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!!

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!!

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Salmon Fly Fishing Course – River Nith, Dumfriesshire, Scotland

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3 Days For Just £375 Inclusive

To be held at:

Friars Carse Hotel
on the River Nith in Dumfriesshire, March 26th to 28th, 2012
Tim Gaunt Baker

This course is designed for both newcomers to the sport and those who have taken it up recently and need to learn more about fishing for Salmon. If you have never done it before or you have trouble covering the river effectively this is course for you!

We will be covering all of the following topics over the 3 days and you will be fishing the river with all the casts we will show you.

  • Equipment set up and how maintain it
  • Wading safely
  • Roll and Jump Roll
  • Spey Casts
  • Snap casts
  • Line management Knots
  • Reading the water
  • Etiquette
  • The use of shooting heads and Skagit lines
  • Fly selection and tying
  • Other methods  used for fishing for Salmon

You will be using the casts we teach to cover the pools we allocate and  there is a chance of a Spring Salmon or a Kelt, so be prepared.

The cost of the course is:

  • £375  inclusive of 3 nights Dinner, B&B and  all tuition and fishing.
  • Hardy & Greys rods lines will be available for you to use.
  • Bring your trout rods as you will also have some Grayling fishing whilst you are here.
  • There are only 6 places available so book now to avoid disappointment.
  • Your lead Instructor will be Tim Gaunt-Baker A.A.P.G.A.I

 

Tim Gaunt-Baker Salmon fishing

Itinerary

Day 1

  • Introduction to Salmon fishing and the river Nith a Power point presentation
  • Understanding the mechanics of the Rod and line, Reel set up etc.
  • A group session covering the Roll Cast and the Jump Roll (Accelerated Roll cast)
  • Split into pairs and practice these two casts.
  • We will be around to help you perfect these.
  • Move on to the Single Spey cast if appropriate.
  • Evening workshop- Leaders and Knots

Day 2

  • Look at lines and their uses, Floating, Sink tip, Intermediate, and Sinking Lines
  • Group session on the Single Spey from both banks
  • Work on the Single Spey cast, from either Bank. Understand the faults.
  • Group session on the Double Spey cast
  • Move on to the Double Spey and work through your allocated pool
  • Evening session- Flies for all seasons

Day 3

  • What to look for when fishing –Reading the Water
  • Some other methods used for fishing for Salmon.
  • Followed by a Group session.
  • Snap casts and their uses.
  • Shooting Head and Skagit Lines: where and when to use them.
  • Practice the Snap casts, Use the shooting heads and Skagit lines.
  • Final session we will go through all the casts, one by one and sorting out any problems as we progress. A CD with all you have learnt and casting notes will be available for you to take home.
  • Close and depart 5pm or if you wish to stay a further night and fish the next day this can be arranged.

This is what it is all about!

salmon fishing

Where You Will Be Staying

Friars Carse Hotel – Dumfries

Set in a 45 acre estate including woodland extending to the banks of the River Nith, the 3 star country house hotel, with its magnificent panelled entrance hall and elegant staircase, offers guests a warm welcome with a well-furnished spacious lounge with views over the garden and river, a comfortable bar and a panelled snooker room with full sized table. The hotel has a lift to all floors.

The 21 en suite bedrooms have remote control television, telephone, hairdryer and tea/coffee making facilities.

Friars Hotel Dumfries

Contact me here to book your place on this course.

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.

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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! 😀

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Fly Fishing in Norfolk with Tim Gaunt-Baker