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

No. 60 Orvis Blog

March 2015
Written by: Paul Procter

Andros Flats Hiker

Dressed by master fly-tier Paul Little, Kelson’s Claret Grub in all its glory.

Orvis Guide – World Class:
February 2015 saw those deft in the art of dressing classic salmon flies congregate at the British Fly Fair International to take part in The BFFI Annual World Championship Grub Challenge. Consisting of a multi-jointed and hackled salmon fly, grubs are a class of classic Atlantic salmon fly that are pretty much forgotten by most these days. This year there were entries from the USA, Ireland, and England. Set by the previous winner (Stack Scoville, USA), this year’s challenge was the Kelson’s Claret Grub from the Fishing Gazette. With delicate shades of claret running through the fly, most of the competitors had to dye their own materials before attempting the fly. The flies were judged by Steve Cooper of Cookshill Fly Tying, who labelled Orvis Guide Paul Little’s entry the best in class. With such a strong field contesting the title, it’s undisputable that Paul Little is “World Class.”    

WTT Auction:
Along with Orvis UK, their team of Pro Guides feature heavily in this year’s WTT Auction to make the Lots both as attractive and exciting as ever.  Orvis have donated a day on a prime Itchen beat at Abbots Worthy for two rods. Dave Martin and Steve Rhodes, both of Go Fly Fishing UK, are offering independent outings on various Dales rivers. Toby Coe has a Lot for a day on an intimate Devon stream. Conversely, Howard Day has provided shooting for one gun, chasing woodcock over a pointer. Others who have kindly contributed are Steve Yeoman, Hamish Young, and yours truly. To avoid disappointment, log in to and register your bid before Thursday, 12 March.

Cove's PTN
Purple Haze

Many consider this fly to be all things to all trout—ideal for spring!


Medium wire size 8-14

Claret 14/0 sheer
Copper wire
Body & Thorax Cover

Cock pheasant centre-tail fibres

Rabbit underfur dubbing
Parachute fly

As fat as they come, a New Zealand wild brown trout in its prime, after dining out on mice.

Mouse About…
Every five or six years the beech mast in New Zealand provides a surplus of seeds which, in turn, see an explosion of rodents. With 2015 billed for such a phenomenon, I hurried down there to see what all the fuss was about. Obviously the angling press had it that mice were running riot everywhere, yet only certain areas and valleys played host to this unique event. Following what seemed like weeks of research, we finally got ourselves in a system reputed to contain high levels of mice. Granted, you rarely catch trout on a mouse pattern, instead they single out nymphs or dries during daylight. And what trout! Fat as butter, they pull like trains. One thing’s for sure—the Helios2 905 midflex was more than up to the challenge. Of course, it’s another five years before this happens again…watch this space!

Fly of the Month:
With its curved abdomen so evocative of natural chironomids, Cove’s PTN has to rank as one of the county’s leading buzzer imitations. Devised on the large Midlands reservoirs, where early-season buzzer pupae can equate to a size 8 hook, this tying is all you need during the opening weeks.  On smaller stillwaters or natural lakes, buzzers tend to be somewhat smaller; here, a Cove’s PTN fashioned on a size 12-14 hook has more worth. When dressing the PTN, remember not to twist the pheasant tail fibres, which tends to create a bulky, undesirable body. Instead, let the fibres lay flat and adjacent to each other. If you require protection for the pheasant tail strands, then try a layer of varnish over the hook shank prior to winding them.  

As for fishing Cove’s PTN, it’s tempting to say, “Just cast out and simply hang on…” In truth, there’s a bit more to it than that. Cove advocates a long leader with some three flies evenly spread. Those new to fly fishing understandably find such arrangements daunting. In which case, a single fly on a 9-ft leader will suffice, or even two PTNs separated by some 5 ft on an overall leader of 12 ft. Naturally, the retrieve needs to be slow when itching back your flies, which should become second nature.

2015 Schools and Courses:
In 2015, Orvis look to extend their already comprehensive range of Schools and Courses. Aside from the usual chalkstream days and stillwater schools, they are offering beginners’ courses and remain committed to ladies’ days, following lots of interest and consequent success during 2014.  Free beginners’ days are also scheduled at participating Orvis stores, and take place at the weekend. Click here for details on all of these exciting and informative days.

Earlier Reports