About the Silver Fly Fisherman

I started Fly Fishing in the mid-seventies on the Wiltshire Avon, and was very lucky, as a member of HM Forces, to be able to fish the stretch owned by the Services Dry Fly Fishing Association (SDFFA) and managed by the famous Frank Sawyer. That remarkable, crystal clear chalk stream, brought to life by Frank Sawyer, taught me that fly fishing has all of the elements associated with hunting game, and far from being a sedentary sport, just sitting and waiting on the river bank, you are mobile, stealthily hunting your fish, in some of the most beautiful scenery that it is possible to image. I have been very lucky to have fished in some amazing places, and the reason that I started this Blog, was to share my experiences, as an ‘average fly fisherman’ with others, particularly those just getting started in this, the most rewarding of all types of fishing. I don’t say that lightly, I have experience of Course Fishing, Sea Fishing, including Sea Fly Fishing and for many years I was an IGFA Certified Fishing Captain and current IGFA World Record Holder for a rather poisonous fish caught off of the island of La Gomera.

My mentor, when I started Fly Fishing, was a Gentleman called Michael Kitchen, who, from my perspective was indeed an expert Fly Fisherman. Not only did he cast superbly, he used the flies that he tied himself to ccontinuously catch fish, irrespective of the conditions or location. I learned an awful lot from Mike, who taught me the art of Upstream Dry Fly and Nymph Fishing.  When ‘nymphing’ we of course used Frank Sawyers Pheasant Tail Nympth or PTN, which we had tied ourselves in the original form without using thread. After many blank weeks on the Avon, I quickly learned the art of ‘stalking’ the fish and subsequently caught my fair share of brown trout and grayling.

My first Fly Fishing rod was of course made of the tried and tested GRP or glass reinforced plastic, cheap and quite suitable for a novice like me who was still finding difficulty in keeping the fly line in the air.  Mike of course had one of thFly Fishing River Ilze ultra expensive and newfangled carbon fiber rods which came with a warning not to take them anywhere near electricity pylons.  But at that time, carbon fiber rods were quite prone to breaking and that, combined with the initial purchase cost, put them out of my reach.  To upgrade my fishing rod at a reasonable cost, I decided to build my own split cane rod from a kit.  I spent an entire winter building the rod, customizing it with my name and varnishing it to perfection.  The end result, even if I say so myself, was  pretty good, it was just a pity that I had chosen the wrong tip action, as I really didn’t understand that it was important.  That being said, I was extremely proud of that rod and persevered with it for many years.

I can recall a hot summers day on a Hampshire fishery, where Mike was teaching me to fish with sub-surface buzzers.  He had already caught more than a dozen fish while I had only caught the sun.  He then decided to concentrate my mind and sat beside me, instructing me to concentrate on the water above the buzzers and on the line, which I was holding too loose.  ‘Did you see that?’ he asked, I of course had seen nothing, but eventually, after missing many fish, I started to see the subtle movements on the water and the almost imperceptible twitch on the line.  I was as pleased with the one fish that I did catch as Mike was with his bag full.

Over the years I have been lucky to have fished in England, Wales and Scotland, but also the Catskills in the USA, British Columbia in Canada, the Pyrenees in Spain, Austria and Germany.  This year, I will fly fishing in Bavaria, Austria and Czechoslovakia.  I consider myself a bit of a purest, preferring Dry Fly & Nymph, seldom resorting to a wet fly or streamer, but even so, it is insufficient to just fish upstream.  You don’t catch many fish using the upstream method when fishing a fast flowing river such as the Ilz in Bavaria or the Ybbs in Austria.  When fishing rivers, I always return the fish to the water unharmed, much to my wife’s chagrine.  Therefore, to keep the peace, and to provide fish for the table, I make regular visits to ‘put and take’ lakes where the fish are bred for the purpose.  Although I am not a great lover of eating fish, who could resist fresh trout fillets, cooked in butter and sprinkled with almonds? Even better, hot smoked trout, direct from my smoker, served with brown bread and butter!

I will be writing regular Blogs about my past experiences whilst waiting patiently for the season to commence, when I can Blog about current fishing trips.  I will also be reviewing some equipment and providing a few Top Tips.

Tight Lines from the Silver Fly Fisherman

About the Author

I started Fly Fishing in the mid-seventies on the Wiltshire Avon, and was very lucky, as a member of HM Forces, to be able to fish the stretch owned by the Services Dry Fly Fishing Association (SDFFA) and managed by the famous Frank Sawyer. That remarkable chalk stream, brought to life by Frank Sawyer, taught me that fly fishing has all of the elements associated with hunting game, and far from being a sedentary sport, just sitting and waiting on the river bank, you are mobile, stealthily hunting your fish, in some of the most beautiful scenery that it is possible to image. I have been very lucky to have fished in some amazing places, and the reason that I started this Blog, was to share my experiences, an an 'average fly fisherman' with others, particularly those just getting started in this, the most rewarding of all types of fishing.