We have pleasure in sending you some fly recommendations for the coming month courtesy of The Essential Fly's Pro Tyer Sandy Dickson. Sandy is a highly respected angler and tyer with many years of experience. Famous for his fly ranges, such as the Blank Buster Buzzers amongst others, he is also seen each month in Trout Fisherman magazine answering readers fly fishing questions. Click on any of the links in the sections below to see the item up close or to add it to your collection! To see the full ranges go to the site The Essential Fly.
That's it then. Last week brought us to the end of the 2011 salmon season on the Aberdeenshire Dee. It started off well, with good water, good catches and boundless optimism, but by June it all began to go downhill and the decline gathered pace as the year went on. Overall, catches were down nearly 700 on last year's figures. That's a lot of fish. We don't know exactly how many fish came into the river, as the Dee doesn't have a fish counter. It did, but it was considered to be in the 'wrong' place and when it was dismantled, the powers that be couldn't decide where it should be resited, they still can't and so we still don't have one. So whether there is an abundance of fish or a few specimens that are unlucky enough to get caught time after time, we don't really know because tagged fish are also few and far between.
A lot of valuable infomation can be gained by just observing the fish feeding (Rising), or commonly called "The Rise". This is basically the disturbance caused by the fish (Trout in this case) feeding either in, on or just under the water surface. Surface food is taken in ways that relate to the depth the fish are lying. If the trout is three feet or more down he will shoot up, open his mouth and make a splashy rise. But if just under the surface he will suck the fly down and you may only see the edge of his tail as he turns around. By indentifying the type of rise will help you deduce what type of fly form they are feeding on and ultimately decide what type of fly to put on the end of your line. Of corse a marrow spoon would tell you this also, but you havent caught a fish yet have you?
We packed ourselves and our picnic hamper into the 4x4 and off we went in search of the Mighty Atom, a fabled 10lb rainbow trout said to inhabit the depths of the lake. The rule of the syndicate who rent the lake - in reality it's more of a club for chaps who like to use the words shoot, fish and barrel, often in the same sentence - dictates only two rods may be in use at any one time, thus I merely went along for the ride and to make sure the guys didn't get into any serious trouble.
Reading water is a vital skill that most fly fishermen develop through experience on the water. Knowing how to read water effectively will significantly increase your odds of catching a river dwelling fish. Most rivers provide a variety of holding spots that offer the three basic needs of fish; Shelter, Food and Protection. The locations of these prime holding spots will be obvious to some fly fishermen while others may be difficult to determine. The following examples are the areas of a river that I give priority when casting a fly.