“This’ll be a really heavy-heavy fly once it’s finished “

rather the understatement of the year…

a Bomb, Controller, Sacrificial, Depth-Charge or whatever you want to call it is a fly used to bring down lighter, more ‘natural swimming’ flies on droppers down to the bottom in deep pools and/or fast currents. one could consider it a sinker with a hook and that last point means that:
a) it could easily snag on a rock or something and b) it can also easily catch a bottom-hugging fish.
sure, a) sucks but b) makes it worth it, specially because some times there’s no other way to get our flies to the fish.

pretty much geared toward the ‘Euro-Nymphing’ approach where flies are lobbed back upstream after the drift, this bottom-dredging caddis imitation  by David Downie is sure to do the trick and pick up a few on it’s own. because of it’s weight be sure to pay special attention and greatly open up your loops and better yet use an elliptic cast if you’re going to cast it in a conventional way. (or be prepared to wear it somewhere on your head or body… :mrgreen: )

Grannomses II

i was going to simply share Davie McPhail’s new tying tutorial of his Emerging Grannom Caddis but thought a little more background wouldn’t hurt. basically a reprint of the post with the same name and since i’m very busy preparing a special ‘Welcome the Snake’ party… here’s nevertheless a recap on this early season bug and it’s representative flies that should to be in every trout angler’s box.

Grannoms- Brachycentrus Caddis fly
often neglected in favor of the various ‘mythic‘ mayfly species, the Grannom is an early season and widely distributed caddis who’s imitation in different sizes and colors is well worth having in your fly box. Grannom hatches can be massive and will usually have the fish in a debilitating frenzy, excluding every other bug that might be around. i’ve been in the middle of one of these hatches on a Scottish river and was literally covered from head to water level and had to quickly pull up my buff to be able to breathe without eating at the same time…

“This prolific genus includes the popular eastern US early-season Apple Caddis and Grannom hatches. Their life cycles are ideal for the fly angler, and every stage is frequent trout prey. This species changes color dramatically after it emerges, and imitations of egg-laying adults should be a different color from imitations of emergers. Emergers have pale blonde, almost off-white wings and bright green bodies, while the egg-laying adults have light brownish gray wings and medium green bodies.”

these two aren’t grannomses, they’re Mark and Terry.
Mark is a super friend, Terry is some guy Mark and i found in the parking lot while we where gearing up for some fishing on a lovely little river in northern England. don’t get the wrong impression, Terry doesn’t just hang out in parking lots, he’s a passionate entomologist and charming man full of stories and a great enthusiasm for sharing his buggy knowledge.

when we all got to the water, Terry did a quick scan of the river-bed rocks, turned towards us and proudly announced:  “That one”.
he quickly waded in, picked up the “That one” rock and showed us a gelatinous mass stuck to it’s bottom. at first i thought it was just some yucky slime hidden under the rock by some alien with a nasty head cold but after further explanation it turned out to be a ‘nest’ of Grannom eggs. weird and geeky entomologists would probably have some way of counting them on a square cm average or something but my little mind quickly realized that i was looking at thousands and thousands of future caddis all under just this one rock. and there where countless rocks everywhere one looked…

every little dot on this out of focus image is an egg. (sorry for the out of focus image, this was an exciting moment)

an adult Grannom courtesy of Jim Williams.
judging by the size of the finger holding it we’ll notice that it’s very small, my guess between a size 16 and 18.
in the two videos below the flies are tied in 16 and 14 and a little research will tell you of the size to expect and tie for your area.

here are three grannom fly variations with a brand new one from Davie McPhail, the Emerging grannom with a nice twist, the laid -forward hackle post that looks nothing like the real bug but in my eyes is a million times better than the usual upright/phallic/‘wave you hands in the air’ wing post. enjoy !

– Emerging Grannom by Davie McPhail

– Egg-Laying Grannom tied by Matt Grovert

– CDC Bubble Grannom by Davie McPhail

Fly Casting- Getting on the Right Track

Fly Rod Tracking by Jim Williams via Eat Sleep Fish issue 14

“Tracking can be described as the directional travel of the rod tip within a pre-determined plane(s) back and forth for a given fly cast. If you want to cast more accurately or further then optimising your tracking relative to the application can go some way to achieving this.”

Master Jim. geez, the bloke won’t stop and let’s hope he never does. going into the finer points regarding this very important aspect of the cast and my intro being happily finished, if you’re interested in becoming a better, more efficient and happier caster/fisher click either pic and enjoy this real gem in full.

“What is good tracking?
Below is a birds eye view of two anglers, each has an imaginary target directly ahead. The objective is to complete an overhead cast in a vertical plane with a view to delivering a straight line layout towards their target. The coloured dots represent the direction and travel of the rod tip.”

tracking_animation JW - ESF #14now, if only we could get Jim to teach whoever laid these train tracks a thing or two about tracking straight the World might be a better place…


Fly Casting- Poetry, Grace, Fluidity and the S.R.B.

here’s a reprint of an article i wrote last year for Eat, Sleep, Fish ‘s issue no. 3 on fly casting.
i hope you’ll enjoy and even more benefit from these words. i also wish to thank Jim Williams once again for the opportunity of sharing these thoughts to a wider audience on this great ezine.



In my absence, having trekked off to colder climbs to run a dog race, I asked Marc Fauvet to come to my rescue with this month’s casting article… suffice to say the man has delivered – and how! … Not with the normal ABC of a fly cast but some physiology… Thanks ~ Jim Williams

As fly fishers we’re always going on about this or that piece of kit, the best rod, line, reel or whatever new goodie and how they’re going to increase our fishing performance, but you’ll notice that the most important element is always left out: The Caster
Ok I’ll agree, it would indeed be a little strange to go to a pub and start telling your mates all about your wrists, biceps, thighs and heaven forbid, butt cheeks… but if we step away from that silly image a bit and consider that fly casting is about putting a fly rod in motion while applying forces to it through body movement, we’ll realize that not much good can happen if we don’t move the rod correctly and as far as we are concerned ‘correctly’ is directly related to the all important smoothness that makes or breaks fly casting.
Poetry, grace and fluidity are often used to describe fly casting but I’m sure that if you take the time to look at other anglers while they’re casting you might think twice before using those lovely words to describe what they’re doing.
So, what might be the number one cause to this less than gracefulness? My observations and experience says it’s tension. Body tension. Tension that was in the system before the cast even began.
Tension has many forms. Life and work stress, competing with your friends for the biggest fish, the excitement of finally getting away for the trip that took so much hard work and saving to get to. You name it, there can be a multitude of reasons and it’s quite certain that they’ll combine at one point or another but the one I want to focus on today is the tension related to stance and more specifically, stiffness through improper stance. By stance I don’t mean it in the usual casting terminology of right foot or left foot forward or both feet square to the intended casting direction but rather the dictionary’s definition: ‘The way a person stands, especially when deliberately adopted’ or alternatively, posture.
Let’s see what stiffness does and how a few simple suggestions can greatly reduce these negative effects.
Stiff bodies just don’t move well. We will one part to go in one direction, and another wants to pull it back.
Stiffness constrains. Being constrained yields complete opposite results than those lovely three words we cherish so much. Stiffness also promotes pain, fatigue and hinders recovery.
The idea is if we relax some of our muscle groups instead of tightening them up, we’re more fluid, comfortable and in better control of all our movements.
We’ll be able to disperse the work force and use more muscle groups instead of just a few. We’ll let the bigger muscle groups do most of the work and use the smaller ones to refine those movements. We’ll bend, twist and straighten better, all the while being smoother and more precise in the way we move our whole body.
This leads to not only performing better but this also reduces the possibility of cramping up and injuries from over-exertion and repetitive motions, ailments that are not exclusive to but are quite common amongst those of us who aren’t so young anymore or who have some impairment such as back problems or arthritis.
Now for the good part. It’s easy and we can all do it. It’s not very high tech but it has worked to great effect on just about every student I’ve suggested it to,
It’s called the S.R.B. (State of Relaxed Butt) so let’s start relaxing those cheeks !

Ok, hopefully you’ll have stopped giggling by now so we may resume !
The SRB thing is quite simply combining a slight flexion of the knees and relaxing the butt muscles or Gluteus Maximus, our biggest muscle group who’s main function is to help hold our torsos erect. This last information should give a clue to its importance for our purpose and why this area is the core of this method. Of course we want to stay upright but we want to do this without ‘pushing’ up. Because of their size and role, we tend to gather a lot of tension in this muscle group through unconscious pushing-up resulting in spine and leg stiffness. Take that tension away and we become swaying, dancing springs. Springs ready to smoothly and precisely jump into action!
Another aspect of this relaxed position is that it also leaves our bodies in a ‘ready’ position. Ready to move and ready to react, something once again, a stiff body has a hard time doing.
A slight flexion of the knees helps maintain the torso in a more upright position further increasing our stability and flexibility, not only in vertical and back and forth movements but also in torsion as when looking at our back cast when casting between branches, going for distance or when doing Spey casts.
If we take the examples of skiing, golf and tennis, sports whose flexion movements are often assimilated with fly casting, we’ll note that none of these are performed with locked knees or backs. If they did they’d either fall over or break a bone or two !
Luckily enough, as fly fishers the negative results of being stiff won’t be so extreme but I was just trying to emphasize how these two relaxation movements are very common and that assimilating them to our technique is just, well… common sense.
All of those sports include swinging and swaying, balance, power application, precision, maintaining control and a constant realignment of the body, all the things an effecient fly caster does.
Doing these two things loosens up the whole spinal column and legs and it really helps most people stay consistent with all the aspects of their casting whether it be accuracy, special line layouts or distance. As a side bonus, this leads to greater comfort, tends to relax the shoulders, neck and somehow the mind as well. If you feel a certain tensing-up while you’re out practicing your casts or fishing, take a little break, do some stretching and conscious controlled breathing and you’ll be good to go in peak condition in minutes.
Get up and try these two simple things right now, there’s no need for a fly rod. First, stand straight as a pole and pantomime the casting motions, try to turn around and watch you back cast, then try all this in the relaxed form. I’m sure you’ll feel the difference and just might have a ‘wow’ moment. Be sure to take this with you next time you’re out fishing and remember to relax !
To finalize this introduction to the S.R.B. method here is a very Zen-like “Be one with the rod” type quote from Jim Williams that describes this all perfectly:
“Perhaps we bend and move as the rod does, become flexible as it becomes flexible…
we don’t cast with a broomstick so don’t be like one !”


Fly Line Management in Flowing Rivers

here’s another fantastic article by Jim Williams via this month’s Eat, Sleep, Fish issue 12

ESF no. 12

What is good line management?… in part it refers to your control of the fly line during and after the retrieve.

ESF no 12 - 1

What part of the line am I actually trying to manage?… in this case and having deployed my cast at what ever distance & upstream angle, it is the trailing fly line that will occur from the retrieve as I pick up slack as presented to me by the moving current. 


apart from they’re always being brilliant examples of a well thought out process, what i like best in sharing Jim’s articles is that there’s absolutely nothing for me to add !
(except for, click either pic to access the full article and view the great explanatory videos Master Jim made up for us this month !)
enjoy !

Fly Casting- Lobbing it with Jim Williams

another wham-bamtastic !* casting lobbing tutorial from Jim Williams via Eat,Sleep, Fish Issue no. 10

‘Euro-nymphing’, what a barfable term.
stemming from an ignorant press and industry that’s only too eager to englobe a multitude of styles with all their varied intricacies and regrouping them in one silly-trendy name. hell, by the looks of it most of them believe that Europe is a country, ffs…

anyway…   Jim The Great does a wonderful job here in explaining and demonstrating that there’s a lot more to this very effective yet highly unmanly method than just ‘high-sticking it’.

i’m dizzy just by looking at the gifs below but if you can take it click on either one to experience the real thing full-blast. enjoy !

Hinging or Myth…

brillantissime Jim Williams once again !  Jim’s one of those big things that pays attention to the little things in life and here’s a doozy !

this time it’s about connecting loops:

(don’t worry and yes, that’s the WRONG way. it’s only there to hopefully peak your interest enough to click the pic to find the correct way once you’ve finished reading here)

but more importantly and the real gem of this article because hardly ever mentioned: loop size, monofilament stiffness/suppleness and how they all go together as a whole to create a flawless energy-transmitting non-hinging  connection. enjoy !

Fly Casting- Jiggle it baby !

by doing this
 or this  

you can get this line layout.

Jim Williams has done it again and came up with yet another fantabulous fly casting tutorial: this time, the Wiggle Cast * (or the sideways jiggle).
the Wiggle is a very useful slack line presentation used to control or rather reduce drag on the line, leader and fly. this is not only a must-have-in-your-repertoire cast but it’s also a lot of fun to perform. anything fun just makes the whole experience better.
as with all of Jim’s other casting articles, once again there’s nothing i could add so i’ll leave you with a teaser that’s close to heart:

There are many nuances you can apply to improve and refine this cast, a slightness of hand or particular movement or rotation of the wrist and arm etc… be an artist, imagine the rod tip is the tip of the finest brush, the river is your canvas so go paint on it, with movements and energy that are both smooth and deliberate’

click either image/gif  or HERE to get to Jim’s awesome article in this month’s sixth issue of Eat Sleep Fish. enjoy !

* actually, this is a Wiggle Mend.
casts are produced before RSP (Rod Straight Position) or the ‘stop’ or more simply, before loop formation and mends are what we do with the rod tip after RSP, the ‘stop’ and after loop formation.
so, since the wiggles are executed after the stop, this is a mend.

Related articles

for the love of water… (part two)

hmm, it seems like the prankster’s been pranked !
our mystery man’s magical blessing endowments have turned out to be nothing more than a plastic bottle… but at least we can feel a little better for our slimy fishy friends !

like they say, it’s best served cold but this one’s gonna happen in the heat of summer… :mrgreen:

(here was part one) 

Fly Casting- the ‘Pull-Back Slack

by Jim Williams

this Jim just won’t stop !…
continuously putting up juicy fly casting tips and tricks for us to enhance our fishing experience, here’s another nifty one in the form of a presentation cast that gives a little bit of slack to the line and leader that’s very easy to perform and just the ticket for, as Jim calls them ‘non-complex’ flows.
what got me all excited when i saw this yesterday evening is i had ‘self-discovered’ this cast myself a few years ago when in a fit of tired laziness… i started lowering my casting hand after the completion of the cast and before line touchdown and noticed that it gave a nice, straightish yet slightly wavy layout that i later went on to use in the smaller Pyrenean streams around my house to great effect. back to the exciting part: until now i had never heard or read of anyone else other than Jim describe this cast that i had not-so-creatively named the “Pull Back Slack”.

as always, very well explained and this time including two fantabulous gifs that show it all. if you’re a river fisher take the time to read this article and practice it a little before your next outing for yet another dead-simple manner of presenting your flies with better drifts which as we all know, leads to not only more fun casting-wise but more success with the fishes !

you’ll find the complete article in this month’s edition of Eat Sleep Fish here. be sure to check out the rest of this great ezine  here, enjoy !

* the top photo of Jim performing a wiggle cast has nothing to do with this particular cast, it’s just a groovy pic of a groovy guy.

It’s in the detail…

by Jim Williams

“Whilst reviewing my line to leader connections this core nail knot has been one of the most rewarding thus far in terms of the ‘likey factor’.”

and we all know how important the ‘likey factor’ is !
Jim had impressed my ‘likey factor’ a little while back with his great Fly line tip ring- step by step and here he does it again, this time with an ingenious method of attaching the butt end of a leader to the line with a very nice energy transition between the line and leader and without having a big knot-bump snagging against the rod tip when we pull in line or when a fish wants to run away from the net, always a tricky moment as these ‘bumps’ can easily jolt a leader enough to break it at the hook, specially when using light tippets.

“Threading the butt section into the fly line when needle knotting amongst other things expanded the diameter ever so slightly which really did bug me (I know it’s being pretty anal but it’s the detail I look for very much in the same way fly tiers do with their flies… who’d criticise that?) So stripping the line to the core, sealing it and then nail knotting on all but the last few millimetres has given me exactly what I’d hoped for.”

click here for the rest of this great article. enjoy !

Fly Casting with Big’Uns

no, not Al Bundy dream biggies… but BIG, nasty, otherwise hard to cast  flies !

here’s a really nice article from my friend Jim Williams straight out of Eat, Sleep Fish‘s fourth edition on simple tips for casting big heavy flies easily and more importantly, safely.

click either pic for the full article, enjoy !

(you’ll see my name there a few times but Jim did all the work. i just sent ‘telepathic mental candy’ to sooth out the chore )

Fly line tip ring- step by step

by Jim Williams

one of the absolutely coolest tips i’ve seen in ages, here’s how to add a tippet ring to the end of your fly line to enable quick, easy leader changes without some big nasty and dumb looking loop-to-loop connection. give this one a try, it’s  modern !

click the pic or here for the full step-by-step. thanks Jim !

If you’re not a fan of the tip ring, just omit it and leave a small loop as an option.

Poetry, Grace, Fluidity and the State of Relaxed Butt

cool news today !
issue no.3 of Eat Sleep Fish is out with a more detailed article on the S.R.B. method and it  happens to be my first fly casting article in an ezine.
ok, this time i’m tooting my own horn a little but be sure to check out all the other great stuff from this great magazine as well. enjoy ! (and relax those cheeks! :mrgreen:)
click the image above for the complete article

for the love of water

kindly sent in by friend and colleague Jim Williams (the Bow and Arrow Dude), a drip-dripping image from Canada where he just got back from a mushing trip.
 (not quite sure what that means but i believe it has to do with yelling at dogs combined with a lot of wild gesturing and runny noses)… :mrgreen:
thanks mate !

Fly Casting- the Bow and Arrow cast

my friend and fellow casting/fishing instructor Jim Williams has summed this subject up so well through this wonderful article that there’s absolutely nothing i could add.
(except, read it ! ) enjoy.

click the pic !