by Charlotte Cooper

There's nowhere nicer to be on a warm summer's morning than the riverbank, and our fly-fishing expert Bob Goble has some ideas how to make sure your fishing trip is successful 

Now June is with us, the temptation to be by the waterside is enormous, as all around, the flora and fauna is at its full glory. Green, spiky reeds cover the edge and there is just enough cover to see below and on the surface on the water.

In the early morning stillness and wearing a pair of polaroid glasses you can see invertebrates ascending to the surface, at close quarters. These will mostly be midge pupae. I wrote about the importance of this little creature, chironomidae, in  March (here). 

Before you set up your tackle, if you take a while to observe what is going on around and especially close to you, you will see all manner of insects. But, the one we are interested in is the midge pupae.

If you watch closely by the water’s edge, you will see how they emerge. Ascending from the silty bottom, they thrash their way to the surface, fall back then continue up. Once on the surface, they emerge into the adult form and flying off to mate. Luckily for us, their shape resembles the hook we use. Not all survive. Some cannot break free from the water’s meniscus and die, while others are stillborn.

My April article , you may remember, (here) was about the shuttlecock midge pupae and how to fish it, with its underbody below the surface of the water and the wing above for your observation. It is a deadly method on its day, but there are times when trout get preoccupied and refuse to take it.

Trout can be fussy and selective, and you may have to present your offering slightly differently, this is where this little midge pattern - the Shipman’s (see picture) - can be useful.

Dave Shipman came up with this pattern, again to imitate the hatching buzzer. Its construction means it lays flat on the surface film, imitating the striate bodied profile of the natural item. Again, it is fished as a dry fly. You can see the breathing filaments which project from both head and tail (see picture).

Construction is very simple, again using CDC (cul de canard) for the wing. You can also use a man-made material called Antron or a close cell foam - but that can be a little bulky in small sizes. 

The body of the fly is made of seal fur or a substitute, in black, olive, red, orange or brown, as you would use for your standard buzzer patterns. This all held together with a rib of pearly tinsel, which gives it a sparkly sheen and suggests the effect of air trapped within the skin as happens on the natural. Pick out the body a little with a piece of Velcro to aid its buoyancy.

The Shipman’s is a very effective pattern on lakes and reservoirs and is a particular favourite of mine when conditions allow on Bewl Water.

When the fish are moving up wind, topping and tailing, cast your offering out well in front to intercept them. You may not see your fly, but this does not matter if you are in touch with the end of line. Keep slack to a minimum. The take will be positive and with the line tightening it can pay to slowly pull the fly back, just lift into the fish. Great fun!

I have also included an image of a little conspicuous fly called the F-fly. It can represent several different insect varieties, for example buzzers, olives and sedges, and is another useful pattern for your box.

All these patterns can be obtained online or from a good tackle store that supplies fly fishing gear, or you can make them yourself.


Be safe but most of all have fun, Bob G.




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