Monday, 29 July 2013

B-WO Para Spinner:


Hook: Partridge Spider #16

Tail: Pale dun cock hackle fibres

Thread: Orange 14/0 Sheer

Abdomen &Thorax: Mahogany brown Superfine dubbing

Wing: Fl yellow TMC aero dry wing

Hackle: Pale dun cock hackle


I’ve be using is the little tinker for about 10 years now and aside from hook model it’s changed little from those early days.  The original traded on three carefully place microfibbets…is that one ‘T’ or two ‘Ts’ in fibbet(t)?  However, I don’t agonise over separating tailing fibres anymore as many spinners are often missing a tail filament or two.  Instead, a few cock hackle fibres are arranged in a bedraggled bunch that when wet simply mat together, just as you’d find on the real McCoy. 

Designed as a low riding imitation the important feature is an obvious wing post, which is where the fluorescent yellow TMC aero dry wing comes in.  This stuff really stands out in poor light, so you’re aware of your fly’s whereabouts and how it behaves in relation to current lanes.  Sure, spinners tied with poly yarn wings work a treat, but they’re a bugger to see, especially at dusk.

Short in short shank length the Partridge Spider Hook is perfectly suited for tying B-WO spinner patterns though the shank is “cranked” al a Stuart Crofts’ spinner.  Viewed from beneath, you can clearly see the parachute hackle has been clipped fore and aft to leave sideways fibres that represent the splayed wings of a spent natural…a neat job. 








~The same pattern viewed from above…just the job for tempting trout sipping down spent spinners…





Below: Dressed on the Partridge Spider Hook this alternative utilises Medallion Wing Sheeting for that crucifix profile.  Both durable and flexible, Medallion Sheeting makes for life like wings that even crumple to take on that spent look.  Though you’re totally reliant on the TMC yarn to float this pattern, ideal on smooth, gentle glides…not so clever where faster flows exist, which tend to swamp the fly.  I did try incorporating CdC fibres, but these make for a fussy looking imitation.  All that said, it’s been absolute dynamite on idle, oily like surfaces where trout have an age deciding on whether to take a fly or not!









From above…Medallion Wing looks the business

Saturday, 27 July 2013

B-WO Bean feast:

P1040964I’m lucky that my local river boasts a decent population of Blue-Winged Olives, yet over the last week their numbers have swelled to unbelievable proportions.  In fact, on three consecutive evenings so many B-WO spinners spilled downstream that the trout quickly got their fill.  This of course might have crammed the action into 60 minutes or so, but what an hour…the trout went positively berserk.  Though with so many naturals about, not only did you need a decent imitation, accurate casting was called for too.  Generally as fishermen we shun hot weather, yet with spinner action like this, as far as I’m concerned the longer it lasts the better!






…A carpet of B-WO spinners like this is a rare spectacle these days, so I for one enjoyed it by returning night after night…







This solid 2lb plus fish couldn’t resist a #16 para spinner.  However, because he only had a tiny window of vision it took several casts to achieve the correct line of drift right over his head


Wednesday, 17 July 2013

…Last Knockings…


No surprise that the heat wave has shrunken our rivers to alarmingly low levels.  That coupled with climbing water temperatures has knocked daytime sport.  Come that last hour though the fishing kicked off big time.  I’m lucky that my home river contains not only Blue-Winged Olives, but several species of caddis too.  Both have been hatching off as the light fades, sending trout into a feeding frenzy.  The best of it though has been when B-WO spinners came tumbling, encouraging fish to continue sipping well after dark.  Granted, because it’s visual, day time sport takes some beating, but there’s something magical about last knockings when you can hear good sized trout slurping away in the gloaming!

BWO Spinner




Sending out tiny ripples this B-WO spinner has sealed her fate…such actions make you think about movement as a trigger in our flies!




~Picking off spent spinners this solid fish had edged into shallow water on dark, he aggressively ate a size 16 para-spinner before exploding into life~


Saturday, 13 July 2013

A Trusty Iron…


Tangling with Viking trout requires tackle in which you have 100% confidence.  Sure, rod, reel and tippet are important pieces of kit, but that vital link still remains the hook on which your fly is dressed.  Come evening time, many tales echoed round the Laxa Lodge of epic battles with trophy trout.  There were those that ended in delight, yet others where things had gone horribly wrong.  Everything from broken leaders to snapped rods had caused disaster though one recurring theme seemed to be hook failure. Interestingly, hooks from certain manufactures where regularly being straightened by the Laxa’s spotted warriors.  However, the Partridge K4A (Grub) never buckled in the face of battle…Admittedly, I do crank the eye straight prior to dressing a fly, for in my mind it does look far better, that though is personal opinion.





~Dressed on a size 14 K4A this CdC shuttlecock did untold damage when Laxa trout were looking up for lunch~




…You need a trusty iron when dealing with Icelandic trout like this…


Tuesday, 9 July 2013

A Rum Bunch…


~The Iceland Odyssey Team led by I.A.T. guide Stjani Ben (kneeling)~

Our group of 6 intrepid anglers set up camp on Iceland’s windswept tundra, a stone’s throw from the Arctic Circle.  Under the expert eye of Stjani and Hjölli they enjoyed what is best described as amazing dry fly fishing on various streams.  One particular river produced plenty of fish in the 2-3lb (an excellent average) though sneaking about in his new plimsolls, Rob managed to bag himself a solid 5lb-er.  What he didn’t realise this cost him a round of drinks… In all, a successful trip with many of the group itching to get back. 

Fly Odyssey will be posting trip details for Iceland 2014 soon. 

Monday, 8 July 2013

Finished on a high:


My last morning on the Laxa produced a couple of belting trout to dry fly.  In honesty, the conditions weren’t favourable as a chilly northerly whistled up the valley.  Determined to find a rising fish a fair bit of ground got covered.  Eventually though through sheer bloody mindedness I found a clutch of feeders.  The first trout was a total cocked-up, eagerness saw me lift far too soon. Oddly, this settled my nerves for the next couple of trout which were duly hooked.  Setting the hook is when the fun starts proper for those Laxa fish are brutal beasts that will not yield.  Following the usual argy-bargy, thankfully they were still attached and eventually landed!  




A long, well proportioned fish that punched well above its weight, leaving me feeling beat up, but very happy…






Fish No2…this beggar gave me heart palpations in the rough and tumble of a lava field


Sunday, 7 July 2013

Kept in the dark



White venetian blinds are practically useless when it comes to blocking out light.  So, you can imagine the problem where 24 hour daylight exists…  In a bid for a decent night’s kip, Ian Swettenham and I came up with a temporary black out blind in the form of a black bin liners held in place with strips of gaffa tape.  It work an absolute treat, allowing our eyes to tell our brain it was actually night and time to sleep… 









Taken with a camera flash of  course

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Who cancelled summer…?


Iceland might well be known for it’s turbulent weather conditions, but they usually enjoy a few weeks of warmth in June and July.  And having spent the first couple of days sunning ourselves, we we now paying for it with front after front of bad weather.  Thankfully, the group had turned up with wet weather gear and thermals, so we fished on regardless.  Best of all, it didn’t seem to deter midge from hatching or trout from rising…





James (right) takes a break with an Icelandic guide during some pretty nasty weather











Even the driving rain and snow capped hills didn’t stop young Pat Naish from cracking a smile…one of life’s great optimists…







Wrapped up warm it’s business as usual for Ian Swettenham who leans on a stubborn trout during our Fly Odyssey Iceland experience


Friday, 5 July 2013

Spot the difference…?




Rod’s wading shoes came in the form of £10 sneakers from one of the UK supermarket chains








Normal folk tend to wear something a bit more substantial when it comes to navigating boulder strewn rivers…





Unable to get his felt sole wading boots properly disinfected, thinking on his feet, Rob Hartley invested in a pair of what can only be described as “deck shoes” for wading.  For the first few days where the substrate consisted of ground up volcanic lava all was well.  However, once we got onto more rocky streams Rob did a great impression of Bambi skating on ice… In fairness they lasted the duration, but it’s doubtful whether they’ll ever replace aqua stealth soles loaded with tungsten studs!






Rob fully armed and ready for a day on an Icelandic river though his footwear just doesn’t look right!

Thursday, 4 July 2013

A likely lie…


When it comes to determining where trout choose to lie Iceland’s smaller streams are pretty much like ours.  Occasionally though you come across a fish holed up in a daft corner somewhere.  The arrow (right) points to where one particular fish had taken up residence.  With the flow coming from upstream (top of picture), currents passed to the right on this huge boulder with a percentage of water being recycled round its left side to create a back eddy that in turn, filtered all manner of flies into the narrow channel.  A little bit of trickery topped off with a slice of good fortune and he was mine.  Though he did wrap my round the stonework that initially caused me to dance about as I tried to free my leader…



Up close, you can clearly see that distinctive profile of a solid looking fish




…A size 14 elk hair caddis proved his undoing…


Tuesday, 2 July 2013

It all kicks off:


~Bob Clark making his way up a tasty bit of water~

It’s amazing what a wee bit of sunshine can do, especially when you’re a stone’s throw from the Arctic Circle.  With midge hatching (albeit it briefly…) the trout came hard on the feed and all of our group got into fish.  Bob Clark was first score with some belting trout though he got more than he bargained for when hooked into one particular fish which ran him ragged.  Eventually he got it under control, however this cost him his rod which well and truly exploded during the battle.





Despite his rod being bust, Bob was all smiles after landing this Icelandic specimen











…Bob’s knackered rod that served him well in his hour of need…

Monday, 1 July 2013

Plump Trout…


Despite being a bleak and barren place with only a short summer, Iceland produces some incredibly fat trout.  It all seems a bit of a paradox, especially when you consider that a single midge pupa equates to a mere pin head.  However Iceland’s frigid waters are capable of producing masses of midges which can be calculated in tonnes (weight) per day. And given 24 hours of daylight the fish literally gorge themselves round the clock.  The result is extremely plump trout that boast heavy shoulders and small heads.  The fish above measured all of 21 inches though weighed a massive 4lb 10oz, fat fish indeed.


Another example of prime Icelandic trout and fish in such condition pull as hard as any I’ve encountered on my travels