Drag: The enemy of the chalk stream dry fly angler.

With the trout season just weeks away, and the rivers holding a good amount of water, we are confident that this season is going to be one to remember. With that in mind we thought it would be a good idea to think about what you can do this season to increase your catch rates.  Even the slightest drag can be the difference between the weary trout taking your fly or not. Here are our five top tips for reducing drag and catching more fish. 

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Oscar Boatfield
Why you should take your team fly fishing for your next corporate event.

After making a few calls and conferring with people who do in fact work in offices, it turns out most have endured many a painful and cringe-worthy “team building” workshop. If this has ever been you, then I feel for you, but alas all is not lost, perhaps your next team building exercise will be on a tranquil river bank with great company and delicious food. If we haven’t already convinced you then perhaps the following points will.

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Oscar Boatfield
A fishing guide from a fishing guide

There are many tricks when it comes to fly fishing and many you wouldn't know unless told or you were to spends years on the water to work them out for yourself. 

Here are a three things to think about when you’re next out on the river from Rollo Grandy.

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Rollo Grandy
‘How Do you Want to Live?’

Water quality is crucial to plants and invertebrates and the wide range of species that the river maintains. Unusually for a chalkstream, the Itchen has many different species of breeding dragon and damselfly including the broad-bodied chaser, common darter and banded demoiselles.  

Evidence suggests that discharge from washing plants has a significant impact on river ecosystems: the Itchen has about 5% of the shrimp population of the upper River Meon which has no washing plant. If allowed to go ahead, all aquatic life - from sticklebacks to Trout - and much bird life - from Kingfishers to Swifts - will be harmed.  

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Gavin Lockhart-Mirams
What makes a good shoot?

An interesting (an accurate) piece on the criteria that The Field use to help judge the best shoots in the country:

  • Decent birds, ie between 35yd and 50yd high, on a variety of drives.
  • An absence of artificiality, ie a dearth of wire, release pens, feeders and piles of pheasants running around your feet.
  • A cheerful keeper who’s not too in your face and who has the gumption to change the line and drives if the wind changes.
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Gavin Lockhart-Mirams
Wondering why people stalk? A A Gill explained in GQ.

Gill wrote, "I've shot at lots of things in lots of places. But nothing is like stalking. I can't remember a single pheasant drive with any clarity. I can, though, remember every stag I ever stalked. I can place each one with minute detail. Each is a story, a coherent narrative complete and different. But they all start with the box.

"Do you mind having a go at the box straight away?" asks the stalker. The box is cardboard, placed a hundred yards off with the target Sellotaped to its side. There's a bit of grotty carpet on the grass "for your nice clothes". "OK. In your own time, just to get a feel of the gun. Take it easy, no pressure.""

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Gavin Lockhart-Mirams
What do you really need for a day of Chalkstream fly fishing?

When fly fishing is as central to one’s life as it is to our full time fishing experts, it is not uncommon to receive many fly fishing focused or related gifts at this time of year. But what do you really need for a day on the water, and what you can go with out. So forgetting about the obvious things one requires to fly fish (rod, reel, line, etc) here are our must haves for a day on the chalk streams.

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Oscar Boatfield
Nearly as good as QPR? You bet

"A man called Gavin Lockhart-Mirams, who used to work for a Conservative think-tank but now runs Glorious Game, invited Ludo and me on a pheasant shoot. This was my first experience of shooting ‘high birds’, and I had been led to believe it would be easier than shooting grouse. Even though the birds are a bit further away, they’re bigger, slower and fly in straight lines. In fact, I found it just as difficult — I averaged no more than half-a-dozen a drive. The only consolation was that Ludo found it even harder. After one ‘doughnut drive’ (when you shoot a big, round zero), he announced that the recoil was hurting his shoulder and he didn’t want to shoot any more. I gave him a pity-ing look, he said: ‘Still shot more on a single drive than you ever have, Dad.’

Then, last weekend, Gavin invited my three sons and me to spend the day in Hampshire ‘fishing and foraging’. This is one of Glorious Game’s most popular ‘dads and lads’ packages. 

I won’t say this was the best day out we’ve ever had — that was the trip to the Hawthorns to see QPR beat West Brom 4-1 — but it was close."

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Gavin Lockhart-Mirams