The “Gumby Crab”

The Gumby Crab - James with  GT

James Anderson, aka “Gumby”

The “Gumby Crab” – Post by Peter McLeod

For a while now I have been trying to come up with the perfect pattern to fool those cunning triggerfish in the Indian Ocean. I like to describe triggers as an attainable permit as they can behave in a similar manner, although perhaps a little more forgiving.  In the past I have had success with such flies as velcro crabs, flexo crabs, keel crabs and James Christmas’ sand prawn.

Spurred on by my forthcoming trip to the Nubian Flats in Sudan this May to what could potentially be trigger fish nirvana I decided to attack the vice in a frenzy. I thought about all my favourite attributes of these many patterns into one killer fly.

The carapace had to resemble a Xantidae mud crabs or Portunidae swimming crabs in shape as these are the most common prey for triggers. They will bite them out of the coral houses they have sought refuge in, so to that end I wanted a dense formed body incorporating several colours. To achieve the effect I wished a dense crustaceous brush was the answer which could then be clipped to the desired shape. I have spun a number of different colour combinations which I think will match different environments across the world.

Rubber legs made good tendrils and I have always loved their motion which tends to bewitch fish, along with some crab eyes to complete the face. Rather than go with traditional dumbbell eyes for weight I have found keel flies to not only hold the fly off the bottom with hook point up, but the beads click underwater, a sound that I feel fish tune in on. By adding a set of suede chenille claws to the pattern the illusion is complete.

I recently lost a friend of mine taken well before his time. James Anderson, aka “Gumby” was a compulsive fly fisherman who over the last three or four years had embraced saltwater flats fishing with a passion. On recent visits to the Seychelles he had achieved numerous piscatorial goals including a proper flats GT of 90 cm only weeks before his passing. However the technical aspect of hunting triggerfish I feel most encapsulates his spirit and I therefore have named this pattern the “Gumby Crab” in honour of his memory.

Leading fly manufacturer Fulling Mill will be producing and stocking the “Gumby Crab” in memory of James.

The Gumby Crab

The Gumby Crab

Squirmy and Spermy Worms

There’s hell of a lot of hype about the Squirmy worms on social media nowadays, with mixed views on the material and the flies tied with it for that matter… It’s a very controversial pattern to say the least and divides anglers for many reasons. In my eyes, the squirmy is perfectly legal and just another material we use to help catch us fish. There’s no difference between using a squirmy worm to an apps blood worm, both are tied with rubber, and the apps has 3 times as many ‘legs’ usually. It’s also fully legal within the FIPS-Mouche (World fly fishing) rules.

Over the last few months there’s been another revolution, this time, the Spermy worm – For obvious reasons…

Spermy Worms Ronsfishing

This, a silicon based ‘sperm’ – designed for reasons unknown, and for that matter I’m not sure that I really want to know… But what I do know is that like the squirmys, these spermy worms catch fish. And lots of them. As shown above, I’ve secured the spermy worms to a jig hook with appropriate sized beads to make the most of the extremely mobile tail. The colours are super intense, too and are perfect for grayling – Remove the tail, and you have the ideal ‘Egg fly’.

Here’s my mate Luke Thomas using a spermy worm at Cwm Hedd Lakes.

When rain stops play…

Kieron Jenkins Grayling Fishing

The forecast for the past weekend was supposed to be atrocious, and frankly, it was. But, Sunday morning saw a small window of opportunity, the wind had died down and the rain had eased just enough for a comfortable few hours on the river.

Alex and I made our way over the river for what was our last opportunity to get on the grayling before the seasons out on the 14th March. After a swift Latte at Mcdonalds, we tackled up and headed for the river.

At first, it was ideal, rising slightly over night but dropping back and clearing in the early hours of the morning, giving what was a tiny window of exceptional fishing.

We walked about a mile and a half downstream from the cars searching for likely looking spots. I jumped into our chosen run as Al’ was rigging up, hoping to get a fish under my belt before he even set foot in the river. A few casts in some usually productive water proved fruitless, in the meantime, Alex dropped in just 10 meters below me, dropping his nymphs close into the edge. Before I knew it he’d landed two decent sized grayling… Both taking his favourite new fly pattern. In fairness, he’s been telling me for months that Purple is the new Pink

Bead: 3.5mm Silver Tungsten Beads
Hook: Fulling Mill Jig Force 14
Thread: Red UTC 70D
Tail: Coq-de-Leon
Rib: Silver Wire
Body: Black Pheasant tail
Thorax: Purple UV Dubbing

So on went a Purple and Black jig, and almost instantly I was rewarded… An OOS brown, but a fish none the less.

Kieron Jenkins Brown Trout Fishing

Alex says it was the purple thorax, but I believe the extra weight of the 3.5mm tungsten bead on the dropper - as opposed to the 2.5mm that was previously on the cast – gave me more depth and control, instantly rewarding the change.

For the next hour or so both the purple and pink jigs produced a dozen or so fish, before an hour of torrential rain put a premature end to the fishing. The rising and coloured water returned and we left the river, on what would be both our last days grayling fishing of the season, feeling a lot more satisfied.

Kieron Jenkins Grayling Fishing Squirmy Worm

Learn to fly fish at Cwm Hedd

… in aid of the Welsh Ladies fly fishing team!

Ladies Fly Fishing Team

Linda Kilby, Lisa Povey and Renee Carlsson have put together this great opportunity for novice or experiences anglers to book a coaching session with one of the top Welsh fly fishermen – All coaches have a great knowledge base from the basics of fly tying to landing a fish, and everything in between.

The event will be held at Cwm Hedd Lakes, where anglers of all abilities are welcome, for a fee of just £15 per hour (adult) and £10 per hour (student/under 16) you’ll have the opportunity to work on your casting skills from roll casting to double hauling, learn or master your favourite fishing methods and generally see how to get started in the world of angling.

All proceeds from the event will go to the Welsh Ladies Fly Fishing Team to fund their next International at Grafham Water.

Watch fly tying and learn new techniques at the lodge (for free!) or ask how to tie your favourite fly. With many names already confirmed, you have the opportunity to come along and meet fellow anglers – if you haven’t yet booked spaces are going quickly so avoid disappointment and book as soon as you can.

Coaches Left – Right
Kieron Jenkins – Dean Kibble – Jason Williams – Mike Roberts – Bob Mayers
Ken Bowering – Sally Anne Isle – Simon Barton – Organisers Lisa Povey – Renee Carlsson

Cwm Hedd Lake Coaches

The Ultimate Smallwater Fly

Sunburst Blob Funky Fly Tying Fritz

For many years now I’ve been fishing small-waters throughout the winter months, getting to grips with how rainbow trout feed in the cold seasons and how they react to different methods. One thing I’ve noticed with cold water temperatures – along with a few of my fishing buddies – is that trout absolutely love Sunburst… and tied as a blob, it’s even better.

From what I’ve found, a tungsten headed blob, fished at the correct level below a bung or indicator can be absolutely devastating, producing large numbers of fish when others have struggled. If you’re relatively new to fly fishing or using the indicator method, see one of my recent blog posts on how to fish the bung.

I tie the Sunburst blob with a variety of coloured beads, flo yellow & flo pink being my overall favourite. As a rule to my own angling, I’ve noticed that the yellow beaded blob will carry on producing fish when the flo pink tungsten beads stops, from what I can see the fish tend to get used to the intensity of the pink bead. So swapping between these two coloured beads can fool already suspecting trout.

Blobs, you either love them or hate them – That seems to be the general feel for this fly in the fly fishing community. Personally, I love them, they catch plenty of fish and if allowed by the fishery, I’ll use them.

How to the the Tungsten bead head blob

Over the years I’ve found the less turns of fritz the better, this leaves the gape of the hook relatively snag free, allowing the fish to be hooked with ease, even on the lightest of takes. Usually a blob is tied using the full length of the shank, but my smallwater blobs are tied with a maximum of 5 turns of fritz, using a small part of the shank, believe me, it works.

Hooks: Fulling Mill Competition Heavyweight Silver Size 10
Bead: Funky Fly Tying Coloured Beads
Thread: Yellow UTC Thread
Body: Funky Bonded Blob Fritz

Cwm Hedd Trout Blog Bung

3 Winter trout fishing tips

Kieron Jenkins Cwm Hedd Squirmy Worm

When the water and air temperature drop, fishing on small waters can become tough, see the previous post why on why the cool weather may effect your fishing. But there are a few little tricks to lure rainbows into taking, when the trout get cold feet…

1. Fish deep

More often than not when both the air and water temperature drops, the fish go deeper, presumably in search of warmer water – Anglers who tend to stick to a lure on a floating line may struggle in the early and later parts of the day, but that’s not saying one won’t catch… My preferred method is a fast intermediate or Di3, fish a lure at a steady pace, counting your line and fly down in intervals of 5 seconds on each cast. Continue until you get regular takes, once the fish have been found you can determine the fishes depth.

Eg – Fast Glass (1.5ips sink rate)

1.5 ips fast intermediate sink rate
2. Don’t forget the Bung

Fishing the bung isn’t up everyone’s street, but it certainly is a deadly method. I’ve written a blog on bung fishing before, so for those of you who’d like to learn more, see here: learn how to fish the bung. Once the depth of the fish have been located, you can set the fly below the bung at the exact or preferred taking depth. It’s absolutely deadly when you get things right.

3. Use Worms

No, not literally, earth worms. But Squirmy worms or App blood worms. They are devastating in the winter. Both are flies which anglers find ‘iffy’ but I’d never go to a small water without a couple of each in my box. Green, Olive or Red apps worms are my favourite, and the original Pink Squirmy is usually the first on my cast. Set at the correct depth, of which, at Cwm Hedd on Saturday (where the above fish was caught), took a squirmy worm at 7ft deep. Exactly where I caught another 9 trout, all of similar stamp.

When the water cools down…

For the last few months, fishing all over the UK has been on fire, the weather has been kind with the odd flurry of snow and a sprinkling of frost but more importantly the temperature a very manageable 7-12 degrees. The past month however it seems almost all the UK has been experiencing a colder spell – heavy snow that’s not budging from the mountain tops here in south Wales, and the car being frozen almost every day before leaving for work – Inevitable the fishing has become somewhat slower on both river and lake.

The water temperature on my local Cwm Hedd Lakes has dropped from almost 9 degrees to a much cooler 4 degrees Celsius. When the water drops below the lower optimum threshold of 7 or so degrees, you’ll experience a noticeable drop in fish activity. Fish feeding activity is more localised and weather dependent, allowing anglers in the ideal place to ‘bag up’ and others not to get a pull – Inevitable I know, but if you know the water you’re fishing, you could be one step ahead of the others.

The colder weather also forces the fish deeper, presumably in search of warmer water, so don’t expect the fish to be feeding from the surface – especially first thing in the morning. One thing which has proven this for me since the cold snap is a Deeper fish finder I’ve managed to borrow – It’s basically a floating plastic ball with sensors you cast into the lake with a spinning rod, beams are sent to the bottom and the Deeper feeds straight back to your Android or iOS device the depth, weed height and fish, along with a few other interesting features.

Deeper Fish Finder

Deeper Fish Finder Reading

Many of you may think that fish finders aren’t the norm, but in my eyes, anything that gives me an advantage (that’s legal on the water you’re fishing of course) can’t be a bad thing – I’ve started to record and map out the depths at Cwm Hedd, so once complete, will be available in the lodge for all visitors to use. The Deeper has also located the ‘big fish’ holding spots, which are proving accurate with recent catches…

The deeper is ideal for locating the depths of the fish, as well as any underwater structures fish may be lurking around. Recently the average depth of fish has been around 6ft down, many of them hugging the 6ft edge around the inside edge of the lake – The gold head blob fished under a bung has proved deadly when the depth is correct, but a fast intermediate line and a lure fished slowly seems to be the way forward, holding and dropping through the water column.

I’ve been lucky enough to get in on the action myself, landing a magnificent 6lb 15oz rainbow at 4 ft deep!

Big Fish at Cwm Hedd Lakes

Snow melt has put a stop to play on my river fishing unfortunately, so the majority of my fishing has been at either Cwm Hedd or Garnfrwdd, both fisheries producing some great sport when unable to get to the river. Here’s a few pics from last Sunday, Luke Thomas and myself found a lovely little pod of rainbows from the side of the island at Cwm Hedd.

Luke Thomas Cwm Hedd Lakes

Kieron Cwm Hedd Lakes