Friday, 28 August 2009

Girl's on top!

Things have been busy at 'aff-UK' which is always nice. The weather has been a bit all over the show recently, but nevertheless we have been doing well on most of our venues. On the whole the pike fishing has slowed down a little, the weather down at the coast has had us having some fun with the bass, and the trout fishing is booming. We have just located a new carp lake that holds a few thirties, so I'll be taking a look at that later this week! One thing that I have noticed lately is the number of females coming to visit us for tuition and guiding. Admittedly some have been dragged along by their husbands and boyfriends, but we are impressed by the number who have booked a day to try it for themselves. Fly fishing, unlike coarse fishing tends to have more of an appeal to the fairer sex. Maybe this has something to do with not having to mess around with maggots and other smelly baits, or simply that woman make excellent fly fishers!

Anyone who knows anything about fly casting will tell you that it is a matter of technique and timing. This suits woman brilliantly. Unlike a lot of casting, fly casting doesn't lend itself to power and strength, as it does with casting a heavy weight and bait. It is often a fault with a lot of beginners, especially men to incorporate to much testosterone into a cast. Woman naturally don't have the same strength as men, so they often use more technique. This is also true when it comes to fishing. Okay, it's always nice to ping a line as far as it will go, but how many fish get caught close in to the edge? Again women will often work a water methodically and search fish out where a man may have over-cast and missed a closer fish. In my opinion, I often find it easier to teach women than men. A lot of this is that women seem to listen a bit more. I'm a guy, I should know. Men tend to break something, then read the instructions on how it should of worked. Women on the other hand tend to be a bit more thorougher in their approach.

We are lucky to have Jax who represents the female side of things at aff-UK. She is often on hand when we are running ladies days, and is very much an accomplished fly fisher and caster in her own rite. She doesn't really have much choice in the matter at times though! She often accompanies us on fishing trips, and is always been dragged along when were having a cast or trying out new bits of tackle. Over the past few years she has developed into a awesome fly caster. This has certainly helped her in the fishing situations that she has faced. She is now used to fishing anything from a small stream, large reservoir, or open ocean, and it has been good watching her progress. From the time that she couldn't even tie on a fly, to now, where she can comfortably fish for any thing that swims!

Jax Mock.....Harassing the smallest fish in the river!

A lot of fishing companies are realising that there is a 'lady boom' in fishing. Don't get me wrong, woman have always fished, loved it, and given most men a run for their money. But they have always been second best when it has come to tackle and clothing. Nowadays though, most fishing tackle companies have their own range of ladies clothing, tackle and accessories. More and more clubs are welcoming lady anglers, and hold regular ladies days to encourage more to take up the sport. Age isn't a concern with fly fishing. From young to old it is always a buzz catching fish on the fly.

Aimee Cashmoore choosing a fly, 'aff-UK' Ladies day

It was good to meet up with Helen Stubbs again at the weekend. I have had the pleasure of her company on a few other fishing days, and it was nice to hear that she was still into the fly fishing and I hadn't bored her off! This time she wanted to try her hand at small river fishing. Jon, her 'now fiancee' decided to sit this one out, and let Helen take advantage of the day. Running water was new to her, and after a few minuets of settling the nerves she took her first steps into the flow! All two inches of it!! After a few near tumbles and looking like 'bamby on ice', she soon got into the swing of it and picked up where she left off from last time. We took our time, and made our way up stream to a couple of nice runs, where she could find her feet and settle into things. It only took a few tweaks and a little bit of explaining about river-craft and she started to rise a few fish.

Helen's first river trout- taken on a dry fly

It was good to watch her make casts into hard places and fool fish with a dry fly. Fly selection wasn't anything special, we mainly used a small olive Klink, and when we fished the darker water used an elk hair caddis. This was only to help us to see the fly. It wouldn't have made any difference to the fishing I don't think.

Helen making her way up-stream

The day ended with her catching a few nice fish, and her enthusiasm for fly fishing went up another level. All in all, a pretty good day.

For those who would like tuition from a female AAPGAI instructor, check out the AAPGAI website for location and availability.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

What's in a line?

As instructors and guides we often get asked about fly lines. Lines tend to be the piece of kit that is paramount to efficient casting and fishing, but can often get overlooked for the important roll that it plays. Most newcomers to the sport tend to focus more on a new rod and reel than the line that is going to be used. In layman terms, a fly line is nothing more than a plastic weight. But with such a huge selection to choose from, which one will you want? Understanding fly lines can be as simple or as in depth as you want to make it. Most anglers are quite happy to use one type of fly line for all of their fishing and still catch consistently.

This is often good enough. Your gear is matched up and you will can go and catch fish to your hearts content. So what's the deal with all the other lines then? Why do some anglers carry reel bags full of spools and lines? One reason for this, is that they will be carrying a variety of lines for different fishing situations. Some will perhaps be sinking lines, or shooting heads. Basically the type of water that's been fished will determine the type of fly line that you use. Sometimes you may need a delicate presentation line for dry fly fishing, or a nymph line that is designed for turning weighted flies over. A selection of different sink tips is always worth carrying, to get the flies down when in high water or during certain times of the year. This is both true for both still and running water.

The first thing that you should consider when selecting a fly line is the use correct line weight for the rod that your using. Easy! If your using a five weight rod then match it with a five weight line. Dependant on the weight of rod that that your fishing with, will have some bearing on the size of flies that it will cast and perhaps species of fish that your fishing for. If for example you are fishing a small stream for small fish, that feed on small insects, then a light rod is what's needed. If you were to oversize everything then it would take the fun out of the fishing or even spook fish with over sized lines, leaders and flies crashing on a small water. The same applies if you wanted to use a light outfit on a big river where longer casts, casting heavy bugs are sometimes needed. You could find that you are a bit under-gunned for the job.

Weight and profile of line will dictate the size of flies that you can cast.

The next consideration is the taper of the fly line. This can be as important as selection the correct weight line for the rod that your using. If for example you were tying to use a nymph taper fly line to fish with small dry flies, you will experience an aggressive turn over that might spook fish. The same applies if using a delicate presentation fly line with a team of heavy bugs. The profile of the line will struggle to transmit the energy to the flies and turn them over efficiently. So it pays to understand various tapers and their fishing practicalities. A fly line that consits of a long, shallow front taper is designed to allow a smooth transfer of energy to the flies, where as a nymph taper or saltwater fly line will have a short, steep front taper that concentrates on maximum energy transfer and powerful turnover.

Different fly lines for different fly fishing situations

Fly lines have evolved with fly fishing, and most companies seem to have a dabble at producing their own. But you soon find your own favourite's for each style of fly fishing that your doing. I must confess, that Rio do it all for my fishing. Whether I'm guiding for small wild fish, firing pike flies at range or battling and onshore wind casting poppers at bass, there is a line for it all- and more! I'm looking forward to trying some of the new Rio wire and put it through its paces on the pike. I will let you know the results when it turns up.

So once you have determined the line weight and profile, the next thing to consider is the density. I like to carry a decent selection to choose from, as to maximize the chance of catching fish. Don't get me wrong, I don't have boxes of different sinking lines, I tend to have two or three for each rod weight that I use. As well as floaters, intermediates are always a good choice of line to carry. This is certainly true for the pike fishing. It's always nice to pick fish off from the surface of the water, but a lot of the time we usually have to get down to the fish. I also like to carry a sink-tip line and also a full sinker. Again allowing us to reach the fish at their holding/feeding depth. As well at the line rating in grains or AFTM, it will also indicate an ips rating. This is simply informing the angler the sink rate of the fly line. I.E 6ips = it sinks at 6 inches per second. These sink rates can vary somewhat when fished in saltwater though.

I hope that this as helped to cover a few of the basic questions that I come across. Its a matter of knowing the type of fishing that your going to be doing, and the type of fish that you will be targeting. Then its a matter of selecting the correct weight, taper of fly line and decide whether you use a floating or sinking line.

Choose the line to suit your fishing.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Putting in the overtime!

After getting off the phone from Martin, at Guide fly fishing, he mentioned that he was coming down to Devon to visit a few accounts and wondered if I was around for a bit of fishing. Always eager to get a few more rod hours in, we spoke about going up to Chew for the pike, and stay local for a few trout. It's always good to catch up with Mart. I had recently spent a few days with him at the CLA and mentioned he wanted to try a bit of fishing down here. So when he was talking about coming down for work, I said he could crash over, have a catch up, and get out for a fish.

He mentioned that he would be arriving on the Thursday sometime, but wasn't sure what time. I decided to take the day off, and thought that I hadn't given the new TCX much of a workout! Well, not much of one anyway. The weather had been nice all day, and I needed to get out for a few hours. I was getting in the swing of things . I was trying a few different fly lines on it to see which profile I preferred. I had tried the Rio gold on it before and it was impressive. I like the gold for its stability and loop holding performance. I also spent a bit of time with the Grand, which the rod loved. Talk about fast line speed! But in my humble opinion, I still like the Windcutter on it, just as with my XP.

I hadn't been out for more than a couple of hours when Mart rang saying he was nearly here. So winding in I made my way back and put the kettle on. After a day on the road I'm sure he would of wanted a brew. Withing twenty minuets of him arriving, he had drunk a brew and were on our way down to the river. Mart is used to fishing the rivers and streams up in Yorkshire, and he was looking forward to trying his methods down here. A lot of the time, I often opt to fish the small streams, up-stream with either dry flies or nymphs. A lot of the Northern lads like to use spiders and nymphs and fish them downstream, so I was interested in seeing what result would be. Even though we have had quite a lot of rain, the river was relatively low. The West Okment is a stunning moorland stream that holds plenty of wild trout. Small trout, but pretty all the same.

The stunning West Okment small and pretty!

This part of the river is held back by Meldon Dam. The water is usually gin clear and is very stony. The fish are fast and spooky, and hit flies hard when they're on, and picky and even more spooky when they're not. Either way it is vital that you use as much cover a possible and make stealth the name of the game. We walked upstream for about 3/4 a mile, and dropped into one of the deeper pools. There were plenty of takes, but the fish in the faster water were on and off in the blink of an eye. We tried fishing all the likely areas. There were fish in the areas but seemed a bit spooky. This is usual for these fish. Low water and sun makes them shy. Moving back down towards the castle, the fish were well on the feed and they were fighting over the flies. There was a good hatch of midge, stone fly and odd olives coming off, so we flicked a couple of small dries out, and swung a few spiders down the run. First cast in the new area and Mart was into his first Devon trout.

Mart's first wild Devon trout.

As soon as the action started to hot up we lost the light, and had to make our way back. So talking about going to Chew in the morning, we made the short walk back and crashed out earlish! I still had to get the kit sorted and tried to find a few of the new patterns that I had been working on during the week. I had been sent a few new packets of Funky Products fly materials. They are some of the best that I have come across for tying all my pike and saltwater flies. I especially like the Funky Fibre and Funky Flash, and use a lot of them in my "Chewed Up" range of flies. They have been doing well on a lot of the waters where they have been used, and we have had good numbers of pike and bass on them this year. 'I just hoped that they worked in the morning'.

A few "Chewed Up"- Thunder Creek style bass and small pike flies.

It was an early start to get up to Chew. Well a ten o'clock start anyway. It was Mart's day off and I didn't want to pile the pressure on too much! The weather forecast was looking a bit grim again. Strong winds and rain all day. Great! When we arrived at Chew they weren't far wrong. The waves were rolling and the rain started to fall. I don't mind the bad weather, but the wind can become hard work, especially trying to fire big cumbersome flies through it. During conditions like this I often opt for using smaller patterns that can be cast to where you want them. There isn't much point struggling to the point that it effects the fishing. At least if you can get you fly in the zone, there is every chance that you will get a take.

I was dying to christen my new toy. Mart had left left me a new McLean landing net. I use them anyway, but only have the smaller sizes for trout and sea-trout/small pike. But this one is the BIG un. I just hoped that we could fill it! The water looked in good condition. Well, apart form the mass of weed that was present over certain areas of the lake. This would be ideal for the pike, but at times it can be hard to fish around. The day was pretty much a day of, cast, strip, cast, strip, cast, strip, change fly, cast, strip, cast, strip, change fly! You get the image. It was tough going , but hard to see why. Over the last 5 trips on Chew we have caught over 90 pike. But today, it didn't quite seem the same. The boat was been rocked and blown around, every cast was met with a snag of weed, and then the line would get blown inside the boat. Sometimes the conditions can knock you off a bit. But I would of still expected more action. I don't think it was anything that we were doing wrong. The pike just weren't in the mood.

Mart taking it easy on Chew.

After a couple of hours of flogging the water to a foam, Mart had a couple of takes in quick succession. Things were looking up! Unfortunately they didn't hold. The pike were running straight for the weed and coming off. At the same time, I was into a bit of action. I had a couple of follows and a few quick snatches, but same again they came off! You can tell when things are tough by the growing mound of wet, untouched pike flies that gather in the boat. The pile was getting bigger and the weather was getting worse. But this is pike fishing. It can be a hard game at times. It wasn't until lunch time that I had the first solid take. This fish was mine! I had worked too hard to loose it. So after a battle of trying to pull the fish out of the weed, the new net got the taste of victory. (Not that we needed the net).

At Last!!! Not big, but worked hard for.

We continued to fish for a good few hours after the first fish, but again we were only met with the few odd takes that were short coming. But that's the beauty of fishing. "They had us over". But next time they will be ours. It's fair to say that we certainly put the overtime in, when things were slow. If we didn't we might not have even had a take. I would just like to say thanks to Mart for the company and the net! I'm sure it will get a good hammering over the next few months.

Take it away

If there is one thing in life that I believe in, it is to try and put something back into fishing. If it wasn't for the help and friends that I made during my early days as an angler, I probably wouldn't be where I am today. So with this in mind, whenever the opportunity arises that I can help and put something back, then I will. There are some instructors out there who only look at the fishing scene as a way to make money! It sometimes make me wonder if they are in the business for the right reason. Personally I think it has to be down to the fishing. Been able to make a living out of fishing to me is just a bonus. So when the chance to help someone down here in Devon came along, I took up the challenge and it's been brilliant!

Before I moved to Devon few years ago, I was under the impression that it was all picture card scenery, beaches, blue skies, and fishing. Apart from the blue skies (they are often grey), it is all that I described, and a lot more. But what they don't tell you in the holiday brooches is that Devon is no different than anywhere else in the country. It has its fare share of crime, unemployment, drugs, and kids getting in trouble with the police. Devon is quite a poor area, relying mainly on tourism and farming for its income. But with recent summers comprising of wet crappy weather, both industries have suffered. Combine it with a recession and you can see that living in Devon is like living anywhere else in the country. Like I mentioned, it is true that we have all this beautiful scenery and open areas, but if you can't get to use them, then they might as well not be there. So most of the youngsters hang around town with nothing to do.

Unlike some of the big inner-city authorities who run programmes for youngsters to help keep them out of trouble and try to steer them away from a night in the cells, there doesn't seem to be much of a priority to do this in Devon. I don't want to get into politics or anything, but the way I see it is, surely it must be better to look after the youngsters of the town instead of making sure that the hanging baskets outside the shops are looking good, or the local visitors center is painted! Its seems to be a case that if they make somewhere look nice, then it will mask the problems. It's more like painting over the cracks! Why not spend the money else where and give the local youngsters something to do instead?

Since I have been down here, I have gotten to know quite a lot of the youngsters in town and see their problem. Coming from an inner-city area myself, I can see the same similarities that I faced as a kid. So I thought what the hell. So I decided that any days that I'm not teaching or guiding, I will put my time into helping a few of them and see if they could get into the fishing? The beauty of living in this area, is the expanse of rivers, streams, coastline and open moorland. It isn't like they would learn to cast a fly on the grass, then go down to the canal to catch an old shoe. It has been possible to teach a few of them how to cast, learn about fly selection and river-craft, a bit about navigation and then go missing on the moors for the day.

As I thought, the numbers soon dwindled. Maybe the PlayStation or X-box still has more of a magnetic draw than standing in lashing rain, casting a fly at fish. But out of the group who started, it was good to see that one person was still up for it. I must admit, that out of everybody, I was surprised that it was Dan. But what can I say? He loves it. I can be sitting at home having my tea, and the phone will ring. It will be Dan wanting to know if we can get out fishing or wanting to learn another cast. I try not to say no. Even if I'm busy, I will always try to take him. If he's got the bug, then I want to keep up the momentum and keep him interested. It's too easy to let things slip, and before you know it he's found another way to keep himself occupied.

So I thought how could we put it all into practice? His casting was coming on good, he now knows about river-craft and navigation and could certainly catch fish when we've been out on the river. So I gave him a challenge! Whilst at school, this guy wouldn't probably even be allowed to sit alone on the school bus. He would have to sit next to a teacher to make sure that he behaved and at least, make sure he attended. I think most of today's teenagers are ignored and mis-judged by us oldies. Dan was given a chance, and he was doing good. It was his day to run the show. It was up to him to navigate us over Dartmoor, criss-cross the streams, read the weather and water conditions and catch as many fish as possible. I went along to carry the food and to stretch my legs. If he was pulling us too far off track, I would say something, but it was my intention to leave as much of it to him as possible and see how the day unfolded.

We arranged to meet at mine at 10am and would start the trip off from town. Whilst I was putting a couple of sugars in my brew, the door bell went and he was here. Before I had time to finish stirring my tea, he was climbing into his waders and looking at an OS map of the area. I thought I had better look fired up, so I got into my waders, grabbed the gear and had a quick slurp before we set off.

Dan Moran leading the way over Dartmoor.

Maybe it's me and I'm getting old, but when you've got a youngster leading the way the pace increases to another level. Jump, chop, wallop, run, I'm heading straight up that big hill! When I was his age (during the war), I wouldn't think anything of a twenty mile slog in the mountains, but nowadays I feel it a bit more. My excuse is that I was still a bit tired from the CLA weekend, and I had been up on the moors for a couple of days previous fishing and guiding. After taking me up hill and down dale, he did well and dropped us on the correct section of river and we watched what the fish were up to. We cracked open a bag of sweets to recharge the energy, and set the rod up.

In a tangle before making the first cast!

After 20 minutes or so of Dan setting the rod up, and un doing a nice tangle, he was making the first cast of the day. First cast and he had a take. As usual, the fish were fast and he missed it! Youngsters!! One he got his eye in though, then things began to happen. He was doing well, and fish were coming quite frequent. Nothing big, but all were a nice size for the moors.

First fish of the day, a stunning wild moorland trout.

After spending a couple of hours working along a stretch of the East Okment, we decided (well Dan decided) that we ought to make our way to the head of the river Taw some 3 miles away and over heavy ground. Great I thought! What's wrong with here? Were catching fish. But it was Dan's day, so I grabbed the kit, browsed at the map and we headed off- upwards! How nice it must of been for the people that we passed who were taking a leisurely stroll along the footpaths. It was warm and muggy, and I wished that I had opted for shorts and trainers like the rest of the people out that day. Not us! Waders and boots are designed to worn in water. We were nearly 10 miles from the start of the day, battling with thick gorse, boggy ground, and climbing a gradient over the tors. No wonder I was sweating.

But how nice it was when we reached our destination. The first thing we did was to get into the river to cool down. We looked like a pair of dogs, splashing around trying to lower the temperature. I think Dan must of felt sorry for me, because he handed me the rod for the first cast. Fly selection was pretty basic. We were using a couple of different coloured Klinks and the odd nymph. Most of the fishing was typical up-stream casting, but through out the deeper pools and runs, we opted to swing nymphs and small spiders.

Dan pondering, as the 'old man' hooks into a fish.

We fished a number of runs and pockets as the gradient steepened and the water ran faster. Dan was now picking and choosing the method dependant on the type of water in front of him. Swapping flies and attaching droppers, he was in the zone. The day continued with Dan catching a decent amount of fish on a variety of methods and flies. It was good to watch him put into practice all the stuff that we spoke about and had showed him throughout the various sessions. The walk back to town was a nice stroll back. Dan couldn't stop himself from flicking a fly in the best looking spots as we marinaded our way back down stream. The sign of a true angler in the making! Typically the best fish came about 100 yards from the town itself. Just as he was about to wind in and snip the flies off, we saw a rise from a decent fish that was tucked in under an overhanging bush. He didn't hesitate and fired a fly in the vicinity. I watched as the fly drifted down until it reached the point of the rising fish. Fingers crossed I saw a boil under the fly and before I could say anything Dan was bent into it.

The best fish of the day, only 100 yards from home!

What Dan thinks of it all!

"I have been 'adventure fly fishing' across Dartmoor in rivers and also other places. I am ambitious and interested to keep learning and moving on. I've learnt the basics about casting and fly fishing, but still fascinated because the knowledge and wisdom you learn is always keeps it interesting. Trouble bound this helped me find piece of mind and understand a lot more about myself. When I first undertook the challenges I faced I didn't quite expect it to be as difficult as it was. I am fairly fit anyway but the walking was hard, but never the less mark guided me to the most peaceful of places and found tranquility. With thanks to mark for helping me experience what he must undertake almost everyday and now a new hobby has possessed me. Thanks again for teaching me and giving me the chance, and also letting me develop until I was comfortable to tackle the tasks at hand by myself". By Dan Moran.

Monday, 10 August 2009

CLA 09

I wished I was a bit more organised at times! I knew that the CLA was coming up, but as usual I left the final details and preparations until the last minuet. Instead of getting ready for the weekend away, the journey, and the packing, I decided to have a couple of days fishing on Dartmoor instead. I suppose this is what you call prioritising things. It was the first time in a week or two that the streams were back in condition and I wanted to have a last breath of freedom before a weekend of crowds.

I was looking forward to the weekend, but I wasn't looking forward to the journey though! It doesn't matter wherever you live, things are always somewhere else. I'd spoken to a couple of the guys the night before, and everyone seemed fired up for the weekend and fancied a bit of a blow-out during the evening. It is these get-together's that takes the edge off things such as the journey, queuing on the motorway, queuing to get into the show, queuing for the showers, and queuing to buy food. Again, prioritising things, I decided to clean a few lines and sort a rod out for the 'after hours' casting party. Maybe I should of been sorting my tent and sleeping bag out. They were still wet from the previous fishing trip, and I'd got to spend the next few days in them again. I just screwed everything up and stuffed it all into my bag. Job done.

I thought an early start would be the best thing. Get there early, set up, get into things and perhaps meet up with a few people who I hadn't seen for a while. 10:30am, and I'm just crawling out of bed. That was that plan scuppered! I phoned Tony Riley to see what the plan was. I expected him to say that they were all at the show and were wondering where I was? I should of known really. They were still in Cumbria and weren't ready either. The planning that some people put into such occasions, and then there's us. You wouldn't think that we do this kind of thing for a living.

We all got on the road at the same time and tried to arrive at the same time. It was one of those drives. Thirty miles into it, and I'd had enough. Only another 270 to go. I broke the journey up with a couple of latte's and munchies, and we somehow managed to arrive within fifteen minuets of each other. Madness. We couldn't of done it if we had planned it. That's the sign of a true pro. Luck! After the usual interrogation from the security staff we were in. All that we had to do now was find somewhere to camp and get the tents set up before it went dark. First things first, prioritising things again, dusk was drawing in, so we got the rod out for a cast. The tents could wait!

Casting as the sun goes down- Lee, Tony, Jim, and Clive.

After all the travelling and early starts, it wasn't long before everybody was hungry, and it was now 1:30am. I'd heard about what was about to happen. "Tony's speciality", "Cheese and Spam burgers". I though it was only troops living in trenches that ate that stuff! But how wrong I was!Theses were nicer than the things we would be charged £6.50 for in the morning inside the show. We had proper dropped on with the camping area. Casting and camping room, tunes pumping from the Astra CD player, fly lines pinging back and fourth, and Clive dancing like an uncle at a wedding. He was showing us some top of his moves from the decades. Brilliant!! I think he must of been the choreographer for the original Batman series in the 60's.

After a late night and good laugh we decided to crawl into the tents and get ready for tomorrow's grueler. I slept quite well considering my tent and bags were still wet from the previous days on the boggy moorlands. At least the weather had warmed up by morning and the sun had decided to pop out. The wake up call was from my phone. I woke up with one of those usual camping heads. You always seem to wake up half dead. Puffy faced, squinted eyes, bosting for a pee, and dying for a brew. First thing first, fire up the stove. Sort everything else out after you've finished tripping up over things such as guide-ropes, reel bags, rod tubes, boots, crates of beer and Fearnsy has he crawls out if his tent! Lee opted for the comfort of a solid, indoor apartment- (his car). And Tony!!!! The tough Northern lad. "I thought his misses had packed his furniture and fittings. Double air mattress, 2 quilts, selection of pillows, and hanging light fittings. "I'm sure there was even a chocolate on his pillow when I looked it". There were people staying in worse hotels than T's luxury travel tent. I rocked up looking like I should of been at Everest base camp. Lets just say I payed the price for comfort. It would of been OK if we had to hike in 20k to find the pitch first, But we didn't! Don't believe the hype when the salesman in the shop says "they're used by all the top mountaineers". Yeah, when they have to! I bet you don't see them at their local camp sites sleeping in a coffin and eating dried food with a plastic spoon. I bet the comfy stuff comes out for that.

The following morning the weather was good and the show was started. The show seemed quiet to start off with, but soon began to get busy. By 11am I was ready for a snooze. It's always good to play out till late at night, but I'm realising the older I'm getting the more I pay the next day! It was good to meet up with a few old faces, and catch up with them. The day drifted by, and before we knew it, it was teatime and the rods came out for another session. These show weekends can be relentless. Non stop casting and fishing chat. I couldn't of asked to be in better company than the guys from Rio. Not only are they some of the best anglers and fly casters around, there is also the friendship element. We are all longstanding mates, and would do anything for each other. Like any other show that I've attended with the guys, I came home with a head full of new thoughts and ideas to play around with. I also managed to come home with a new 5 weight Sage TCX which was a bonus. That should keep me busy for a while, along with a few new Rio lines to string through it.

I've got a few days up on the moors again next week. But when I return, I will put the rod through its paces and let you know the outcome. I think I already know what it is, but I think its only fair that I spend a few weeks casting with it. The weather is picking up again and who wouldn't want to?

AAPGAI & Rio crew chilling after a hard day!