Tag Archives: guided fishing

Always Nice To Hear


I took Paul for a guided days fishing a few weeks a go teaching his about nymph and dry fly fishing, it was lovely to get an email off him with the kind words below.


“I spent 2 seasons teaching myself to fly fish on the upper Severn from books and YouTube. Practicing casting in fields, picking up the odd helpful tip here and there from other fly fishermen. I did not catch a single fish in that first season. But loved it all the same. It was more about getting a feel for casting and being in the river environment so not catching fish was ok. Second season my casting was improving (maybe not much!) and I was starting to consider approach, tactics and fly selection a lot more. It paid off and mid summer 2017 I caught my first ever fish on the fly, a beautiful Grayling. Thereafter I wanted to catch fish. Not just endlessly practice anymore! I managed a handful of stockies  since but very sporadic and more through accident than design. There were now just too many occasions where the fish were jumping and I just could not tempt a single one. Teaching myself had worked up to a point and was an extremely valuable process BUT there was a definite point where there were questions that I simply could not answer by myself.  The choice to head out with Andy was made at just the right time to give me that boost and encouragement before things got frustrating. We went to my favourite area and in one session caught more and bigger fish than I had managed in 2 seasons by myself. And on nymphs which were a total mystery to me up to this point!  Having gone out since I was able to replicate the success with another 9 fish and one monster rod snapping Grayling in one day and so on. Proving that coaching from Andy is spot on, providing the tools and understanding that change the game completely in a way that works. He keeps it simple, convinces you that it’s simple, and installs a great deal of confidence. The trouble with teaching yourself is that you never know if you’re doing it right or wrong. If you catch a fish was it chance or something you did right? If it’s not happening are you doing something badly wrong? It reaches a point where progression slows down or stops with all these unanswered questions. Andy clears all that up, removes the doubts from your mind and replaces it with confidence in your approach and trust in the process. It’s well worth doing and I’d say anyone trying to break into fly fishing would be well advised to go ahead and book a day sooner rather than later! It’s amazing value for money without a doubt, especially considering the lifelong benefit from just one day out. You can’t really put a price on that. Quite important for me is that he doesn’t do the work for you. Anyone can pay a guide to find the fish, select your fly, tell you how to cast and basically do all the catching for you. But Andy is a true teacher who makes you do the work so you get the learning. I’ll be heading out with Andy again asap to keep improving”.



Yours Sincerely

Paul Martin

Amazing !!


I had Charlie and his son George for their first days fly casting/fishing day and they absolutely amazed me how they both picked up the casting, usually if two people come on person will learn a little quicker than the other but both of them picked up basic roll and overhead casting straight away, which made my life nice and easy.


After a short break we thought we would have a bit of fun and do a spot of fishing, which looked a lot better prospect than the last few weeks, Llyn Clywedog had started releasing water and now the water height was spot on, I set George up with a dry with a nymph underneath it and Charlie with two nymphs, a quick demo and they were away George hooked into a nice grayling almost straight away but with the lack of experience it came off which was a real shame, then Charlie shouted he had a fish on a nice trout and his very first fish on the fly and no sooner I had un hooked it George had a small grayling, so things were looking up, after around an hour they landed a few more fish and several lost ones so we decided to have some lunch and a move to a new run.


When we walked to the new run it had a nice bit of pace to it with the extra dam water pushing the levels up, in this run Charlie was came into his own with catching several fish, I think George was feeling a little tired by know he hooked a couple of nice fish but lost them which he was a little disappointed with but it’s all a learning process and as he was tired we called it a day, which wasn’t a bad decision as it started to rain quite hard jut after they left.


Hard Day At The Office !!


Yet again the rain comes down to make my life harder and for the clients not such a nice time, Michael turned up and it was pouring down and by the look of the river gauge it had been raining most of the night, the river was dropping but the way the rain was coming down I didn’t think it was going to be dropping for very long, so we had a chat about what we were going to do and Michael said let’s go for it.

So I took him way up stream looking for clear water but we didn’t find any so deep and heavy sort of day it was going to be, it was very slow fishing to say the least but perseverance was the key and we kept plugging away and finally all the effort payed with a nice brown thrashing away in a fast flowing river, sadly all my fears were confirmed the river was on its way back up, we had a some lunch and moved on down stream to what usually is a slow moving run, but today it certainly wasn’t Michael fished the edge of the fast water and another three browns were hooked two small ones and another half decent one.

The fly of the day was something that I thought I would never use, it was given to me last year or even the year before and been sat in my box, so thank you KJ for the squirmy worm, I think in conditions like this it might be close to matching the hatch in a fast flowing very coloured river.


One Extreme To Another


Last week we had the river the lowest Natural Resources Wales charts have ever seen this week the graph looks like a map of the sea, up and down like a yoyo, hopefully it will calm down now for this weekends guiding.

First Impressions

Well the sun is shining, very rare here in Wales this year and the river is at an OK height even rarer, so its time to get my first impressions of what the Orvis Access 9′ 4# tip flex is like to fish with, walking along the river there is the odd fish rising, but can’t really see any insects in the air or on the water, so I thought the Access would make a lovely dry fly rod I would string it up with a 18′ tappered leader and a size 18 deer hair sedge,little bit of floatant on the dry and degreassed the tippet with some fullers earth to help it sink and foul the fish hopefully ! the water in front of me was quite shallow around knee depth at it’s deepest, I’m quite superstitious about new rods and like to catch on a new rod quickly, well it couldn’t get any quicker, just flicked the fly out around 15′ in front of me to work some line out and bang a nice little grayling around half a pound, the water was quite fast so the little fish put a good bend in the rod, un hooked and released and another fish came up around 25′ – 30′ from me, I placed a cast jut up in front of the fish the 4# turned over the leader perfectly into a down stream breeze and here we go again another small gralying and another, all in all around 12-14 smallish grayling and trout on the new rod, no need to be superstitious with this rod !!

So far of the Access rods that I have cast I have liked them all, must try a 6 or 7# so how far the line will fly, mind I haven’t fished with anything heavier than a 4# in a long time.

Better Than Watching Paint Dry

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Been really busy this week doing some painting for my in-laws, they only live around a five minute walk from a nice river, so I took my fishing gear with me today and while I was waiting for some of the paint to dry I thought I would give it  a go, I only had an hour, I caught four good grayling , six or seven smaller ones and a small trout, it would have been a cracking hour bar for two things, the wind was blowing quite strongly and I had to go back to carry on and get the painting finished, but their worth it !!

All I Want Today Is !!

Bit of a misty grey old day today, but I had arranged to meet my good friend Mick (we used to fish together a lot, but over the last 18 months, we hadn’t really bumped into each other much bar for the odd clay shooting day) . Anyway, the river had a little colour in it and the air temp wasn’t the warmest it’s ever been but Mick must have forgotten what it’s like to go grayling fishing at this time of year, too much time spent after the salmon, one pair of socks, no thermals, someone was going to be a little chilly.
Mick had first pick on where to fish whch was rather nice looking, so I thought I would try a little further upstream. Looking at the run it was quite pacey, so I thought I would start with a sort of heavy, buggy sort of French nymphing, Tungsten bead nymph on the point and two bobesh type patterns on the droppers. As I worked my way down the run there was one very small grayling to the top dropper. Just on the other side of the creasse I was fishing was a nice slower back eddie. I flicked the flies into it and straight away there was a bite, it was a trout of around 3/4 lb which I quickly released and tried again. On the next cast I got another trout, then another. In about seven casts I had five trout, to be honest the whole of the run was alive with trout and all coming to a SP nymph. Then, at last a grayling, not very big around 3/4 lb. As I worked my way down the run I’m not sure how many fish I caught, but around 12 grayling and a hell of a lot more trout as the river was alive with them. I walked down to see how Mick was getting on, he was already on the river bank, saying how cold his feet were, thought they might have been.
So we decided to have a walk and warm up a little. We walked around half a mile upstream, there were a lot of interesting looking runs and glides. Mick had first choice and went upstream a little further to a log glide. There was a little bit of pace at the top of the run so I put on a lighter point fly and carried on in the same fashion as before, but it didn’t seem to be working as well as before. I did catch four fish, but I thought it should be better than that, so I went back to the top of run and swapped over to trio. The nymphs I had on the trio set up were the same as the french nymphing rig, what a difference, I seemed to pick up fish straight away. I think it was because the flies were drifting throught the water and the presentation was much better. I do Trio a bit like French nymphing, long leader to the dry, movable as always, then the two nymphs off that, around twenty foot in all. I was really gutted I dropped two fish, which seemed to be good lumps, I checked the hook points but all seemed fine, I was gutted but more determined to get a a good one. Well the best fish of the day couldn’t have come at a better time as Mick just appeared on the bank behind me, when I finally got it in the net, a quick pic and a measure and back in the water, it was a cracker at 48cms. I said to Mick “I’m happy now, that will do for me today” and I left it at that, Mick’s feet were frozen so we decided to get something to eat and call it a day, great company and a really good day.

Why Do We Do It

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Looked at the forecast last night, freezing temps, wind, rain or snow! I thought to myself, I like fishing but perhaps not that much, it was an evening of shall I shan’t I, best to wait until I opened the curtains in the morning.

When I got up and looked out it didn’t look too bad, bit of a frost, no rain or snow at the moment, lets give it a go. As it hadn’t rained all week, I thought I would possibly try my 10′ 3# and fish on the lighter side. I put all my cold weather gear on and off to go and have a look at my friend Bill’s stretch of river that runs through his farm. Where has all the water gone, was my first thought. Last week the rivers were nearly unfishable, now they are on their bones, lots of ice along the edges of the water always puts a slight shiver down your spine, oh well let’s get on with it. I rigged my rod up and worked my way into the first run, working my way through it there was a good flow and some deeper pockets in the river bed, it looked spot on. After around 10 minutes and nothing coming to any of the flies I thought it a little strange. There was a large overhanging tree at the end of the run that looked a good fish holding spot, first fish on a grayling of around 8-10″ well it’s not going to be a blank but not quite what I was looking for. As this run finished, it went round a corner and into a long flat glide around 200 yards long with bushes and cover along both sides of the bank. Working my way down it quietly and covering all the water things started looking up, bang a trout on around a pound, then another and another, I don’t want trout ! whats going on ! They seem to love my graying bugs, I’m not 100% sure I think I had 8-10 trout before the first grayling came to the net, quite a nice 42cm fish, then another one similar size. By the time I had reached the end of the glide I think I had caught around another 15 -20 fish. They weren’t all in one area but nicely spaced out in the whole of the glide. Still a lot of trout coming to the flies so I thought I would go back to the top of this glide and give it another try. The one thing I did differently was went over to the dark side, no bright grayling flies darker coloured bugs and nymphs. As I started back down the glide I caught another nice grayling around 40 cm, then 7 trout in 6 casts, then more grayling, it was amazing, 10 -15 fish around or over 40cms, heaven knows how many smaller trout and grayling in an amazing four hours.

By this time Bill had wandered down to see how I was doing and to see if hypothermia had set in yet. I told him I was really pleased and how many fish I thought I had caught, because by now I really hadn’t got a clue how many I’d had and I can’t wait to fish it in the summer, on a nice warm evening. The one other thing that’s a little strange is Bill owns this cracking bit of water and has no interest in fishing !!

Days like this when you catch so many fish when it doesn’t look like it’s going to be a good day, is why we do it.

10′ Guideline Fario 3#

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I have for many years read and spoke to people about different actions of fly rods and their characteristics while fishing and casting, I have always like tip action rods and you hear a lot about loosing fish with a tip action rod, I loose fish the same as any one else, but is it down to the rod, one client I took out regularly was obsessed by it all, swapping and changing rods, messing around with different hooks and ideas etc.
As I always fished with tip action rods I thought I would give a softer actioned rod a go, Guideline Sweden offered me a Fario 10′ 3# to test for them, when it turned up first impressions were very good, nice alloy rod tube and rod sock, the rod it’s self is very impressive, lovely cork handle a lot better than some rods twice the price, with a birds eye maple reel seat ( well I think, not all that clued up on my wood ! ) The olive colour of the rod blank is very nice, I’m not a fan of some of these stranger coloured rod blanks, silvers and golds etc, all in all the rod looked very good, testing the action of the Fario next to my Helios it certainly does have more of a progressive action, a real progressive bend, threading a line through it and a bit of practise casting, it performed really well roll cast and over head no problems, so onto some fishing you could feel it wasn’t to happy if you used nymphs with to much weight in them, but as long as you fished on the lighter side duo French nymphing and dry fly it was spot on. The first fish I caught was a grayling around 1 1/4 lbs, it did take me by surprise a little as the rod bent double, well it looked it compared to my tip actioned rods I caught quite a few fish in a short period, and on this occasion not one dropped of the hook, perhaps there is something in these softer rods, several outings latter and a lot of fish caught and a few lost. I wasn’t so sure, the best fish I have caught on this rod is a 50cm grayling on the river Dee, the rod handled the fish well, Tony who was fishing with me made two comments ” he had never seen a rod bend that much before but he had never seen a grayling that big before as well “.
I do think it is more of a case of how the fish takes the fly, to how good the hook hold is, but at the end of the day everything that works to your advantage is for the better, quality hooks, strong thin diameter tippet and some lady luck.

What Guideline say about the Fario rods.

Are you aware that “fario” means trout? Fario is the Latin word for trout that live in rivers and streams, Salmo trutta fario, if we are to be precise. Our new Fario Trout Series are produced with deep, stable and strong actions, aimed at the serious trout angler. These are rods that will handle big fish without sacrificing feeling and delicacy. So important when fishing with thin tippets for selective trophy trout. The deep, yet very precise action in these rods will appeal to both intermediate and expert fly casters and anglers. They will handle long lifts, Spey casts, delicate presentations or distance casts with equal ease. We believe they will become many an angler’s “best friend” in the next years. Fario expresses classic elegance and style with tasteful, subtle coloring and finish, with attention to the small details to lift it just that little bit above the rest.

The Fario Experience
A nice deep Medium Fast action, supported by a strong, precise tip.
Enough power for long casts, yet sensitive and subtle for “in-close” fishing.

Actions absorb those first hard to control moves and sudden explosions of big fish hooked at a short to medium distance.

Short to mid range fishing is supported by the deeper, immediate reaction of the whole rod during casting.

These rods will generate a high line speed and with the stronger upper section, tailing loop problems are reduced.

The deep load into the butt section makes for easy Spey and roll casts even in the lighter line weights and shorter lengths.

High gloss olive colored blanks.
Burgundy wrappings with metallic copper trim.
Reel seats with burled wood insert and laser engraved Mayfly on the butt cap.
Beautiful, high quality reversed half wells cork grips with dark cork ring inserts.
Classic hard chrome light weight snake guides.
Exclusive powder coated Fario aluminum rod tube with logo and engraved mayfly. Each rod is packed in tasteful canvas rod bag.
Alignment dots and rod ID markings on each rod section.

Fly Fishing Wales With Andrew Cartwright

Situated in the upper river Severn valley at Caersws. I have been fly fishing for about 40 years. I am passionate about trout and grayling fishing in the rivers of Wales, also the conservation and well-being of the rivers and lakes of Wales.

I would like to share my passion for angling by teaching both children and adults in all forms of fly casting, tying, game angling, spinning and bait casting. Fly fishing for over 30 years I have met some fascination people and learnt a lot from other anglers, my aim is to pass on as much of the information I have learnt to help get you catching or casting further.

I am….

  • A licensed and qualified fly casting instructor.
  • First Aider.
  • Certified in child protection.
  • A member of the Game Angling Instructors Association ( GAIA)
  • A member of the Salmon & Trout Association.
  • A member of the Grayling Society.
  • A fly casting instructor and guide for the Wye & Usk Foundation.
  • Guided for the Wild Trout Trust.
  • You can find me listed in the directory of instructors at Fishtec the online fly fishing retailer.

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