The first entries in this year's Festive Fly Tying competition is in - and it's a cracker. Well, not just a cracker, but also some Christmas lights and a tree. These pictures were sent in by Tony Czapp.
He told us: "[I] Have tested them for sink speed and all do what I want them to do (at least in the washing up bowl!). I am now waiting for them to dry out before adding a few blobs of resin to finish them off."
Fingers crossed he'll be bringing them along on Members' Day to give them a proper dunking.
In an earlier blog post we sang the praises of the Blue Flash Damsel (BFD) and how it can either be fished slowly to imitate a natural insect or stripped fast as a lure.
Taking this further, it's clear that different flies need to be fished in different ways. Some fast. Some slow. But if you're fishing a natural fly such as a nymph it's important to introduce a pause into your retrieve.
Why? The pause imitates an insect resting after moving through the water. And it is often at this point that a trout will often take its prey. The theory is that the fish recognises that the insect is vulnerable and that's when it attacks.
Now that autumn has finally given way to winter there is no need to put away your rod until next spring. As any fly angler knows, the fishing can be excellent this time of year. The trick is to plan for it. Make sure you have the right clothing for the elements - plenty of layers and good waterproofs. And, of course, a decent pair of boots is always essential.
If you have the right gear, then there is no reason why you can't fish year-round. Unless there's a prolonged icy snap the fishing can be explosive. And don't forget, if the weather does turn nasty while you're on the bank, we always have the wood burning stove on to warm you up.
Last week, we mentioned how a wide array of flies - both wet and dry - are still taking fish even at this time of the year. Although the spread of working flies is wide, it's clear that there is one stand-out pattern that succeeds whatever the weather - the blue flash damsel (BFD). On may still waters - and not just ours - the BFD is a winning pattern. It's designed to resemble a damselfly nymph, which emerge in the warmer weather as blue damselflies. Some people fish them slowly - with spurts of speed to get the tail waggling - to imitate the nymph. Others just let it sink and strip it as a lure. Either way, the result is often the same.