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Now that the weather has warmed up and the evenings are getting longer, insect activity has increased to hatches through the day and into the evenings giving the dry fly fisher a great opportunity to catch some good-sized trout. The low water flows that we have just now are making dry fly fishing quite challenging as the trout are easily spooked by poor presentation. Most of my dry fly fishing is done with a 9ft rod in either #4, #3 or #2 weights. The light line rods allow the use of lighter tippets with fewer breakages.


Time for long and finer leaders

With the tricky conditions I find it best to go longer and finer with my leaders. My preferred leader is a Trouthunter nylon, 14ft 4x tapered leader with a Riverege Trout Leader Ring The ring allows me to add tippet without effecting the tapered leader. From the Tippet ring I can then tailor the diameter and length of tippet I add to allow me to get the best presentation for the conditions I am faced with.


Dry Fly Fishing in Low Water Conditions

If the water is low and clear then I use 8ft of 0.10 mm (2lb) or 0.08mm (1.25lb) nylon, this allows for the use of small flies and very delicate presentation, the use of a nylon/Co-polymer tippet has the advantage of added stretch over other materials. I find the extra stretch also helps to protect the tippet from breaking and used with a lighter #3 or #2 rod, it is amazing how large a fish you can land on such light tackle.


Dry Fly Fishing in Windy Days and Evening Fishing

On days when the wind is blowing, then I shorten my tippet to around 6ft and use 0.12mm (3lb), I find that the shorter leader turns over better and the fish don’t seem to mind the thicker tippet material, I can still use small flies with this leader diameter.

Once the light begins to fade and it gets harder to see your fly, I will use a tippet of either 0.12mm (3lb) or 0.14mm (4.25lb) and shorten it down to 4ft long, the reason for this is it shortens the distance between my fly and fly line making it easier to pick up.

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If like me the fishing has been slow and as we are not keeping the beautiful silver springers any way what is there to eat?

Late April/May is the duffers month for roe stalking. We are treated to nice warm mornings and early evenings. With the Roe Bucks pre occupied with holding territory, it’s a good time for duffers like me to bag a buck.

I’m not a keen stalker. 5/6 times a year is about my lot but I’m very lucky that my great pal Davey Lee does some accompanied stalking here in Northumberland so he does all the hard work and I just rock up and take the glory.

With all field sports, kit is key. You don’t need a lot but decent boots and a light camo jacket and hat should do. However, one piece of essential kit is binoculars. I couldn’t justify a top-class pair at £2000 for only stalking 5/6 times a year so Tom at Fin & Game fixed me up with a pair for a third of the price. I am delighted with them – they are excellent value and are nearly as good!

So get out there before the cover gets up and the midges come out. And once you have bagged your buck here is a delicious and easy recipe to ensure your kill doesn’t go to waste.

Richard Sim - Head Chef at The Potted Lobster 

Roe Venison with Goats Cheese Croquettes & Roasted Beets


Ingredients for 4:

1 back fillet of roe venison
4 golden beetroot
125g goats cheese
125g mashed potatoes
50g plain flour
1 egg
100g Japanese bread crumbs
50 ml milk
1/2 bottle red wine
1pt beef stock
2 tablespoons red currant jelly
Butter/oil

Goats Cheese Croquettes:
Mix goats cheese and mash and form into croquet roll in flour egg and milk and then bread crumb leave in fridge to set. Just before you are ready to serve fry the croquettes.

Sauce:
Reduce stock red wine and red currant jelly by 2/3rds

Beetroot:

Wrap beets in tin foil and bake until soft

Skin then slice

Venison:

Remove all silver sinew of venison the pan fry till pink in butter add beets towards the end

Assemble as shown in the picture

This is a really good, simple dinner party dish as all the work can be done well in advance, leaving you just to fry everything off, bring the sauce to the boil and serve. I know goats’ cheese and venison sounds strange but try it - you’ll be impressed. 

Want some more recipe ideas? Check out these other recipes from the Potted Lobster:

BBQ Tandoori Partridge

Pheasant Popcorn

Tea Smoked Trout

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Packing for Fly Fishing in Alphonse, the Seychelles

Packing marks the start of the holiday for me. I am a bit of a nerd when it comes to tackle and kit so I weirdly enjoy packing. The anticipation for the trip kicks in when I search the latest offerings from the leading manufactures to see which piece of tackle or clothing I couldn’t manage with out on my next trip!

Normally I will fill my big Patagonia Duffel Bag to the brim with anything and everything I think I might need, knowing that most of it won’t see the water – but good to be prepared right? Packing for the Seychelles is slightly different and warrants a bit more thought as the weight limit is only 15kg on the smaller charter flight compared to the other atolls.

I use packing as an opportunity to check that all my gear is in order. I am awful for putting my kit away properly after the previous trip so as I set it all out I check that everything is working properly. The Seychelles is the toughest environment on gear that I have ever fished in and if there is a weakness the saltwater will find it, and if the salt has missed it, the fish certainly will expose any issues in your tackle

So what to take for Fly Fishing in the Seychelles?

The Alphonse fishing company had sent me a detailed list of tackle and clothing that is required for my trip. For me there are a few items on the list that I saw as essentials for the up coming trip. I am a strong believer in having the right stuff for the trip. By having the right gear, you will get the most out of your trip and enjoy it more, especially if you’ve caught the fish of your dreams. We see it regularly in the shop, people who have spent thousands on their trip and then try and cut costs on some of the most important things, like flies.

My must haves for the Seychelles are:

Simms Flats Sneakers

There are a few different flats boots out there including the Simms Intruder Boots and the Patagonia Danner River Salt Boots. These are essential as you wade a lot in the Seychelles, often across rough coral which will shred any of the bootie type boots that are available.

Simms Dry Creek Z Rip Back Pack
Simms Dry Creek Z Backpack - YouTube

A waterproof rucksack is a must! Not only is it a handy piece of kit for travelling as your hand luggage, when you are fishing on the flats you need somewhere to keep your spare tackle, waterproof jacket, camera kit, water and anything else you might need and want to be able to access quickly. The Simms Dry Creek Rip Back Pack keeps everything dry when your wading or when spray from the boat soaks the boat.

Seychelles Saltwater Fly Fishing Selections

Flies are the only thing that the fish see and often can be the difference between success and failure. Add in the fact that every fish you cast at to is insanely powerful and has the potential to straighten hooks resulting in lost fish. Our Seychelles fly selection offers a comprehensive selection of flies tied with out compromise on the best hooks available. What ever species you choose to target on your trip, you will have the patterns to do so.

Polarized Sunglasses for Fly Fishing 

The majority of fishing is sight fishing meaning that if you can’t see the fish, you are going to struggle to present the fly to them correctly. By choosing the best sunglasses, not only do you protect your eyes but you allow yourself to spot fish like a pro! My favourites are the Costa Del Mar 580G Green mirror lenses matched with what ever frame takes your fancy – there is a lot to choose from.

The Best Clothing for Saltwater Fishing in Seychelles 

The Seychelles is hot! Having just checked the weather for my trip it looks like it is going to be high 30s all week! You are out in the heat for 8-10 hours a day with no shade to protect you from the suns rays. Protecting yourself from the sun and keeping cool is critical. I aim to cover as much of my skin as possible. With the use of Buffs, long sleeves shirts and gloves I can cover most of my body. A range of clothing is available that incorporates UPF protection within it, meaning like the Simms Solarflex range. Not only do they protect you from the sun, they are light weight, quick drying and most importantly have some cool patterns that look great in pictured!

Shilton Reels for the Seychelles 

My previous trip to Farquhar, Seychelles, showed that me that if any of your tackle is likely to go wrong it is the reels. On that trip we broke 6 reels between us. Just because the manufacturer says the reel is sealed, it doesn’t mean it is! Salt water gets everywhere and can cause all sorts of problems. The one reel that seems to hold its head up high is the Shilton range of reels. Designed by guys who fish in these harsh environments they are made tough and built specifically for the job in hand! Spool them up with the correct backing and you can have 100% confidence that your reel isn’t going to let you down. The rest is up to you.

There is a lot of other things to take with you but for me these are the must haves and aren’t exclusive to the Seychelles as the majority would be on my list of any saltwater fly fishing trip. If you have a tripped planned, make sure you plan everything to make sure you have everything covered and are as well pre-pared as you can be.

Tight lines and enjoy your trip of a life time!

Oh and don’t forget your passport 

Tom 

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Fin and Game’s confessed trout bum, John MacLennan, gives us the low down on how to prepare for the upcoming trout season. We even convinced him to share his fly box collection with us. John’s latest fishing adventure was to Colorado, visiting his favourite river - The Roaring Fork. 


With the brown trout season now open, early season fly fishing can bring great rewards if you are prepared. After the long winter months, it is always advisable to check your tackle before you venture out on your first fishing trip. If you are like me, at the end of a season you will put your fishing tackle away and forget about it until spring arrives.

Preparing Tackle for the Brown Trout Season

A good start is to remove the line and backing from your reels and check that all knots and joints are ok, it’s easier to repair or replace defects in the comfort of your house than on the riverbank. Some tippet material can deteriorate so make sure that you check the spools that you have, if they have been kept in a dark dry place, then usually, they should be ok but it is always best to check and replace if necessary.

Pre-season is a good chance to tidy up your fly boxes. If you are anything like me, come the end of September my boxes are a complete mess and lots of empty spaces where I have either lost or given flies away.

Look over the rest of your tackle and make sure you have everything you will need for your first outing, there is nothing more frustrating when you are out fishing and you can’t find what you you need. I always take way too much tackle on the water. My waistcoat is heavy but very seldom, I find I don’t have what I need.

Take warm clothing, spring weather can change very quickly and pack a good waterproof jacket.


Finding Wild Brown Trout

It is a good idea to keep moving while fishing for brown trout early season and search the water, fish don’t always hold in the water you normally find them later in the year like the faster riffles and streams. Instead they tend to be in the slower parts of the river and while insects hatch they can move into these areas to feed. Generally, fish like to have deeper water close by for a bit of security so the best times to be on the water are around 10am to 3pm as this is the warmest part of the day but as always fish don’t live by our clocks. 

Tackle for Brown Trout Fishing


My normal set up for early season would be a two rod set up, 9ft #4 dry fly rod and a 10ft #3 nymph / wet fly rod. I always have a dry fly rod set up as there can be early hatches or fish rising as you arrive at the river. By having a specific dry fly rod set up, you can get on them quickly and take advantage of the hatches, which can be short lived.


Euro Nymphing 

If there is a lack of surface option, nymphing can be the way to go. Euro Nymphing has become increasingly popular in recent years and has proved to be a great method to add to your repertoire. I use a 9m long camo tapered carp shock leader with a 6 inch hi-vis bi-coloured indicator with a 2mm leader ring attached within the indicator. From here I will attach 8ft of 3lb (0.12mm) nylon with 1 dropper 3 ft from point fly which will be the heaviest beaded fly. 


Best wet flies for brown trout fishing


For wet fly fishing, I use a three fly cast, 14ft long and a 3lb breaking strain with a beaded fly on point (this helps turnover a little) and usually a waterhen bloa on top dropper and a hares ear and partridge on the middle. This method can produce good fishing prior to fly’s hatching as the nymphs are more active and the trout can be caught at this time.

It is also worth a try after a hatch has slowed or finished as fish may still be holding position looking for nymphs or drowned flies.

Try in the tails or heads of pools and slower deeper water.

Best Dry flies for brown trout fishing 


For dry fly fishing I always renew my dry fly leader for the start of the season. My preferred choice is a 12ft 5x tapered nylon leader with 2ft removed from the thick end and attached with a nail knot. Tying a 1.5mm leader ring to the thinner end allows easy changing of tippet as conditions dictate and the beauty of the leader ring is that my tapered leader length stays constant from fly line to the ring without having to renew the tapered leader from changing tippets too often. 

If you have any questions on Trout fishing please feel free to drop us an email at info@finadngame.com or call us on 01573 224066. 

It is always great to see fellow anglers latest catches so use #finandgame on your Instagram posts or send us them on Facebook! 

Tight Lines 

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Hardy have been hand crafting rods and reels in Alnwick, England for over 120 years. A record no other tackle manufacturer will come close too.

All made in England, ranges have been made by master craftsmen and carry the tradition of excellence for which Hardy has become known. The new HBX range is no different. It is a range of performance rods and reels manufactured in Hardy’s factory in Alnwick.

HBX combines cutting edge modern cosmetics and technology with the hand made in England quality. It is the first rod range to leave the Alnwick factory for 5 years.

The range caters for both fresh and saltwater scenarios, whether it be monster tarpon in the Florida keys or free rising trout in an English Chalk stream.

We have been fortunate enough to witness the craftsman at work, as there Alnwick factory isn’t far away. It is an impressive sight and the end result really is a work of art.

Freshwater Range - https://finandgame.com/hardy-hbx-freshwater-fly-r...

Saltwater Range - https://finandgame.com/hardy-hbx-saltwater-fly-ro...

Switch Range - https://finandgame.com/hardy-hbx-switch-fly-rod/

Double Handed Range – https://finandgame.com/hardy-hbx-double-handed-fl...

Reels - https://finandgame.com/hardy-hbx-fly-reel/

For more information please don’t hesitate to contact us at Fin and Game on 01573 224066 or tom@finandgame.com

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Tea Smoked Trout by The Potted Lobster

So the shooting is over and the fishing begins. I fear a wild spring salmon might be as popular as stir fried panda! Likewise for a spring sea trout recipe! Hopefully this will be a better year for the summer seatrout on my local haunt and give me enough to harvest a couple.

So to the stocked lake we go hopefully for an over wintered fish, fully finned and that has fought like a demoned

Try a tea smoked trout - believe me once you’ve tried it you’ll keep a couple every time you’re out.

Ingredients: 


1 nice trout fillet skinned and pin bones removed
1 cup of salt
1 cup of sugar
2oz dry tea

Then to be honest go wild and add what ever you like. We often use pine tips, wild garlic seaweed, citrus fruits infused with gin or vodka. So in a bowl mix together salt sugar and flavouring. 

1. Sprinkle half into a dish. Lay the trout fillets on top and cover with the other half. Then leave it in the fridge for 12 hours.
(If you forget about it - leave for an other 36 hrs and you will have gravlax although I’d leave the skin on for gravlax)
2. Wash of salt sugar mix place on a wire rack in a metal tin with a tight fitting lid – an old biscuit tin is perfect.
3. Pour tea into bottom of tin ideally 1 inch over the fish. Tightly fit the lid and place over high heat for 2/3 minutes.

Turn the gas off and leave for 2 hours and it is ready to serve! 

For the best results do outside on camp fire or BBQ not in the house as the smoke might upset the mrs!!!

So get the trout gear out get pinch an hour or two at your local trout lake.

Tom will recommend gear and flies you should be using!!!

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Pheasant Popcorn - Courtesy of The Potted Lobster ...

Our first recipe is inspired by watching Tom shoot pheasants. I must say he is probably the best shot I’ve ever seen on average to low pheasant!!!! This recipe is a good way of using grade B pheasants.


Pheasant Popcorn 


2 pheasant breasts
50g cornflour
75g panko bread crumbs
10g chilli flakes
Salt
Butter milk or sour cream

3 table spoons mango chutney
3 table spoons soy ketchup
3 table spoons sweet chilli sauce

Dice pheasant breasts into 2cm dice, cover with butter milk and leave for 24 hrs in fridge
(this tenderises the pheasant).

Mix corn flour, salt and chilli flakes in a bowl add pheasant and shake until dice are coated in crumb.

Place into deep fat fryer (air fryer works well to) at 180c until crisp and golden shake season and serve.

Combine soy, chilli sauce and chutney to serve as a dip.

Hope you enjoy!

Richard Sim

(Head Chef at The Potted Lobster) 

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Patagonia Middle Fork Packable Waders 

For those of us who travel with our waders, we know how much weight and space they can take up, often on trips where both are a luxury you can’t afford.

When I first saw the Patagonia Middle Fork Packable Waders packaged away, I thought it was a packable waterproof jacket. Never did I expect it to be a pair of chest waders that weighed so little or packed down so small.

By designing the Middle Fork Packaway waders, Patagonia have developed the worlds most packable chest waders. The thought behind them is to help the traveling angler or those who like to hike into unfished waters e.g. Scottish Hill Lochs.

Despite the reduced weight, they are still packed full of useful features; waterproof pockets, belt loops, gravel guards and Patagonia’s waist-mounted suspenders allowing you to easily turn them into waist waders.

For the travelling angler this is a must! Great quality waders that are ideal for packing and weight saving. At only £300 they are great value.

Team them up with a pair of Simms Flyweightwading boots are you will have the lightest boot and wader and combo without compromising quality!!

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Fin and Game would like to invite you to celebrate the opening of the River Tweed Salmon Season with them. The Tweed is on the door step of our store in Kelso and plays host to many of our customers throughout the season.

We are very much looking forward to the beginning of this season. After a tough season last year, we are hopefully that this season will bring with it better luck.

To celebrate the new season, we will be providing our guests with drinks, nibbles and a raffle. This could be your chance to win a rod worth £350.00 or a £50.00 voucher, kindly donated by FishPal.

This is also an opportunity to view the new Simms range we have just got in for the season and the new Hardy’s HBX Range which has been the talk of the trade this month. Additionally we will have some cool Patagonia gear to show you as well as much more.

We look forward to welcoming you all to Fin & Game on 1st February from 5pm onwards. 

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The Tweed Trophy

Fin and Game are delighted to announce we will be sponsoring the Tweed Trophy for the upcoming season. The trophy will be awarded to the fisherman who catches the first spring salmon of the season on the River Tweed.

In order to claim the prize, you must have photographic evidence of the catch and one other witness of your fish. You must then contact the team at Fin and Game who will note your entry. Either by email: tom@finandgame.com, phone: 01573 224066 ot text message: 07545036877. Once the catch has been confirmed we will then arrange a presentation of The Tweed Trophy to the successful angler in our store in Kelso. The successful winner will also be presented with a goodie back from Fin and Game with some great fishing must haves.

With the previous season proving to disappoint many local anglers are very excited about the upcoming season and ready to kit up and get back out in the water. Our team will be on hand all season to make sure you have the best kit and offer any advice we can to make sure you get the best out the 2019 season!

To all those heading out on the Tweed in search of the first springer we wish you the best of luck.

We also would like to invite all fishermen and their friends and family to celebrate the opening of the season with us in our store in Kelso on February 1st 2019. We will be providing drinks, nibbles and a raffle to kick off the season. We look forward to seeing everyone there. 

About the Tweed Trophy

The Tweed Trophy is historic on the grounds that it is the very first curved fish Jason Sweeny ever made and thus was a milestone for many others. It is made of 316 stainless steel and totally hand beaten. The date, name of the rod, boatman and beat are all hand engraved on to the actual fish leaving a permanent record of a local tradition which started in 2007.

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