This site is to serve simply as my on-line fishing and casting development diary, which will remember the things I forget and hopefully help teach me a lesson or two in the future. If you have any questions about the content or wish to book a casting lesson / demo day that makes a difference, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me at  furthermore you can also amuse yourself at all my spontaneous thoughts and images here @stsflyfishing on the twitter thing!

Tight lines wherever you fish and enjoy the site…!

Best regards

Lee Cummings

AAPGAI/FFF Masters Qualified instructor. Sage/Rio Pro Guide UK


I was recently asked if I would write some words on what are the top five common mistakes that beginners make when fly casting, but what I am going to attempt to do here is to summarise two issues, basic bug bears of mine which I personally believe were the root cause of many casting problems for beginners and also seasoned anglers alike, for the later it usually shows when they wish to progress into advanced levels of technical ability.

Lets set a basic scenario where the people who arrange to meet me are coming because they “wish to improve their overhead casting and want to learn how to double haul”.

OK, this is easy, a potential loop shaping day where we are going to get the best out of this session by simply casting line back and forth above our heads, making adjustments whilst watching out the for outcome of our actions, reading back the truthful story that the loop in the line tells us.

One of the questions I normally ask a client whilst setting up his/her own equipment is “may I ask what line you are currently using there?” and secondly “what is the head length ?”

These are not trick questions, I just simply wish to learn about the clients mindset as to why they chose that line, or why it was recommended to them. Quite often the client remembers the name of the line manufacturer and even the model name and its AFFTA classification number, but there the knowledge of it often ceases.

Lets look at this from another angle, when aspiring to catching a fish with a fly, the first thing I personally think of is the fishes current environment, where do you intend to encounter it? “Still water?, River? “large, small” Estuary?, Open beach?. etc…

From there I move onto what flies are potentially needed to present to attract these fish. They may or may not represent exactly something which the fish actually eats, “but that is not important for now”. The make up of flies however is, and whatever format they are going to come in, they need to be tied on an appropriate diameter/strength and length of leader which needs to be able to present them correctly, in the manner to continue to attract the fish.

This leader needs to be coupled to a fly line which needs to have the capability to be cast effectively to all the potential ranges of the fish, and carry the leader and flies we are attempting to present without fuss.

Finally we need to select an appropriate rod which satisfactorily amplifies our efforts in casting to all ranges with ease this line/leader and flies combination to the fish we are looking to attract, in the environment we are fishing for it in. For me the line sits right in the middle of this logic and its here where most casting improvements can come to clients in an instant. if only they were to understand more about what they have set themselves up to having to deal with.

A good instructor knows handy ways to establish the head length of the line if the head length is not known, this information is vital to understand. He/She can impart this information to you too within a tolerance of a few feet, within minutes, then be able to make a judgement as to its actual suitability for purpose, if your instructor cannot provide you with the above, I would be very tempted to walk away from the session “casting instructors should really be nerds when it comes to fly line tapers, weights lengths etc”

The problem for the operator of establishing head length may be compounded by the fact that the line is one single colour all the way from the tip to the backing knot and you cannot tell where that thick bit ends and the thin bit starts. This is no surprise, it can often be difficult to detect, the most extreme examples have come where I have had to reverse weight forward fly lines that were loaded incorrectly on the reel, with the thin running line at the front end, and the essential casting weight of the head buried deep underneath within the spool .

Without clarification or knowledge of what you are looking or feeling for, you might have good fishing days where “that feels good and right” as you make casts, then on other days you can’t get it to work at all. A single colour line in inexperienced hands generally makes the requirement for guess work during false casting become even larger and generally makes the experience of casting and fishing quite hit and miss.

In these instances of single colour lines of which clients are struggling with, I offer to establish the actual head length for them, and offer with their permission to make a small mark on the running line with a marker pen so that when they hold this mark in their line hand, the pre designed head configuration and an appropriate amount of running line for effective casting “and hauling” will be positioned beyond the rod tip. The very least this will do is offer a visual reference point for the beginnings of replicative actions to be performed, think, they will be picking up the same length and weight of line each time once this reference point is reached. This can quickly take away the constant inconsistent battle of the tension searching guessing game and can really speed up the learning process.
Ultimately dual colour lines which indicate exactly where the head meets the running line are my favourite, they are just fantastic.

If a line of inappropriate and excessive head length has been purchased, the angler “after some frustrations” does the sensible thing and only false casts out to a length which they can manage, sadly the outer most reach of their fishing is regulated by a head length issue right there.

I have in the past used an infantile “and obviously false” but effective analogy that we can try to imagine that a fly line head was made by manufacturer A from a lump of plasticine, a blob which, lets just say weighed 13 grams, the manufacturer starts by rolling out this blob on a table into a 30ft pointed medieval arrow head shape, this arrow shape will become the head of the line which is then fused onto the thinner level diameter running line. “The fly rods we are currently using on this particular day funnily enough feel nice when we are cast 13 grams of weight, just like how a 6oz beach caster can feel nice as it casts a 6oz lead”

Manufacturer B takes the same 13 grams of plasticine and rolls out their arrow shape design to 30 ft in length but instead of stopping there, they carry on rolling until the arrow shape is 40-50ft long. it still weighs the same as A’s , however its weight is further distributed over another 10-20 ft and will be generally thinner overall.

The angler who has bought manufacturer B’s line takes it out fishing and discovers he cannot cast back and forth without error the full 40-50ft “or 13 grams”, so as wrote above, does the sensible thing which is to false cast to a length at which he can manage, however the negative effects on progression with their casting due to subscribing to this action are many.

Firstly the 13 grams of weight that should be out beyond the tip is no longer, as now some of the designed casting weight is now inside the rod rings, “this situation can be followed by complaints that the line is light for the rod. “Nope, we are simply not utilising the full weight of the head design at this present range…”

Having some of the thicker diameter head inside the rod can have the effect of slowing down the feel of the rod and making it feel sluggish/less crisp than it actually could be.

When larger diameter line of the head is sliding through the rings, and as above, less weight is out beyond the tip this can make Double Hauling difficult to learn for those new to the technique. Any sense of feel for line tension in the line hand is not as prevalent. This feel of tension in the line held in the hand for me is THE key indicator to help me return the hand back to to the rod smoothly at the correct time and rate after each haul.

The resistance due to friction caused by the larger diameter line of the head inside the rod will also without a doubt impede the final shoot of the line when a larger casting distance is required.

Finally when starting from short ranges it gets harder to get longer headed lines tensioned up to the point where you feel confidently connected and in control of the fly at all times as the rod may not be loading correctly. It can feel like waving cotton around for the first few casts and it takes more time to slip more and more line to get things moving to the point where the feel of connection to the casting weight becomes obvious.

The weight of the head of the line beyond the tip assists in the bending the rod, converting our rotational movements of the shoulder, arm and hand into a somewhat linear movement of the rod tip, if the tip is not travelling straight, this can result in many undesired outcomes, such as open loops, reduced distance, problems with casting in winds, over exertion by the operator…….. casting unhappiness!

Millions of people for decades have learned to cast their own way with their own equipment and collectively caught billions of fish, without ever the assistance from instructors, that is for sure, but If some of what I have wrote rings a bell and you definitely want to step up your abilities without seeing an instructor, my advise would be to consider getting nerdy by spending more time looking at the casting weight over length distribution specifications of the heads on the lines you may be interested in buying and try to envisage if they are the right ones for you, for the fish you seek where you do…


Last night on Twitter I ran a quick online competition during #Cumbriahour. The rules were very simple in that I asked the people who follow me to re tweet a particular tweet, where I was offering a days Fly Casting tuition / Guided fishing day in 2013.

In total there were 8 people who followed the instructions correctly and from these people I was to select one random chosen winner at 9pm, however I changed my mind and thought “bugger it, they can all have a day if they wish ” ;)

Upon contacting the 8 winners, one very thoughtful gentleman called Dan Colloby wrote the following

Dan Colloby ‏@DanColloby
@stsflyfishing though I could do with the tuition, please give it to a more deserving cause or give a small donation to @DiabetesUK thanks

21h Lee Cummings Lee Cummings ‏@stsflyfishing
@DanColloby My 7year old daughter has had type1 since she was 18 month*, if that’s your wish then I will honour that by auctioning your day;)

21h Dan Colloby Dan Colloby ‏@DanColloby
@stsflyfishing thank you Lee ,that means a lot to me & best wishes to your daughter.

So in light of Dan’s wishes above I would like to offer the readers here one full day of Fly Casting Tuition with the option of Guided fishing for either Mullet, Bass, Sea Trout, Brown Trout or Salmon, up here in Cumbria, to be taken at the winning bidders convenience “during the chosen species probable time” in 2013, with all proceeds from the winning bid going directly to

Ideally I would like people to bid online using Twitter in direct contact with myself @stsflyfishing using the following hashtag #leecummingsflyfishingauction . I understand that people do not use Twitter, so I will also accept bids via E mail to if the E mail title is the before mentioned hashtag #leecummingsflyfishingauction

To clarify an Email bid I will take a direct snapshot of the mail off my phone and post that to Twitter as confirmation of the bid.

Currently my wife and I must administer four insulin injections, carry out regular blood sugar monitoring and provide a careful dietary regime everyday for our 7 year old daughter Eryn. As things stand this will never change for her until a cure for Diabetes is found.

There are millions of people worldwide who also share Eryns condition who must also undergo the same regime, simply to prevent the onset of life threatening conditions. These circumstances have been central to all my young family’s daily life, ever since the day little Eryn fell extremely sick…….therefore following Dans thoughtful suggestion there would no better charity to donate the proceeds!

I can advise that this auction will close at 12am on January 1st 2013


Thank you in advance


I would like to present you with an enhanced re write of an old article from the first version of Source to Sea fly fishing. After stumbling onto the old website tonight, I can’t let this one go….

At Hodbarrow lake 27 Years ago when I was around the age of 10 my introduction into the world of fresh water fishing began, I can assure you that Hodbarrow has continued to intrigue me for years. If I ever left Millom, I would miss Hodbarrow more than anything else about this region.
Historically Hodbarrow was a mining area, and up until well after the 2nd world war haematite ore was heavily extracted from this area, and it was thanks mainly to the mining industry that today’s town of Millom as we know it was born.
One major problem which the industry faced, was holding back the tides as they rolled in twice daily, I’m told initially a sea defence was built, constructed predominantly of wooden stakes and mud, but it became apparent very soon that this defence was inadequate and a new and more sturdy “Sea Wall” was needed, so work began on the second outer defence which was to be constructed with locally sourced stone.

Although very formidable compared to the first defence system, the second sea wall began to show cracks and points of failure due to the mine expansion and undermining the area under the wall to reach more ore rich ground, the shifting sands and clay like base on which the wall was built didn’t help either, as the second wall began to fail,  a 3rd Sea wall was constructed to surround the entire mining area to make the mines watertight once and for all…..

Looking South West over the old submerged pump house towards the collapsed 2nd Sea Wall

Ariel image taken from above the 3rd outer defence, the land fault clearly visible between the 2nd wall ends, along with the old pump house at the top right.

The 3rd outer sea defence still stands to this day and is holding quite well given its age. This whole area makes for fantastic fishing opportunities, simply because on one side of the wall you can be salt water fishing in the Irish Sea and on the other you can be fresh water fishing in Hodbarrow. I would like to continue with the story of how Hodbarrow as a Trout fishery was born…

Looking towards the Westward end 2nd sea wall section “middle right”, with the Lake district fells in the back ground..

In the 70’s, development was underway on the banks of Hodbarrow lake and it became a popular tourist attraction in the form of a caravan site, and the land was renowned as a valuable nature reserve, with Arctic terns nesting here year after year, among many other bird species. The lake was drained to some degree in the 1980’s so that a long straight and thin spit of land could be constructed “shown protruding from the left on the image above”, and this was the beginnings of making Hodbarrow a prime water skiing venue. The water that was drained from the lake to allow this spit to be built was replaced with water from the sea until the lake rose above the level left behind from natural springs of the mines, and the use of sea water is where a un foreseen problem would arise in the near future..

The owner of the developing holiday making site was receiving numerous complaints from caravan owners and holiday makers regarding the sheer amount of predominantly two-winged insects which were hatching from the water and “terrorising” people in the evenings. An idea was put forward to introduce fish into the lake which could help alleviate this problem, as they would hover up the insects whilst they were still developing in the aquatic stage of their life, and would consume a percentage of the hatching and mature egg laying adults at the surface.

Baby Food

The adult menu of bigger fish consists of Snail and Stickleback                                                                                                  

Some small coarse fish were purchased and transported to Hodbarrow to be kept in a segregated area of the Lake. The owner went down daily to hand feed these fish, but one day to his dismay he found that the fish had died. Over a period of time, of which I cannot confirm, the EA were called to come and sample the water. They went on to suggest introducing Rainbow trout which are more tolerant of slight deviations from ideal conditions.

Subsequently rainbows were purchased and placed again in a segregated area, hand fed by the owner, and to his delight the fish were seemingly quite happy for a full fortnight, most importantly they did not die…These lucky fish were released and allowed to venture off into the gloomy depths of the main body of water and further stocks were purchased and introduced, it was shortly after that did Hodbarrow opened up as a fishery.

The lake produces good hatches of Two winged flies, Damsels, Up-wings, Sedges, and its very abundant in Lesser Water Boatmen, Water Hog louse, topped off with huge shoals of sticklebacks. The fish that are introduced into Hodbarrow are very lucky fish indeed, they have over 190 acres to roam, spread out over 4 miles of shoreline, with a maximum depth of 110ft where the 2nd sea wall went down the furthest…………… plus all that food to go at!!

Where can you get “Im with this Idiot”  T shirts these days…………? :)

Forgive me as I reminisce now but as kids we were once kitted out with basic sea fishing equipment one Christmas, we then spent many hours of our life’s digging up lug worm on Millom shore, prior to the tide rolling in. When fishing, in between waiting for bites we would pass time hand lining for crabs down the gaps in the blocks of the 3rd sea wall we were stood on. Winching in occasional flatfish on 25lb line was one thing and great non the less, but nothing prepared me for the first fight with a Hodbarrow Rainbow. I will remember the following till the day I die, as clearly as if it was yesterday.

One afternoon I had set up the family tent in our side garden on Huddlestone Road with a view to camping out that night, my mate Dominic was allowed to camp out with me too, we had no idea that his uncle Mark was going to appear and wake us up at around 3am to see if we wanted to go fish Hodbarrow….! I remember quietly getting on my bike and sneaking out of the garden, crapping myself in case my dad woke up. Blurry eyed in the steely grey/blue of night to-day break, we pedaled to the sea wall in record time. We only had Marks rod to fish with and we took it in turns to bait up with bread and cast out, retiring each time into the cover and safety of the bramble. Casting this lightweight outfit was new to me, the set up was 10lb line and a medium-sized stick float coupled with a starlight indicator, held on to the top by an oversize float rubber, underneath was some shot onto the drop and the hook. The conditions were calm and quiet until the luminous starlight disappeared down at an angle into the gloomy depths of Hodbarrow as I was holding the rod. The line pulling really tight and the drag making a racket was something I never experienced from fishing off the other side in the sea.

Eventually the fish came ashore and I couldn’t believe what had just happened……….

Explaining to my parents where this fish came from that following morning was another story…………….and just that ;)

My grandfather George Cummings was an avid angler and hunter, with myself being the eldest grandchild who now also had some Hodbarrow experience “trust me he got to hear about my fish once I was in the clear”, most summer evenings I would religiously stand by the lamppost outside my home at 7pm, waiting to see his car come around the corner for him to take me to fish the evening rise,  not once did he let me down, he was very happy at having such a place to go in his home town. As a child i remember quite clearly in the years that followed seeing fish rising everywhere once things got going, giving me something to throw my bubble and fly at. Being out well past 10pm with my grandfather and fellow anglers was always a buzz, especially safe in the knowledge that I wasnt going to get into trouble with my parents.


Typical overwintered Hodbarrow Rainbow Trout

Before long, stories were going around town of  big fish being caught down at Hodbarrow, and these were not angling tall stories neither, as they were often witnessed by many, Local sea anglers who had just started to fish for trout for the very first time were amazed at how hard these fish could fight, just like I did that first night. There were instances of carelessly unattended float rods going into the water, the fish in there quickly started to become legendary amongst those who sought after them. One name in particular which I remember quite fondly from my childhood was “Big John” a name aptly given to any Hodbarrow fish which smashed an angler…..

“It was Big John, im telling ya!!!!!” :)

Sadly over the late 80’s – 90’s years and largely through under stocking “not poaching”, Hodbarrow was always a kind of hit and miss place. You would fish there all year and take a few fish, or someone with no experience who never fished it before could be there and within 10 min catch a fish of a lifetime to someone! You paid your money and you took your chance….

One final twist to Hodbarrows history is that in 2004 during a moment of genius by the fish supplier, the very first addition of brown trout “approximately 3-5 inches in length” were introduced into the lake, and what a monumental day that was!. In the 2007 season aggressive feeding brown trout began to turn up in anglers catches, displaying a growth rate that has been truly phenomenal, from a tiny trout that represents something from the upper reaches of a Cumbrian spate river, to fish like the one above in just over three years!!

What is also fantastic news is that of course unlike diploid rainbows, the mixed sex brown trout that were introduced were able to reproduce to a degree under certain conditions in the shallow wind-swept bays over winter. This can be viewed as quite a rare occurrence, given that successful spawning cycles usually required clean feeder streams, of which there are none into Hodbarrow, but this proves that nature works in fantastic ways to ensure species survival.

A Hodbarrow born Brown Trout 30,3,2008. This fish had been reared from the initial stock of Browns of 2004

In June 2008, Millom and District Angling Association and myself recognised the excellent angling potential from continuing stocking Hodbarrow with tiny Brown Trout and we paid for a second supplement of Brown Trout to be delivered ourselves, ” check out this old website news page “. Given how crap this year has been for me on the shores thanks to excess water in the estuaries and relentless North West winds to flatten most Mullet fishing days, I have decided to return to my old haunt for the rest of this season. When those few thousand little fish went in, I did bid them a fond farewell, promising to return them safely if they gave me some sport in about four years time……



Knut Syrstad Relief Fund

Posted: September 4, 2012 in Fly Casting, Uncategorized

I… like everyone else present stood silent, focussed, willing for Knut to hook up that cast which executed under perfect tension and timing would hitch a ride and fly further over the horizon………. in the manner of a true champion he did just that and secured his rightful place into the world championships 18ft Spey casting finals. The release inside of me when he done this was so great that I personally wanted to cry… for those closer to Knut than I, they did….

I would advise you to click this link and allow Google to translate, to read his twin brothers ” Trond Syrstad” words of Knut’s ongoing battle with cancer and ask that you do all you can to help his family raise all the money he needs for his next treatment.

Over on one of the worlds premier fly casting and fishing sites “Sexyloops” you can do just that RIGHT NOW as the members are running an online auction with ALL proceeds going directly to Knut.

Please consider the bigger pictures of all that is on offer and give generously…

Thank you in advance…!


Bernd Ziesche and World Championship 18ft Spey Finalist Knut Syrstad, Norway 2012





At the time of writing I am struggling to truly describe what I have just experienced this last weekend. To stand shoulder to shoulder with competition distance casters from all over the world was simply mind-blowing…! Here in the UK most of the like-minded individuals who cast to compete have all met at some point, be it at the CLA Gamefair or a Sexyloops shootout,  we are all friends who often keep in contact one way or another, but seeing as this was my first time at a world championships I now feel I had the privilege to widen this circle of friends, all of which have their own personal skills and qualities that I was truly honoured to see with my own eyes.

.. First glimpse of Norway..

My journey began at midnight on the 23rd, kicking off with 5 hour drive to Gatwick airport, finally arriving in Norway at 12pm. After being held up waiting for my salmon rod to come off the plane meant my intended 3+ hour 1pm bus ride to Fagerness was now missed and the next bus was not until 4pm.I finally get to Fagerness after 7pm, a journey total of 19 hours, on top of being awake the previous day.

On the first morning as I was setting up my outfit came one of those moments in life that stick with you forever, here I am in what might as well be a million miles away from home, looking around at the stunning setting of the Fagerness region, beautiful in the morning light and all of a sudden over the P.A system comes the sound of a familiar intro from a song of which is etched heavily into the memories from my youth.

“These mist covered mountains…… Are all there for me…………”

I felt a lump in my throat as Dire Straits “Brothers in arms” now echoed full blast around the lake and over the whole Fagerness Region, I think about my Dad who used to play this album and the rest of my family back home and I feel psyched as the hairs on my neck stand up, just as we are about to compete………… Nice touch!

.. Far from inspiring 27gram Sea Trout Distance conditions.. 

As the 27 gram Sea Trout distance event was actually about to commence the wind forecast sadly was right, thus things could not have started worse for me. I was scheduled to be on third with my shooting head that I had created which only works really well when there is some breeze to work with. In the past in practice, the variance of the ranges possible could be as much as 18 metres difference, with lowest distances coming in flat calm conditions and the best from when fresh warm uplifting southerly winds are blowing. Well sadly I had made my own bed and now it was time to lie in it as I had failed to appreciate the probability of flat calm conditions on the day,  nor did I bring a back up plan that I was confident with. Other casters who had to compete in that early slot felt the same frustrations, but there were super tuned casters reaching the high 30 and low 40 metres, those lads I learned from. Some time later as we looked down the lake we could see the ripples on the surface coming towards us caused by an upcoming breeze, soon enough this breeze did come and the distances went up for the blessed with more consistency and greater ease. Ok so that was one event bombed, probably the one I had spent most time on too, but given the standard present, if we all had the same wind it would have been far more interesting..

To cut the devastating story of day one short, my Salmon overhead outfit was simply a big brother to my 27 gram Sea Trout outfit and that needs the wind to fly too, as it is front biased and fairly short. Guess what? after dinner I was due to cast 2nd and the wind was now again non existent in a blistering mid day sun………

.. Salmon overhead distance event. Thanks to Bernd Ziesche for taking the image  ..

Ok, 2 events bombed. Myself and Paul Arden had a small joke going about this Salmon event as Paul doesn’t own a Salmon outfit, so I had to lend him mine. The last time we cast this was at Sexyloops Scotland in 2010 and he beat me there with it, so this was a secret comp between us both, I wanted payback, he wanted to add further insult…. and in true Paul Arden fashion the jammy git has a following wind when its his turn and he makes a throw of over 50 metres, without even practising with it, so I know the outfit is not too far off, if the conditions are right :)

.. Beer O clock, were done for the day, with Jonathan Tomlinson and Paul Arden..

I spend the rest of that evening listening to his jibes in between pondering the casters draw, which we were told was done by a random generator, but we struggled to see how this could be so as there was a certain level of replication in order across two events which involved seven or so casters, nor could we get our heads around the fact that in the morning Paul, who is a renowned 5# distance caster worldwide, was drawn to be on very first against the most famous competition caster of all time, the mighty Steve Rajef from the USA! Personally I would have liked to have seen a draw done live out of a bag like they do in the world cup in football to decide the groups, but my instinct tells me that with numerous casters competing in many events which can run at the same time, there could be conflict, either way, we didn’t know the full picture and these coincidence’s sadly did cast a small shadow of doubt as to what we were told regarding the arrangements. Maybe they just wanted a big crowd from the get go…..

Day 2 saw me miss Pauls head to head battle with Steve Rajef in the 5# Trout distance as I was again one of the first up to compete, this time in trout accuracy “casting into rings”. I had spent a pathetic total of 1 hour practicing this during the lead up to the competition and my total of 25 points in the competition was probably 25 too many…. however now would be a good time to let you know what happens after you compete. As you leave the casting platform a judge comes towards you with a dark cloth bag which contains 6 AA batteries, 5 of which are gold and 1 of which is blue. You must reach into the bag and choose a battery at random, if you pull out the blue battery your are led away for an equipment check where everything regarding that event is closely inspected. I can advise that after the Sea Trout distance event I was the first person to pull out the blue battery in the competition and so my outfit was inspected and found to be within the required specification. After my trout accuracy attempt again I was lucky enough to pull out yet another blue battery, so once again I am led away to the inspection room, “I am starting to have thoughts  that they are just presenting me bags full of blue batteries here… :)

Upon inspection of my trout accuracy equipment the judge measures my leader tippet of which is attached the regulation fly and this tippet under the micrometer came in at 0.31mm, which sadly was a massive one hundredth of a millimetre over-size. The tippet material had been bought in faith that it was 0.30mm in diameter like it said on the spool, but sadly even when checking with another micrometer is still came out at 0.31mm. I am a very rulesy person to be honest so when I had the opportunity to somehow contest my subsequent disqualification I refused, the rules are there and now I know they will be enforced no matter how small they are broken, that I respect……!

I would like to add at this point that, given my luck, if that one blue battery in six was worth £1,000,000 in some game show, I could probably dip my hand in there a thousand times and would never pull it out…!!

My last chance that came to hand would come in the form of the 5# trout distance event, of which surprisingly the mystery generator didn’t pick me to go within the first seven this time, I was actually due to go on 27th . I stepped up against Nikolaj Martins from Denmark and thoroughly enjoyed the experience of not having conditions that were against me for once. Upon reflection when I visualise looking back at that loop cutting into the tailwind, I could have carried a few feet more into it when false casting which would have got me more distance on the final delivery, but like my more experienced friend Lasse Karlsson from Denmark told me yesterday morning,”when your competing you forget about 20% of what you know and just make up for it with adrenaline”, he was dead on there. To sum up that result I managed my first ever 120ft+ 5# cast in official competition and that placed me 21st out of the forty 5 weight  Trout Distance casters present, that I am very proud of given the level of competition…! :)

On saturday night we got proper wasted in true form and yesterday morning on the way back to the airport “whilst still probably very drunk” I managed to stumble onto a train at a very busy Oslo central station. It was not until I seen the word “ENDESTASJON” flashing on the overhead display as the train slowed down did I begin to have suspicions that I might have just undertaken a unpresidented trip for one hour in the complete opposite direction to Gardemeon airport…. favouring sightseeing more of the Norwegian countryside. Idiot!! :)

I just want to thank the following people for either helping or inspiring me in some way towards and during this competition…… Ange and our kids, Dominic C, Paul H, Key2sports, Jonathan T, Paul A, Mark S, Ben D, Mike B, Lasse and Silja, Ruairi and James, Travis J, Fredrik H, Bernd Z and his friends, all the Millom folk who kindly showed support and last but certainly not least, Knut Syrstad from Norway. For those who saw him successfully qualify and then compete most spectacularly in the 18ft Spey category, we will be forever safe in the knowledge knowing that what we all witnessed was nothing short of legendary….! Well Done Knut !




The company Key2sportsandnutrition which is based in Workington, Cumbria has currently been supplying me with sports supliments for the last 12 months. When I started weight training in April in 2011 I was using an expensive USN protein which I was foolishly getting from Holland and Barrett, In august of last year I switched to the better priced “and quality” protein available from PHD known as Pharma Whey, which Key2 stocks.

Key2sports and the other products they offer have been instrumental to my casting progress over this time period and yesterday I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time a very friendly lad called Gary who is one of the co owners.

Gary was inquisitive about the sport I undertake and my ambitions, he realised that he could help furthermore with another product they stock called LiquidGrip

I remember at the last Sexyloops distance casting competition I attended in Scotland 2011, the Scandinavian lads came over with some rubberised tape wrapped around the handle of their rods to assist with grip, each to their own of course but me personally when I tried them, I did not like the addition of this tape as it added further thickness to the diameter of the handle and thus lessened the sensation of connection that I felt in the hand transmitted through the rod of what was going on with the fly line, tension wise……

I tried Liquid Grip for the first time yesterday during a casting session and was very pleased with the way the product works, after applying a very small amount on my right palm rubbed on with the back of my left hand,  my right hand did not become sweaty and so my grip remained firm on the rod, this product did exactly what it was designed to do and so I will continue to use it.

If you are interested in Key2SportsandNutrition and the excellent products they offer their website can be found here.

Thanks again Gary and Gareth!







This site is to serve simply as my on-line fishing and casting development diary, which will remember the things I forget and hopefully help teach me a lesson or two in the future.

It didn’t take long…..!

An avid fisherman who has rivers or sea shores on his doorstep can naturally be drawn to them in times of extreme weather, at least that’s how I feel at such times..

I remember the afternoon of November 19th 2009 when I was working a back shift, the whole of Sellafield sites day and staff workers got sent home early due to a months worth of rainfall in less than 24 hours, traffic chaos followed all over Cumbria due to flood water hazards with rivers bursting their banks and bridges collapsing. That afternoon after working three hours into a nine-hour shift, although we are classed as essential workers and were told to remain on site, we were also given a green light to make our way home whilst we still could, as things had gotten that bad.

River Irt at Holmrook around 4 pm Nov 19th 2009

River Irt at Santon Bridge at 4.30pm Nov 19th 2009

I managed to get home safely and whilst eating a bonus meal in the comfort of my own home, I couldn’t get the thoughts out of my head as to just how much fresh water I witnessed as I passed by “and through” the Rivers Irt, Mite and Esk to get home. The River Irt at Holmrook was already seeping through areas of the stone wall and spilling onto the A595, that was at 4pm.

How full would Ravenglass estuary be at low water “predicted for 18.55pm” was something that was fascinating me as this amount of rainfall is a very rare event, however taking a decision to go and see for myself how full the estuary was would be was one which carried with it a commitment then to stay out all night. To get back up to Ravenglass from Millom meant crossing the already flooded road which neighboured the River Esk before the climb up to Muncaster. This river, like the others was rising through the afternoon, and once I would be north of it and the tide started to run I knew there would be no way back until it receded. A second purpose/justification for going back up the coast would also be to ensure that my friends who lived in Holmrook on the banks of the Irt would have some small assistance in defending their home if needed. The river outside their house was already coming through the defensive wall and I know that a typical spring tide will reach up river to a point 200 metres downstream of their house when there is very little water on. It was a kind coincidence that the Irt rose that afternoon at a similar rate that the previous tide emptied but when the next tide comes in and meets this monumental amount of water coming down, those houses, one of which is my mates, could be in serious trouble, worse still this was going to happen during the night around 2-3am.

Upon safely getting my car through the flooded road adjoining the River Esk south of Muncaster and then heading on over into Ravenglass, I turned on my video camera and as I emerged onto the shoreline, what I saw almost made me drop the camera. Ravenglass estuary should have shrunken back to the thin channels that it typically becomes during spring tide week at low water, however in these current conditions by my approximation, it looked like it does when there is still two hours of water left to run off before low water! and this was actually at low water!! It wouldn’t be long before the tide reversed and came in, impeding the flow from upstream, causing it to find somewhere else to go.

After making my way north to Holmrook village and parking my car in a safe high place, a meager amount of sandbags were eventually dropped off by the council for the houses alongside the river. I worked with my mate and a few other residents present as we attempted to shore up the leaking wall banking the river. In the back of my mind was the image of an already swollen Ravenglass and the tide that was to come within the next few hours. At approximately 2am and the inevitable happened, the torrent of water which was deafening at the time went silent as the tide finally reached the back of the garage below the bridge, the wall was no match for the weight of water behind it and I retreated as the wall collapsed.  My job now as I stood alone in my waders was working to replace the wall with the bags that were scattered and submerged. On the northern side of the village there was a fire engine present which had a team of firemen trying to pump water out of the reading room and surrounding houses, every now and then two firemen would make their way round to assist me in rebuilding the dam that I struggled to maintain.

 At 5am I returned cold and exhausted to my car and made my way home.

The following day was a trip back to Holmrook to see the flood again in the cold light of day and then onto Wastwater to see a lake that had risen by at least 5 ft, approximated by the island at the south-western end being completely submerged and a lake outflow that was once 10ft wide, looking more like the River Thames…!

This week on Friday 22nd June a similar situation arose.  Rain fall totalling 3.5″ in a 24 hour period happened, again during the tail end of spring tides week. I was due to travel to Stafford this weekend to attend the British Fly Fair but my wife was hearing of problems around the Duddon Bridge area from her friends that had written on Facebook upon returning home from their visits to Barrow-in-Furness. The waders are always in the car, so it was time to go pay the River Duddon a visit to check that I could get through in the morning. As I drove eastward I was reminded of the adrenaline that flowed during that november night three years ago.

Upon reaching the River Duddon it was very clear to see that people do not take enough care in times of flood conditions, some cars had tried to speed through the flood water and as a result, some made it, however some had water sucked into the air intake, not good for fine tolerance engines. A polish lad who came down the bottom of Corney fell whilst driving too fast had hit the river flowing across the road and then found his car rendered useless. He was speaking in broken english as he tried in vain to restart his car. After great difficulty in convincing him that his car would end up in the field by the morning if the river continues to rise and he doesn’t get it out of the way, the two of us pushed the Ford Mondeo up the road to higher ground and left it at the side of the road.

After taking some photos on my phone of the current height of the river, I quickly crossed the bridge over to the southernmost bank and waded into the cold water which was flowing down the Ulpha road to take an image of two stranded vehicles, one of which was nearly completely submerged. These vehicles were in water which I would never have guessed would have taken this pathway down the valley. I was reminded of what I saw in 2009 and that the power of flood water is to run the pathway of least resistance and to mow down anything in its way..

One final note to finish off, the image I took of the stranded vehicles whilst wading chest deep in cold water was foolishly uploaded to Twitter when I got home and has to my surprise made its way into a Sunday newspaper! probably selected at ease at the time by some skinny, winkle picker shoe wearing office dweller who sports a complicated waxed haircut whilst he was using his internet access device in a trendy southern wine bar, a million miles away from the extreme conditions which was lashing our county at the time…!


Hey, Ok it was only a picture!

and with nature behaving like it is, maybe life is too short…………..