The Orvis Fly Fishing Report: Paul Procter reports on current fly fishing conditions in UK and abroad.

Updated: 9 December 2013
No. 45 Orvis Blog

Alba’s Stewart Collingswood displays the kind of pollock on offer in Scotland at the moment

Some Pollock may appear modest in size, yet they pull like fish twice their weight. This beauty fell to a clouser minnow.

A Pinch of Salt:
Principally a game fishing guide, Stewart Collingswood of Alba Game Fishing has recently been offering fly fishing and light line lure fishing for Pollock.  Stewart tells me that sport during this backend has been nothing short of spectacular.  Of course, convincing clients that great fun be had by pitching a clouser minnow into the north sea was his biggest hurdle.  However, once anglers warmed to the idea Stewart has been kept busy.  With plenty of specimens regularly topping 10lb then at least a 9-weight outfit is recommended to prevent these tenacious fish from reaching kelp beds.  But even a 10-weight hasn’t stopped some fish, which literally smashed the terminal tackle to pieces.  Although early days, so far the best flies have been a black, or chartreuse over white clouser minnow with soft baits proving popular with those preferring a light spinning rod.  Best of all, so long as nasty conditions don’t prevail then sport can be experienced right through winter.

Find Stewart here

Grayling Research Trust hard at work:
With the bit firmly between their teeth the Grayling Research Trust recently launched a couple of surveys in a bid to better understand Grayling and their movements. Both projects are headed by Citizen Science which asks for us the “ordinary” angler to become involve by contributing their findings that in many cases are just as valuable as any discoveries by biologist! 

The first is the “Grayling Weight Survey” that is hoped will better understand the “condition factor” of grayling which not only has seasonal variations, but can alter from river to river.  This requires fishermen to record the length and weight of their catch.  The second study is the “Grayling Spawning Survey”, being undertaken because there is little information on the spawning movements of grayling.  To help people recognize when grayling are spawning, a video is available to watch on the GRT website under About Grayling (Spawning).

If you notice grayling spawning, please let the GRT know: the River, Date, Location (NGR, or marked up map, if possible but certainly at least nearest town/village) and any additional observations. To report grayling weights and spawning sightings, visit the links below.  Our thanks must go to Steve Rhodes for making us aware of these exciting projects.

Info on the Grayling Weight Survey

Info on Spawning Grayling Survey

Despite recent floods the Welsh Dee’s grayling remain in tip condition as this beauty caught by Andrew testifies.

Topsy-Turvy on the Welsh Dee:
Northern parts of the UK suffered weeks of flooding right through October and into early November.  This prevented many fishermen from enjoying the much anticipated grayling fishing that’s generally top drawer stuff throughout autumn.  Once river levels abated Andrew Cartwright was one of the first to be back at them.  Initially, fish were difficult to find, but Andrew finally located shoals packed tight into shallow runs rather then their usual winter haunt of deep channels or dubs.  Best of all these fish were in a receptive mood and have responded well to a range of tactics though a brace of lightweight nymphs presented on the “French Style” leader seem a favourite method.  Given normal conditions, Andrew intends to guide right through the winter months

Find Andrew here

Admittedly, not one of the massive migratory tarpon, but Paul Little is proud as punch with this spanking fish during tough conditions

Not your typical target species of a saltwater flat, yet I’d take sharks like this everyday of the week, especially when bonefish remain elusive!

Rain in the tropics too…
Reports suggest it’s been raining everywhere recently.  In a bid to avoid the winter blues, Paul Little and myself escaped to Ascension Bay, Mexico.  Usually, we’re treated to clear blue skies and zephyr like breezes.  However this year, Mexico had a sting in her tail with a nasty series of weather fronts.  Now wet conditions might not necessarily mean “cold”, but trying to spot prized bonefish under a blanket of cloud is damn near impossible.  Thankfully, we found solace in predatory species with tarpon, snook, barracuda and sharks all playing their part.  At least we could locate these fish by their feeding activities when they often exploded out of the water in spectacular fashion!   

Christmas, a time for giving:
The festive season is upon us once more and buying gifts for any sportsman can be a tricky business.  You could take the easy option with a pair of socks, a tie or swanky cufflinks, but something more imaginative like an Orvis gift card will be much appreciated by those who fish or shoot.  Available in a choice of designs and denomination these gift cards are redeemable at any Orvis retail. 

Find Gift Cards here

2014 Schools and Courses
Orvis are busy preparing for 2014. As ever there will be several schools and courses to cover all aspects of fly fishing. So whether you’re a beginner or more seasoned rod, chances are there’ll be something for you. Dates and venues will be posted on the website soon here.

For all Orvis schools and courses click here

For further information and bookings
please contact Judy Thornton.
Phone: 01264-349515

Paul Procter
Orvis UK
Novbember 2013

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