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I don't normally have two autumns in one year. Summers yes, but autumns not. I think I'll do this for a while. Last autumn in New Zealand was amazing. Fantastic fishing and quite beautiful scenery. This autumn in Colorado has been similar. Of course last week I wasn't so sure, but this week, having discovered the incredible fish catching abilities of the Olive Woolly Bugger I've changed my mind.

It's going to take me a long time to discover America, and I certainly don't have a problem with that. Three months is never enough; three months is a taster.

However I have been learning here. The fishing is different. For one thing I'm pretty sure you have to strip the bugger. Everywhere else I've fished you just sort of let the current do the work. Here, on the Gunnison at least, you miss fish. In NZ you let the fish take the fly and turn away before slowly but firmly setting the hook. Here you strip set.

The hedged bet has been working for me too, now that I've tied dries that I can actually see in riffles and smaller realistic(ish) nymphs. I'm pretty sure that these flies will work well in NZ; there are some places I just have to fish differently now, such as the Buller.

Something which has surprised me is not having hooked up with any travelling fly anglers. In fact I haven't even met an overseas angler. The travelling here is pretty easy, you rarely get moved on and there's lots of public water. And it's cheap!

The most disconcerting thing about American anglers is that they measure everything in inches. Twenty inches being a big fish. This means nothing to me whatsoever. It's not that I don't understand inches, I do, it's just that I think in terms of pounds. In Continental Europe they think in centimetres of course and in New Zealand, kilos. I think that tells you more about the fishing than the people.

This week we have some long awaited excitement for the Members' section, with the launch of an instructor's section (analysing your casts), a section devoted to The Board as well as our favourite front pages (inspired by Ben's F page).

Carlos has been experimenting with setting casting mpegs to Bach, so that's something to look forward to. And Ben is currently reviewing Partridge hooks – the ones he didn't manage to lose in the mail.

I'm pushing Sexyloops forward; we gave four SA lines away on the Board yesterday and we have some WJ stuff up for grabs as soon as I hit New Zealand.

So anyway, back to autumn. It's a really weird time of year for me, I always feel like I'm winding up, trying to make the most of the fishing before I move on. And I do love fishing this time of year. The back end has always been a bit special for me (no sexual references of course). For some reason lures always seem to work well.

I guess like most UK stillwater anglers I started out with lures, and even became quite good with them. It's nice to take that experience travelling with you and nail fish on rivers. I really only started taking this sort of fishing seriously again after fishing the Salle in East Germany some three or four years back.

Sure, no one loves dries more than me: watching a fish, especially a big fish (for the record I define big on dry fly as anything over 8 lbs – yeah, I know) taking a dry has to be one of the highlights of flyfishing. But when the situation requires it, lures can be fantastic fun too.

Interestingly for me, I've suddenly found a use for the ring casting I've been working on this summer. For those of you who don't know, the most effective way of hitting a ring is to hover the fly over the edge closest to you and then smack the fly into place. It's not exactly dry fly presentation, but it's a hell of an effective way of presenting a woolly bugger tight to the bank. If you don't already know it, you'd be amazed to discover just how many fish are hugging the banks of these rivers.

Right, must go and put these words back into practice.

Oh and by the way: Rick, a friend of mine knows a shop that may be able to “assist with your little issues”.

olive woolly bugger and the mobile tying bench


Related links: Vortex archives

Essential Bush Skills

The start of any flytying good flytying sequence involves squirting The Light of Apgai on your polyprops
Both alarm and curiousity set in when the polyprops start melting
Putting the lid back on the jar to stop *that* happening again
The flytying proper is underway
Notice the composure, that's true class that is
A difficult bit, you can tell that from the vacant expression
Essential bush skills: the third hand
Notice my hat here, it's quite daring
Snip, snip
I'm not quite sure what I'm doing here, but it's cool
Trimming an oversize hackle that appears to have become trapped in the whip finnish manoevre
Delicate precision work, the hallmark of any good flytyer
A sexy catch...

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