grouse and fish. In those days it was not “the done thing” for women to shoot so they were taken fly fishing for salmon, sea trout and trout on the estate’s rivers.

In fact, most of the national records for the largest salmon caught are still held by women; these days from all socio economic backgrounds, in contrast to the early days where it the domain of the wealthy landowners and their house parties.

Life has changed a great deal since those days with the advent of the midlands reservoirs and other large still waters. Fly fishing has become accessible to everyone and the modern equipment needed is within easy reach of all who would like to take up the sport.


Are Women Better Than Men At Fly Fishing?

fly-fishing-lessons-1

Women are fly fishing in greater numbers these days than many of you might think. We have ladies teams competing all over the world and there are many women fly fishing on a regular basis with their husbands or partners; and can you guess who catches the most fish more often than not? Yes, sorry chaps, it’s the ladies. Controversial maybe, but in my experience, this often the case. I’d love to hear your opinion on this at the bottom of this post.

Many fisheries have facilities for women now and the clothing manufacturers such as Hardy Grays and Orvis are now making excellent clothing and waders especially designed for women.

Fly Fishing For Women Recovering From Breast Cancer

One other point to add is the therapeutic value of the action of casting whilst fishing. It has been proven that fly fishing has been a tremendous help to women who have undergone surgery for breast cancer. So much so that an organization called Casting For Recovery has been formed. Casting For Recovery is a charity which provides fly fishing retreats for breast cancer survivors. They have enclaves around the UK where women can go to help their recovery.

Casting-For-Recovery

Women’s Fly Fishing In Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Norfolk and Lincolnshire

Last year on my courses over 50% of the participants were women, either on their own, with friends or with partners. If you or your friends are in the Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Norfolk or Lincolnshire regions then I would be more than happy to introduce you to the wonderful world of fly fishing.

All you have to do is contact me for details of our introductory sessions, bring a friend if you want and come along to one of our fisheries for a morning to learn about fly fishing for women.

This year we are running coffee mornings at several fisheries for women and girls who might be interested. If you like what you see you can book your first fly fishing course. If you thinks it’s not for you then nothing lost, you’ll at least have enjoyed a morning trying something new. All the equipment you need will be provided on any course you take.

Fly Fishing Women Video

Here’s a great video to see a women’s fly fishing lesson in action.  I had the great privilege of being featured in one of John Bailey’s “On The Fly” TV series.

In the video, John discusses how in Scandinavia and America women anglers significantly outnumber their male counterparts and asks the question: “Why are so few women attracted to the sport in the UK?” John Bailey enlisted my help to examine the state of women’s fishing in the UK. Along with John and myself, Pauline Smith and her nine-year-old daughter Megan took to Norfolk’s Bure Valley lakes to put their talents to the test – with some surprising results.


Encourage More Female Brits To Take Up Fly Fishing

To close this post I’ll go back to the start and suggest you have a look at the article I mentioned earlier: Fishing: Meet The Three Female Converts Who Can’t Get Enough Of The Sport.

I have to endorse the article and suggest you visit the featured ladies’ web sites too.  I know all the women featured and I can assure you they are dedicated fly fisherwomen!

Please forward this and Tweet it to as many women and girls as you can and let’s encourage the female population of the UK to take up this wonderful sport just as their counterparts in the US and Scandinavia have.

Thanks for reading. Your comments are most welcome.

Tim

Tim Gaunt-Baker

tweet-norfolk-fly-fishing