The last few weeks have been unusually fishing free for me despite it allegedly being the opening of the Trout season. This weekends weather has been appalling and last weekend we had similar though with more snow and its been freezing to boot. Add into this broth of meteorological maelstrom, the fact that I have been feeling none too clever on the arthritis front so think I would have struggled in good conditions never mind rubbish like we have had. So my fishing related activities have very much been preparation based.

I have always wanted to have a closer look at the life on the bottom of our rivers and often turn a rock over for a look when on the water. My identification skills sadly would probably be limited to Shrimps, Caddis and Stone Fly nymphs and to be honest knowing the names of specific flies does not really matter, unless relating a form of ephemera to some other knowledgeable angler. Size and colour and shape are for me the more important aspects of such studies and size probably prevalent of these. Personally, I think fish need to be very picky in order for colour to be as critical as its made out by some of the products available on the fly tying scene. Colour match charts? Really? Made by Dulux I reckon!

Anyway get back on the subject, I wanted to have a wee kick sample net but when I went to have a look, professional gear costs £30 upwards and to be honest I think it was not really what I was after so I decided to make my own. I tracked down a place that sold Mosquito net by the metre, purchased a standard wooden brush handle from B&Q for a few quid and was ready to start. Cut the brush handle down the middle approx 23″ long per baton, cut a full width of the netting to be a few inches narrower than the batons at around 20″ and then roll the net round the batons and use brass tacks to fix in place. Very cheap, no idea how effective it will be, I am sure it will work, and if it gets a bit tatty I can replace the netting over and over as I bought 2 metres- should last years.


Net on Baton

The Net is rolled onto the baton and fixed with 5 Tacks up outside and 5 up inside 180 degrees opposed.

Kick Net Rolled up

The net rolls up fairly small and light. It’s hard to get a straight edge on the net- think to do it “properly” you would need a guillotine. Just need some cheap plastic white plates or dishes to view the captured beasties now.

With knowledge of whats on the river bed I then need to be able to match the hatch so I have been tying a few flies too. A batch of March Brown Nymphs for early season nymphing, with leaded underbodies, in sizes 12-16, and also a fly I had not come across before called the Jingler. I am not sure how accurate my version is, I followed instructions on the Fish On French Nymphing DVD with the materials I had to hand. Did a quick Google search and I don’t think I am far off the mark, so ideal for a bit early season dry-fly if the occasion should arise. Now all I need is a bit weather, a bit heat and a break from the aches and pains.

March Brown Nymph

A March Brown Nymph with leaded underbody

March Brown Nymph Materials

Buzzer/Nymph hook size 12-16
Fine Lead under body with a built up then flattened Thorax
Tail: Coq De Leon or Cock hackle fibres
Body: Pheasant tail
Rib: Fine Gold Wire
Thorax cover: Olive Shrimp Skin
Thorax: Grey Squirrel with CDC fibres
Thread: Semperfli Nano Silk in Brown or Olive

The Jingler Dry Fly

My version of the Jingler, not really sure of the exact pattern, Would be better with more marked stripped quill but hopefully will still do the business.


Hook: Hanak Size 12-14 Dry fly
Tail: Red Game Cock Hackle Fibres
Body: Stripped Peackock Quill
Rear Hackle: Red Game Cock Hackle
Front Hackle: Grey/Brown Partridge
Thread: Copper Semperfli Nano Silk

Really enjoying tying with Nano Silk, its easy to split to add in CDC fibres, it lies very flat, can have huge amounts of force applied and ties so tight you don’t need to varnish the head, so you get a tidy head even on fairly “busy” flies with a lot of materials to lock off near the eye.