Here I am going to give a brief review of The Complete Mayfly, a DVD in the River Academy series of videos from Fish On Productions.
Now Mayfly fishing ( I use the term Mayfly here to mean what is often thought as the type experienced in so called “duffers fortnight” usually E. Danica) isn’t something I have any experience of, and arguably it’s the domain of anglers from more southern points of the UK than Central Scotland. I personally on my time on the river have yet to experience anything that could be regarded as a proper Mayfly hatch of Ephemera Danica, and have never had any success fishing large mayfly nymph or dry fly patterns, albeit I have used them rather speculatively, when the fish seemed to be ignoring everything else in my box. If they won’t take something tiny, lets try something huge!
I am sure there will be rivers up here where something akin to the Mayfly hatches of yore occur but if so, then they are a pretty closely guarded secret. I have seen the odd Mayfly but by that I mean “very” odd, in that as there was one it stood out like a sore thumb. I was once on the River Devon when a huge Green Mayfly ( I am tempted to call it a Green Drake) drifted by, the colour was very striking against the dark sky and water that day and I watched it for what seemed like ages, but it was a one off. A few days later I seen another identical fly up at Pendreich where I had time to watch it and see if it had any pals coming out to play, sadly it didn’t. I seen dozens of Heptagenia sp.( Yellow May Duns ) on the Clyde one day in May once – but the fish weren’t interested in them, and I once fished what was clearly a large Ephemera Danica out of the Lake of Menteith, one warm evening in early September! That one obviously had the wrong date set in its diary!
So unless I get the chance to visit a southern chalkstream or some such place some day I doubt I will see this much for myself in the way this video showed it. The video in question, another in the River Academy series from Fish On Productions, hosted by John Tyzack and Dean Andrews. This was another quality production and if they truly did encounter all that was shown in a single day ( and I have no reason to doubt that they did from watching the video) it was an epic days fishing. The video took the viewer from fishing early in the day on the nymph to the different stages of the Mayfly life cycle as they emerge throughout the day into late evening when the spent spinners hit the water, and it really was an exceptional days angling included therein. Filmed on the Derbyshire Wye, I suspect, on the private members only section of the water controlled by the Cressbrook and Litton Flyfishers Club. ( A section of this water is available on day ticket if you are ever stuck for a present for me!). The film also included interviews with the river keepers who discuss how they have gone about re-population of the river with mayfly and might in itself prove useful to other clubs looking to carry out similar programs of habitat or ecology restoration.
I would argue this particular production is the most polished and beautifully filmed of the River Academy series ( insofar as the ones I have seen anyway), with views of the river where you can actually see the fish and where the fly is fishing. On a general note ( not just aimed at this video where its arguably less of an issue anyway due to the water clarity) I do sometimes think that the videos would benefit from some headcam shots to give you an anglers eye view of what they are looking at or watching from their perspective.
It’s definitely one of those videos to sit down and watch in the depths of winter when there are long dark nights and the rain is hammering at the window. If I ever experience a day’s fishing like that I would think I had been fed some hallucinogenic drugs and imagined the whole thing! It’s a bit of a pricier offering than the other DVD’s in the series, why I am not sure as it is not the only double DVD in the series, and also others come with a similar useful booklet aimed more at the fly tiers. As an anglers educational resource on fishing the Mayfly lifecycle, or just a bit of fishing p0rn, it’s a great watch and one I have returned to a number of times though it’s unlikely I will ever fish such conditions. If you can only buy one DVD from the River Academy series, this would be the one I would head for. Highly recommended.