Sunday, 31 July 2011

Old friends and fly boxes

Fishing is a fantastic sport at any time but even better when you are with good friends. Mark Thomas and I have known each other for a very long time but for one reason or another we only manage to get together to fish perhaps once a year and yesterday was this year's fishing adventure. We usually meet at Chew reservoir as a mid point between my home in North Devon and Mark's in West Wales and we invariably toil under a blazing sun and flat calm conditions. This year would be different we were going afloat on Blagdon and as the rain hit my windscreen as I journeyed up the M5, even the weather was looking different.

I arrived at the car park before Mark who's satnav was refusing to recognise the existence of Blagdon reservoir or Blagdon village. This was a tactical blunder on my behalf. As I mentioned in my last blog Mark is an awesome fly tyer and usually I wait for him to open one of his fly boxes before I tackle up and select my flies, hoping to make a clandestine raid of an unguarded box. Delaying tactics didn't work, I had done everything that needed to be done and a few things that didn't and Mark still hadn't shown up, so there was nothing else for it but to tie on a team of Jonesy's favourite dry flies.

Typically Mark and his fly boxes showed up shortly after I had tied my cast. Fortunately he came bearing sausages and the day began with a bankside fry up. Afloat we found favourable conditions, a light breeze, good cloud cover and rising fish. Mark set up a team of nymphs whilst I plied the dries.

First peek into Mark's fly boxes, I hope he didn't notice the sudden appearance of those gaps...

We moved fish to both methods through the remains of the morning and as always good banter and friendly competition prevailed.
Some really well conditioned, hard-fighting fish

Over lunch I was able to rummage through a few more of Mark's boxes and take a few 'arty' shots:

Over lunch the sun broke through the cloud and the wind eased, by the time we shoved the boat afloat again the conditions had reverted to typical Thomas and Jones fishing conditions, hot, sunny and calm. Those fish that were moving in the morning had disappeared. It was time to graft. 'Mate, I am going to change tactics, can I have a look at your box of buzzers?' There's always a plus point. The afternoon was hard work, we picked up a couple of fish on deeply fished buzzer and diawl bachs before we were able to welcome the return of a bit of cloud cover and duly the rising fish returned.

What followed was a really intense few hours of dry fly fishing as we came across fish feeding heavily on snails and corixa along the weedbed fringes. Interestingly the fish were rising extremely gently, it was difficult at times to spot these fish and even sometimes (particularly as the light faded) it was difficult to watch the flies and see the fish take. The friendly competition continued into the evening with Mark generally keeping one or two fish ahead of my tally. Good fish too, up to around 3.5lbs, full finned and hard fighting. With the last cast of the evening, with Mark already stripping down his gear, I hooked the fish that finally evened up the tally. Given Mark's skill as a fly fisher, experience in this form of fishing and his fly box I was more than happy with that!

I really enjoy fishing with Mark, he is a man really on top of his game and I find it a great way to keep abreast of what's new on the competition scene, best not to mention the new patterns I had squirrelled in the depth of my fly box!

See you next year mate!


Ps. I have just had some photos through from Mark which I have added below:

Jonesy, milking it for the camera.

fin perfect & hard fighting. A great sporting fish.


  1. Hi Derrick,
    Thanks for the trip to Blagdon mate.
    Those Blagdon trout surely did tug a little. I have had to bring forward my doctors appointment for my steroid injection into my tennis elbow!!
    Goes to say you have not lost your dry fly technique, or your competative edge. ( fish on your last cast of the night).
    Those photos of my fly boxes have come out a little too well for my liking!!
    Maybe we can post a few patterns in the future for your followers to tye and enjoy.
    Enjoyed you bike trip blogs. Wish I was there, allthough thinking about it glad I was not considering the weather!!
    See you soon pal

  2. Hey mate! I like the idea of posting some patterns, we will definitely do that, I have some ideas for my selection already! I am always interested in copying some of your patterns (at least the ones I didn't nick last time we met!)
    Hope the elbow sorts itself out soon. Thanks for the photos too, I will add them to this blog. Cheers, Derrick