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Tying 3 Welcome to the Worcester Fly Dressers website. Here you will find a variety of information about our club including fly tying events, fishing trips and general activities. As you can see we confine our main fly dressing activity to the winter months at Perdiswell Young Peoples Leisure Club and in so doing aim to provide a varied programme of instruction which should meet the needs of all fly dressers. Whether you are looking for fly tying with a social feel, or wish to participate in the Fly Dressers Guild Accreditation scheme, we can assist you in obtaining an award to recognise your level of expertise.

Our branch, which is part of the Fly Dressers Guild, has been in existence for over 15 years and our members are drawn from a wide area. We are situated only 5 minutes from Junction 6 of the M5 motorway, on the north side of the City, just off the A38. We pride ourselves on being an extremely friendly and sociable gathering and can promise you a warm welcome. Novice fly tyers looking to participate in the art of fly tying are promised excellent support and encouragement – no previous experience is necessary.

We would invite anyone interested to either call at the Perdiswell Young Peoples Leisure Club on meeting nights to view our events (please check the programme for dates and activities) or contact one of our officers for further details.

Below is the latest news blog on what's happening in Club, if you have any news that you would like published, please email it to the Club Secretary


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Winter Program 2017/18

The following programme of events for Worcester Fly Dressers has been put together for the 2017/8 year although may be subject to some subtle changes

Many thanks to Matt Whalley for pulling this program together

Dates Event Description
12 September 2017  Welcome Evening & Social Tying
19 September 2017  Social Tying
 26 September 2017  Guest Speaker – Rob Smith  North Country Flies
3 October 2017  Social Tying
10 October 2017  Home Demonstration  Mark Siviter
 17 October 2017  Social Tying
24 October 2017  Guest Speaker – Karl Humphries
31 October 2017  Social Tying
 7 November 2017   Home Demonstration  Roy McAdam
14 November 2017  Social Tying
21 November 2017 Guest Speaker – Dominic Garnett  Flies for Freshwater Coarse Fish
 28 November 2017  Social Tying
5 December 2017   Home Demonstration  Charles Deverill
12 December 2017  Social Tying
 19 December 2017  Christmas Social  Nibbles & Quiz
2 January 2018  Social Tying
9 January 2018  Guest Speaker  TBC
 16 January 2018  Social Tying
23 January 2018  Annual Competition Demonstration
30 January 2018  Social Tying
 6 February 2018 Guest Speaker – Paul Richardson  Fly Tying & Industry Innovations
13 February 2018  Social Tying
20 February 2018  Annual Fly Tying Competition
 27 February 2018  Annual General Meeting
6 March 2018  Annual Auction
13 March 2018  End of Year Social  Nibbles & Quiz

 

Andrew Ayres fishing trip to the Highlands

Highland Fishing Trip 2017

 

This year’s trip was again split into two: the first at the 39,000 acre Altnaharra Estate in Sutherland; the second Whitebridge Hotel and Lochs in Inverness-shire. Both hotels were old hunting lodges from years gone by.

Having completed 11 hours of a 12 hour journey, I turned off the Lairg road on to the 21miles of single track road across open wind swept moors, and it reminded me of a Mel Gibson film from the Mad Max Series. Where once stood beautiful tall green pine trees as far as the eye could see, now the land has been savaged/raped of those wonderful trees; and only the odd tree stands.  It is a land of turned up earth, tree stumps, roots upturned and just left a mess.   They cannot replant for 3 years due to the Canadian Beetle that caused the disease and it has to be left fallow for this length of time.  We drove through the mist, the rain was endless and the car was being buffeted by the wind.  As we rose over one of the many crests, in the road there was a stag standing motionless in front of us.  We stopped the engine and switched lights off for a moment.   It was a standoff.  Nowhere else would you get this sight in the UK; and then it had gone.  Lost in the mist to wander his moor.

There was so much water everywhere. Down every hill and gully crack, water cascades.  The streams were raging foaming rivers where once water gently trickled over the stones; now there are thundering waterfalls.  All the land looked so rich and green, unlike the normal barren colour you see in June.

As we arrived at the Hotel we were greeted with a welcome, ‘we are just about to light a coal/log fire in your bedroom’. I did say we were back in Victorian times!

My next job was to find Walter the Gillie and enquire the fishing situation. The salmon guys were not very happy since the water was too high to fish.  It may be 2 or3 days if the rain stops. Since I shall be on the Lochs I am OK

Day 1 Fishing

 

Loch Meadie

I am fishing Loch Meadie this year from a boat. Last year was from the bank.  My choice is a 10ft rod, 4lb nylon, 3 flies using the Scottish dropper style, Stoats Tail, Blue-Zulu and Kate McLaren.  I changed flies during the day to Alexandra, Loch Ordie and Red-Zulu.   On average the fish caught were small 8 to 10oz and caught on all flies where ever positioned.  The trout colours and markings were brilliant.  Loch Meadie is one of the late Bruce Sanderson favourite fishing Lochs.  It’s 4 miles long and ½ mile wide.  As you arrive it looks a modest Loch, but once you get out of the mooring loch through the channel you see the extent of it.  It’s a shallow loch with many bays, little Islands, fishing peninsulas and fishy shallow corners. I caught 15 and returned them all.  It was wet and windy all day.

Day 2 Fishing

 

Loch Naver

I was fishing the main hotel’s Loch Naver, 7miles long and ¾ mile wide, and very deep in the middle. I fished it for 5 hours. Very wet and windy again!  On one occasion during a heavy storm when the boat was heading into the waves, I had to stop fishing and bail out! Scary! I used a 10ft rod, 8lb nylon, 3 flies: Invicita, Black Pennel and Clan Chief.  Followed with Loch Ordie, Alexandra and Butcher.  I tried dapping with a 18ft rod and spinning as the only method to use when it’s too rough for the flies. I caught fish all day on all flies and all methods.  I also caught my first Sea Trout, too small at 14oz, so it was returned.  The colours and markings were fantastic.

Another highlight of the day was during one of the many storms when Walter got my attention; 40ft away on our right were 2 Black Throated Divers watching us and not bothered by the engine on tick over.   And above circling were 2 Osprey’s – a truly wonderful sight.   We lost 8 fish mainly due to being too slow to retrieve, and landed 21 fish.  Only those over 1lb weight were taken to the hotel to cook.  It’s interesting that the colours and marking of these Trout do differ a lot.

 

Two Good Fish

Walter explained the colour difference between the moor lochs and the deep glen lochs – Meadie and Naver. It was because of the depth and bed surface.   The light brightly spotted markings were always from the shallow gravel lochs.

Now back to base, all the Kit in the drying room, then for a Guinness, hot bath and dinner.

 

The next Location is the Whitebridge Lochs situated approx. 3 miles off the East side of Loch Ness. My base is The Whitebridge Hotel, built in 1890 as a shooting Lodge for the local estates.  Now under new owners of less than a year; so its early days!  At least they still have the trout in glass cases, flies, and catch records.

There are several lochs in the area – Loch Knockie, Killin, and Ruthven. If you plan visiting, the Lesley Crawford book – Scotlands Classic Trout Waters is worth reading.  Inverness-shire is a completely different land; rich green pasture in the valleys, Red Deer everywhere on the high ground, and they have only just started removing the trees.

 

Day 3 Fishing

 

I fished Loch Killin.   A grim and deep forbidding Loch, with no boats, no wading as the sides are sheer since it is trapped deep in a valley.  I tried many selected flys’ but could not raise a single fish.  However, in the past good catches have been recorded, and a few char in the very deep section. The only boats allowed on this Loch are from the two estates which are at each end of the Loch. I lost my complete leader and fly’s in the afternoon so this was time to pack up and head back.   As I climbed up the valley road, Ravens circled me and Red deer watched on.

Day 4 Fishing

I fished Loch Knockie for half a day with Alex the Gillie. Again, no bank fishing due to the undergrowth down to the Loch edge, overhanging trees and branches.  Reeds and Lilly bed also prevented wading.  The Loch is only 30ft deep with a very rich insect life. Fishing from a boat is very good, with many nooks and bays, channels, islands, and shallows.  I fished a 10ft rod, 4lb line on 3 flies down size to 16 and 18, Dunkfield, March Brown and a Grouse and Claret; changing them many times to Spiders, Greenwells etc. I caught and landed on all flies although better on size 16.   From the East bay’s side, fish were rising when the wind dropped and the fish were taking insects off the trees as they fell into water. With an accurate cast and a quick retrieve they were hooked. 18 Trout were landed (lost 4) with only 2 over 1lb kept; the rest were returned.

This was a dryer day although the most testing. But also the most challenging and rewarding of them all with ever changing conditions.  All told, a very pleasant day.

Over dinner that evening I told Elaine to mark the calendar so as to book again in February 2018 since Altnaharra is closed for the Winter.   I may try the Whitebridge Lochs again as there are at least 3 left to try!

On the whole a very good trip, with good Gillies, good hotels, good food, wine and company, despite very challenging weather – gales and rain, while the South were basking in a heat wave!

Caught and Landed 54; lost 12.

Lesson learnt – never fish the wild highland hill Lochs without a Gillie!

Total miles 1650

 

Andrew Ayres

FDG, WFD, CFD and Grayling Society member.

 

Sad news concerning death of members

It is with great sadness that I report the tragic loss of a current member and a former member. Namely Ron Lees and Caroline Clist.

It is only a few weeks ago that Caroline passed following a lengthy period of heart problems. In fact her funeral service was only last Monday.She was one of the early members of the branch and served as an officer whilst being a loyal member for a number of years. A real character if ever there was one and a lady who lived for her fishing which took her and her husband Julian to far flung parts of the world chasing trout and salmon. She was an accomplished angler and fly tyer and great fun to be with. In later years she became a skilled worker in stained glass and hosted exhibitions of her work.

Last weekend we lost a true gentleman when Ron Lees collapsed and died suddenly at his home in Tewkesbury. Ron had been a member for several years and was a quiet unassuming man who greatly enjoyed the camaraderie amongst the members. Not prone to blowing his own trumpet I only learned from him a few months ago when I visited him after a spell in hospital what some of his achievements were in the world of fishing. Ron had recently come to fly fishing and was a diligent student of fly tying and whilst it did not come easy to him his determination to succeed was evident. The picture below shows him receiving his Silver accreditation award only last year. He was very proud of that achievement and I was very proud to have helped him achieve it.

Looking back, it is clear that Ron was an extremely successful match angler particularly during the 1990’s when he was a part of the very famous Cofton Hackett match squad. In those days matches regularly attracted 150 anglers or more and Ron won a number of these events specialising in the use of Luncheon meat as bait. So much so that he was affectionately known as ‘ Mr Meat’. Ron was a very forward thinking angler and was extremely effective on the River Severn. He also represented local clubs in  National fishing events.

Ron wrote articles for the Coarse fishing magazine and went on to publish two books which are still available today.The first ‘ Perfect your Legering’ was published in 1992 and the second ‘ An Anglers life for me’ in 1994. Ron also had his own tackle shop in Bromsgrove for a time.

Thanks to Ken Giles who fished with Ron is his heyday for providing background information on his life.

We will miss them both certainly. RIP Caroline and Ron.

Members trip to Ravensthorpe

The below report comes from Andrew Worthington who recently fished with Chris Hollick. Click on the link to view the text please. Also below are some pictures from the trip. Thanks for this Andrew. Good to receive a report from a member!

RavensthorpeReserMarch30

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Lenches lakes new pricing structure and guidelines

Fishing ticket Prices 2017

 

    Catch & Kill                  

     2  FISH      £24.00

 

3  FISH     £30.00

 

4 FISH     £35.00

 

6  FISH     £48.00

 

    Catch & Kill Junior Ticket ( 11yrs upwards)

Fishing with adult fishing  (minimum 3 Fish Ticket)                             – FREE

Junior 2 FISH  (to be accompanied by non fishing  adult )               –      £20.00

 

   Follow On Ticket  – option when fishing limit has been caught

Catch and Kill   1 Fish –   £8

Catch and Release  unlimited fish  – £12

  

    Catch and Release Tickets available from January 1st 2017 until end of March/April

dependant  water temperature rising

 

Catch & Kill first fish continue to Catch and Release  4 hours  –  £25

 

Catch & Kill first fish continue Catch & Release  8 Hours  –   £30

 

  Catch & Release Junior Ticket

Fishing with adult fishing         – FREE

Junior -Catch & Kill First fish continue to Catch and Release  4 hours

(to be accompanied by non fishing  adult )    –      £20.00

 

  Loyalty Card – come fishing nine times in six months and have

either a 2 Fish Catch & Kill or  4 Hour Catch & Release free of charge

 

Common Myths of Catch and Release

Let’s go over a few quick myths of catch and release so we don’t make the mistake of thinking we did a good job, but likely sent the fish off to his death.

MYTH 1 – THE FISH SWAM OFF SO HE’S OK

This is a big fat lie. Over 90% of fish mortality happens after the fish swims off. I’ve seen fish released by people upstream only to see the fish belly up 2 hours later downstream on the river bottom, belly up. This is why we need to practice the best technique in catch and release every time, because once we let go of that fish, if we didn’t do our job right, the chances of survival are thin.

MYTH 2 – HE WAS ONLY ON THE ROCKS FOR A MINUTE

I know most of you don’t “usually” set the fish on the rocks, but setting the fish out of the water and onto anything is terrible for them and reduces their chances to live substantially every second they are out of the water. Never put the fish on rocks, grass or anything out of the water, even if it was wet. the lack of oxygen and the slime lost drastically reduces the trout’s chance for survival.

MYTH 3 – CATCH & RELEASE PEOPLE ARE A BUNCH OF ELITIST JERKS

This is a partial myth. I’m sure there are some jack-waggers out there that use C&R to make themselves seem superior, but they’ve missed the point. The point is doing what we can do to conserve and protect a precious resource that we consume every time we fish. Everyone kills fish, even C&R guys, because trout are delicate. It is our responsibility as those consuming this resource to do what we can to protect and preserve it as well. We use the trout rivers, we need to protect them. This is the reason so many catch and release anglers care and attempt to educate when they see photos or poor handling of fish. Most anglers motives are pure and they want to help preserve the rivers they fish. It goes a long way to know you have C&R guys on your favorite waters instead of guys taking or poorly handling the fish you also love to catch.

MYTH 4 – GOOD C&R IS CONSERVATION NOT RELIGION

We aren’t saying that if you don’t properly catch and release a trout, that you’re a bad person or that we’ll sick PETA on you or that the trout’s feelings are hurt or the trout gods will keep you from catching fish ever again (well that may be true.. verdict is still out on that ). The entire point of catch and release is to conserve a wonderful resource that we all enjoy and it’s our job as anglers to be good stewards of what we use and consume. Do what you let them go so they can grow.

Good Preparation Protects the Fish

1 – WATCH THE WATER TEMPS

Water temps above 68° F (19/20 degs Celsius ) produce stress on all trout species and the higher the temps get, bigger chance they have of getting over-exhausted and dying after being released. Avoiding fishing streams in the heat of the day during summer is not only a good strategy as fish are less willing to eat, but it also protects the fish from over-exhaustion and death. I’ve come across “fish-kills” during the dog days of summer and it’s heartbreaking.

2- FISH BARBLESS HOOKS

Pinching your barbs down in the evening as you watch TV or everytime you’re out on the water is a good practice. Barbs increase the size of the puncture in a fish’s mouth and tears more of their skin when they are removed. These wounds don’t heal as well as we hope and can harm the fish’s ability to feed and survive down the road. If you don’t believe me, go fish the Blue river in silverthorne and look at the fish in that river once caught, they look like they have a piercing fetish. Pinching your barbs makes for an easier release and for less overall damage to the trout. It’s best to do it before you get on the water since you’ll likely get lazy or forget once on the water.

Playing the Fish Correctly

Playing the Fish Correctly

3- GOOD C&R BEGINS WITH PLAYING THE FISH WELL

The key to proper catch and release is playing the fish quickly and safely. The longer you play a fish, the more lactic acid is built up in their system and the more they struggle to recover. Playing the fish for over 2 minutes, is generally a bad idea. Trout don’t recover as quickly making them susceptible to suffocation or being eaten by other trout or birds of prey. Play the fish quickly by keeping side pressure on the trout to bring it to the net quickly. Side pressure is turning the tip of your rod to the left or right of the fish to turn it’s head back towards you. You’ll be amazed how doing this can bring the fish in quicker and with heavier tippet and leader, you can bring them in quickly (under 2 minutes max) for a safe release.

4- LAND FISH QUICKLY USING HEAVIER TIPPET

Fish don’t care as much as you think when they see the line. Often times you don’t need 5x and 6x or even 7x tippet. You can be just as successful with 2x to 4x. Fishing with heavier leader will allow you to land the fish quicker and keep you from wearing out the fish beyond what it can recover as mentioned above.

         Landing The Fish

5- KEEP THE FISH IN THE WATER AND OFF ROCKS, BANKS AND LAND

Landing the fish is where most things go terribly wrong. Fish have protective slime coating that stays off infection and diseases. Removing this film is the same as drinking 20 beers and then spending the afternoon in a daycare, you’re going to get sick. For trout this makes them drastically more susceptible to whirling disease and other infections and diseases that kill trout days after being released. Placing the fish on the rocks, banks, grass or other places out of the water harms the fish in three ways:

  1. It removes the protective slime increasing risk of disease or infection
  2. It can damage the fish beyond recovery. Fish can’t handle damage to the head, gills or gut since they don’t really have much in terms of a skeletal structure. Gravity out of the water is much greater and causes enormous stress on the trouts system.
  3. Fish can’t breathe out of the water. Every second you keep a fish out of the water can reduce their chance of survival by 10%. 5 seconds is a coin flip on survival.

6- USE A RUBBER LANDING NET IN THE WATER

While a quick catch and release with wet hands without a net is safe, if the fish is too excited or too large, it can be messy to try to land them without a net. Using a net and keeping the net in the water will provide proper environment to land the fish safely. Use these tips to land the fish safely:

  1. Use a large rubber landing net – other nets that have knots or string netting can be just as harmful as putting them on the bank.
  2. Keep the net in the water and the fish relaxed. Think of the net as more of a water gate around the trout, then something you grab it in and support it with. Use the net to contain the fish, not hold it out of the water.
  3. Use rubber nets and be careful not to get the gills caught our damaged
  4. Pan net

7- DON’T SQUEEZE TOO HARD

When the fish is out of the water, its entire body compresses on itself. You’re taking a fish from a weightless environment into a heavily weighted environment and it’s hard on the fish regardless. If you have to hold the fish out of the water for a picture, then make sure to not squeeze too hard especially around the vitals. Hold the fish just behind the pectoral fins (a fish’s arms) on the belly softly. With your other hand you can grab the fish right in front the the tail.

Always hold the fish over water in case it falls or squirms it won’t land on rocks, but in the water instead, preferably over a net so you can revive him after.

* Tip – At times fish are hard to hold on to. Grabbing them firmly by the tail acts as a sort of paralyzer to the fish and can calm them down. Don’t over squeeze, but a good firm grip (like gripping a steering wheel) is the right amount to hold the fish in place.

8 – CUT THE LINE IF THE HOOK IS DEEP

When it comes time to unhook the fly from the trout, hopefully the barbless fly you have comes out easy. If the fly is too deep, then simply cut the line. I’ve caught fish that have tippet and a fly coming out of their bunghole before, it isn’t as difficult to pass as you’d think and it often comes loose on it’s own (if it’s barbless) later on allowing the fish time to recover easily and keeping it safe. Shoving forceps down it’s throat to get the fly back is trading a fish life for a £1.50 fly. Just not worth it.

9 – PHOTOGRAPH FISH SELECTIVELY, QUICKLY & CREATIVELY

So you do a good job landing the fish quickly, keep it off the rocks, use a landing net. Then you ruin it all by holding the fish out of the water for 2 minutes as you attempt to get the grossly over-done photo commonly known as the grip and grin. This is rough on two levels. One, every second you keep the fish out of the water decreases it’s chance to survive and two, you look like every other guy holding a fish. Another note to share is you don’t need to photograph every trout you catch. They are all gorgeous so selectively pick a couple each day and grab some creative shots and you’re photo album will look much better than 1000 grip and grins. The best way to get a photo safely of a fish is to leave it in the net and the net in the water so the fish is just chilling in there with the hook removed. Get your camera ready or your iphone on the timer and set everything up. Once you are ready to hit the shutter button, quickly and gently lift the fish to your desired shot and take pics quickly. Photos look awesome when the water is dripping off the fish vs drying in the sun anyway. This is better for the trout and better for your album. Be quick and gentle and if possible always keep the head and gills underwater or slightly out and only for a moment.

 

 

Releasing the Fish Safely

10- RELEASE FISH SLOWLY UPSTREAM

Once you have unhooked the fish safely, it’s time to revive the trout and safely release it. It’s best to revive the fish facing upstream in slow to medium current and in clear water. If you murked up the water walking around, move over a little so the fish can get some clean water. If the fish is small enough to relax with the net guarding him this is another great way to release the fish without even touching it. Just use the net as a guard to keep it from leaving until it is keeping with the current and facing upward (not belly up) This can take 30 seconds to 5 minutes depending on water temps and how long you played and handled the fish. When the fish tries to swim away, you should let it. A good test if you are worried is to take the fish gently by the tail in the net and turn it on its side. if the fish can turn itself back up and swim, then it is likely ready for release. Err on the side of longer than shorter here. This is the time to enjoy looking at the trout and letting it recover, but when it swims off, let it swim off. The smaller ones will bolt while the larger fish swim off.

That moment when you let go and see the trout swim off slowly is the most rewarding part of fly fishing and makes me want to catch another all over again. You can feel good that the fish has been released safely and will live to spawn and be caught another day down the road.

 

Catch and Release Final Review

We covered a lot in this article and we wanted to be complete in our advice since this is something near and dear to our hearts here at The Catch and The Hatch. Below we made a quick bullet list to help you remember and even take with you on the river.

  1. Watch the Temps – Fish Barbless Hooks
  2. Play the Fish Quickly Using Strong Leader/Tippet
  3. Keep the Fish in the Water Always
  4. Use a Rubber Landing Net & Keep Fish in the Water
  5. Creatively & Selectively Take Photos
  6. Slowly Revive and Release

I have copied this entirely from Amanda’s text. She has now introduced an element of catch and release into her ticket options with the guidelines referring to that. It seems that she may have copied these from a river anglers writings somewhere but they all apply to lakes as well.