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Essential Skills DVDs - Search & Sight Fishing + Chalk Stream Entomology

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Reviewed by Paul Sharman

Part 1. Search & Sight Fishing

Essential Skills with Oliver Edwards - click here to visit the website!

While this collection of DVDs is not new we had yet to investigate the series ourselves and will over the course of the next few months look into each individual title in depth. I had the chance recently to pick up this particular DVD whose title caught my eye in particular.

Opening the case the first thing I noticed was a small booklet inside the cover and upon opening it up I was pleased to find the materials lists for the 3 main fly patterns covered in the footage. Sawyer's Pheasant Tail Nymph, Sawyer's Killer Bug and the Deep Diving Shrimp. A small touch but an important one as it's always hard otherwise to try and write down materials lists when mentioned only in the footage.

The DVD menu then presents you with the choice of playing all of Part 1, Part 2 or choosing selected scenes from either so you can choose to play the tying sequences only for example when you want to sit down and tie some up yourself and follow along.

Search & Sight Fishing with Oliver EdwardsSadly I have never had the chance to meet Oliver Edwards as yet personally but the first thing that struck me was here was 'one of us' just explaining what he had learned over the years. There is no feeling of being talked down to, just good solid advice but it is never given as gospel. Experience teaches us all in the end that there is never only one way to fish a particular water and I was pleased to see that Oliver preferred to take the approach of explaining what he was doing and why as he worked his way up some beautiful waters on the upper and middle Avon, Frank Sawyer's water indeed where he usd to be a river keeper. There is also some fishing on the Lambourn too, another exquisite little chalkstream.

Sawyer is the common thread in the first section of the DVD in that his famous Pheasant Tail Nymph and Killer Bug are described, tied and fished on the water in which they were developed quite literally 'in Frank Sawyer's footsteps'. The sight fishing element of nymph fishing these waters is explained, what to look for as the fly works back towards you and tips for how to maximise your opportunities and hookups with this style of fishing. Quick wits and quicker reactions seem to be the order of the day.

Please press Play below!

Part 2. The Deep Diving Shrimp and Chalk Stream Entomology.

Hatch pools are explained and probed with the Deep Diving Shrimp - the detailed tying of which is show on film.The second part of the DVD starts with Oliver undertaking some kick-sampling to show us the small beasties that make up the trout's diet in a typical chalkstream environment, but which of course also applies to other rivers in particular also.

It might be the boy in me who loved wandering up streams in his wellies as a kid, but I found this fascinating. The close up photography of the various nymphs and bugs shown is nice and clear and they are separated into several classes to show the main differences between them. This is not a biology class I am glad to say, just a very good explanation of why we as anglers should take a little more notice of the natural larder the trout are choosing from. Unless you make a habit of poking your nose into the watery world, you will come away armed with a little more knowledge for sure than when you started - I did.

Having never really seen a live mayfly nymph up close before, only our fly box representations which are close in some respects, they are not often as close as Olivers jointed pattern that he dropped in alongside the half dozen monsters in his collection box for comparison (see video below). Sadly that pattern does not get discussed but one that does is the 'Deep Diving Shrimp' modelled after the freshwater shrimp collected in his net and which he uses in the film to successfully target fish inhabiting the deep hatch pools.

Again the close up photography is crisp and clear and with good use of the pause button you could easily follow along step by step to tie this very imitative pattern. I found when he had finished tying the pattern I uttered an involuntary 'fantastic'!

Please press Play below!

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