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Recommended Flies and Lures
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No doubt those of you who are keen fly fishermen will possess literally hundreds and maybe thousands of flies, most of which are never used. In truth, I'm sure we could all get by with just a few patterns on most occasions - light, dark, thin, bushy - provided they were tied in a variety of sizes. For example, if salmon and sea trout are in the river you probably stand a very good chance of success by using any fly tied with black and silver materials, such as the renowned Stoat Fly. Of course, the specialist trout angler will try to match the genuine article as far as possible. On the River Usk, for example, which is noted for its prolific hatches and superb wild trout, you should bring imitations of March Browns, Dark Olives, Iron Blues and Yellow Mays earlier in the year, and varieties of Sedge flies for late summer. Stonefly imitations can be good on the River Wye for trout and grayling in the autumn and the Kite's Imperial will do service as a spinner just about anywhere. Between the hatches on the rivers, nymph imitations such as Pheasant Tails and the Gold-Ribbed Hare's Ear will do fine. These and and the many variations of Buzzers will suffice on the reservoirs, as will the classic wet flies such as Black Pennell, Invicta and Peter Ross. Bring something bushy such as the various Bumbles and definitely a beetle imitation such as the Coch y Bondhu as well.
Like anywhere else, Wales has attracted its fair share of innovative fly dressers and there are countless local patterns that can claim their share of success. Some are most unusual indeed. To whet your appetite I have included a few dressings of these below, but for much more detailed information I strongly recommend that you obtain a copy of "Trout and Salmon Flies of Wales" by the renowned angler and journalist Moc Morgan, who is also a tireless campaigner for anglers' rights and conservation issues. If you cannot tie your own flies or you just want the best, please speak to Phil Holding at Spiders Plus, as he has some of the nicest imitative patterns and North Country spiders that you are ever likely to find.
Please note: The following dressings are all illustrated on a standard wet fly hook. In some cases you will want to use other varieties - e.g. Up-eye single Wilson hooks, etc. The complexities of digital photo-editing will not do justice to some of these flies. For masses of other patterns and more exact reproductions see Moc Morgan's book (above) or the excellent "Fly Patterns - an International Guide" by Taff Price. Another excellent book is "Successful Sea trout Angling" by Graeme Harris and Moc Morgan, which is an authoritative introduction to the subject and also contains details on tying a wide variety of flies, especially the "Marchog" series. For more local patterns you can also try "Trout Flies of Shropshire and the Welsh Borderlands" by Michael Leighton and also a brand new book by Roger Smith called "Flyfishing the Welsh Borderlands".
In actual fact, salmon and sea trout flies are largely interchangeable, although the latter are renowned for taking much larger flies, especially at night.
On many rivers in Wales, bait-fishing with a worm is the preferred method, and this is certainly the case with perhaps a majority of club anglers and is not frowned upon. Further restrictions on bait fishing will inevitably mean that many clubs and associations will go to the wall, which will be a great pity. However, the visitor to Kite Country should be aware that certain restrictions do apply on, for example, the River Wye, which also curtail the use of artificial lures. On certain beats on the River Tawe you must use a centrepin reel when spinning. See my Threats page as well for further details and always check locally before you cast. Please note that the owners of some private beats might not allow spinning or bait-fishing on their stretches. Nevertheless, in certain conditions live and artificial baits provide the only real means of catching fish, with the following lures being particularly recommended:
Needless to say, a selection of sizes and weights should be brought. Also popular is the "Flying C" or "Flying Condom" - look it up!
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