richard.adeney@sky.com

Wye Tenkara

Upper Longtown Beat River Monnow

Upper Longtown beat of the river Monnow

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By richard adeney, Mar 14 2020 10:19AM

The pheasant tail nymph is perhaps one of the easiest flies to tie. In its simplest form it consists of the hurls from the tail of the cock pheasant and copper wire. This original pattern was devised by the renowned river keeper on the Upper Avon Frank Sawyer. He devised this pattern to imitate the nymph stage of an up-wing may fly. In the clear waters of the Upper Avon in Hampshire he was able to cast this fly to individual fish. Since the introduction of this fly in the late 1950’s it has spawned a great number of children. Today it is rarely used in its original form.


Frank Sawyer Pattern

Hook: 14 or smaller

Tail: Cock Pheasant Tail herl

Under body: fine copper wire. Originally from the windings of an electric motor. The under body is formed so that there is a pronounced bulge at the eye end of the hook to represent the thorax of the nymph.

Over body: Cock Pheasant Tail herl wound over all the copper wire under body.

Rib: Copper wire


This nymph is tied without the use of a tying thread.


Method: Secure the hook into the fly tying vice and then form the under body of fine copper wire. It is important to leave a long tail of wire at the bend to form the rib. Select a bunch of Cock Pheasant Tail herl and tie in at the bend of the hook to form both the tail and body. Wind the herl round the copper wire and form the body of the nymph. Secure just behind the thorax. Rib the body with the copper wire tail and secure. Now form the thorax with the remaining Cock Pheasant Tail herl. Secure and form a head with the copper wire.



By richard adeney, Feb 28 2020 02:31PM

The Llynfi is a medium sized tributary of the River Wye, which flows out of Llangorse Lake an ancient glacial lake. The Pontithel beat is a delight to fish with a good stock of both grayling brown trout. On this beat I have caught larger grayling than brown trout. Tickets can be obtained from the Wye and Usk foundation. The banks of the stream are fairly wooded but it is possible to get into the water and wade upstream.



I was fishing the river in November 2018 for grayling and caught this fine specimen. The set up I was using was my trusty ESO 6:4 3.6 meter rod matched with a 3.5 furled Tenkara line. I have had this rod for several years now and it has served me very well. I was fishing up a run underneath the trees with a small dry fly. In addition to the fine fish I caught I also caught other grayling of a smaller size from the same run.

Later that day I also caught some out of season brown trout.










By richard adeney, Feb 28 2020 11:37AM

These are my main ‘go to’ fly tying materials when tying flies for trout and grayling. I also have other materials which I use less often. A small pack of high quality hackles, peacock hurl and striped peacock quill for making quill body dry flies. In addition to the materials discussed some fine gold, silver and copper wire, fly tying thread, a range of hooks in various sizes and styles, and some tungsten beads to add additional weight to you nymphs. That is about all you need to make many successful flies and start your fly tying journey.



What are the materials you go to most often when tying trout flies? Do you have a short list of favourite fly tying materials materials’? It seems today every new fly is tied with ever more new and exciting materials. I think that this can be a ‘turn off’ for would be fly tiers who think that to successfully tie flies you need all the latest materials and the correct hook style. I don’t think that this is true. If you look through my fly boxes five materials will predominate.


My Five Magic Fly Tying Materials are:


1. Hare’s Ear Mask: This is an extremely versatile source of dubbing material. The colour range in a hare’s ear mask ranges from bark brown to a cream colour. You will be able to make a wide range of bodies and thoraxes of nymphs and dry flies with this material. The classic fly pattern using this material is the ‘Gold Ribbed Hare’s Ear’. This fly can be fished either wet or dry or as an emerger. It is perhaps one of the first emerger patterns even before the term was current. This pattern can be tied with or without a wing and forms the foundation for a great many flies.


2. Pheasant Tail: The tail of the cock pheasant is a very useful material for making fly bodies both dry and wet and so is the tail feathers from the hen pheasant. It is a very readily available material and can even be obtained from ‘road kill’! The simple pheasant tail nymph is one of the classic nymph representations of a mayfly nymph. The original version of this fly has only two materials, which are fine copper wire and cock pheasant tail. This pattern has also lead to many variations and is more usually tied with a dubbing thorax now.


3. Partridge Hackles and Other ‘Soft Hackles’: Partridge hackles are very versatile feather when tying spider patterns. I tend to tie the hackle facing forward in a kebari style for my spider patterns. There are a few other soft hackles I use occasionally and they are; snipe and jackdaw.


4. Deer Hair: Deer is mainly used as a winging material in dry flies and adds structure to the wing. It is particularly useful when tying sedge patterns. One of my favourite sedge patterns has a body and thorax taken from a hare’s ear mask and a wing made up of CDC and deer hair.


5. CDC: CDC is a very good winging material for dry flies. It is easy to tie into a fly and I think that it makes a very realist wing. It also adds floatability to a fly if it is treated correctly. I use it a lot in my small dry flies.


These are my main ‘go to’ fly tying materials when tying flies for trout and grayling. I also have other materials which I use less often. A small pack of high quality hackles, peacock hurl and striped peacock quill for making quill body dry flies. In addition to the materials discussed some fine gold, silver and copper wire, fly tying thread, a range of hooks in various sizes and styles, and some tungsten beads to add additional weight to you nymphs. That is about all you need to make many successful flies and start your fly tying journey.



Selection of fly tying materials ready for use
Selection of fly tying materials ready for use

By richard adeney, Feb 12 2020 08:39PM

If you have ever sat through a fire safety lecture you will know about the fire triangle. The elements of which are; heat, fuel and oxygen. If any one of these elements are missing fire will not occur.


When thinking about why and when fish feed there is a similar triangle. The feeding triangle. The elements are; available food, which is accessible, proximity of a place to hide and an optimal water temperature. If the water temperature is too low then fish will not be active and not feed. If it is too high then they will be under metabolic stress so will not be inclined to feed. If any element is not optimal then fish may not feed with confidence if al all. This concept is particularly applicable to river trout.


The first element in the feeding triangle is the abundance of food and how accessible it is. There are times when there are lots of flies present but there does not seem to be any fish rising or showing interest in the flies. Unless the food source is easy to get fish will not expend excess energy to catch their prey. Temperature can also significantly influence feeding behaviour. This is because the fish’s metabolic rate is directly related to temperature and all types of fish have an optimal temperature range. The optimal temperature range of a trout is between 8 and 15 degrees centigrade. When the water temperature is outside its optimal range feeding activity will be reduced. Another important factor is how exposed is the fish to the potential of predation. Where a trout lies close to a safe hole it will feed with confidence but fish in the tail of a pool will often be sensitive to the slightest disturbance.


How does all this affect the way we approach fishing a river? Firstly we are the predator so fish will always treat our offerings and activities with suspicion. Secondly stealth is important. Think before you move and only move slowly. Thirdly don’t waste time fishing water which is likely to be unproductive and not hold fish. When approaching a pool think where the food is, where is the safe zone for the fish and how does the food get to the fish? Where these three things come together there the fish will be. Whether we can catch it is another matter.



By richard adeney, Feb 5 2020 09:35PM

When my children were young and we were on car journeys there was always great excitement when the road went through a tunnel of trees. There would be shouts of ‘tree tunnel’ from the back of the car. Tree tunnels are not only restricted to roads but also the streams and rivers in the Wye catchment.


The river Dore in Herefordshire is a case in point. The Chanstone Court beat (https://www.fishingpassport.co.uk/fishing/ws-monnow/chanstone-court) is hemmed in by trees and river bank vegetation. There are only a few access points and your whole fishing session is governed by the time it takes to fish between the access points.


So how do I tackle this stream? I fish with either a 2.4 meter Tenkara rod or a 1.8 meter 2 weight. Coupled with a 3 meter furled leader. As for flies a small selection of wet, dry and nymphs are all that is required. When fishing these streams it is important to keep as close to the bank as possible and also wade as carefully as you can.


Fishing in such close proximity to the stream can lead to close encounters with the local wildlife. One evening I was fishing a very secluded pool enclosed pool. Out of the corner of my eye I saw the silt on the bottom of the river disturbed only a few feet from me. Was it an otter entering the water or a large fish? I don’t know but it was a close encounter of the wild kind. Kingfishers are another inhabitant of these streams which you will encounter. You may even need to duck to avoid them as they streak up and down the stream.


Fishing can be challenging but it is well worth fishing these streams not only for the fish caught but also for the encounters with the local wildlife.



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