Theo on July 21 2014
En route to this year’s CLA Game Fair (where he spent the weekend selling his new range of flies for coarse fish and signing copies of his latest book Canal Fishing)…
… our good friend Dom Garnett stopped off in Leicester to explore the Soar with local expert ‘Skateboard Dave’ Egginton…
… and found this comfy mid-stream sofa perfectly placed for a nice sit down when grappling big nasty urban trout, chub and perch all got a bit tiring and stressful.
(Separate but related note: is that a cult classic modern glass Kabuto or Butter Stick we see clutched in Skateboard Dave’s exhausted hand? If so, we like their style even more!)
(Photo: Dom Garnett)
Theo on July 8 2014
Regular readers of this blog may recall that we’ve been keenly following the progress of the Ribble Rivers Trust’s HLF-funded URES project (the video above shows just a few aspects of their wide-ranging community engagement and river restoration efforts, and there are regular photo updates on the RRT’s Facebook page).
URES has already proved totally transformative for Burnley’s rivers, and it’s now been selected from more than 750 entries as a finalist for ‘Best Environment Project’ in the 2014 National Lottery Awards – an annual search for the UK’s favourite HLF projects, and a celebration of the massive benefits these projects can bring.
In addition to lots of publicity and recognition for a great cause, each winning project also receives an extra £2,000 of funding to deliver even better results (not to mention a night out for some of the key personnel at a star-studded awards ceremony!). In Burnley’s case, as Vic Woods from URES told us a couple of days ago:
Winning this award will help us to celebrate Burnley’s rich heritage with the nation, raise awareness of issues affecting rivers and show other towns how they can improve their urban rivers too. We really hope people across the North West and throughout the UK will get behind this innovative project and give us their vote.
In order to win ‘Best Environment Project’ and help give urban river restoration a real boost in the eyes of the general public, it’s estimated that URES needs (a slightly staggering) 30,000 votes before midnight on 23 July 2014. Please click here to add your vote right now!
Theo on June 30 2014
Just a heads up to let our readers know that signed copies of the newly-published Pocket Guide to Balsam Bashing are now available from the Urbantrout online store (along with lots of other great eco-branded merchandise!)
Here’s how Andrew Herd, eminent author of The Fly and many other definitive works, recently reviewed Balsam Bashing:
If ever a book was needed, this one surely must qualify and in its 96 pages the author covers everything from Himalayan balsam to signal crayﬁsh. Each species has its own identiﬁcation guide, risk evaluation, advice about how to control it, as well as sources of further information. I will warn you in advance that the contents are pretty alarming, but hopefully the publication of this excellent little guide will act as a wake-up call… A milestone of a book…
Click here to read more about the inspiration for the Pocket Guide to Balsam Bashing, and here to buy your signed copy today!
Theo on June 23 2014
Armed with his trusty Orvis Superfine one-weight (possibly the Official Favourite Ultralight Flyrod of the Urbantrout movement?) Trout in Dirty Places reader Spencer Clayton has sent us another excellent report and evocative set of photos from the Rea Brook’s hidden valley on the outskirts of Shrewsbury:
Today I arrived at the Rea at 12pm after a short train journey from Wolverhampton rail station to Shrewsbury. “Clear water and rising fish”, I thought to myself, but when I got to my starting point at White Hart Road, I found the Rea flowing strongly with a milky colour.
All day I only saw two rises, yet there were a few mayflies and yellow mays coming off the stream, also smaller upwings and gnats. I caught a few grayling (still out of season at that point), and several wild brown trout and parr – all to the nymph, in spite of expecting to fish dry only all day.
Finished fishing at 5pm, and wondered if I should stay to see if the evening brought a few rises, but homeward bound it was with the stroll back into Shrewsbury town.
By coincidence, we’ve just spotted this report over on the Fly Forums too… it’s great to hear about such lovely little urban fisheries providing challenging sport for those prepared to get out there and explore!
(All photos: Spencer Clayton)
Theo on June 16 2014
If there’s one fly pattern that’s taken the UK’s fishing world by storm this season, it’s this deceptively simple minnow jig pattern designed and tied by Huddersfield’s Martin Smith.
Martin’s Minnow has already notched up impressive scorelines as far afield as Scotland and the Derbyshire Dove (and a starring role in an article by Glen Pointon in Total Flyfisher) but it was on south Yorkshire’s urban rivers that this pattern was designed and tested.
Tied with 3 shades of Funky Fibre on heavy jig hooks for plenty of lifelike movement, Martin’s Minnows have already caught rainbows, pike, perch and chub as well as lots of wild browns for their creator. There’s a full step-by-step here on the Fly Forums, and Martin may even tie you up a few for a reasonable price if you ask him nicely…
“I’ve got urban trout less than two minutes from my house”, he tells us, “lots of small fish with the odd 12 incher, and it doesn’t get more urban than running under a Morrison’s car park. Just fish these Minnows between the bollards and car bonnets, and job’s a good ‘un!”
Thanks Martin… we will!
(Photos: Martin Smith)
Theo on June 6 2014
The moment when we realised that good trout really were starting to return to the Wandle is vividly burned into the Urbantrout team’s collective memory here in south London.
It was April 2008: we were just getting ready for the first big Wandle Piscators’ annual club dinner, and one of us found a truly sensational photo of a Wandle trout on the internet by a bloke called Jeremiah Quinn.
(Apart from being a pioneering Alistair Stewart-style blogger, fly-fisher and photographer, he had a sense of humour too… that beautiful supermodel of a trout came from Croydon, so her name could only be Kate).
As far as we can tell, Jeremiah’s original blog is long gone (someone tell us if it’s not?) but we’re glad to see he’s still getting a little urban fishing into his schedule as an international film maker.
Grab a cold one, and settle back for some relatively rough-cut footage of rising trout on the Dodder in Dublin.
(Oh, and for posterity, here’s that shot of the Wandle trout called Kate…)
(Photo: Jeremiah Quinn)
Theo on May 6 2014
Just in case you missed it last week, the latest instalment of the Urbantrout Diaries series went live on Thursday, revealing some of the background and thinking behind the soon-to-be-published guide to tackling invasive non-native species entitled Pocket Guide to Balsam Bashing:
Even whilst relishing the totally counterintuitive wonder of urban fly-fishing, a sense of deep disquiet has been creeping up on me. So many of these rivers, so recently brought back from the dead, are now at real risk of slipping away from us again. And this time it’s not the threat of pollution that’s putting them in danger, it’s the immediate prospect of strangulation by invasive non-native species…
Today, MacNab Media’s editor Ian Welch has now also reviewed the Pocket Guide for Flyfishing.co.uk and FishingMagic:
Empowering people to engage with and protect their environment at grassroots level is a tall order but Theo achieves it in an easy-to-read format and this is a book that should not just be in the pocket of every angler but also every gardener, rambler, birder…
It may be pocket-sized but this is a giant first step in getting the public to fight back and take responsibility for their environment.
Please click through to read the full article and reviews… and maybe we’ll see you at Farlows this Thursday (hint: look out for the bright yellow books and the Urbantrout hoodie)?
Update: Following a very successful launch day at Farlows, copies of Balsam Bashing will be available at another signing session at the Sportfish Show on Saturday 10 May. Hope to see you there!
Theo on May 5 2014
Whilst going through the Urbantrout warehouse this bank holiday weekend, we came across a small box of special edition Trout in Dirty Places caps, originally designed to celebrate the launch of the book back in 2012.
For good measure we’ve just added an exclusive Urbantrout looped tag to each one – and for a limited time we’re offering them right here for £18 with FREE P&P.
This offer is open until midnight on Tuesday 6 May (UK only – while stocks last): after that they’ll go into the Urbantrout shop, subject to our usual P&P.
These caps are 100% cotton, double embroidered and tagged. As usual at Urbantrout, 10% of profits from sales will go to fund urban river restoration projects.
UPDATE: All these caps have now sold out, but we still have several other hats and caps available in the Urbantrout online shop!
Fish where you live, rock your urban fly-fishing… and wear Urbantrout gear to show your support for the urban river restoration movement!
Theo on April 28 2014
Recently we’ve been stoked to see our Urbantrout eco-branded fishing gear making frequent appearances in the monthly must-read Eat, Sleep, Fish ezine…
… modelled by no-one less than its hard-working editor (and Devon School of Fly Fishing pro guide and instructor) Pete Tyjas.
Pete bought a hoodie and one of our urban steelheader beanie hats at the end of January, aiming to test them out for this Good Stuff review… and maybe also add a little extra pop to other product photography and road trips.
Since then, he freely confesses, they’ve taken over as his go-to fishing gear.
At this time of year we might have placed bigger money on lime green camo, but that pro-guide-orange hoodie actually looks like it helps him creep up successfully on our own personal nemesis: spooky little trout in super-shallow, gin-clear West Country rivers.
And maybe it’s just the effect of all that ambient orange… but don’t those trout look beautifully bright and colourful too?
Thanks Pete – and we hope your Urbantrout gear continues to bring you great karma on urban and rural rivers alike!
The full Urbantrout gear range including hoodies, t-shirts and caps is available to buy right here online, with a full 10% of profits going directly to help fund urban river restoration projects.
(Photos: Eat, Sleep, Fish / Pete Tyjas)