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Learn to fish moving water with the River Academy DVDs

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Terry Lawton reviews the River Academy DVD series Terry Lawton reviews the River Academy DVD series

Join 5 times English national river champion John Tyzack as he shows actor Dean Andrews the ins and outs of fly fishing rivers on these 2 DVDs.

Small Stream Fishing

Small Stream Trout Fishing is an instructional DVD which forms part of Fish On Productions’ River Academy series. The aim of the series is to show trout fishermen new methods and techniques that will help them to advance their knowledge and skill and so catch fish more regularly and consistently. The DVD is presented by John Tyzack and Dean Andrews.


John Tyzack is a full-time fly fishing instructor and guide who is also a regular England International team member. John entered his first fly fishing competition in 1997, when he won the North West river eliminator and proceeded on to the 1998 National Final, narrowly missing out on a place in the following year's England River’s team. Since then John has fished for England on the rivers every year  from 1999 to 2009. John has won the English National River Championship on five occasions, and has several team gold medals in the Home Rivers International, including an individual win in 2002.


John Tyzack’s pupil is Dean Andrews who is best known for his role as D.S. Ray Carling in the BBC drama Life on Mars (and its follow up series Ashes to Ashes) and describes himself as a fly fisher who acts to pay for his fly fishing.


Small Stream dvdThe two work together very well with a good inter-change of questions and answers and enough banter to keep the tone pleasantly light and enjoyable without detracting from the lessons being delivered.


Small Stream Trout Fishing concentrates on an interesting technique – the Duo which comprises a nymph with a dry fly indicator/fish catcher – delivered on the angler’s knees. John Tyzack was sporting knee pads which he needed, kneeling in a rocky river bed to keep his profile as low as possible. He fished with a short line in a sort of Czech nymph style – certainly short line -  leaving his flies in/on the water for only a very short time. It is an interesting way to fish small streams and pocket water and to cover plenty of water quite quickly. One bit of very good advice from John: “Don’t show him your rod tip” which might frighten a fish close to the angler, was delivered almost too quietly to be heard.


John is very good at showing his pupil, and you the viewer, the best places to fish – the places where you are most likely to find fish – and then how to fish them. While the two presenters are very happy and relaxed on the river with no obvious (inflated) egos at work, I would have liked to have seen the pupil being given a few more opportunities to fish. At times some of the camera work was rather static and you couldn’t always see what John was talking about and there were times when some close-ups would have been helpful. Some of the technical points are covered in the Extras which are broken down into different areas. The Extras should be watched.


My comments about the lack of close-ups apply to some of the fly-tying session as well. John showed Dean, who sits alongside him, what he is going to use, or is doing, but the viewer can’t always see as well.


I hope that my criticisms will be taken in the constructive way that I have made them. Fish On Productions have got two good presenters who work well together and they have succeeded in producing a very informative DVD which has a running time of nearly 90 minutes.

Small Stream Trout Fishing from Dean Hodson on Vimeo.

Small Stream Trout Fishing

Running time approximately 90 minutes. £24.95



Fish On Productions River Academy series


Early Season Trout Fishing


Early Season trout dvdEarly Season Trout Fishing is another instructional DVD from the Fish On Production’s River Academy series, with presenters John Tyzack and Dean Ashton in front of the camera. John Tyzack is a five-times English Rivers champion and Dean Andrews is a fly-fishing actor who starred in Life on Mars and its follow-up series Ashes to Ashes. There is very good chemistry and camaraderie between the two which works very well for the viewer.


The fishing action takes place on the river Wharfe at Bolton Abbey and the fly-tying section in front of an open French window leading to a garden full of spring bird song.


The visit to the Wharfe kicks off – pun intended – with the boys kick-sampling the river bed and identifying the various nymphs that they find. They then discuss the best artificials to use at the start of the season. John recommends searching the water with a team of spiders, fish in such a way that they will represent both hatching/emerging nymphs and swimming nymphs. John fishes with the rod tip held high so that there is slack line between rod and flies and the second the line starts to straighten, it acts as an indicator of a take by a fish. As soon as Dean got his hand on the rod, he started to catch fish.


The two were fishing close to the bank, concentrating on the edges of seams and the slacker water. John is very good at showing his pupil where to fish and why. As he says, foam equals food which in turn equals fish. So that is the right spot to concentrate on.


When some olives started to hatch, John decided that it was time to switch to fishing a dry fly upstream. The selected fly was his JT Olive which is tied with a nice bushy CDC wing. (You can see how to tie it in the Fly-tying section, as well as listening to the birds.) When Dean asked him how far above a rising fish to cast, John suggested only a foot. I hope that I heard him correctly because if I am right, then that it far too close, particularly on a fast river like the Wharfe. I think that I am right because John failed to raise a fish until, on Dean’s advice, he cast further upstream. Having bought some Frog’s Fanny dry-fly dessicant recently, I was very pleased to hear John’s very enthusiastic endorsement of it for treating CDC feathers.


John is a good fly-tying instructor who makes everything look easy which will, I am sure, encourage anglers to have a go at tying their own flies if they do not do so already. I was particularly pleased to see the inset shot of a natural olive and the JT Olive.


This DVD should have wide appeal to any angler who struggles early in the season as well as demonstrating a modern way of fishing spiders, and some hints on dry-fly work.

Early Season Trout Fishing from Dean Hodson on Vimeo.

Early Season Trout Fishing

Running time approximately 87 minutes. £24.95




Both titles are available from:-

Game Fishing Supplies

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