Winter River Fly Fishing for Coarse Fish

bakelit79

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Dec 18, 2006
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Skateboard Dave

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Whetstone - South of Leicester
Cheers for adding the pics Pete.

That roach of mine does look nice. Bet it'd never been caught before.

The water looks proper coloured and swirly in your picture. I don't remember it being that bad.
Looking at it though I wish I was there now dangling a couple of flies down the slack margins.

Dee
 

shad

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Oct 29, 2006
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404
I'd also be interested in the flies you guys use if you get a chance to post.

Not much in the way of coarse fish near me however I will be having a go on the river sheppy in Somerset and also make regular trips to Extremadura so I'm always interested in" coarse" fly patterns.

Cheers Colin
 

shad

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404
Please ignore the above request as Ive found a recipe for Daves fly he kindly posted on a previous thread.

Cheers Colin
 

Skateboard Dave

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Whetstone - South of Leicester
Hi Colin.

I need Pete to post some fly pics as I'm not able to right now.

We tend to use lots of very small squirmy worms, taddys, beaded H.E., beaded pheasant tails. beaded red tags, and pretty much any small beaded nymphs.

Taddys
Tied on jig hooks (12 - 18s) with tungy beads from 5mm - 2.5mm in metallic red, metallic pink or black for clear water.
H.E. or dark olive seem to be the best colours.
For the H.E use the fluff at the base of game bird feathers for the tail.
I really like the stuff on "coq de leon" feathers but whatever is the right shade and length. A bit of fine sparkly dubbing mixed in with the hares ear body is nice too.
Tied very short compared to trout lures - tail only about the length of the hook shank.
The H.E. ones I tie in a pale and a darker shade. The pale ones are almost fry imitations.
Brush the body out so it blends with the tail.
Rib with silver, metallic pink or metallic red wire. (not a gold ribbed H.E.!)
Optional partridge hackle behind the bead.

Squirmys
Best colour Pink/Coral glow
Hook - Barbless Jig (12-16s)
Bead - Tungsten slotted metallic pink (2.5mm - 5mm)
Tail - Squirmy in coral glow (Funky Fly tying)
Body - 50/50 Pale H.E (or similar-rabbit. etc.) & fine synthetic dubbing e.g. Hends Spectra. Mix of colours aiming for a pale to medium pink.
Rib(optional) - silver wire or metallic pink wire.

These are tied like a taddy with just a short tail of squirmy material in place of the soft feather tail. Keep the tail short. No longer than about an inch and a quarter even on the size 12s.
Brush the body out so it blends in with the tail.

A red coloured one is probably the 2nd best colour for us- metallic red bead, red wire rib, red squirmy tail and a fur/synthetic dubbed body to match the tail material colour.

I need to get some black or dark olive coloured squirmy to tie some dark ones with black bead heads for clear water conditions.

For really small squirmys you need to buy a "Hairy Tangle Jnr" which is a fidget toy covered in micro squirmy material.
That is the best stuff I've found so far for micro flies in the 18- 22 range.

Keep your eye out in any tacky toy shop for fidget toys with finer diameter squirmy material. I'm still searching for the ultimate material for flies in the 16-18 range.
I did pick up two pens with the right diameter material in pink and purple but I've not found them again anywhere. :(
If anyone finds a pen with a small "hairy" pig as a "topper" then let me know as I may need a dozen!

Any small beaded nymph will/can work so best to just experiment on your waters.

Hope that helps?

Dee
 

shad

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Oct 29, 2006
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404
Thanks very much for the advice Dee , really appreciated it.

I had never got round to trying squirmy worms as Id mainly thought of them as a small water rainbow fly, makes sense now though .

I shall get some tied for my visit to Somerset in June if the water is up and Spain in October , where I have done well for barbel on the stillwaters but struggled with them on the rivers where Im sure your methods will work, I might need to invest in one of those 12ft rods now though:thumbs:

Cheers Colin
 

Skateboard Dave

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Whetstone - South of Leicester
My parents lived on the costa del sol for a few years so I've been to Spain a fair few times.
I caught some barbel and carp from lakes on huge olive taddys that I'd tied for the black bass- just fishing them blind and deep but from a float tube.

In the river I fished the barbel were only small (pound and half max but most in the 6-8 oz range). I could only catch them on one fly pattern and the best method by far was to find a slack and get upstream of it. Then cast down and across and try and get the flies to drift into the slack water on a tight line.
This also worked really well for the carp in the river. They could be caught on any very light weight fly cast into their path though - stalking style as every slack area seemed to hold a few carp. Nice fish up to about 4 or 5lb which really went on a 5wt.

The pattern for the river barbell was a H.E fly tied on a curved grub hook.
Pretty small sizes - I think 16s were the best.
no tail, ribbed with gold wire, clear glass bead head and a brown partridge hackle behind the bead.
The glass beads were much bigger than most fly tying tiny glass beads -probably about 4mm sized.
Once I found the pattern I tied a load up and found it quite easy fishing where as before finding that fly I was having a total mare! I spent a whole day going through my fly boxes but just couldn't catch a thing.:confused:
The "barbel fly" actually looks quite nice - I'd used it with good effect on grayling when you want a more subtle bead effect. I should tie some more as not used it for years.
I also tied some on gilt hooks which some days out fished the standard - I'd usually fish a team of 3 in a Czech nymph style and concentrated on the faster water (it was high summer and the river very low).
There is no way I'd go back out there without a load of 'em tied up - they may not work on every venue but without them I'd have blanked most of the time!

Barbel Fly (Spanish rivers)
Hook - Kamasan B110 14-18s also B110G (gilt hook) or similar.
Bead Head - Glass seed beads approx. 4mm clear or clear amber/yellow glass
Weight - fine lead wire behind the bead (optional)
Body - Hares ear dubbing.
Tail - None
Rib - Fine gold wire
Hackle - Brown Partridge feather

Variant - swap the H.E. for 3 or 4 strands of peacock herl

The beads you'll need to source from a haberdashery shop- cost ****** all!

I don't know what the fish took it for but it looks very much like a shrimp or caddis pupa - could just have been the right, shape, profile, action or weight?

Tie a bunch Colin -my apologies if they don't work.

Oh yeah, I also caught a couple of nace when I found carp grubbing the bottom. They were hanging around picking off the stray morsels which the carp had disturbed and once or twice one of my barbel flies. :D
 

shad

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Oct 29, 2006
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Thanks again Dee.

I will definitely find some beads and tie some up .

Those would be Andalusian barbel you had most likely , a bit smaller than the common and comizo, I fish for in Extremadura but as it happens I am heading down that way to meet a fishing mate for a day or 2 so your flies will definitely come in handy and I will pass the dressing on to my pal who lives over there.

Cheers Colin
 

jerryrum

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May 13, 2016
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Location
Milton Keynes and Leighton Buzzard
Today the sun came out and the wind dropped so I decided the rivers might be worth a try.

UUnZscI.jpg

Still up and mucky, but the flow had slowed enough to be able to get the flies down.

I headed to a spot that is usually good for a few Roach and the odd Perch, but it was really quiet. It's a loop in the stream with a pool at the apex
xoS6TiI.jpg

Just out of shot are over hanging branches on the far bank. I cast upstream of them and the flies travel around the bend and the fish are normally underneath. Even if I don't hook up I nearly always get taps, but not today.

I changed tactics and drifted the flies to the centre of the stream where there is a midcurrent back eddy, this must have caused both flies to hit the deck as my first fish was a Bullhead on the top dropper.
sjOOQyg.jpg


Although it was a nice surprise, this was not what I was after, so I went back to my original tactics, but let the flies sweep the full way around the bend and in to the top of the next glide. Eventually this paid off.
UYg3kXX.jpg

A nice plump 14 inch Chub

I wasn't going to get anything better than that, so I headed back to the office.

I lost a lot of flies on submerged branches but the Bullhead was caught on something similar to this:
vV8ZRoL.jpg

Copper underwire with a olive soft twisted body dubbing and hen feather tail, #16 bumped hook,

and the Chub on something like this:
WUgaszd.jpg

(although the bead looks silver in the photo?)
Squirmy with copper wire and pink tungsten bead, #16 bumped hook.
 
Last edited:

jerryrum

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May 13, 2016
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319
Location
Milton Keynes and Leighton Buzzard
I was in Oxford with work this morning and took the opportunity to fish the free stretch of the Windrush:
AovF4QR.jpg


I only had half an hour, but I got a couple of Dace and a small Chub.
M9Ltgjp.jpg

jRFHjdG.jpg


It's a beautiful bit of river, I hope I get to go back when the levels are a bit lower.
_________________________________________

This afternoon I was back on home turf. I got a nice Chub on the Ouzel. I'd guess about one and a quarter lbs.
1raWXKc.jpg


All fish were taken on a fly I wouldn't normally use. I bought them for Grayling, but never used them as I thought they were too big and bulky. I only tied them on today to add weight to get the other fly down.
paxhaZ3.jpg

I used a white one on the Windrush and this one on the Ouzel.
 

Skateboard Dave

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Mar 20, 2007
Messages
636
Location
Whetstone - South of Leicester
Last weekend the rivers round here we not up to much so I spent a couple of hours on the GUC. That wasn't up to much either!
2 bites and 2 fish was all I could muster from the very coloured water in a couple of hours of trying.
One tiny perch and a 6lb pike! Was lucky to get the pike in as I didn't have a net with me and it was on 1 inch long size 18 pink squirmy. Hooked cleanly in the top lip so the 3lb mono avoided those line cutting teeth. ;-)

Yesterday the rivers were better so myself and Pete headed to the Black Brook, again.
The colour and flow were about perfect and in a 3 hour session we managed just under 30 fish between us.
I had 13 dace, 3 small chub and a perch.
Including the biggest dace I've ever seen or caught - must have been about 12 inch long and probably 12 oz +. Unfortunately I dropped it back before I could get Pete and his camera. ;-(

Today I took a punt and headed to a water I'd never fished before despite it only being 25mins drive away - the Warks. Avon at Rugby.
I'd been meaning to try it for years but just had never gotten round to it.
I was worried it'd be too "up" and coloured for me to do any damage especially as I wouldn't have a clue which swims would hold fish or even the depth anywhere...that is why you never fish a venue you don't know in winter. Ignoring my own advice again.:rolleyes:
I didn't get to the bankside until gone 2pm so needed to find fish pretty fast or get my first blank in years.
The river was bigger than I expected especially compared to my usual tiny streams. It was also bombing through and carrying colour but not unfishable.
I tried a few near bank semi slack areas but wasn't confident - changing flies to try and hit the deck but was "blind" and struggling.
A walk downstream and I found the river split into two for a few hundred meters.
Here the stream on my side was more manageable - slower and shallower.
Confidence was on the up despite still being "in the dark" . A couple of taps below a sunken tree and I was starting to believe. A fish on and, just as quickly, off got me thinking the dry might not happen. Thirty seconds later I had my hand around a 4 oz chub- the dry avoided I could relax and find out what this side stream/offshoot held. Over the next hour and a half I added chub after chub. All small ones no bigger than 6 or 7 oz tops but great fun and they were taking on the dangle in water that really seemed too fast for them to be in?
The fast water made the takes really positive and easy to hook. The fight was much better too, thanks to the flow, those tiny chub were bending my rod really well.
I ended up with 32 chub and one nice dace - a superb result and far better than I could have dreamt of when I first saw the river.
I can't wait to go back when it's lower so I can try the main river. It could be a great venue - fingers crossed I didn't just hit a lucky area today.
 

kato

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Jan 20, 2011
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East Yorkshire
Dave, when you're fishing this way, what indication are you looking for, which signals a bite? Line straightening? Taps on the rod top? Are they quite definite? Do you fish right on the bottom? Sorry for all the questions but I've got a nice 3# rod that I should be making more use of! What strength tippet do you use?
Cheers, Kato.
 

Skateboard Dave

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Whetstone - South of Leicester
Hi Kato.

Because I'm usually dangling downstream the line tends to be pretty tight so bites are quite positive. This can be the line straightening, if fishing with a nice loop/arc of line to the water, when the rod is held high.
Often you'll get a tap or taps on the rod tip especially if you can't fish with loose line from your rod to the water. If you have a very short line from your rod tip you'll probably only get taps which can be hard to hit but often you'll have to fish a short line to get in the spots like when pulling in tight behind a snag.
In slower swims the takes can be very subtle so a gentle strike at even the tiniest movement on the line is needed. You tend to spot everything as the fishing is best at close range - a 1cm twitch with only a couple of foot of fly line out is easy to see but not with 20 yards of line out.

If you think there are perch around then fish a heavier tungy fly and jig it back. This is really effective if you can get your rod tip directly above them. The takes from perch when jigging are almost always one sharp tap like someone has flicked your rod handle. Strike at these asap and you hook up almost every time.
Sometime takes can be very frustratingly hard to hit - gentle, subtle twitches and trembles but other times you'll get a tap and your rod will just hoop over.
Fine wire barbless hooks help subtle takes turn into hook ups.

Like most fishing you'll sometimes see/feel nothing but have a fish on when you lift off - nice when it happens but you do feel like you've fluked 'em that way.

ATB

Dee
 

Skateboard Dave

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Tippet - not as fine as you may think.
Co polymer double strength stuff from 3lb to 6lb.
Heavier line if the swims are snag filled or I'm expecting proper chub.
Finer line when after roach or dace in clear water.
Dee
 

Skateboard Dave

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Messages
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Location
Whetstone - South of Leicester
Managed to get out again today for a short, 11:30am to 2:30pm, session on the ever productive Black Brook.
Winter was back with a vengeance which didn't help my cold / flu strained body or mind. All day yesterday had been spent not moving from the sofa ,under several blankets, so I really needed a breath of air although slightly warmer air would have been preferable. ;-)
It was properly Baltic - only 1 or 2 degree, with gale force winds and snow/sleet showers every 20 minutes.
The little brook was borderline. I really believed a "dry" was a distinct possibility from the look of the filthy, gushing water. At least this late in the winter leaves wouldn't be an issue and maybe the water would clear a touch as the day progressed? It didn't! Heavy rain/sleet showers upstream put paid to that glimmer of hope. If anything it was dirtier when I left than first thing.

I started at a swim which usually produces something when it looks hopeless. Today it didn't but I did have one deff. tap and a couple of "maybes". After 30 mins. of trying I decided to move upstream in search of slack water although that had been my banker swim.
I was thinking if upstream didn't work then at least I'd have rested the "banker" and could try it later when it would produce!

I need not have worried though as a fast, wide, shallow swim a few hundred meters up unexpectedly gave up 2 nice perch, a fat 8oz dace and a hand sized roach. It seemed far too shallow and fast especially for the roach but the far side was slower and under the opposite bank overhanging brambles was almost still but only about a foot deep. It seems a foot is enough when the water is filthy. :whistle:
After that my confidence was up and fish were added pretty regularly from various slacks and eddies.
I ended with 15 fish - 8 perch, 3 big dace, a roach & 3 chub (4oz, 1lb and 1.5lb).
The "banker" never produced even for my second attempt on the way back to my vehicle. There were fish in it as I even pulled up a scale at one point but I couldn't catch?
Fly of the day was a metallic pink tungy bead squirmy using "coral glow" material from Toby at Funky Fly Tying. That colour is magic in dirty water - every fish fell to it today!

I drove back in a mad blizzard with the car's thermometer reading minus 1deg C. Winter is still hanging in.
 

shad

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Joined
Oct 29, 2006
Messages
404
My parents lived on the costa del sol for a few years so I've been to Spain a fair few times.
I caught some barbel and carp from lakes on huge olive taddys that I'd tied for the black bass- just fishing them blind and deep but from a float tube.

In the river I fished the barbel were only small (pound and half max but most in the 6-8 oz range). I could only catch them on one fly pattern and the best method by far was to find a slack and get upstream of it. Then cast down and across and try and get the flies to drift into the slack water on a tight line.
This also worked really well for the carp in the river. They could be caught on any very light weight fly cast into their path though - stalking style as every slack area seemed to hold a few carp. Nice fish up to about 4 or 5lb which really went on a 5wt.

The pattern for the river barbell was a H.E fly tied on a curved grub hook.
Pretty small sizes - I think 16s were the best.
no tail, ribbed with gold wire, clear glass bead head and a brown partridge hackle behind the bead.
The glass beads were much bigger than most fly tying tiny glass beads -probably about 4mm sized.
Once I found the pattern I tied a load up and found it quite easy fishing where as before finding that fly I was having a total mare! I spent a whole day going through my fly boxes but just couldn't catch a thing.:confused:
The "barbel fly" actually looks quite nice - I'd used it with good effect on grayling when you want a more subtle bead effect. I should tie some more as not used it for years.
I also tied some on gilt hooks which some days out fished the standard - I'd usually fish a team of 3 in a Czech nymph style and concentrated on the faster water (it was high summer and the river very low).
There is no way I'd go back out there without a load of 'em tied up - they may not work on every venue but without them I'd have blanked most of the time!

Barbel Fly (Spanish rivers)
Hook - Kamasan B110 14-18s also B110G (gilt hook) or similar.
Bead Head - Glass seed beads approx. 4mm clear or clear amber/yellow glass
Weight - fine lead wire behind the bead (optional)
Body - Hares ear dubbing.
Tail - None
Rib - Fine gold wire
Hackle - Brown Partridge feather

Variant - swap the H.E. for 3 or 4 strands of peacock herl

The beads you'll need to source from a haberdashery shop- cost ****** all!

I don't know what the fish took it for but it looks very much like a shrimp or caddis pupa - could just have been the right, shape, profile, action or weight?

Tie a bunch Colin -my apologies if they don't work.

Oh yeah, I also caught a couple of nace when I found carp grubbing the bottom. They were hanging around picking off the stray morsels which the carp had disturbed and once or twice one of my barbel flies. :D

Dee

Found some clear plastic beads but they might be a bit small, this one is a 14 , does it look close?
 

Skateboard Dave

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Mar 20, 2007
Messages
636
Location
Whetstone - South of Leicester
Hi Shad.

Yeah, looks pretty close. Mine were probably a little fatter looking but I did have some tied with lead underbodies since they are pretty light wt.
I marked the leaded ones with a black spot of varnish on the bead so I'd know which ones had the ballast in 'em.
I think mine had a couple of turns of peacock herl just behind the bead - I'd forgotten about that but found a couple in my box
I've just found some of my old bead packs in a flytying box here so if you let me know your addy I'll send you a few over to tie with. (clear silver lined and clear yellow/gold glass in a few sizes)
You want the bead to look too big for the fly - then it's right!

It can be right ***** getting the beads around the bend (need to debarb). If you struggle like mad and have to flex the hook loads then the size is probably about right. ;-)

You need to be a little careful with your back cast when using them as being glass they can shatter if you hit rocks & stones.

ATB
Dee
 

jerryrum

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May 13, 2016
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319
Location
Milton Keynes and Leighton Buzzard
With the end of the season in sight I wasn't going to let the big freeze put me off.

I decided Thursday was a Snow Day and instead of the office I headed to the local stream.

When I got there I was in for a bit a suprise, I'd never seen it frozen before.


https://i.imgur.com/177UHFs.jpg[\IMG]
[ATTACH=CONFIG]13871._xfImport[/ATTACH]

I found a few spots that were still flowing and gave it my best shot.

[ATTACH=CONFIG]13872._xfImport[/ATTACH]

I wish I could say that I had overcome the odds, but after two hours, and no fish, the cold got the better of me and I went home on a blank.

At least now I can say I've tried ice fishing!

[ATTACH=CONFIG]13873._xfImport[/ATTACH]
 
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