It has been a busy year for the Partridge PRO-Team and 2014 has seen the team grow and develop. There have been shows a plenty, a whole host of beautifully successful flies tied on our Partridge hooks and of course a string of excellent fishing trips. But that was just this year, what does 2015 hold? Well, what better way to look back on this year and plan for the next than through the eyes of 7 of our PRO-Team members from around the globe.
So, make sure you are sitting comfortably, leave the fly tying desk for a moment and have a suitable beverage to hand, as this looks to be the longest post to grace the Partridge blog yet!!
Allan Liddle - Scotland
2014 was without doubt one of the busiest I’ve had both on the fishing as well as the home front with a full on house renovation taking up valuable time that would otherwise be spent with the rods and waders. Thankfully all is now complete so 2015 shouldn't hold the same distractions.
2014 began in earnest with my first ever appearance at the British Fly Fair being privileged to represent Partridge over the weekend and being so busy that the whole thing seemed to pass in a blur. Next up was my more regular appearance at the Glasgow Angling Centre March Open Weekend which lived up to its reputation of 'Mad March' as we were inundated at the tyers row, another three days that passed very quickly.
Without going into too much detail on the fishing front I was lucky enough to frequent my usual haunts of the Rivers Deveron and Don with many successful trips enjoyed. Gairloch on the Letterewe Estate was a more further flung trip into the wilds, as well as the annual pilgrimage 'Across the Pentland Firth' to Orkney and a couple of forays into the midst of the Sutherland Wilderness, all of which produced numerous highlights and great times.
However, I have to admit these fell secondary to my first ever Scottish International Fly Fishing Team appearance gaining my first cap at the inaugural Five Nations part of the Stirling Festival of Angling in August. You can read my previous blog post on this here.
Add to this regular appearances at my Scottish National Fly Fishing League matches and appearance at the September GAC open weekend and several more local tying demos and talks, I’m sure you'd agree 2014 has been pretty eventful. Although not too much for me not to find time to continue to write for Fly Fishing and Fly Tying including the opportunity to become a regular member of their blog team as well as produce monthly tutorials for Partridge and contribute frequently to this blog! You can see all my monthly tutorials by clicking on the blog drop down menu at the top.
Phew it's certainly been a busy year (did I mention the day job?)
And for 2015? All things being well I hope to appear at the BFFI in Feb helping on the FFFT stand, GAC in March once again an d I am booked to appear at Fly Fest in October and really hope to make the Irish Fly Fair in November, not to forget a cast or two along the way!
Ulf Hagstrom - Sweden
Last winter I dubbed 2014 to be "the year of the pike" and sat high goals for myself to have more fishing days and catch more and bigger pikes than ever before. Now, having moved the boat to shore I am starting to embrace the fact that there might not be that much fishing being done here for a while now, I can kind of summarize the year of the pike.
In most ways the fishing year of 2014 was a real step forward and my main goals were reached. I did catch more fish than ever before.
I did finally break my old personal best pike on the fly with a nice spring fish just over nine kilos. I also did fish more places, with more friends on more occasions than on any other previous year.
I got myself a new boat and explored new waters with it. All in all it was a very good season! The only thing that bugs me now is that I didn't really manage to break the code for the autumn fishing, one big reason being the odd weather we had for almost the entire autumn season.
The many fishing days also meant an even bigger test to my fly designs than ever before and I am very pleased with the performance of the flies I fished with and also found new interesting details that I will continue to work on for 2015. The interest for fly fishing for pike is huge for the moment and every show and demo I did during 2014 attracted a lot of attention and a lot of question around fly fishing for pike.
For me it is a good feeling to be able to put so many fishing hours behind my flies so that I can speak from actual experience on fly fishing for pike in general and on my flies in particular. Working with Partridge also means that I can tie my flies on the best hooks available all the time and I am really looking forward to an even deeper partnership with Partridge for 2015.
Rich Strolis - Conneticut USA
2014 was a bit of a blur, I was a contributing author for Bob Mallards book ‘50 Best Places Flyfishing The Northeast’. Aside from contributing a piece on the Farmington River, a great photo from a rather memorable day made the cover of the book.
Earlier this year I made the jump to Montana Fly Company as a signature fly designer starting out with just one of my smaller nymph patterns, the DDT nymph and things continued to grow.
I have spent much less time tying orders of flies this past year as I was diligently utilizing every free moment of my time working on my own book. When I could, I snuck in some fishing here and there between work and family and managed some rather nice fish once again this year. Many browns, some pike, and a nice fill of fall steelhead rounded out the fare in between the panfish that my two daughters and I wrestled with on occasion when not letting out there artistic side in our homegrown fly shop. As the year wore on and my schedule became much less cluttered, the tying classes began to come to fruition and I am currently in the thick of them as I type this.
2015 looks very bright, I have a larger catalog of my flies with Montana Fly Company and continue to develop more successful patterns with them to add to the many that I’ve already established. We are in the editing phases of my book, and if all goes as planned, late 2015 it should hit the shelves. Be on the lookout for the ‘Creative Patterns of Rich Strolis’ by Stackpole, about a year from now. Aside from my normal excursions, my good friend and fellow tyer Michael Schmidt and I will be embarking on an epic adventure for monster Northern Pike somewhere in the Yukon drainage in the wonderful state of Alaska late July. This trip should be one to remember, and we will both be casting bird sized flies tied on Absolute Predator’s in hopes of slaying a giant.
Paul Beel - Indiana USA
I feel it has been a terrific year for me, with concentration on my modern streamers and classic Michigan flies, the response has been great! I've been using Partridge Universal Predators in my articulated streamers, like my Bearded Biscuit and also my single hook streamers, like my Grandpa's ChickenHawk.
I tie a lot of classic Michigan dry flies with Partridge Dry Fly Supreme hooks and have added an extremely significant classic fly called the Eggie Special after finally finding out the correct materials from Eggie Bugby's family. That was truly an amazing experience speaking with Eggie's son Robert.
I continue to be a commercial fly tyer for Gates Au Sable Lodge and Fly Shop in Grayling, Michigan. Josh Greenberg, the owner, has been fantastic to work with. The shop has that classic, feel good vibe and sits on the beautiful Au Sable River. So I feel honored and blessed to have that gig.
I have a new Hexagenia dry fly pattern that I will be testing next year. It was tied in true pure Michigan style spirit, tied on a Partridge H1A style hook. I have high hopes for this one!
I had success fishing the lakes of Indiana catching largemouth and smallmouth bass and also in the rivers of Michigan, catching some brown and brook trout this summer. Next year I plan to target some larger fish, but isn't that always the plan?
Look for some Jim Leisenring/Pete Hidy style flymphs coming from me soon. I have a new found passion for tying flymphs and have been taking advantage of the new Partridge Barbless Sproat Wet hooks for this purpose.
As the fly tying season has begun I have tied at the Great Lakes Council Fly Tying Expo in Lansing, Michigan. Into the near year I will be tying at the Indiana Fly Tying Expo in Indianapolis, Indiana, Midwest Fly Tying Expo in Warren, Michigan, and the Three Rivers Fly Fishers Fly Fishing/Fly Tying Show in Fort Wayne, Indiana.
My primary website, FrankenFly at http://www.frankenfly.com, continues to attract visitors which I'm very happy about. The website highlights all kinds of other fly tyers and fly tying related information so please stop by!
Andre Miegies - Netherlands
The year 2014.
What a year it was, so busy with my work that fishing and tying flies became on second place but…..
The first week of February it was a fishing day with a good friend and after catching so many pike in my fishing career below the 1meter, I finally managed to cross that magnificent one meter….107 cm….yes a happy man here ;-)
The second week of February it was the great show, the BFFI, I am so glad to be invited to tie at this show for a few years in a row. This year again there were a lot of visitors and so nice to catch up with old friends and make a lot of new ones. The invite for 2015 is already in, so Febuary 2015 I will be there again.
In March I did a masterclass for a fishing shop in Germany, Finest Flyfishing. A masterclass flies for perch and Ide, and all the flies on the new Partridge predator hooks. The people really liked the hooks !!
In May there was the GFF, the German Fly Festival, here I tied two days all kind of predator flies on the new predator hooks. It was a great show with all great tyers from all around the world. On this show I met two other proteam members, Thomas Zullich from Norway and Andreas Andersson from Sweden, two great flytyers and really nice guys.
The family summer holiday are always in the direction of Scandinavia, together with my wife and my dog. We have been to Denmark, Sweden and Norway. The fishing was slow but hey…it is vacation. These countries are so nice and clean and the nature is just perfect, it is a privilege to be there.
I fished for trout, grayling and of course pike. The scandinavian pike is so cool and agressive and really fun to fish for them with poppers…. You only need a good hart….those strikes are magnificent.
In October I did a pikefly day at a fishingshop in Holland called Exclusive Flyfishing. A funny day to show the people how to use the materials and of course what kind of hooks to use!
A week later there was a fair at Finest Flyfishing in Germany where I tied all kind of small streamers for perch and other smaller predator fish. There were a lot of vistors and was a great day.
Between all the shows and tying demo’s for fishing clubs I did a lot of tying for myself, thinking about new patterns, new materials and making dubbing needles if there was some time left.
This was in a few words what happen in 2014 and I am sure I forgot a lot of things. I am really looking forward to the new year and to all the nice things what will happen. I wish you all a great new year and hope all you wish for will happen.
Happy tying !!!
Sylvie Malo-Clark - Canada
Partridge of Redditch hooks have been my trusted hooks for years. When I sit at my fly tying desk I choose to tie with the best material and hooks on the market. Last January while at the Somerset NJ show, Mark Hamnett Director of Partridge of Redditch, asked me if I would like to be on the Pro-Team. It didn't take me long to give him a positive answer.
Having one of my fly published in the Summer issue of the Canadian magazine ‘Fly Fusion’ was very exciting. For this I chose the Green Highlander tied on a 1/0 salmon single hook. This fly caught a large Atlantic salmon in July on the Grand Cascapedia River. In preparation for the upcoming fishing season I will be spending many hours replenishing my fly boxes. I will start with my two favourite flies for Spring fishing for the kelt on the Restigouche and Miramichi which are the Magog Smelt and Renous Special. Later on for the run of the Atlantic salmon, I make sure I have an assortment of flies for various conditions. There are so many flies, like the Undertaker, Blue Charm, Silver Rat, etc...One cannot forget to mention the Bombers in various colours. The list is endless and we anglers never have enough flies!
Most recently I have been re-elected on the board of the International Women Fly Fishers. I hope to inspire women to join the sport. My wish for the upcoming year is to keep my fishing journey as interesting and surprising as it has been over the years. Tight lines, hope to see you on the river in 2015.
Thomas Zullich - Norway
2014 was an amazingly good year for my fishing. It started with fishing in New Zealand on the South Island. I had travelled down there just before Christmas and fished my way around from Canterbury, Mount Cook & Twizel area to west coast and Nelson Lakes. It was an amazing 4 weeks of fun. The weather was mostly good and I had some nice days fishing.
However, New Years Eve and New Years Day were dominated by birds. The fist bird I met in 2015 was a Kea. The bugger woke me up in my tent when he tried to steel my food bag at night. He kept running around the tent for good portion of the night and tried various tactics to get inside the tent and the things he smelled. Funny and a tad bit scary on the same token. I had quite a light sleep under my hat, which I had put over my eyes should he poke his beak through the tent. Funny however to hear him fall over the tent lines and the pots & pans I had set outside. Quite a start for 2014 :-). To the right is a photograph of the exact Kea, image by Evan Lipton.
On my way back to the car I came across a bird one sees very often when walking through the South Island Forrest - the South Island Bush Robin. A funny chap who is following in the trampers footsteps to find disturbed insects for food. To me it felt though the little guy greeted me into the new year.
Of course many fish were caught on that trip and it was an overall wonderful time … but what these birds taught me again was that flyfishing is not only about the fishing - it is about the whole nature experience.
Back in Norway the season was fully packed with fly tying on outdoor shows in spring before the actual fishing season started in full swing.
This summer I concentrated on the Børgefjell and Lierne area in the southern part of northern Norway. I have been fishing there for a while and finally had a chance to spend several weeks. Fishing up there feels like «a hundred years ago». Living in and from the nature
on a very basic level. One can feel real freedom in these areas. Eat, sleep fish … and some flitting. I got totally soaked and even more addicted.
One event that is very strong in my memory. I left Majavatn area for Lierne & Skålestrømmen. The 150km long route follows a very small one lane road through the mountains. It is amazing scenery along the road. The weather was superb and I really enjoyed the trip. I arrived at my campground quite late and set up my Lavvo. The Lavvo is a type of traditional tent used very often in Norway. Even though it is quite big, it is pitched in just a few minutes. After I had done that and fixed my camp I reached for my rod.
My rod - or should I rather say «my one rod». It´s a 7,6ft bamboo rod for a 5wt line made by the amazing Vidar Steimler. For me fishes and cast like nothing else. On top of this it was gift. …. Well, I could not find it. Not in the car or around. I was crushed. It dawned on me that I must have left it on the other side of the mountains. So I drove the 3 hours trip in about two, while constantly scanning the side of the road for the rod. I jumped out the car by the boat-ramp where i had packed the car … nothing. Scanned all the area and turned every stone. Nothing. Walked a kilometre each side of the highway. Nothing. By around 4 I gave up and found myself a place to sleep. Frustrated, crushed and devastated.
The daylight woke me up by around 7 again. I was tired and had almost given up hope but decided to give it another shot searching … and bingo. The impossible … the rod was lying right by the highway, just a few inches where countless big trucks had rushed by the last 12 hours since it was lying there. A small wonder. I put the rod on my dashboard so I could see it and drove off back to my campsite in Lierne.
It was again a wonderful day with an early bright sun and a blue sky. I was more like flying back than driving. I could not believe my luck. …. However, the Lagopus crossing the road was not as lucky as me. It made short and fatal acquaintance with the front grill of my car, a red Renault Kangoo formerly servicing in the Norwegian Postal service. The french vehicle was definitely stronger than the bird of the grouse subfamily. The chicken just exploded in a way. I first thought I had driven through a pillow. Feathers snowing down slowly in a way too peaceful a manner.
I finally stopped about 10 meters later and got out of the car to investigate the scene. I want to spare you the brutal details, but mention that I ended up with loads of tying material and a super nice dinner. The car had performed a butchers job the french makers would have surely been proud of of.
The summer continued for 6 more weeks with a lot of things happening and even more fish caught. Fishing is not a hobby - it´s a livestyle.
I have included a load of pics which speak for themselves I believe. Do not hesitate to get in touch should you need tips or want to join me on one of my adventures. I promise to not put things on the roof of my car again. :-)