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  1. Well, I started my fishing this year on April Fool's Day! I don't usually start on the first day of the normal season, but I was fishing a new venue this year and eager to get out. This venue comprises two small lakes (~1-1.5 acres each) and one much larger lake (several acres). I started on the larger of the small lakes and standing on a high bank, could see fish milling about under the surface. I could not distinguish the shapes of them but they were there, advertising their presence by swirls under the surface. I cast out one of my 'new' black pheasant tail nymphs (12) and on the second cast was rewarded with a take. But the fish took an exceptional liking to the fly and decided to keep it and we parted company, albeit too quickly for my liking.

    However, a new fly tied on, this time a more conventional PTN, and cast into the same area rewarded my perseverance with a very fit Rainbow. A second and third fish fish followed soon after, to similar flies and I ended my first visit with a creditable catch of three very fit and plump rainbows.

  2. Eventually started my Pike fishing last week. The river had dropped to an acceptable level, although it was quite coloured - it flows through meadowland so can pick up a lot of mud along the way. The section that I fish is about 1/2 mile upstream of the main river (R Wey) so it has had plenty of distance to colour up.

    Well, I chucked out (technical term for lure fishing) my lure, casting it to the far side and letting it swing round in the current. Allowed a slight pause to get it close to the river bed and started a retrieve along the near bank. Suddenly it stopped. Lift of the rod, no response back except an unyielding solid object down below. Further pull and rod bends over. Still no response. Started to pull a bit harder and 'object' below starts to yield, no great fight in this one and at last all returns to the surface. It's a very weedy stretch here and my river gardening skills have been honed to a fine degree, but attaching weed guards to all my Pike flies means I do not lose too many flies on the bottom.

    May return next week to try my new flashy lures. They really do look good underwater.

  3. Trout fishing to me, mainly ceases about the end of November. It gets a bit too cold, for me anyway and I often target Pike on my Club water in Surrey. I enjoy walking along the river bank casting a large lure into likely looking swims and watching for a reaction. I know there are Pike there because everyone else catches them! Others use spinners mainly, whilst I prefer the fly.

    However, I digress. I was out on the first of December at Duncton Mill Trout Fishery (West Sussex) chasing Trout. It was a warm day (15C), a bit breezy and very damp underfoot. The fishery is at the foot of the South Downs and when it rains (which it does quite often in this area) the water runs down the slope into the lakes.

    I had three Rainbows, one in the morning and two in the afternoon. They were nice fish, full of fight and bright bars of silver. But the fish that stands out was a Char. I caught it in the morning on a variation of a Pheasant tail nymph. It was a good fighter and apparently stocked last year. Char are an attractive fish, light brown along the back and light edges to the fins. They are a particular target at Duncton and I was fortunate to have found one.

  4. I was at the i-Fish fly fair at the weekend. It is an annual event organised by the Sussex branch of the Fly Dresser's Guild (FDG).  This one was held in the South of England showground that was filled with fly tyers, fly tying suppliers and other miscellaneous fishing organisations, like Fishing holidays and trout fisheries.

    I was looking for specific materials for which to tie some flies, so I had a lovely time at the fly tying suppliers, looking at the wealth of materials from luminous artificial fibres to the beauty of natural capes. I picked up a lovely Genetic Hen Furnace (from Chevron) for some Crunchers.

    It was good to observe the volunteer fly tyers, most from the FDG Branches and learn from their techniques. There are always diverse ways in which to tie a fly and one tyer's method may be different from one's own. There was a good range of International tyers, as well as our own professionals and all manner of wonderful creations were fashioned from fur and feather, with a few unnatural materials added.

    I also met up with fishing friends and we reminisced about our memories of fly tying and fishing. Ah, such memories increase with the re-telling! 

    There will be a repeat of the experience at next years' i-Fish on 27 November 2016 at the same venue.