Phil’s top tips on how to fish these patterns
1 | Lite-Brite Pink Shrimp
Pink is my favourite colour for shrimp-feeding fish, not only in the rivers coming into the winter for grayling, but also for those big shrimp-feeders on Grafham. This pattern is best fished on, or as close to, the bottom as possible, depending on the debris on the lake bed. I like to fish a couple of Shrimp patterns on the cast at the same time – try a different colour on the dropper and a different size to see what the trout want on that day. Fastmail has plenty of Shrimp patterns to choose from.
2 | Squirmy Wormy Bead Head San Juan Red
This pattern is really best on small waters but I haven’t used it on the larger waters so you never know. It’s always worth a go on those tough days. Fishes well on the point of a team of nymphs fished very slow on a floater, keeping the fly close to the bottom of the lake or fished under the bung. Comes in a variety of colours in a size 10, all weighted, but this red one is my favourite. I prefer to fish the fly on its own under the indicator. Find the depth where the fish are feeding, and change the depth if you’re not catching, or move around the lake.
3 | Lite-Brite Minnow Silver
This pattern will catch you trout all year on both large and small waters. Fastmail has them in size 6, 8 and 10s with 10s being my favourite through the warmer months and through the winter I use the larger pattern. I have caught plenty of fish with this on my top dropper with a team of nymphs below fished across the wind on a floating line. This will also catch you fish fished slow and deep – a very versatile fly.
4 | Fritz Zonker White
This is for late-season on the larger waters. When the bigger fish turn onto the coarse fish fry these patterns are what you should be fishing. Again, I like to fish this pattern on its own. It will work on the small waters through the winter and don’t be afraid to fish it under an indicator – it can be deadly on heavily-fished waters. Again, different colours are available in this pattern and they come in a size 10.
5 | Hot Head Tadpole Black
Not just for the lakes, I’ve also caught plenty of fish all over the world on this pattern in the rivers, fished downstream with a sinking line and pulled back fast. It will work best in coloured water with the dark profile and bright trigger point in the bead, but will also work in clear water. Like most of my lure fishing I tend to fish just one fly as the trout can turn off teams of flies. This is a pattern I like to use on a new water with an intermediate line.
6 | Mini Snake Black & Lime
Another brand new pattern for Fastmail but a customers’ favourite and also mine. If you fish small waters then this is a must for your fly box. These are available in different colours but this one is my personal favourite. I like to fish this fly on its own on a 12-foot leader with a sinking line, depending on the water depth. Don’t be afraid to fish this fly very fast on small waters – it will catch. With the weight in the fly they can also be fished nice and slow on a floating line.