Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Los Roques Saltwaterfly fishing October 2008

Los Roques trip October 2009
It’s amazing the way that something’s fall into place. A chance encounter, one phone call to a friend and before you know it you find you have booked a flight and are headed to Venezuela. I speak to a fair few guys that have made the pilgrimage to Los Roques and I have quite fancied a trip to its flats for a long time. Everyone who has been has been has great things to say about the Island its friendly inhabitants and the fishing.

Los Roques certainly lives up to your expectations, As we made our way through the clouds in our flying sardine can the seascape of aqua blues, turquoise and greens are breathtaking, amid spectacular if maybe slightly worrying cloud formations , the 1/2 hour flight from Caracas was certainly memorable, The regular charter plane being was in the hanger for servicing so we were squeezed into a light aircraft . We buckled up and then the captain flicked the switch on the ignition . There was a sound somewhat reminiscent of a Volkswagen Beetle with a broken starter motor, Click then silence, Click then silence. A few expletives from the captain later or at least I suspect that’s what they were, we were asked to vacate the craft while essential repairs could be made. No doubt the large hammer was sent for. Half an hour it was all systems go. I joked to Peter that they were probably circling the airport testing out the plane for faults, moments later the plane was landing on the runway!
In comparison the landing on the small airstrip on Los Roques was smooth and uneventful. We were greeted by Raphael our guide for the next week. No need for a taxi from the airport, we made our way to the lodge on foot through the sand, The lodge is owned by an artist the creative attention to detail of the rooms and living areas combined fine Italian food would impress any visitor


An hour later we made our way to the beach to fish for the afternoon. As we hopped up onto the Panga good sized Bonefish were right in front of us chasing down fry, young children were swimming in the shallows playing. These bonefish were quite relaxed and willing to share the water with the children. This was rather a shock to the system. Los Roques is a unique fishery and that was evident straight away . Our first afternoon was spent avoiding the thick black tropical storm clouds and plucking small Bonefish from the beaches and flats. It was pretty early on that were informed by our guide that the fishing was not going to be at its best, Los Roques was recovering from the recent Hurricane which had just missed the Island by 200 miles. This is not the kind of news you want to hear after a long journey across the Atlantic but that is the chance you take. The rough seas had dispersed the baitfish, upset the equilibrium and made the fishing tough. If this was tough then I would love to be here when it’s at its best!

Dog and Bone !
20 th
One thing that my fishing partner had told me about on los Roques was the variety of species you can target. Our second day was an odd one or at least it was for me. Over the course of the day I landed , Baby Tarpon , Bonefish , Yellowtail snapper, Spanish Mackerel ,Bonito ,and Pompano, One of each , no more ,no less. Once again we were shrouded by thick storm clouds and at one point we were forced to sit out a Tropical downpour. Fatigue is as much the enemy as any Tropical Low and the long journey the change of time zone and the heat did get to me. The famous pancake flats were quite deep ,as we waded and the sun was interspersed with cloud. I really struggled to spot the bonefish over the darker patches as sweat and suntan lotion leached into my eyes. It always takes a couple of days to settle in and find your feet. Excitement will only get you so far before the fatigue due to the long journey, a change of time zone and heat catches up with you

A Baby Tarpon on a Gummy Minnow size 2
A decent night’s sleep can make all the difference. Refreshed and somewhat more adjusted to the time zone I felt ready to fish . We headed across to Crasqui, a favourite spot of Peters. This white sand beach offers great sight casting for Bonefish cruising the margins in search of a meal. Pelicans were diving and Bonefish were hassling the Birds to release their catch. Peter fished the Floating Gummy while at this point I stuck with the Christmas Island special. We were both hooking the bonefish via diferent methods. The floating gummy is a great fly to fish, you may not catch quite as many as you would do with a traditional gummy but the thrill of watching the Bones circle, target and attack your fly takes some beating. A change of location was called for so we headed off to another one of the many quays with wade able flats. Our arrival was well timed as a large shoal of Bonefish were cruising quite deep down . A long and accurate cast would always result in a hook up. At this range we were very prone to dropping fish, several fish were landed and plenty managed to shake free, the fly of choice was a Christmas Island Special size 6. We decided to have a rest and hoped back onto our boat we enjoyed our Tuna Burritos in the shade of the Bimini. It’s hard to eat when you have a shoal of Bonefish within casting range. I decided to experiment and tied on a very large and very heavy Permit Crab Pattern. A long cast found the shoal and the fly was allowed plenty of time to get down deep. While the fly made its way into the depths it was taken on the drop. It was obvious that this was a decent fish as I stripped line from the reel and felt heavy. Today the fishing Gods were smiling upon me. At one point the fish went straight through a loop in a mooring rope. With aggressive persuasion and a great deal of luck I managed to steer the fish back through the ropes. We landed and decided to weigh the fish and she hit the scales at 7 1 /2 Lb. That’s my best bonefish to date. The rest of the day has been forgotten, eclipsed by landing such a fine fish.
7 1/2 lb Bonefish on a Permit Crab
If the fishing Gods had smiled upon us the previous day then I would have to guess that somehow we had offended them, with a red wine hangover I boarded the boat. The weather looked fine, several hours later and zero fish later we were sheltering from the torrential rain. This was followed soon after by the attack of the Kamakazi Mosquito squadron. These bugs took no prisoners, Clothes were no match for these elite troops, and they simply sucked the juice through your clothing. We ran for the sanctuary of the open sea. Mosquitoes clung to our clothes and faces in the breeze. I had been warned about the mosquitoes and apparently this was worse than ever due to the rains. Clouds seemed to hug each quay and flat hampering our chances of sight fishing, you just get days where every direction you go you seem to hit a brick wall. We were heading towers a total blank. Blitzing Bonito rescued Peter and I was forced to hit the spinning rod with a surface popper. One Horse Eyed Jack was landed and one was released at long range we finally made our way back to Grand Roque, Not the greatest of days but that’s fishing. The resident Bonefish of Grande Roque are always awaiting you and a few bonefish at dusk rescued an otherwise slow days fishing.

Horse eyed Thugs (Jacks)

23 rd
We headed out full of hopes for the day. Our plan was to hit the Pancake Flats , once again the forces conspired against us , thick clouds hugged the flats , the lights were switched off, sight fishing over turtle grass with cloud cover is tough going at the best of times, had the water been shallower we would have been able to spot the tailing bonefish. A change was called for we followed the sunshine and the Birds. Jacks, Bonito and blue runners were chasing bait in shallow water .We encountered bones on remote sand flats close to deeper electric blue coral filled holes. Birds were resting on the sandbanks, Bonefish cruised within inches of the shore line, and we cast too and landed a couple of nice fish prior to spooking the shoal. The variety of flats you encounter on Los Roques has amazed me, The Pancake turtle grass flats, Sand flats in the middle of the sea, and Beach flats where bikini clad Venezuelan women watch you cast at the bonefish within a few yards of the shore. The day had turned out to be a tough one, half a dozen bonefish each and a couple of pelagic, We encountered a Permit around the coral flats and Tarpon on the Town beach, The cloud cover had risrcteds our movements as we followed the sun

Birds sunbathing !

24 th
The last day always comes around too fast. Once again the remains, waiting for the town bonefish and pelicans to clock in for the early shift . In the distance forked lightening pierced through the clouds spiking the sea. Not the best omen you would say, soon after the heavens opened up, one or two casts too many resulted in a soaking as I ran back to the Posada. Like a fool I had locked myself out so was forced to sit the storm out. A young boy with a spinning rod followed me into the shelter, we sat there for half an hour, we had a great chat, he in Spanish and myself in English. He asked me for my Costa sunglasses I smiled and said nice try
Once again our options were going to limited by the blankets of clouds. Our home Island was bathed in sunshine so we opted to drift along the down beach, Bonefish were harassing pelicans close to shore, the decision to hop out and wade the town beach resulted in a few Bonefish


This Bone shot straight around the jetty. Time to walk the plank!

We headed back to the same areas as the previous day, upon arrival we immediately spotted a large permit cruising the flat, the fish zig zagged its way through the mixed ground and turtle grass. Head down obviously looking for a meal, the Permit rod was ready to go along the Large crab fly. We hopped out of the skiff and began to stalk this very large Permit. My mouth dried out instantaneously as I stumbled over loose coral beneath my feet. We had to get up wind and ahead of this fish, meanwhile a huge tail swung back and forth as the fish burrowed or crabs. I made one weak cast after the other, suddenly my casting had gone to rats, the large crab I had been casting earlier in the week had turned into a brick . My guide wanted me to hit the fish on the head with the fly or at least get the fly very close indeed. The pressure was starting to show as my casting worsened with each shot. My greatest fear was spooking the fish hence my cast was too short most of the time. I did manage to arouse the attention of this fish for a moment. The Permit chased my fly for possibly ten yards before turning away. In the process I had lured the fish uncomfortably close to Raphael and me. We both crouched down and covered our faces below the brim of our hats as the fish came closer and closer, eventually the fish was within two rod lengths of me tracking up wind and into the sun. The fish started to vanish. I knew my chance had gone. It had also been a great chance. Once again I have been left feeling helpless confused and perplexed by this creature. My Permit saga goes on. I know I should head to Mexico or Belize and cure my Permit problems but too be honest I want one of these big Atlantic swimmers the type I have chanced upon in Cuba or Los Roques. Later over dinner my well travelled fishing partner owned up. That was the largest Permit he had ever seen, at least forty pounds
Were not Tackle Tarts! Promise!

Tackle and Flies
Bonefish and Gummy minnows are synonymous with the location, but what did surprise me was the diversity of species that you can target . Be prepared to chase the blitzing fish and Birds. Gummy’s will catch just about everything that swims around these waters. For some reason I did not pack any Clouser minnows, that was definitely an oversight. Next time I will pack a few size 4 with heavy eyes and tied very sparsely. The reason being that when the birds are blitzing and you strip your fly like crazy to stimulate the Bonito and Jacks into a hit , your fly will ride straight across the surface , the Birds will pick up your fly , this can become highly frustrating . One morning Peter managed to land three terns and a Pelican .At least I saw the funny side

More Birds

Spanish Mackerel on a Gummy Minnow
A Christmas Island Special size 6 will suffice for a great deal of the Bonefishing situations, throw a few superlight flies and Bonefish Bitters in for fishing the Pancakes. Gummys should be size 6 or 4 for the Bones , size 2 and 1 for the Baby Tarpon and size 1/0 for the larger Tarpon. Decievers and seducers are preferred over Toads and Bunnies. For the Permit pack a bunch of Crab flies and take them to a priest and ask him to bless them.
I laughed when Peter boarded the boat with two eight weights rigged, one with a Gummy and the other attached to a Christmas Island. This turned out to be a great idea as you end up switching between those two flies all day every day. I will do the same next year. A sturdy Ten weight should do for the Tarpon . Always leave a rod rigged and ready for that Permit.

January through to June can have the best Bonefishing . This is apparently the busy season for visiting anglers. For Tarpon then visit during October and November. Personally there’s a limit to how many bonefish I want to land in a day . Variety is the spice of life for me so I would elect to sacrifice the best bonefishing in favour of a shot at Tarpon. I guarantee that you will still catch plenty of bonefish, they are everywhere. And then there’s the Barracuda I never got around to telling you about those did I !

I will be hosting 2 trips to Los Roques in 2009. If you would to join us or have any further questions then please contact us. http://www.uksaltwaterflies.com/ 0044 1326562753

Monday, 27 October 2008

Los Roques Trip October

I will ammend this with a great deal more detail, What a great place!!!

Will be going back . Heres a few pix

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Great Company and Great fishing this week.

200 fish in three days !!

After a great start with a 9 lb fish from the shore I had the added bonus of three days boat fishing lined up. This the time of year to get out as much as possible. I will continue to do that for the next few weeks .


I was joined by the editor of Total fly fisher Steve Cullen and Dave Edgington . We had a great days fishing around the Fal with plenty of fish landed. Steve landed a nice 4 lb fish casting tight to the banks Most of the other fish were taken on the drift with fast sinking lines. All fish fell to the Sparse Olive Frosty Fish Fibre Clouser size 4.


Fished within the estuary with Jason Lowe and his mate Alex - 7 am - 4 pm. We had exactly or we think exactly 100 fish . It took around 1 hour to get the last 2 fish but we thought what the hell. Lets be morons.
That was made up of 21 Bass all 2 - 3 lb class - 7 Mackerel and the rest were all Pollack ranging in size from 2 oz - 2 lb. Most fell to Sparse FFF Clouser . Most of the others fell to a horrible Christmas tree style Blobby baitfish pattern, at times this monstrosity was hit straight away. It was a shame to see it work as well as it was a horrible looking thing .


Fished the with Jason and Alex. It was hard to match the fishing from the previous day. The wind had switched from NE to E and picked up in speed. This proved to be rather bumpy so we hugged the shoreline staying in the lee of the land. After a slow start we eventually started to catch consistently with fish falling for sparse offerings rather than Jason’s Sparkler. (Much to my relief!! )

Alex lost a good fish. At the end of the day
the whole estuary is stuffed with Herring fry. Fish busting around the margins all day . I cant wait to get out again.


Monday, 22 September 2008

A Big Bass on fly for 2008 at last!

2008 has been a tough year down here in Cornwall. The weather has hampered us as you would expect. Beyond that, the one thing that has concerned me this year is the lack of larger fish, make no mistake, large bass are almost always hard to come by regardless of wind and tide. My guided customers have all had what they would regard as a great days fishing, they go home happy having landed a load of different species and several bass at around 2 ½ - 3 ½ LB. This happens daily. I’ve had a few thousand of those now so I am always on the look out for the larger specimens. I’m not complaining about the day job as I love taking people Bass fishing in Cornwall. What a great job and for that I am thankful.

If you fish for Bass in the UK then you have to understand that we are fishing for the left overs, the ones that have slipped the net, so to speak. These fish are subject to so much abuse and mismanagement. The commercials harvest fish that have not spawned and most UK recreational sea fishermen are the sporting equivalent of thugs. I’m afraid that threes only a small proportion of UK based fishermen who have grasped the essence of sport fishing. , Catch and release, Fair Play! When you catch a mature Bass from the shore you have to consider the incredible journey that has brought this fish to you and the sheer odds that that fish has had to survive. Any Bass that makes it past the Dolphins , Seals , Pair Trawlers, Gill netters, Livebaiters, Moronic recreational sea fishermen deserves a bloody medal !

This fish measured in at 29 Inches that’s around 9 lb in weight. Trust me to leave the scales on the boat when I headed out on foot tonight!!

This fish was released and I will be standing on the same Rocks at exactly the same time next year hoping she has survived in the face of all the odds

Monday, 1 September 2008

Hatch Fly Reels in the UK at last

Hatch Reels in the UK

Sealed Drag ? Cork Drag ? , Sealed Drag ? Cork Drag ? I really must start counting sheep at night. Never the less I have been perplexed with regard to this dilema for a few years and have success stories and Horror Stories from my experiences of both.

Two years ago the owner of a Fly fhop in Vancouver handed me a Hatch Reel. I was instantly impressed with the look and feel of the product. The innovative design combined with a rather sexy finish left an impression. I have now also heard great things about the performance of the sealed drag. Its great that they are going to be available in the UK at last thus we were more than happy to stock these reels. It was only a matter of time before Hatch Reels made their way across the Atlantic.

Below you will see the technical stuff. That aside the Hatch Reels are very classy upmarket toys and Im sure they are here to stay- Austen Goldsmith

Hatch Saltwater Reels Start at £ 449.00 RRP

The majority of the drags in reels on the market today incorporate what we call one to one surface contact. Meaning that one surface (metal) is driven or drawn toward another surface (cork, plastic, carbon fiber, graphite, etc). Hatch reels take a completely different approach by incorporating a stacked disc drag. The discs are made up of a combination of stainless steel and Rulon®, and positioned in a stacked configuration.

The red discs are the Rulon®, the silver are stainless steel. Notice that you have braking surface on both sides of the stainless steel discs. 6 surfaces on the 3 Plus, 8 surfaces on the 5 & 7 Plus and 10 surfaces on the 9 Plus. Since braking pressure is happening to both sides simultaneously, the material is wears evenly. EBS is measured by the surface contact area of one disc times the number of surfaces it contacts.

Each size reel has it’s own unique disc size and combination. The size and number of discs determines the EBS in square inches. Now this explanation is way oversimplified, but it’s a start. If you’re interested in knowing more please call us at Hatch.

1 More surface area makes for a smoother, more durable drag and virtually eliminates start up inertia.

2 Heat distribution occurs over multiple surfaces, rather than one to one surface contact,
thereby eliminating stick slip problems caused by extreme heat in high-speed runs.

3 Disc materials require NO lubrication or maintenance.

To enquire about the range of Hatch Reels - Contact Austen Goldsmith - www.uksaltwaterflies.com

0044 1326562753

Fly fishing Baja Mexico 2008

Baja Mexico July 2008

I have been back from Mexico for almost 6 weeks now; things have been crammed in somewhat this summer. Hence I have not had a chance to report on the trip.

The 2008 Trip was a resounding success. We landed plenty of Bull Dorado., Roosterfish, Jacks, and Bonito one of the group had a Marlin (although that was taken using bait ) I really feel that by splitting the trip between 2 locations North and South we increased our options and created an adventure. I am in the process of writing a full article for publication. This year we had a group of 8 fishermen (and women) with us. Our first leg of the journey landed us at Loreto. The plan was to pursue the Dorado. The fishing certainly did not disappoint. We all had plenty of large Bulls to show for our efforts. These fish fight like demons and pull off excellent acrobatic displays once hooked. We would fish from 7 AM to lunchtime and by then we had had enough fish wrestling in the heat. Afternoons were spent relaxing.

After 3 days we headed South through the Mexican mountains and down to La Paz and the Punta Arena area. We then fished for 3 days from Pangas. This area offers plenty of options for the visiting fly fishermen. There’s no doubt as to who would be the star of the show. The enigmatic Roosterfish stole the limelight as we had expected. These fish will tease you and torment you with their lightening fast pursuit of your fly often followed by last second fly rejections. We also encountered Jacks, skipjacks, amberjacks along with a local Pompano (Grafftopsail)

Our accommodation was a few yards from the beach allowing an opportunity to swim in the sea to keep cool in the desert heat. The air conditioning was certainly an essential feature of the rooms I can’t wait to get back out there and land a few large Roosters. There’s one around 45 lb swimming around with my fly in his jaws. I would love a chance to retrieve my fly!

I have already pretty much filled the trip for 2009. I have plenty of interest from other parties so perhaps we will add a further trip to accommodate those extra rods.

The price for the 2009 trip will be £1330 For a 9 Day trip with 7 Days fishing , 2 per boat. This includes 2 internal flights , Breakfast , lunch and most of your evening meals.

Hers a link to a video from the trip. CLICK HERE

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Cape Cod June 2008

I have several interested parties for the June 2009 trip. The price will hopefully stay the same at £ 799 Including Accomodation , Quality meals , Shore Guides and Charter Skipper. Its a great deal . I should have all the testemonials in pretty soon.

Cape Cod 2008 - Report

Two Years ago I was lucky enough to visit Cape Cod. I still remember that first Striper perhaps on my third cast. I insisted that my companion took a photo. He laughed and suggested that I waited to hook a better one…
In June 2006 I visited Cape Cod on the Massachusetts coastline for the first time. A strong bond was formed with this place very quickly I have now completed my third June trip and have spent 48 Days on the shoreline .The relationship has deepened as it’s a special place that finds its way into you heart. The generous good natured locals the Architecture the Scenery and the sheer Marine Biomass off the Cape and its ability to provide some of the best fishing you could hope for are addictive and I have fallen for its charms. I have to return, I must return, the Cape has become a home from home.

Week 1

There’s no doubt that the last couple of trips have been relatively easy fishing in comparison with 2008. It soon became apparent that the fishing was going to be tougher than previous years, the spring Migration was running late according to the locals. Many of the locations scribbled on my map and stored in the GPS from 2006 and 2007 were almost barren of fish. For the first couple of days shoals of Menhaden swam past my rod tip, Sand eels nestled between currents all were unhindered by Bass or the aggressive attention of Bluefish. The fact that we had experienced charter skippers with fast boats booked along with great shore guide lined up for later in the week helped to ease the pressure. At least we had a back up plan. Initially the weather could not have been a great deal worse. These fish don’t like change. They will adjust to anything given time but winds that swing from South Westerly to Easterly and then back to Northerly or the approach of a cold front can shut down the fishing for a couple of days while the fish re adjust . A couple of mild Sunny days can lift both the spirits of your fishing companions and stimulate a change in the behaviour of both predators and prey. Clouds of immature sand eels would soon appear and soon after Bass would follow. A swing back to Easterly could easily send you back to square one. Despite these circumstances we still managed to land a few very special fish during week one, Gary was lucky enough to land a 38 Inch Bass from shore Moments after Russ had landed a 30 Inch Fish. I had a great session sight casting on a newly discovered beach to a shoal of Bass, dimpling the surface with their Spines and Drifting over a shallow reef. These fish were casually lapping up Juvenile sand eels as the tide carried them closer to the shore. This was great fishing, sight casting to a shoal of feeding fish in open water. These are the possibilities that draw me to the Cape every year. The next day the shoal had moved on, the moment had passed the search would need to continue.
The Boat fishing was proving to excellent during week one. We had 4 Charters lined up and every trip would provide memorable fishing with large fish and happy clients. Never had I experienced such changes in the weather, on the Friday we battled on in the face of a strong North easterly and lashing rain. The following day we were hit by a heat wave with temperatures topping 95 Degrees. The first week was over too soon, a great trip for all involved and never before had I seen so many empty Wine bottles next to the recycle bin.
Week 2

It’s a strange feeling to drop off a group of guys that you have built up fishing camaraderie with over the course of a week , shake hands say farewell and then brush yourself down and pick up the next eager troop half an hour later. The weather was roasting hot and the forecast was for a heat wave. I had little experience of fishing the Cape in these circumstances. Striped Bass do not favour warm water and will seek out cooler water to feed. I have been told that their behaviour changes with the higher water temperatures; they will slow down and look at a fly rather than instantly hit it. Over the course of the following week I would say that this theory was compounded by our experiences, more on that one later.
The first couple of days shore fishing were rather slow to start with, perhaps those Bass needed a couple more days to re adjust to the heat wave. Perhaps we had ventured to the wrong beaches. Loyalty had sent me back to a couple of the old 2006 - 2007 spots and as with the previous week the fishing had been pretty slow at these locations. We did however have two days boat fishing arranged for Monday and Tuesday.
Big Tuesday
I joined the gang afloat on the Tuesday and was lucky enough to join in with what must be the most memorable days fishing in my life. Four of us shared the 24 foot long boat and headed out to sea, the sea was mirror flat , and the temperature was already up by 8 AM . Memories of the events that followed and the number of fish that we landed that day ,will stay with me forever . I had a video camera and an SLR and had every intention of bagging up on photography. I failed ! When the fishing is as intense as it was that day it was just too hard to put the rod down and pick up the camera. Subsequently I have a handful of photos and some of the worst Video footage imaginable. I will try to edit the film sometime as there were a few great shots of both fishing and the Humpback Whales. With four fly rods on the go and constant hook ups you would expect there to be spaghetti of fly lines and tangled up anglers. We did really well ducking under each others rods during multiple hook ups and stepping aside while two cast from the Bow and two cast from the stern. It was chaotic and wonderful fishing. The number of fish over 35 Inches was a blur. The number of fish over 38 Inches was also a blur. Anthony had seven fish around the 38 - 40 Inch bracket , his best that day was a wonderful 42 inches, If you’re into Stripers you will know that’s as good as it gets. All these fish were taking sparse DNA Clousers size 2. Once again the Bunker flies and Squid patterns remained redundant

The Humpback Whale
If you boat fish around the top end of Cape Cod then whales become an ever present part of the scenery. I had not forgotten my first sight of feeding whales in 2006. In 2008 the whale experience was one that all of us involved will remember fondly. We had already marvelled at the acrobatics ,sheer numbers , size and the sounds of whales all around us. We headed away from the main whale watching arena and began drifting over an offshore reef. As we were fishing and drifting a humpback whale approached our Starboard side at forty five degrees , as the whale came closer we gasped . The Whale was accompanied by a shoal of Bass. All big fish ,every one of them. As the whale came within twenty yards , the shoal vanished. The Whale stopped in its tracks right next to the boat and just suspended there right next to us checking us over. We were making eye contact with this creature. The whale was as fascinated by us as we were by he/ or she. This was a special moment for all aboard. I felt slightly emotional then and I do as I write about it. Our skipper had never had quite as close an encounter as this. The whale proceeded to slowly circle the boat for fifteen minutes. It became apparent that we were not going to be able to get back to the fishing with a whale circling us , so we bid the Humpback good bye and gently motored away and set up another drift. As we looked to out to the stern we realised that the whale was following our wake ! Once again the creature arrived and began to circle us. We enjoyed a few more moments together and then headed off . This time being sure to put a little distance between us. We did fish for one more hour , by now the fishing had slowed down. It was time to head back to shore , there was nothing more that we could have hoped for from a days fishing and we knew it.
Big Wednesday

The following day we had arranged to meet with our shore guide for the day. The previous Fridays guided session had been a pretty tame affair. We had managed to pluck out a load of small fish from a short blitz but in fairness to our man the weather conditions that day had been horrific. We embarked on the gin clear flats under the mid day sun and began to spread out in formation and look for signs of fish. Anthony and Richard stayed close to our guide and John and I found ourselves lagging behind. I have to confess that after an hour or so with no signs I was starting to have a few doubts. I turned to Johnny and we both wondered if we were flogging a dead one. Moment’s later our guide shouted out a few expletives and pointed out the massive shoal of Bass lurking in the slightly deeper water. By now it was slack water these fish were sunbathing and preparing to enter the flats with the turn of the tide. Anthony took the first shot and the largest fish in that pod quickly grabbed his fly. He landed a fine fish. Our search had been rewarded. I’m sure our guide must have been relieved.

Soon after we were all hooked up. As the tide began to flood the flats increasing numbers of Bass seemed to emerge from nowhere there were thousands of fish everywhere , with trophy sized specimens in the mix .
The numbers of fish we landed that day were low given the number of fish that we had within constant casting range. I landed eight fish or so with one just below the keeper size of 28 Inches. The others in the group had a similar numbers. Johnny had quite a few to 35 ‘’. These fish were all feeding on the clouds of Young sand eels on the flats. A large shoal of fish would casually swim straight toward you casually grazing . The feeding fish would flash and turn over and show their flanks straight in front of you while ignoring our flies. They were transfixed on a particular size of prey and our size 2 offerings were way too big. You would cast and retrieve a fly . The Pod would follow the fly sometimes to your rod tip before suddenly spotting your legs in the water before dashing off. We would turn around and see a further 500 fish behind you or alongside you. There were thousands of Bass selectively feeding and we were standing on the dinner table.
As with week One our time together was over very quickly and it was time for the guys to go home and pick up group 3
Week 3

I went into week 3 full of optimism .The previous week we had experienced the best the Cape has to offer and the tides were growing stronger as we approached the full moon . We fished the flats over several tides and found the early morning flood tides to be most productive , although we never encountered the volume of fish that we had on the previous week . I would say that the fish we sight cast too were more aggressive thanks cooler water entering the flat at dawn. Sight casting with cloud cover or no sun was still possible as the fish were willing to enter very shallow water , at some stages they swam on their sides in the shallows while engulfing dead sand eels as the tide flooded. Based on our previous experiences with fussy fish . I tied a few very small sand eel patterns and tiny Clousers on size 8 Hooks. These resulted in a greater number of hook ups but inevitably more dropped fish. I did however manage to hook and land my best shore based Bass to date. In the excitement and jubilation of spotting hooking and landing this fish I lost or could not place my tape measure. An excited local kindly measured the fish against the taped markings on his rod and proclaimed the fish to be Forty Inches. I was over the moon. As I released the fish I did wonder as to the size. I had become pretty accurate at guessing sizes and I felt that the fish lay more in the 37 - 38 zone than 40’’ with the big fish a extra couple of inches makes a great deal of difference to the general body mass of the fish. Regardless I was over the moon to land this one. I have been dropping the Cows from the shore for three years , none more so than during week two when I dropped a very large fish on the flats. They don’t bust you they tend to shake the hook. Small hooks and large tough mouths don’t mix. You need to learn to hit these fish a few times to set the hook.
The following cast resulted in a 28’ the next a 26 the next a 24’’ . Four quality fish in four casts. John and Doug were having a great time casting at Stripers further along the shoreline. John had his first keeper and had a smile to prove the fact. In the meantime Chris and Leanne fished from the boat. They had a pretty tough morning with a couple of keepers to show for the day. That’s slow for boat fishing , but that’s fishing. Over the course of the week we fished many locations all over the Cape . With the increased water temperatures we opted to try the Oceanside of the Cape . We had a few nice fish but the fishing was tough. A nasty mushy weed known as ‘’ Mung’’ had been pushed up onto the shoreline and caused havoc with our fly lines. We fished the final day with our Shore guide and managed a handful of fish. The previous day at this beach had provided great sport with pods of Stripers chasing Menhaden up and down the beach. A pod did hit the beach at one point and everyone hooked up, Doug was lucky enough to hook a nice fish at 32 Inches. That hopefully made the journey worthwhile.
Despite the slower fishing this year I would say it was a success with more trophy sized fish landed than previous years. We all had a great time both on and off the water .My knowledge gained from widening the search this year will hopefully prove to be invaluable for many years to come. Our approach to the Stripers changed with far more emphasis on sight fishing in 2008. Fast sinking lines were replaced by intermediates . Large flies by sparse offerings. Being able to stalk 20 lb Fish on the flats and cast too and lead the fish into a visual strike was fascinating.
2008 was a coming of age in terms of technique and knowledge. Our accommodation was great and the Food provided by Fran every night was a real treat. The pile of red wine bottles next to the recycle bin stand as a reminder of a great time had by all.

Thanks to all of you I have the pleasure of sharing those memorable days with.

Please contact me if you wish to join in with the next trip scheduled for June 2009.

I have several interested parties for the June 2009 trip. The price will hopefully stay the same at £ 799 Including Accomodation , Quality meals , Shore Guides and Charter Skipper. Its a great deal . I should have all the testemonials in pretty soon.


Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Pollack on the Fly Part 2

Heres a link to the Video

After a enjoyable day alone I invited Steve a friend and Co worker at uksaltwaterflies to come out on the boat. Steve had not fly fished for 20 years. His casting was pretty good considering the lack of practice. High density lines while standing on a moving platform represent a reasonable challenge. It was a steamy boiling Hot day . Not best for the fishing , the larger Pollack were hiding and unwilling to play ball.

Steve managed to catch a Bass. His first on fly. It was a fun morning.

Please excuse Steve swearing when he hooks a Bass !!

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Pollack on the Fly Part 1

Pollack Fly fishing trip May 11 Th. 2008

It’s still a week or 2 early for Bass here, the second set of springs will no doubt bring a tidal wave of giant Bass! Lets hope not as if that were ever to happen a greed y commercial fisherman would be more than happy to scoop them up with no regard for the future of his own fishery. Ok politics aside.

So in the absence of Bass I have turned my attention towards catching Pollack from Reefs and Pinnacles. Usually I regard Pollack as a by catch, such is my favouritism towards Bass fishing. This style of fishing is very basic in terms of technical fly fishing. Boat handling becomes the critical skill rather than fly casting. I did ponder too myself a couple of times. Is this saltwater fly fishing as I drifted over pinnacles watching the fish on my Fish finder and lining up my drift. Regardless of the ethics it’s still a very enjoyable way to fish, you certainly do hook into larger fish than you tend to when fishing my local Rocky shore marks. I think I will start to do more of this fishing this summer and see if I cant get a Double figure Pollack on the fly.
Once you located the correct starting point and have set up your drift you cast the fly either ahead of the boat or at 90 Degrees to the boat. With a stiff Northerly today wind I fished with the stern facing the wind. Depths ranged from 20 - 60 feet. As the fly swings around the bites tend to start. You can let the fly swing fully astern and then jig and retrieve the fly. Sometimes retrieving a few meters and then paying the line out again. This certainly breaks the gentlemen’s rules but when handling a boat in chop on your own while fishing the fly it is useful.

Lines and flies
I have been fishing with 8 # and 10 # Rods both with Rio Outbound Di 8 Sinkers. 30 lb Seguar Fluorocarbon leaders and a variety of flies. With regard to flies I have now started to fish 1/0 Deep eels and other Long Mobile flies. If you fish small flies you will be plagued by Small Pollack. If you fish a large Saltwater fly they tend to tail nip the fly ,rather than swallow it, its rather like bait fishing . As you drift you can feel endless tugs and pulls from small fish nipping while you await a thump from the larger specimens . The 6 lb Fish today fell to a bright red Zonker on the Second cast .

So today I had well over 20 Fish , with several 4 pounders a Five pounder and one just under 6 lb. The little guys don’t really pull your string but the better fish really do stick a bend in the rod. as they dive for cover .

It may not be pure fly fishing but as a pre Bass fishing season distraction it was pure fun !

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Saltwater Fly fishing in Cornwall - May 2008

After a busy week I managed to sneak away for a whole tide today. We had a pretty large Spring tide combined with a strong very gusty South Easterly Breeze . This made maintaining the correct drift , managing the boat and a fly rod rather a challenge. Constant tweaking of the boat and much swearing as the fly line spooled out of the Orvis line tray in the gusts,were the order of the day. It was good to see the Herring fry were in the shallows dimpling the surface in the margins of the Estuary . Despite the arrival of the Fry there was still a wintery feeling to the place . Peak season the estuary will be a soup of Bait and life. The Stingy Noodle weed beds are still rather thin. I should have looked at the water temperature on the Fish finder . I checked several favourite Bass spots but alas nothing there, Not a pluck or a follow . Usually if they are there you will see them follow or hook them within a few casts.

So it was back to Pollack duty. Armed with the 8 # and Rio Outbound Di 8 . DNA Olive Clouser size 2 # (Just for a change) The heavy seas restricted my movements so I fished well within the sheltered confines of the estuary . As usual there were plenty of willing Pollack and Coalfish , no monsters , the best fish would have maybe tweaked 3 lb. 20 or 30 fish later that was enough..I had fished 2 marks ranging from 18 to 35 foot deep. All the better fish were deep down. Time to return with a glowing red face thanks to Sunshine a windburn. Nice to be catching fish and bobbing around.

A few weeks from now the daily Herring fry Bltz’s will start . Hopefully !


Friday, 11 April 2008

Saltwaterflies for Cape Cod 2008

I have been busy knocking up flies for the Cape Cod fishing trip, with three weeks of fishing ahead I am aware that Im going to need plenty of ammo. I will try to keep the number of patterns down, Deep Eels, sparse Clousers , Black Decievers and a handfull of Menhaden ( Bunker) flies should do the trick. Obviously I will add a few bits and bobs to the mix. There are several guys that have asked me to supply flies , 180 Deep eels later I can see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Every year we encounter shoals of Manhaden often closely pusuied by Bluefish and striped bass. I have tied these flies with EP 3 D Fibres Menhaden over Tan over Baitfish Belly, Hook Tiemco 600 SP size 6/0 . Eyes 6 mm Abalone shell. Just add a couple of spots to the flank to match the distinctive markings of the natural.

Hopefully these will dothe trick

I have an article on the main site with tying instructions

Click here

Aprill Fools or brave souls?

I was joined by Clive on Thursay April 11 th. So two brave souls headed out into the rain for an early season saltwater fly fishing session. The initial plan was to hit the same mark that provided me with a couple of Bass in Febuary. As soon as I managed to position the boat correctly and set up the right drift we were into fish, fishing in 25 foot of water with fast sinking lines on 8 and 9 # rods. The fly of choice was a size 2 Olive over Polar DNA frosty fish Fibre Clouser ( By way of a change !) We managed to land over 40 Pollack and coalfish, no bass were landed today . But it was still great fun to see a bend in the rod.

Austen Goldsmith CLICK HERE

Sunday, 10 February 2008

First Bass of the year

I ventured out today for the first ''uk based '' saltwater fly fishing session of 2008. After the stunning weather on Saturday the change of wind direction to easterly and the drop in temperature came as rather a disappointment. Fearless and well wrapped up I hid behind the rather small consul on the Boston Whaler to keep warm. It was great to be out in the fresh air at last after what has been a hectic month work wise. I fished several of my favourite locations within the Estuary and drew a blank. Marks that always produce a fish 'In season' were lifeless, not a Tug and not a fish on the Fish finder. A change of location followed by a change of fly finally paid off. The Orange and Black clouser was switched for the well tested Frosty Fish Fibre 2 # clouser with red eyes. The first cast with new fly produced a Bass, Not a Monster, but regardless it was a Bass! It was a cold February afternoon, not the conditions associated with UK saltwater fly fishing. This fish suffered the indignity of the traditional kiss on the lips for the first Bass of the year before being released.

The second slightly larger fish fell to the same fly on the next drift across the edge of the reef the depth was around 17 feet. The flies were fished on the swing at depth with a slow double handed retrieve. The takes were gentle perhaps that indicates that the fish have slowed down with the drop in water temperature.

The Fly pattern - http://www.uksaltwaterflies.com/articles_Sparse_clouser.htm

More uk saltwater fly fishing information - http://www.uksaltwaterflies.com/articles_homepage.htm

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

A great yet Simple Saltwater Fly Pattern

This Saltwater Fly was kind to me in 2007. Nice and fast to tie ,which is an advantage as I fish it deep aound all manner of weed and snags , so I lose plenty. But I can replace them fast. With the Long zonker strip it fishes really well with minimal input in the way of retrieve. I often fish this on the drift from my boat with a fast sinking line. Pollack and Bass eat it. Its also good for fishing deep into Rips from the shore, it was very useful for stripers in the States in June

I wonder how usefull it would be in a strong Red colour for Pollack ?

Like many good flies its dead simple

size 1/0 Jiggy Saltwater Hook
7/32 Eyes
30 lb Mason Anti tangle on tail and also weed gaurd near the eye
Black Zonker Tail & Collar

Thumbnail, click to enlarge.



Wednesday, 2 January 2008

The Airflo Ridge GT lines (Review)

Airflo Ridge GT line was developed and field tested on Cosmoledo that should give us an idea of the kind of punishment these lines were intended for !

I used the 12 # GT line on my recent trip to the Seychelles . The line flies out . I was chucking giant 6/0 Poppers . The line had great turnover( or as much as you could hope for with Giant popper) It was stiff enough for the tropics but not too stiff. It has a 60 Lb core so I had confidence to give it everything when combined with 66 lb backing and 100 lb leader. I did however replace the weilded loops with 50 lb Gudebrod braided loops double nail knotted and glued. The weilded loops may be ok I just needed to be 100 % confident. The other nice thing about the Airflo ridge GT line is the price. At £ 35 you can afford to take a couple of spares with you. Something to consider when tussling GTs on the Flats. I had a Barracuda bite one of my fly lines in half on my last trip. Crazy things happen out in these places!!

I used the old Airflo Blue Saltwater floater a few years back , that was pretty poor. I binned it. Im glad to see Airflo developing products for extreem fishing aswell as the mainstream.