Probably, The Worst Fly Fisherman In The World

Over the course of the last week the lack of sunlight and lower temperatures renewed my faith in my own ability to catch Rainbow Trout on the fly. Armed with a selection of flies carefully selected after reading the angling reports in ‘Trout Fisherman’ I embarked on three fishing trips across the north of England.

After stocking up with ample supplies of Black Buzzer’s, Cat’s Whiskers, Daddy Longlegs, Orange Fritz, Sedges and Damsel’s I thought I couldn’t fail. I got a few tips from Sport Fishing at After all, ninety percent of the successful fly fisherman over the past month seemed to have used one of these patterns with success. Whereas the ten pound monster that I crave may remain elusive I was confident that this colourful portfolio of fly fishing patterns would at the very least return a brace pre venue, and maybe just one bag limit.

The three venues for the week were the two highly regarded Northumberland fly fishing venues of Sweethope Loughs, Langley Dam plus the compact Clay Lane Farm Fishery in Cheshire. Each three trips went in exactly the same way:

Firstly, upon checking the catch returns at each fishery the last few days had proved successful for almost all anglers. Most anglers had got lucky with a Cat’s Whisker retrieved slowly below the surface, a Black Buzzer left static or a Daddy Longlegs with a frequent injection of life.

All three sessions covered the afternoon until dusk fishing sessions. All three sessions had different wind conditions. All three sessions had ideal conditions with a slight ripple on the water and the occasional plentiful rise. In all three instances I tried everything from an Adams to a Zulu fishing fly. In all three occasions anglers around me were pulling in many fish, the best of which was seven pounds plus at Sweethope Loughs. In each of the three occasions I caught nothing.

I am devastated. Over the past week I have spent the equivalent of a whole day thrashing the water. I have travelled hundreds of miles, spent over fifty pounds and caught bugger all. Self doubt has since crept in and I am beginning to wonder what I need to do to catch Rainbow Trout on the fly?

Rather than blame the fishery, as many a fly fisherman is prone to do, I laid the blame firmly at my own soggy feet.

I’ve asked my mates who assure me that my casting, varied retrieves and patterns selection are fine. I Even though of sending an email to Silvey’s Fly Fishing Service. They were no use. Whether out of politeness or a due to a confidence that only a friend can understand when they know they are better than their mate at their favourite pastime, they didn’t give me any help, hope or meanigful advice.

With nowhere else to turn, and an increasing sense of desperation, I turn to you. What are your tips, what can you suggest to turn around the worst barren spell since I first picked up a fly fishing rod twenty years ago?

5 thoughts on “Probably, The Worst Fly Fisherman In The World”

  1. At langley dam fishery when there is a west blowing wind it is advisable to stay at the near side around the reeds, and the bank near the house. Traditional wet flies are what you should be using to be sure of a catch on days like these. Things like kate mclaren and soldier palmer, or any brown or black bushy wet fly, most of the traditionals work. The retrieve should be a normal stripping retrieve at a medium pace. Good luck

  2. At sweethope lough if you are fishing the smaller lake, try and get a cast in where the waterfall area enters the lake, any flies work around this area, as it is a trout haven. this is because most fly fishermen can’t get their cast in there, but if you can do that you should be in for a a good fish, or maybe if a pike!

  3. I was trying to get a pal of mine into fly fishing and managed to blank superbly as did he. there was plenty of activity at the surface, but they were not interested at all in any dries (it was feburary but they was something hatching) or all manner of bloodworm and nymph suspended near surface. not even a nibble. any suggestions greatly received

  4. Hello, I used fish at clay lane about once twice a week for a while, mainly when none of the Derbyshire rivers had rods available (Which I thoroughly suggest to any of the keen dry fly fisherman out there).
    I always found the key to katching fish in a reservoir or a small lake, despite what the guilies too tell you, fish at the moment go mainly fore lures, stupidly big and sparkly, I personally stay away from them as I tend to stick with dry fly or nyphs. The reason they like them are not are not natural in the wild, as the fish are all fed on fish food, thats what they primarily eat, so when they see your Grey wolf floating above the surface film, it doesnt even contend to the big chunk of biscit comes down there.
    So if you want to catch fish, and alot of them use Lures, however if your like me stick to the traditional patterns. Another tip, when it gets tricky I often find that it helps to use a realy small fly, with a No.22 hook or something.

  5. I would suggest to the novice fly-fisherman a few rules of thumb/tips, from my experiences…

    1, study catch returns ,
    2, talk to owner,
    3, locate fish,hot spots etc…
    4, ensure your set up is refined and well, use floating line/tippet when you want to fish on the surface/sub surface.
    5, when surface fishing, de-grease line at least 18 inches from fly.
    6,be patient, it is an art and will require a degree of skill.
    7, If you are not using leaders, ensure the hook line is at least 6 foot long. Two out-stretched arm lengths is an ample guide !
    8, Always study/watch the water.
    9, Don’t be afraid to ask the local/regulars , they will always be happy to help (well most of them anyway! )
    10,Dont give up , many fly-men have had plenty of blanks…To catch a fish on a new water on your own, with no knowledge is probably rare ! Water craft and knowledge goes a long way.
    Good luck,tight lines and always leave the water as you found it !

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