Wednesday, 27 December 2017

flounder fly fishing

flatties on the fluff 

so this blog post has developed from a conversation on Edinburgh anglers facebook site and a few folks were interested and didn't actually realize that you could catch flounders on a fly rod well actually yes you can and ive done it a few times in the past and now with me living next to the coast and i actually have a couple of very good spots to practice this not talked about a lot or even much info out there on this dark art and i hope by the end of it you'll also think well actually i would mind trying that if so then you'll be pleasantly surprised at what a great sport fish these actually are .

so a little background on this , flounders in the uk are found all round our coast from river estuary's to open beaches and usually they are well within casting distance for the fly fisher and will feed quite happily in mere inchs of water and at all states of the tide , the flounder like its bigger cousin the halibut are actually an aggressive predator and will readily take flies and are pretty much around all year as well , the uk shore caught record is around 5 LBs i believe but fish to 1 or 2 LBs are fairly common  and even at that size on a fly rod they fight like stink.

to be honest i usually find the best places to be where there is a mix of sand and mud close to river estuaries and you will find the younger fish feed on crustacean and worms and the adult fish well they will take the same plus small fish and there not affraid to have a go at larger stuff as well in fact i remember in my younger days they would launch themselves on large silver tobys meant for other species a fantastic and often overlooked fly species .


 river estuaries no matter how large or small your local estuary is a great place to start above is one of my local ones there are plenty here attracted no only to the roughish  sandy bottom and with its mussel beds but also the mooring ropes and cover of the boats and this particular one is a very easy fish casting wise and it has seen me on occasion wading across to the other side and fishing on the corner which also gives me some great ground to cover 

beaches are also well worth a go although they can be a bit daunting where to start , but have a look at low tide and youll see like another of my local beaches worm casts , well thats half the battle as thats a food source , if you find that youll be sure there will be fish around and again you dont need massive casts to reach them 

another of my spots with a stunning backdrop , this area is very muddy and full of food , if you notice there is a heron in the bottom corner well thats not there for no reason is it , and this area is actually very under fished but well worth putting the hours in especially with a fly rod . and the tide fairly races in when it turns  dislodging all sorts of food items .

so that a couple of locations and what to look for so now we will take a look at the gear i use .


 my main saltwater fly rod is a loop blueline 7/8 wgt this is a 9ft 3 piece which i also use for canal fishing and is more than enough to do the job , but if you have a heavy reservoir trout outfit  like a 6/7 this will also be fine as even if you encounter something else like a bass or sea trout you'll find you wont be too under gunned .


i use an airflo cassette type reel which is all plastic and i have 3 sets of lines fast sink , intermediate and floating  although for my flounder fishing i use a fast sink , the main reason i use plastic reels is theres less chance of stuff rusting up and killing expensive metal reels is something im not keen on doing to be honest , yes you can go out and buy saltwater specific fly reels but they tend to be expensive and well these plastic reels are cheap and do just as good a job , a tip ill give you id that when i come home from fishing i always have a shower and i actually take my rod and reel in with me and give them a good wash down while im having a shower , my wife thinks im bonkers but its a better than having to buy new stuff and your gear will last a life time with a little tlc.


 a lot is written about lines and to be honest i keep things very simple i have 4 lines i use for my fishing , sinking / intermediate / floating / sink tip , for saltwater i may use all 4 depending on where im fishing and what species but for flounder i use a bog standard fast sinking flyline as well although flounders will hunt of the bottom most of the time they will be on the bottom and thats where i want my fly to be if i remember correctly my line sinks at around 6 inch's per second which is plenty for where we hunt flounders and also worth remembering that  salt water is denser than freshwater so your average line will sink slower in the salt but not a great difference so basically just count it down till it stops taking line  then on your next cast you'll know roughly when your on the deck. which ultimately is where your fly wants to be .

now there is of course saltwater specific lines but these tend to be mostly for the hot climates chasing the likes of bonefish and the like which is a whole different ball game and not really one we need to go into here , what i will say though is if you fish a lot of rocky marks its not really worth investing in the big bucks for these lines as they will get shredded stick to cheap lines that you can easily afford on the wallet and not cause you to cry a lot when you buy them . you can get great fly lines for as little as £20:00 which will do you just fine and also woth noting that a lot of the cheaper lines come from the same factories and are often advertised on ebay as mill end lines but without the company name or logo . food for thought that .

but as i said for flounder fishing a straight forward fast sink will do you fine so my line is a basic fast sink in a 9wgt  
im a big fan of fluorocarbons which are pretty much invisible in water i tend to use either 10lb or 15lb leaders in 7ft lengths , i find that flounders are an inquisitive fish and generally not leader shy so you could go with a pretty much standard mono nothing complicated , i do however always use a decent brand of fluro and have used seaguar for many years both in my salt water fishing and pike fishing and its never failed me yet , berkley fluro is also very good and have a few spools of this also.

a word of waring though , if you like your ebay sites for cheap tackle (and who dosnt like a bargain) be very wary of fluro from china , although this make look great and be a great price i actually bought some this year in 10lb b/s and it actually broke while i was testing it at 2lb so just keep that in mind as a fish of a lifetime could be on the end of it , definitely  worth paying a bit extra for a good brand. and also check your leader regularly . run you line between your fingers and if it feels even the slightest bit rough change it .


theres a couple of knots i use to connect leader to fly and these are as follows 

1- a simple blood knot
2- jam knot 

if your struggling with these knots or dont know how to do them let me know and ill happily do a video on them 


well flies where do you start there is so many different patterns and colors out there you could spend hours just looking through your boxes but there is a couple of pointers i can give you to ease the pain  

 clousers are pretty much the go to fly for flatfish and a host of other species but yup the come in a whole heap of different colors so if you want just a few that will cover most situations then id go for them in the following colors and around 2 inch's long
  • all white with pearl flash
  • black back / red body red flash
  • pink back / white body pearl crystal flash
  • chartreuse back / yellow body lime crystal flash 
 these colors id be supremely confident in fish for most of my saltwater fly fishing , the clouser is also a great fly for fishing on the deck as it fishes hook up so less chance of snagging and better hook ups  

 when your fishing over clean sand its also worth especially in the summer to have some sparsely tied DNA sandeels , i make these with bead chain eyes and quite heavy hooks to get em down on the bottom , this is actually a fantastic all round fly for a lot of species and lots of lovely sparkle in them .

 another great fly especially when big shoals of sprats are around our shores is this sprat pattern i make with Angelina fiber , this is flash overload and looks great in the water it also has an epoxy head to get it down and flatfish will take it with gusto fished slow along the bottom i find that the more flash you have in flies for flounders the better your catch rate i dont know if the flash annoys them and brings out the predatory instinct but the hit them hard .

 a slight variation on the sprat pattern but looks great in the water again all around 2 inchs long
ive also been playing around with shrimp type patterns but not fished them yet so not sure how they will work , one to try in summer i think 

and last but not least when on beachs in the summer i tend to wet wade , i have a pair of neoprene flats shoes that are great on the beach (not so good in winter)

or when its a bit cooler ill wear chest waders but you must be carefull and watch for incoming waves do not take risks with chest waders , i tend to go only up to my backside and ill always be aware of the sea state and just dont take any risks , if you feel a wave pushing you back then back off to shallower water .

so there you have it , i hope ive inspired you to go out and have a go for these great saltwater predators youll wish you had done it years ago 

a cave in scotland

Friday, 15 December 2017



very proud to announce the the guys at piketrek are now my new blog sponsors 

so why piketrek  , well to be honest ive never gone down the route of big sponsors and having to abide by there rules and to praise stuff ive never used before nope not me , i have a long history with greg at piketrek and have always supported them and the amazing pike saber pike fly rod which i have used since first trying one some mabey 8 odd years ago and to be honest nothing comes close in my opinion and that to me speaks volumes

also let me make this quite clear , i do not receive and would never take any financial incentive to promote there goods they are just a great company with down to earth pike tying and fishing gear , greg like me tells it like it is and i respect him for that in this day and age.

and yes there is a lot of companies out there selling pike tying gear but pike trek has always been a company that looks for new innovations in fly tying at a great price , ive seen comanys come and go but piketrek are still there doing what they do best . pike fly tying material and the pike saber 

so im delighted to have them on-board and its a decision ive not taken lightly  

so if your looking for great  original materials please check them out at 
so what does it all mean , well basically ill be showcasing piketreks materials in my tying videos on youtube and fish that have been caught on them both from me and my clients , im not going to be ramming stuff down your throat though and ill be also be reviewing other stuff i find .

you see ive always championed the smaller companies and especially those that provide outstanding service  especially small business because these days of ebay and the like, everyman and his dog is selling stuff  online these days but few of them specialize in pike only , and piketrek have always been great pike anglers and actually get out there and fish with there own products greg is no exception and has had some fantastic fish to his name including some monster perch and some cracking river fish 

greg with a cracking river pike

so there you have it and im looking forward to working with one of the best companies for pike gear out there so please take a moment and go and have a look for yourself 


if your in the market for a new pike or saltwater rod check out the pike saber it really is a serious bit of kit and at he moment you can get one even cheaper as he has a sales on so there is no better time to get one , trust me you wont be disappointed heres the link 

saber action

urban saber testing pike tube flies

testing some big flies on a canal , just check out he power in that , these rods really make em fly

i also took the saber out to America chasing bass with top water flies with my bro and fellow saber user ken "redneck" capsey 

bass fluff in the states

the saber nailed the bass in tough cover and performed outstandingly 

so dont take my word for it go get one try it yourself you wont be disappointed

so for now hope you all have a great festive season , ill be in the cave doing more videos and out on the water again come march doing what i do stay tuned 

( a cave in scotland )


Wednesday, 29 November 2017

merry Christmas folks and other fly tying stories


 well December is here and im sitting wondering where the year has actually gone , although its not been particularly busy for me fishing wise in fact the highlight for me was probably the big twaite shad i caught on my doorstep that really was up there with the fish of a lifetime but it has got me completely rethinking what is on my doorstep and how i can target them ,indeed a wakeup call 

other people however have been catching a lots on my flies especially doe at the blagdon event so that was nice to see .

be playing lately with the dragon tails from deercreek so ive done a couple of videos on tying and how they look in the water .

how they look in the water 

ok so next i wanted to do a tying video so i asked on my facebook page what people wanted to see done and an articulated fly came tops so this is the video i done for it and i used a drgon tail just for fun , again theres many ways of making articulated flies this is a way that works for me and fairly simple to do . 

so here is the video 

also i have been asked a few times to do a video on my end gear i.e from the flyline loop to the fly so i was happy also to do this , again i must stress that everybody is different and have different set ups that works for them , this is what i have used for many many years and hasn't let me down  .so please enjoy the video and if you pick something up from it then great if you dont then that fine , but as i said works for me please enjoy.

so this is just a brief update and reports of my premature death have been greatly exaggerated , i do plan on doing a few new videos which will see me going from vice to bank and this will hopefully get going fairly soon now ive worked out how to use my video software  :-)  

hopefully ill get a wee post before Christmas on flies ive been doing in the past few months and some new bits and bobs i have coming out .

tight lines folks 
(a cave in scotland) 

Monday, 16 October 2017

hey maw im on the radio


well been a helava month since my last post  started a new job with some crazy hours but have been managing to get some vice time in and some planned fishing with duke (well sort off) so whats been going down well let me tell ya 

had a message from the fellas over at svsfishing asking if i would like to join them in a podcast to talk about all things scotland , fishing, whiskey ,and fly tying , and well i was delighted to join in and it ended up being a blast what fun we had , i was actually working that day and had been up since 5am , so with the time difference it was actually around 23:30 when i took to the airwaves and i was on for a good couple of hours so by the time i git to bed it was 2am but you know what a great bunch of guys and loved every min of it , you can check out my podcast and some other great names on the link below to listen or download   



so unless you have been living under a rock in the uk you will have noticed that the pike trials have been taking place at blagdon lake which has been causing mass hysteria among pike fly fishers in the uk because it was widely believed that this lake would produce a new British record pike so off course the interest was massive , but the downside was that i was seeing a few people who had never flyfished in there lives buying the gear to go and do this this to me was quite shocking as it takes time to build up the expertise to land big fish on a fly rod or really any pike so this was worrying .

the other thing was that this was being pushed as a trial meaning the fish hadn't been targeted before well to be quite frank this was bollocks as i know that they have been fished for frequently by folks going on there but hey im not part of that particular circus so i was glad i wasn't part of it especially at 200 quid a boat just not my thing but watched with interest the results .

but saying that there were still undoubtedly large fish in there to be caught so i was still happy to make flies for folks who were fishing it 

most nights i worked long into the night to get them done as i had a deadline to make 

so i watched with interest at the results for the first day and they were pretty good and i think the biggest was a 30lb + fish and quite a few 20s caught , but folks were complaing about damage from being caught before and although some of this was undoubtedly from catches from trout anglers you have to ask how many of these fish were targeted by pike fly fishers being on there and i know they had a few guys on there lure fishing a while ago but ill watch with interest as questions are asked of bristol water who run this and chew as the internet seems to be gathering pace just now on this very subject .

but a couple of my customers had a few great fish as below 

so a big well done to the 2 richards from Sheffield who despite terrible conditions managed a few 

great fishing fellas 

so had a plan to fish with my pal and fishing buddy duke , we had arranged to go play on the canal and fish small for the hope of perch , it was more an exploratory trip to see what it was like round there , however come the morning it was blowing a massive one and duke called me to see if we should venture out , i decided to hang back and asked him to call around 1pm and see if the wind had died down .

well 1pm came and went and turns out duke had gone back to bed (he works nights) and eventually messaged me at 6pm apologizing but hey no worrys as it turns out the weather had go worse so we wouldnt have got out anyway , further plans are now in place .


so whats been coming out the cave , well be still happily blending my own materials and very happy with the shades and flash mixture and its opened a whole new world of fishy colors so below are a few that have made the grade all on 7/0 hooks 


i make no apology but i absolutely love american streamers and enjoy making them and making pike versions of them , i guess its my little get away from big pike flies and find them very therapeutic so below are some ive done on esox 2 5/0 hooks , so yea big so enjoy my indulgence 


something mildly satisfying about blending your own colors 

again busy with getting flies out to customers , these were bought from my store (check the top bar in the blog flies for sale 1 and 2)

bespoke flies done and heading south shortly , bespoke are my favorites flies to tye as i can get creative with color blends that have worked in the past and customers love them and more importantly catch fish on them.


these are some bespoke flies that i made 13 inchs of fish munch they are boyant and sinking patterns very effective flies that can be twitched back along the bottom or used on the surface very much look like dying distressed fish when twitched back 


the claymore baitfish is just one of those flies that has everything looks movement flash and an attitude , i designed this to be very lightweight to fish but big and not lose on action this thing looks great in the water , only done 2 colors so far but love the pattern and can do it in all sizes which is cool 

boom , just a great picture and a simple fly 

been a helluva tying mouth but charged on through it and now have an empty order board i have gone through countless threads tons of materials and dont know how many eyes,scary thought been a long time since the board was clear , but then then it wont last long before it full again .

cave life spent quite a lot of time in here love it 


i get asked quite a lot about buying online in other country's and to be honest i only ever supply one outlet per country and thats with original flies that you can only purchase from them so the flies below are available from 

this is an online store in Holland and have some very cool stuff so please have a browse around at here other stuff as well , plenty for the fly fisher 

these bangers are fantastic for predators , i fish these with fast sink lines so they float off the bottom and twitch them back and they really wiggle , they have been pretty successful for zander and perch in europe 

also available are these sandeel type patterns , now these are killers for tons of species i kid you not from bass and saltwater species right through to trout , pike , perch zander , and even carp a very versatile pattern that fishes oh so well the ones above are tied on 2/0 hooks and will be avalible over at  as soon as the postman gets them there 

so with that i bid you farewell and tightlines see ya all in a few weeks 

( a cave in scotland)