In this video we start by search fishing for trout and grayling on a stretch of the Upper Avon which Frank Sawyer keepered. We then go to the crystal clear waters of the Lambourn sight fishing for trout and grayling using his famous Pheasant Tail Nymph.
Frank Sawyer occupies a unique place in fly fishing history. He is, in my opinion one of the greatest nymph fishermen of all time. He used no bobber, yarn indicator or any other device, which would ‘set depth’ and support the nymph. Nor did he nip a split shot to the leader, he relied solely on the built in ballast of his artificials to achieve depth. To detect ‘takes’ he greased up his leader to within a yard or so of the nymph. This floating part of the leader was his only ‘strike indicator’ when he search fished. For us lesser mortals the greased up minicon or braided sleeve does a similar job.
However Frank Sawyer is probably more famed for his ‘sight fishing’. This technique calls upon eyesight to a far greater degree than merely detecting the slight movement of his greased up leader. It requires a skill, which he said - "surpasses the high art of dry fly".
If Frank Sawyer was an expert and intuitive nymph fisher he was no less an expert at the vice. It is the construction of Sawyer’s Nymphs which makes them totally unique in fly tying - he used no tying thread whatsoever, using instead fine copper transformer wire. This wire serves four functions, ballast, foundation shape, under colour, and tying medium. To this only one other material was added – long herls from tail or quill feathers or in the case of The Killer Bug a short length of sock darning wool - pure genius. In this video we start by search fishing for trout and grayling on a stretch of the Upper Avon which Frank Sawyer keepered. We then go to the crystal clear waters of the Lambourn sight fishing for trout and grayling using his famous Pheasant Tail Nymph.
To be consistently successful in fly fishing, some understanding of entomology is an Essential Skill. When kick sampling on chalk streams (spring creeks) you always find huge numbers of freshwater shrimps, which is why Oliver's shrimp pattern is a first class fish deceiver. However, for getting down into those deep swirling hatch pools, something a good bit heavier is required - The Oliver Edwards Deep Diving Shrimp
You can obviously catch fish without any knowledge of entomology whatsoever, but to be consistently successful, particularly when after wild brown trout and grayling, having some understanding of aquatic insects is a definite advantage – an Essential Skill.
You don’t have to take a degree course in entomology, all you need is an interest, an enquiring mind, a good pair of eyes and a few good books or videos. Then spend some time stone turning or kick sampling.
It is not necessary to delve down to Species level, I don’t. Just concern yourself with Orders and Families. That will give you a body shape, a silhouette - the very thing which fish recognise and key onto.
Freshwater shrimps are a preferred food for trout and grayling, and in alkaline waters, such as our English chalk streams, they can be found in truly biblical numbers, which is why my Masterclass Leaded Shrimp pattern works so well.
But for those deep hatch pools with powerful swirling currents something much heavier is required. So the trick here is to ballast the hook with a tungsten sleeve. Tungsten is twice as dense as lead, so you get all the weight you need without spoiling the outline of the Shrimp. In this video, you see in detail, every step of tying this ‘heavyweight’- and I demonstrate how to fish it, in the fast complex currents of a hatchpool.